After changing the livestream schedule from happening every month to every second month, FlyByWire Simulations have held their second broadcast of the year. Titled as “In the Hangar”, the livestream addresses both the A32NX and the A380X development with an opportunity for viewers to ask questions which FlyByWire Simulations then try to answer.
FlyByWire Simulations is a group of developers working on an open-source A32NX modification improving the default aircraft in the Microsoft Flight Simulator as well as on the recently announced study-level freeware Airbus A380 for the same simulator.
Summary of progress
Hosted by Aaryan, Benedict, David, Iceman, Kiwi, and Pepperoni, the developers began the session by summarising the progress that was made on the aircraft since the last livestream.
Based on what was said on the stream by Iceman, although a number of things still need to be done, a good amount of progress was done on the highly-anticipated custom autopilot and fly-by-wire systems for the A32NX. It was even said that the custom autopilot should be available in the experimental branch within a few days.
In regards to the electrical systems, David, one of the FlyByWire core developers has completed the majority of electrical systems in the aircraft. Although these systems are not visible by the user, they are running in the background ensuring the aircraft behaves like the real counterpart. Once done, failure-related scenarios will be implemented to the electrical systems.
At last, before the community questions were answered, Aaryan addressed EFB changes. The new version of the EFB features a whole new layout with a redesigned navigation bar and a dashboard page. Not to forget, the new version features charts support with Navigraph integration available. Chartfox integration should be available later on.
Q: Will the A32NX and A380X be compatible with GSX?
Although Ground Services X, also known as GSX, for Microsoft Flight Simulator was not released just yet, the developers at FlyByWire want to support it while still having a freeware alternative available for those who do not want to pay for such addon.
Q: Are you able to improve the weather radar, or is the SDK limiting you?
As of right now, the SDK is limiting the developers to make any significant changes to the weather radar in the aircraft. It was explained that the current version of the SDK makes it only possible to change the colors of what is displayed. FlyByWire is in touch with Asobo in regards to this topic.
Q: Can we expect an A318/A319/A321?
Those aircraft are planned and are already in the works. However, without the importer/exporter finished, the changes that are possible to be made to the aircraft model is very limited. Once the importer/exporter is finished, the developers will be able to modify everything with “ease“.
Q: How do you plan to collaborate with Asobo, Working title, and Microsoft?
FlyByWire communicates a lot with all three companies. At the moment, if the developers have any questions, they send them to Asobo, and get an answer very quickly. The same applies to the SDK improvements and suggestions. About Working Title, FlyByWire has high hopes with them on board with Asobo.
Q: Are there any obstacles with implementing VNAV to the A32NX?
Implementing VNAV is a very complex thing. A very accurate engine model and the flight model is necessary as well as a lot of documentation and information. At the moment, the developers find it hard to figure out what the default flight model is doing and so are waiting for more data to be available. A custom engine model is currently in the works, and the developers hope to make it available soon as it is a “top priority“.
Q: What are the costs of running the servers? Is it sustainable? Is there an alternative to switch to to reduce costs?
FlyByWire hosts two servers – API and CDN. While the API servers is not a huge component as it is only used for things like the weather radar, ATIS information, and the free text feature, the CDN server, the download server, is a big component. With 180TB of data downloaded from the server in the last month, the costs are quite high.
The developers are working on a system that would help reduce the amount of bandwidth by downloading only certain parts of the aircraft when updating it, and not the whole aircraft from scratch. Furthermore, the aircraft should become available at the in-game Marketplace later on which should help reduce the costs.
Q: Will PA Announcements be implemented to the aircraft?
The PA announcements will be implemented to the EFB once it is finished. It is a planned feature though is not a top priority.
Q: Will the A380X have Navigraph integration as well as the A32NX has?
Q: Will the FPS not drop in the A380X due to the number of screens present in the cockpit?
There is a pretty similar amount of screens in the A380 as in the A320. With the A32NX, a lot of optimization was done. The developers additionally hope to get profiling option to the SDK which would help them monitor the FPS usage better and so better optimize their aircraft in general.
Q: What is the progress on the MSFS2Blender (importer/exporter)? Will there be a fix for the FCU?
MSFS2Blender, also known as importer/exporter, is currently being rewritten by the developers. This will improve the overall speeds of the application as well fix some errors. The development of that is progressing pretty well and should be finished very soon. Once that is done, most modelling issues, including the ones related to the FCU, will be fixed.
Q: How is the A380X progressing?
The cockpit model is nearly finished. A lot of work is currently being done on the exterior models. The developers are looking into adding a lot of fine details to the aircraft. FlyByWire hopes to begin texturing soon, followed by systems. Currently, only the base color is applied to the cockpit components. The first public release will be in a flyable state, probably with not all systems done.
Q: Will the a380X have as much inop buttons as A32NX had at initial release?
Yes, there will be a good amount of INOP buttons upon the first public release. The aircraft will however come with a custom autopilot with VNAV/LNAV functionalities and should handle as close as possible to the real aircraft.
Q: Does the SDK limit the A380X development?
The developers have a good idea of the SDK limitations from the A32NX development. With every SDK update, the number of limitations decreases. There are some things that the SDK currently does not allow, this includes, for example, taxi cameras. Asobo put this feature on their backlog. It is not their highest priority.
Q: Will A380X liveries be available upon release? Will paintkit be available?
Yes, and yes. FlyByWire will make a few of the popular liveries available upon release of the aircraft, and hope that Sim4Flight, their partner, will make some additional as well. Paintkit will be available to the public upon release.
Q: Will A380X have a coffee cup?
To quote Iceman: “Yeah, it definitely will!“
Q: What’s the progress on the A32NX performance calculator? Will it be implemented to the A380X as well?
It’s a work in progress, and as well as VNAV is highly dependent on the available documentation and data. Once done, it will be available in both the A32NX’s and A380X’s EFB.
Q: Will the A32NX work be transferrable to the A380X?
While adjustments will be necessary as the whole model is very different, some parts of the A32NX will be useful for the A380X development.
Q: Will there be a cabin in the A380X?
As the developers said, it is a planned feature for the aircraft. We should receive more previews of the cabin in the future.
Q: Will custom ground handling be available for the A380X?
As with the A32NX, FlyByWire wants to make the aircraft compatible with GSX while still having a freeware alternative available for those who do not want to pay for such an addon. FlyByWire does not want to force anyone into purchasing a payware addon for a freeware aircraft.
Q: WIll a BTV Function be available in the A380X?
Brake to Vacate (BTV) is a feature the developers are looking into implementing to the A380X. It though highly depends on getting the data on taxiways and runways from the SDK. No further information was shared on this topic.
Before ending the livestream, the developers thanked the community for the feedback and support. They hope to share more previews of the upcoming aircraft in the future and addressed that they don’t want to share a release date yet to avoid disappointment if they don’t meet the date. An approximate release date might be given to us in the future.
At the end, Kiwi announced that they have reached 1 million downloads of the A32NX!
The previous livestream summary can be read here. There is no date yet for the next livestream, it should however happen in about two months from yesterday. If you want to download the aircraft or learn more about FlyByWire Simulations in general, you can do so through their website.