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Lefteris Kalamaras

Fslabs Products - A320-X, Concorde-X, Spotlights - A Long Update!

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Lefteris Kalamaras

Hello all,

If you have been following our forums, you might have noticed me replying to several posts asking for updates and information that "I will be coming out with more news soon".

I've refrained from doing so until now, not because we've had nothing to show, but because there was a lot of work involved and I wanted my update to have some significant details on where we are at and what is to be expected - a roadmap, if you will. Lots of things are happening simultaneously in the sim world as we speak: New versions of sim platforms, for example: Dovetail released a FSX Steam update a few weeks ago and Lockheed Martin came out with a new Prepar3D v3.0. This is wonderful news for the industry, however at the same time, it means there are now five different simulation platforms to be supported in the future, all with a common ancestor, Microsoft Flight Simulator X. We have SP2, XPack, Steam, P3D v2.5 and P3D v3.0 now, one or more instances of which is running on customers' setups. As such, we need to remain vigilant on our goals for the FSLabs product line, to ensure we keep you satisfied with our upcoming releases.

This is where our product line stands as of the time of this writing:

FSL Spotlights

We just recently released a new version (available for free download on our servers) that is compatible with ALL simulator platforms. This means FSX SP2/XPack, FSX-Steam Edition, but also Prepar3D v2.5 and Prepar3D v3.0. This version improves significantly on the quality of spotlights that can be seen in the virtual cockpit, especially so for low-polygon models that suffered jaggy artifacts in previous versions.
Feel free to download and test it for yourself - just place your aircraft at LGAV airport and the product will work 100% unrestricted. Once you're satisfied, you can purchase a license to unlock it for the rest of the world - do so inside the FSL Spotlights Manager (as instructed in the documentation).

FSL Concorde-X

Someone already spilled the beans (*cough cough* Andy): We have already released a couple v1.3 candidates to our Concorde-X beta testers. This upcoming release contains the following new features and updates:
- Compatibility with FSX-Steam Edition.
- Significant memory management improvements (300-350MB of VAS savings compared to the previous version)
- Full DX10 compatibility for FSX and FSX-SE (windowed mode as well as full screen)
- New and improved Virtual Cockpit lighting thanks to FSL Spotlights (you *will* need to download FSL Spotlights!)
- Sonic boom effects heard in external view
- Several bug fixes:
- Yaw Trim not showing on Elevons
- Virtual Flight Engineer fixes
- Increased drag for supersonic descents
- Autopilot roll control improvements
- Most FSX crashes on exit fixed

Barring any unanticipated delays with the Concorde-X testing, we expect that this version will come out on our eSellerate servers within the following weeks. As such, anyone who's purchased the Concorde-X with eSellerate download protection in the past 365 days from the day of release will be able to download the new full version for free. For those who have purchased it more than a year ago, we've made a special purchase available at a token price tag (4.99) which covers our ISP providers' cost and ensures continued support.

Our Concorde-X roadmap will also bring the Concorde-X to Prepar3D. This will be a separate SKU at a similar price tag as the FSX version. While we'd wish to provide upgrade paths from one product line to the other, the significant work involved to support both product lines does not allow this. We expect that we'll be able to provide a bundle price if both products are purchased together.

FSL A320-X

(Be honest, did you just jump here directly?)

We've made quite a bit of progress. Some information to set the mood and set up some expectations:

- We have aimed to be realistic in all aspects of the A320-X. If you have watched my videos from "a few months ago" at that conference, we wanted to ensure the aircraft feels, breathes and behaves like its real counterpart. This is one of the reasons why we took such a long time developing it - we tried to make it feel like an A320 in its flight behavior and in its dynamics all around. Not all of us are A320 pilots, but for those who are, we hope that you will "sense" the A320 in your flight sticks, rather than feel something that is "eh, like one, possibly". This was really important to us. Manual flight should behave and feel the same, in EFCS normal laws, but also in alternate and direct law as well.

- Once we were happy and satisfied with how the bird flies "by hand", we needed to adapt this sensation to its automatic counter-part. Since this is a VERY computerized aircraft, this meant we had to observe, identify and reproduce a multitude of scenarios, setups and patterns which identify the nuances and characteristics that make the A320 so very unique but also so very "easy to fly". We learned these past few years that "easy to fly" means "quite difficult to program". We believe we've achieved that to our satisfaction now.

In fact, rather than continuing on with my thoughts, I asked our testers to provide some feedback on what's coming your way and what their thoughts are on the A320-X. Here's a few select tidbits of what they had to say so far:

"The autopilot and ATHR are phenomenal. You watch YouTube videos of how they react in the real plane, and that's what you're getting in the FSLabs one. The transitions in vertical modes? Smooth as silk."

"Sounds - engines fading away in cruise and the wind noise getting noticeably louder; it feels so immersive. Same with electrical contactors etc. When the engine goes available on upper ECAM and you hear the contactor bringing that engine's GEN online. Also switching from ground to APU power and you hear the electrical hum change frequency slightly".

"Batteries - noticed last night the load on the batteries starting the APU (and stanby compass going nuts). Again, these are only little things that add to the immersion factor".

"Fuel system - pitching down from T/D caused the OUTR TNK XFR ECAM warning when the main tanks were getting towards low".

"Single engine handling - both this and general static thrust (crew-only payload and <5t fuel means you'll be on the brakes nearly all the time when taxiing)".

"One of my favourite aspects of the A320X simulation is the immersion factor you’ve achieved with the sounds in this product. Audio dynamically fine tunes to represent the different phases of flight with great results. From boarding - where you can hear the hustle and bustle of passengers in the cabin, dings from the CIDS, the whirring of the hydraulic and fuel electric pumps and the distinctive whistling of the packs running. To the blowers below the flight deck keeping the racks of electrical equipment cool – and not forgetting the ‘barking dog’ sound from the PTU on push and start".

"Once on the move the aircraft really comes to life – thundering down the runway, the thud of each runway light sends rattles through the cockpit as the aircraft accelerates. The nose wheel below the flight deck begins to resonate as you approach takeoff speed and peaks as it breaks free from ground contact. Climbing out, the characteristic buzz saw from the engine fans as the tips rip through the air at supersonic speeds, gently begins to fade away as the atmosphere gets thinner – replaced by the rush of wind noise on the flight deck".

"My favourite part is descent – the engines slowly reduce to modulated idle, which sends another low-frequency resonance through the aircraft. Soon after, we’re at ‘top of bracket’ on the PFD speed tape and the FMGS commands true thrust idle – the resonance produce by the engines falls away and we’re gliding. Only the distant turbulent sound of the spoilers can be heard in the background as the automatics chase our descent profile".

"The individual systems, you can see most of the wonders implemented behind the scenes appear at power-up. Once you get some AC power online, the Display Units come to life, you see the self-test screen and then they come on properly. For the next few minutes you can see and hear the multitude of computers coming online, either through quick flashes on the overhead PBs or the FIRE TEST master warning upon startup".

"The quality of TERR ON ND. Absolutely brilliant - I love that the "sweep" is accurate, and only updates terrain during turns when the sweep reaches that part of the display as per the real aircraft. The clarity of the display is also excellent, and the waypoints showing correct details (purple outline for constraints etc)".

"Immersion is so important to most serious simmers, and that's what the A320-X brings in spades. Other already available products are either incomplete in aspects beyond just failures or are unabashedly designed to be "lite" in many respects, such as FMGS modeling and aircraft systems beyond the most basic. The A320-X brings it all home at last and at a level at least equal to any airliner simulation available today."

"I love the immersion factors such as the rich and varied sound set, which animates the cockpit environment in spectacular fashion. I love that the MCDU menus are complete and authentic as compared to the real deal; thus putting me in a virtual cockpit all the way. The A320X brings all of these details to life."

"Trip times, fuel burn in the FMGS is simply to the spot - no nonsense. I'd tried some other products - they were way off. In the A320-X, you will not have to be playing guesswork with the numbers, it's correct from pre-flight to landing".

"So MANY details really:
1. The engine simulation is by far the best I've seen in FS. Realistic (and immersive) startups down to secondary engine parameters. Effects of bleed demands (packs, anti-ice) on engine (individually) and thrust on the ground and in the air. Smooth single engine taxi. Spoil up/down timings - The ATHR is genius. Everyone needs to fly gusty/windy approaches and see Ground Speed Mini in action.
2. External model animation and sounds all properly linked to their appropriate systems. Rudder weathervane in the wind. Drooped surfaces react to wind direction and speed. Inlet/outlet doors animations.
3. First real Airbus FWCs simulation. Just SICK: Hundreds of messages generated from real interactions of the sim systems.
4. Proper pressurization system - you can play with it on the ground and the air and expect high levels of simulation.
5. EFCS: Simply the best. The end of the "Airbus can't be done in FS" curse. FINALLY !!! The smoothest, yet the most reactive. A joy to hand fly. All laws, degradations are there.
6. Excellent representation of Airbus Display Units. Perfect ratios - Colors are very close to the real thing. Great fonts, great smoothness".

Personally, I feel those comments are seriously enthusiastic - however, I've not been able to find a single comment to be 'exaggerated' or 'over-the top'. As you can see, our testers are actually really enjoying the A320-X so far. In fact, so much so, that I am wondering if I might not crack the whip a bit now to get them to find more bugs, so we can give you as much of a smooth experience as possible come release day!

Oh - and by the way...

We released a new video, see what you think of that part at the very end that says "Now in...". I'm embedding it here. Don't cheat - watch it first, then read on below. (Watch in full screen, 1080p resolution for best experience)


Did you cheat? Oh well. If you did, shame on you! If not:

Yep. It's true. We're in BETA now! This means we've frozen all new code development and have gone 100% into bug fixing mode for the features that made the v1.0 RTM cut. Our beta testers have been given the OK to actually start flying the aircraft online on VATSIM/IVAO so if you see them around, be kind and don't make them break their NDA, or I'll have to kick them from the beta testing team! Pity them therefore!

We'll be opening up the beta applications process very soon as we now want to get a few more simmers as well on board. Expect more info on this in a separate post.

Oh - and a final note. A thank you goes to Airline2Sim for helping us out with this latest video - they are awesome! In fact, we are hoping that our initial collaboration will extend to a more fruitful relationship - they've liked what they saw in the A320-X so much, that they're going to be producing their next training series with it, to be taught by a team of real world A320 pilots! But for this, I'll let Ben Weston describe their plans more when he is ready!

I promise I'll keep updating everyone with beta progress regularly now! Hope you liked what you've read so far! It's not long now!

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Aurelien Vandoorine

Hello.

Great set of news on the big thing, the A320 I'm really looking forward to it, I've been waiting for so long that there would finally be a good A320 sim, other exists but are not aimed at high fidelity, or very old, or in "paying beta". I'm very much looking forward it, though it is still "only" in beta so still quite some time to way right ;)

It is nice about the Concorde update, but just one question you're speaking about improved lightings with FSL Spotlights that "must" be downloaded, does that mean we have to actually purchase FSL Spotlights to take advantage of it, or is it that we have something else to download to make it work ? I'm not sure about what I would do I'd like the fixes but having to pay is a bit not too my state, I understand the issue with bandwithcost an all, but if I've already had once or twice to pay to get new download links, I really never had to pay for an update no matter how long it came after the reaease :S

Cheers!

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Lefteris Kalamaras

FSL Spotlights works for free in all FSL Aircraft! You will not have to pay for it, if you purchase any of our FSL aircraft!

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nextgeneric

Awesome. Just absolutely awesome. Thanks for the update! Very excited for this.

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CaptKornDog

(Be honest, did you just jump here directly?)

Honestly jumped to Concorde first then Airbus :P

Glad to see an update finally coming to fruition addressing DX10, Steam, and especially VAS. I look forward to finally, reliably flying her on my system after so many struggles! Will there be an upgrade path for your Customers who have the boxed version?

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Lefteris Kalamaras

Our customers with the boxed version can opt for the re-download (4.99) which will allow the new version to be downloaded, so I believe the answer is yes!

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ferrariman15

Wow, that's just insane how good that looks. Don't care about the price, however much it is, it will be worth it. I've ditched FSX though so will have to wait until you release a P3D version but definitely worth the wait! How long are we looking for a P3D version once the FSX version is released? Days, Months or Years?

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Lucas Latreche

Wondeful news, especially concerning the A320-X. I am just extremely happy to know that day I will finally get my hands on this beast is getting very close. I can't help being amazed at how detailed it seems to be and really can't wait to find how it truly feels by myself :wub: .

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wizz

FSL Concorde-X

Someone already spilled the beans (*cough cough* Andy): We have already released a couple v1.3 candidates to our Concorde-X beta testers. This upcoming release contains the following new features and updates:

- Compatibility with FSX-Steam Edition.

- Significant memory management improvements (300-350MB of VAS savings compared to the previous version)

- Full DX10 compatibility for FSX and FSX-SE (windowed mode as well as full screen)

- New and improved Virtual Cockpit lighting thanks to FSL Spotlights (you *will* need to download FSL Spotlights!)

- Sonic boom effects heard in external view

- Several bug fixes:

- Yaw Trim not showing on Elevons

- Virtual Flight Engineer fixes

- Increased drag for supersonic descents

- Autopilot roll control improvements

- Most FSX crashes on exit fixed

Barring any unanticipated delays with the Concorde-X testing, we expect that this version will come out on our eSellerate servers within the following weeks. As such, anyone who's purchased the Concorde-X with eSellerate download protection in the past 365 days from the day of release will be able to download the new full version for free. For those who have purchased it more than a year ago, we've made a special purchase available at a token price tag (4.99) which covers our ISP providers' cost and ensures continued support.

Our Concorde-X roadmap will also bring the Concorde-X to Prepar3D. This will be a separate SKU at a similar price tag as the FSX version. While we'd wish to provide upgrade paths from one product line to the other, the significant work involved to support both product lines does not allow this. We expect that we'll be able to provide a bundle price if both products are purchased together.

hello,

so you tell me, that my order on the release date does not count as much as if i would bought it one year ago?

thats not fair - and tbh that will be a reason why i will not support you anymore and i will not buy the anticipate a320

good luck in the future

best regards, michael

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Peter Fabian

Well, well, well..

I can't help but look at the A320 model on my desk anad wonder when I'll be painting it :)

I didn't much like the A320 couple of years ago, but acquired a soft sport for them since. Looking forward to flying it now that one is actually based on my local airport.

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Marlon Carter

Great news, you folks have worked very hard over the past few years. I've been fooling the development since reviewing the Concorde and I have to say that you will indeed reap the rewards of your labor. I hope the beta phase goes smoothly as I know from experience that when a wider audience is included, very unique issues can arise. One question however, do you have any news on the roadmap for the A3XX series such as the A319 and A321?

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Pete Banner

Hi.

Well done guys, can't wait. I will be looking out for your request for more beta testers. I am a current Airbus captain, 15 years on the Airbus A320 series, with a large UK airline and as I am on a 50% contract I have the time to devote to beta testing your 'bus. Get in touch if you want my services.

Pete

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Alp Deniz Senyurt

Oh, my god. I really can't tell how excited and feeling good I am. I can't thank enough. Looking forward to hearing from you guys soon. (beta applications you know :P)

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Mark Wolpert

Lefteris,

Are you able to confirm that the A320X will indeed be available for P3D as there is some discussion over on Avsim that it may not be as it was not explicitly indicated in your announcement post. thanks.

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B_r_u_n_o-R_o_l_o

Thank you for the update and the video, really looking forward to fly this bird whenever it is ready!

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No_Name

So...

you paid 5 for the Dovetail upgrade. Did you ask them for a freebie? I guess not. Why didn't you? Answer me this - truthfully - and we can continue our debate.

I'm sorry I'm interrupting, but I do not have Dovetail FSX-SE. Does the ConcX update work only with FSX-SE?

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Philipp Schwaegerl

As a real Boeing 737 fanboy you get me with this A320! As soon as this beauty is out for P3D v3, you will have +1 customer more. :)

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Lefteris Kalamaras

I'm sorry I'm interrupting, but I do not have Dovetail FSX-SE. Does the ConcX update works only with FSX-SE?

No, the update will be available for all FSX versions.

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Alexander_Halbritter

is there a chance to get into beta even with p3d v3? Or do I have to use fsx? Great news btw

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Lefteris Kalamaras

Gents-

forgive me but I am going back to working on the A320-X and Concorde-X now. If the 4.99 cost is too much for you to bear, knowing not even one cent will reach our pockets, please do not upgrade.

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Chris Howard

Absolutely fantastic news! I cant wait to have your bus in my virtual hanger and geek out over it lol!

C Card - check

Fresh sim install - checked and waiting

Flight routes - check

Sick days off work - checking excuses

Kleenex - check (ouch, slap from Mrs) :D

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L-a_u_r^i S-i_v*u-o-j^a

Will the new A320-X be also published across the platforms?

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Fl@vio_Cat@lano

Amazing!!!! I've always been confident about your work on the A320, and the results seems to be absolutely stunning!! I have just a question about the performance on the sim, how it behaves in the virtual skies, seen all the coding behind it?

Thank you and congrats!!

Ciao

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Amir Parsian

I wished there was some feed backs regarding FPS, well next time maybe :D

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Lukas Leccese

THATS IT ! As soon as this thing is out, I will reinstall FSX!I won't even care about P3D when this is out and I never thought I would say that.

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Richard Portier

Great news ! Thank you for the update (Concorde and Bus) ! Seems an other piece of art is coming !

Kind Regards,

Richard Portier

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Hon-Chun Chan

I know that you're in beta now for the A320, but have you considered adding some sort of instructor's station interface, perhaps through an iPad/Android app? One where we could remotely trigger failures, fuel/load, airline options, save/load panel state etc. I'm thinking something like Leonardo's Maddog control panel, but on a tablet. IIRC Aerosoft did something similar as well, but it's a relatively 'lite' aircraft. I really don't like how other developers try to squeeze in dozens of pages full of flightsim options in a tiny MCDU screen.

Also a trigger-able list of common MEL items would be great as well, given many flight crews fly with MEL issues under deferred maintenance, and it would be a great way to show how complex your addon is.

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Lefteris Kalamaras

These features (IOS, etc) are planned for our advanced version that will be geared towards the professional market.

We still have a multitude of features that will be in our first release (with several failures that are considered day-to-day happenings) so you will be quite satisfied with the result.

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MaxCotton

I can't seem to find an answer to this, but here are my two questions. Will it be available for P3D v3, and will you like Majestic with their Q400 offer us to buy the first release, then upgrade to the pro version for the price difference?

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Philipp Schwaegerl

P3D v3 Version at day one would be great.

Do you test this Bird in v3 at the moment? I would offer myself as a betatester :)

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MoeGhaziri

Thank you Lefteris, that's a great update for an amazing aircraft. My C card is armed and ready :) . Could not wait, went straight away to the clip, and then read the update slowly and carefully! :rolleyes:

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Adrian Bueren

Great news about the Airbus, I'm very excited.

Concerning the Concorde - though: It's nice that something is beeing done here, but I'm quite disappointed that you plan to charge your customers for what is essentially a bug-fixing release that was long overdue. (especially concerning the VAS-topic).

So I have lots of addons but don't recall ever being charged for a service pack.

Maybe you should reconsider your position here...

Best regards

Adrian

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Lefteris Kalamaras

Adrian,

thank you for your feedback. Please see my explanation in the other post, where I make it quite clear that we are not making a single dime on this upgrade.

In fact, we are choosing to keep supporting our product almost seven years later by spending development resources that we could have elected to apply elsewhere - and for absolutely no return other than the satisfaction that you'll be happier with it. The other possibility would have been to do nothing on the Concorde-X and focus entirely on new products as that would actually pay us back for the work we're doing.

Hope that's clear.

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Flight_Engineer

Hello Lefteris,

Concerning Concorde, I own the boxed version and I'd be happy to pay the 4.99 to support development. However, as I am using P3Dv3 only now, could you offer a discount when buying both the 4.99 FSX Update and the Full-price P3D license together?

Regards

Jan

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Arto E.P. Karhu

Thank you for the update guys! :)

While I'm missing all the fun until P3D version is current, I hope you all the best on this first release!

-Esa

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Alfredo Terrero

So excited for the bus :wub: . If the timing of the strobe lights is anything to go by, this will be THE a320 simulation for flight sim.

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Chirag Geiantilal

Can I ask about A319 and A321, it will follow too?

It will take much time?

The A320 seems very nice.

Thank you.

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Sam Alzuber

Lefteris and team

Thank you for the awesome work you guys did. Praiseworthy, without a shadow of doubt. And as for us ppl waiting for this, wot i consider a breakthrough, finally having an airbus simulation worth the name, patience is finally paying off :) .

One question although I have been following everything here for the past 4-5 yrs so might have forgotten, is a shared cockpit part of the initial release, or is it a feature that will be added in the future?

Best wishes for completion with ease

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David Frankland

Fantastic, looks awesome. Cannot wait for the product to be released and get my hands on it.

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tao

First of all, great news! Finally,the plane is in beta testing! Can't wait to see the final product!

However, do you have any word on the pricing. It would be interesting to find out if the FSX version can be upgraded to a P3D version once that is ready to be released. I'm sure there are many people out there who would prefer the P3D version (VAS savings are great (refering to the Concord, assuming the same is the case for the A320), but a sim that manages VAS properly is better imo!) over the FSX version but don't want to pay double + premium for the P3D version. If there is a discount or an upgrade price, these people would probably (I would...) buy the FSX version and then upgrade to the P3D version. Otherwise, it would probably be an even longer agonizing wait to final get ones hands on the A320. I guess thats part of the premium price to pay for the P3D version. I hope I'm wrong!

Hope you to hear from you soon,

Chris B

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teohalfen

Fantastic, great ground lights, perfect! Details like hot air exhaust from the engine too... It would be nice (in a future update) if a hard landing could make some tires burst or have some structural damage.... or if a worn tire could affect the probability of a tire burst on take off...

Keep up with this wonderful work... I'm amazed to see how a complex aircraft can be programmed and simulated in a PC... It's really an astonishing work.

Thanks!

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Guest DwayneB8z

Thank you for the update. Amazing work you guys are doing, just astonishing how far flight simulator has come over the years, only God knows what it will be like 30 40 years down the line.

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