Review: Boeing vs. Airbus - Part 1
Simulation Software Workshop Airbus
Back To Page 1
Stepping into the cockpit we get the
first look at "the office". SSW did an outstanding
job on the 2D cockpit. Cold and dark the A310 looks like a
very modern flight deck; you can tell immediately that the
Airbus is a techno-nerd's dream.
Small, intuitive icons at the bottom
of the panel pop up the many panels and views that are necessary
to fly the A310. Selecting the overhead panel I grin when
the massive panel appears on my monitor. Now THIS is going
to be fun!
Airbus uses an incredibly functional
and useful panel configuration and labeling system that is
very intuitive to use. Many of the hydraulic, pneumatic (pressurization),
fuel, and electrical systems are arranged so that switches
and knobs fall in line with the system schematic drawn on
the panel itself. Additionally, the toggle switches consist
of white OFF annunciators that alternate to colored in-line
indications representing flow directions. Most of the panel
utilizes a "dark panel" concept which (back when
it was introduced) was a large shift in how pilots were informed
of the status of aircraft systems. Prior to modern aircraft
if a switch was on and functioning, either a light or an annunciator
indicated the state of the system. Modern aircraft elect not
to distract the pilot with information he doesn't need by
remaining dark and silent if the system is on and functioning
In the above screenshot, I have the
3 main batteries powering all the aircraft busses. With so
much power draw (in any aircraft) battery life is extremely
limited. In the Citation V I fly we have only 1 battery and
if all the avionics are running it will last approximately
8 minutes before it is dead. So we need juice to power our
aircraft and we get that either by hooking up to external
power, which you can request via the SSW menu at the top of
the Flight Simulator window, or you can fire up the Auxiliary
Power Unit (APU) to provide electricity and airflow to the
cockpit and cabin.
First I need to turn on one of the
outer-tank fuel pumps to provide fuel to the APU. This was
one of the steps I was missing in my abortive first attempt
to fly the Airbus without having read the manuals or checklists!
You can readily see via the fuel flow diagram how if you don't
have at least one low pressure pump running then fuel can't
be forced to the APU (follow the green lines!).
Opening the other secondary overhead
panel shows us a host of other controls and following the
checklist I select the APU Master Switch ON and press the
start button. The blue ACCEL light illuminates indicating
the APU is spinning up.
Down in the cockpit the aircraft assumes
(correctly) that if I'm starting up the APU then I'll also
want to monitor the APU page on the ECAM display (Electronic
Centralized Aircraft Monitor) to make sure that the temperature,
RPM and power output are normal. Once the APU is up and running
it is providing electrical power to the aircraft, so I don't
have to fret about draining the aircraft batteries (which
WILL happen in the SSW Airbus if you sit there and fumble
around too long!)
With electrical power available the
cockpit comes to life, things start humming and displays start
glowing, confirming that this indeed is an aircraft intent
on flight. Dominating the cockpit are the 2 EFIS tubes on
the left and the 2 ECAM tubes on the right. The far right
ECAM tube is swappable with the one on the left, so any data
that appears on that "half" tube can be flip-flopped
so that the data is viewable in full. The ECAM system is much
like a baby-sitter for the pilots. The system watches over
you, shows you what is going on, and if you do something wrong,
it tells you and gently suggests corrective action. Ok, maybe
it's more like a wife (or husband!).
In this picture the EFIS tubes are
on, but not really functioning because a hundred other parameters
(slight exaggeration) haven't been met yet. The ECAM is showing
the DOOR page indicating that the forward and aft cargo doors
are still open as well as the forward and aft passenger doors.
To Page 3
here to go to top of this page.
Copyright 2008, SimHQ.com. All Rights Reserved. Contact the webmaster.