Quick Look and Feel ToLiss A319
Table of Contents
Some ToLIss A319 Facts
– High or Standard Definition
– AIRAC Cycles
– 3D Cockpit
– Virtual Cabin
– External Inspection
LFBO Test Flight Preparation
– Flight Plan?
– Use or Not Using the Tutorial?
– General Preparations
– Cockpit Preparations
– Pushback Preprations
– Taxi, Takeoff and Initial Climb
– Worth to Know … trimming … yes or no?
– Climb and Cruise
– Descent and Preparations
– Final Approach and Landing
Sound and Frame Rates
Here you are …. a quick impression of the new ToLiss Airbus A319. No, this won’t be a comprehensive review. It’s just to give you an idea of it’s worth the modeled aircraft since the X-Plane market is overloaded with small Airbus aircraft types. Is ToLiss a brand-new developer or perhaps not?
ToLiss is new, but the lead developer behind it is known from the QPAC A320. That means that the Auto Flight and it’s famous FBW plugin is from the same developer and that’s already good news, but there’s more, as complete Airbus A319. Let’s have a closer look into this Airbus model.
Just to remind you; as of this writing – March 2018 – we have the following payware small Airbus aircraft:
– Peters Aircraft A320 Family,
– JARDesign A320Neo,
– FlightFactor / StepToSky A320 Ultimate
– ToLiss A319
Theoretically spoken, only Peters Aircraft offers an Airbus A319 and could compete with the brand new ToLiss A319, but the question is, is this correct or not at all or should it be compared with the FlightFactor / StepToSky A320 Ultimate? One thing is for sure, the FF A320 Ultimate is of the same “age”, so ….!
What said before, the lead developer behind ToLiss is well-know with FBW (Flight By Wire), a part of the Auto Flight Airbus plugin and related systems. This is and stays to me a big “plus”. Without going into too much detail, programming as a non-real live Auto Flight engineer building an Auto Flight System known as the FMGS (Flight Management and Guidance System), is very difficult. It’s not a matter of reading books, and manuals and so on. It’s more than that!
Some simmers would say … how does your personal reporter Angelique knows all of this and who is she to say this? You’re right, I’m not a programmer, not a SASL or C++ programmer, but I’ve been working in the real commercial aviation. I’ve been a technical instructor with KLM Maintenance and Engineering, later for Lufthansa Technical Training and seen many of my colleague Auto Flight instructors doing their job telling ground engineers how modern Airbus Auto Flight systems work.
Biggest problem, even for those well-known Auto Flight instructors was, lack of detailed information, especially with digital computers. From the very first moment Airbus Industries, now known as EADS, introduced the digital Auto Flight System instead of an analog Auto Pilot, Auto Throttle (or Auto Thrust), not all the necessary information was anymore available. One reason among others was that Airbus and the French Auto Flight vendor didn’t offer any in-depth information how the modern digital Auto Flight worked besides basic AP rules.
Available system schematics where no longer complex drawings with resistors, condensers, transistors and so on. In these schematics you could really see how the, for example, the Auto Pilot channels worked. With the introduction of digital computers and belonging schematics, all electrical components where replaced by integrated circuits, identified as “blocks”. Block after blocks, and even more blocks, all interconnected with lines. From that moment it wasn’t possible to follow a pitch, roll or yaw “channel”, besides many other features.
Therefore, it’s much more difficult to see how internal computer control and monitoring loops work which was possible with an analog Auto Pilot, Auto Throttle and so on.
Perhaps you hope that this review answers; will it cover the differences between for example Peters Aircraft A319, FF A320 Ultimate or the JARDesign A320Neo?
The answer is no!
My answer is straight … I don’t want to.
My goal with any review is and stays; I would like to offer as far as I can, a comprehensive look into the modeled aircraft I’m reviewing. The review should be, not easy by the way, objective and the moment I start with comparing Airbus models with each other, I make in my humble opinion, the biggest mistake.
Some ToLiss A319 Facts
The ToLiss Airbus A319 model comes with CFM and IAE engine configurations. Besides engine programming differences (engine parameters differ) and perhaps other differences, liveries are identified by either CFM or IAE which makes them unique for “that” engine type. As of this writing – March 2018 – these are the only two engine types that are provided. In real, Airbus offers an A319Neo and perhaps, time will learn, it will become a member of the ToLiss A319.
By the way, the official identification of an A319 fitted with CFM engines is A319-111 (-112, -113, -114 or -115) (CFM International, a joint venture between GE Aviation, a division of General Electric and Safran Aircraft Engines (formerly known as Snecma) while the A319 with IAE V2500 Serie engines will be A319-131 (-132 or -133) (AE International Aero Engines, is a Zürich-registered joint venture manufacturing company founded in 1983. The original collaboration involved Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, Japanese Aero Engine Corporation and MTU Aero Engines. FiatAvio withdrew as a shareholder of the program early on, but the now-renamed Avio still remains as a supplier. The “V” product nomenclature remains as a legacy of the five original shareholders.).
The additional between brackets mentioned sub numbers deal with different CFM or IAE engine modifications. (Source EASA, see link)
Engine selections – CFM or IAE – on the provided manuals can be done on-the-fly via X-Plane menu Plugins – ToLiss – Open ISCS screen. Within the Interactive Simulation Control System (ISCS) popup window, you choose tab Audio-Visual Settings, and then from the “Engine Type” dropdown box you select AUTO, CFM or IAE. The most logical setting in my humble opinion would be AUTO and when you’ve set the dropdown to AUTO, don’t forget to click the SAVE THESE SETTINGS button. This select the right engine type for that airline and I may assume, also the thrust settings. Just to make clear; the modeled ToLiss A319 aircraft are the A319-112 (CFM configuration) and the A319-132 (IAE configuration).
Besides the engine identification (CFM or IAE) you can also find for example CFMS. The “S” identifies that the aircraft model and livery comes with sharklets. What I said in the previous paragraph, the easiest and best solution is to set the “Engine Type” to AUTO. This not only automatically selects the right engine under the aircraft livery, but it also adds the sharklets is applicable.
Want to select it your way thus you want to choose which engine you want and if the aircraft livery is fitted with sharklets or not? Then from the dropdown you select either engine type. By doing this, you’re also able to select or deselect sharklets. No sharklets, the you get the old fashioned wingtip fence.
Confused? No need to. You can read it back in the Simulations Manual pages 16 till and including 18.
High or Standard Definition
According to the Simulation Manual “The “Hi Def” version of the aircraft uses higher resolution textures and is the recommended aircraft to load if your hardware supports it. The “Std Def” version allows framerate improvements for weaker hardware. Do not attempt to load the XP10 aircraft in X-Plane 11. In X-Plane 10, only the aircraft file labelled a319-XP10.acf will work.”
Because I haven’t got a clear view on what this exactly does and how it effects the actual FPS, I contacted ToLiss. They can up with the following explanation; “The difference is flags that are set in X-Plane plane maker. Perhaps a complex story, but it loads the textures at different resolutions into the VRAM. It effects the external textures as well as cockpit walls, windows etc. The object for the panels itself doesn’t allow this flag. Overall, it seems that it doesn’t work on every computer. I got mixed feedback. Some people it’s ten fps plus, others don’t see a difference.”
Whatever you personally will experience, it’s a nice feature.
The base package doesn’t come with a livery, besides the house ToLiss livery. Don’t worry; many liveries have been uploaded to X-Plane.Org and for sure many will follow. I have seen a paint kit which is available via your dedicated ToLIss X-Plane.Org account page, but it’s also distributed via the, it seems, official livery Org page, setup and maintained by Matthew007800.
The ToLIss A319 comes with 3 Acrobat manuals: - ToLiss_319_V1.0_AircraftManual (39 pages)
– ToLiss_319_V1.0_SimulationManual (43 pages)
– ToLiss_319_V1.0_Tutorial (94 pages)
The ToLiss aircraft manual covers the ATA 100 aircraft systems in detail. Worth the reading I would say.
For those who aren’t familiar with the ATA 100 system, let me try to highlight this. ATA 100 contains the reference to the ATA numbering system which is a common referencing standard for all commercial aircraft documentation. This commonality permits greater ease of learning and understanding for pilots, aircraft maintenance technicians, and engineers alike. The standard numbering system was published by the Air Transport Association on June 1, 1956. While the ATA 100 numbering system has been superseded, it continued to be widely used until it went out of date back in 2015, especially in documentation for general aviation aircraft, on aircraft Fault Messages (for Post Flight Troubleshooting and Repair) and the electronic and printed manuals. (Courtesy of WikiPedia)”
Additionally, starting at page 25, the manual offers standard operating procedures including FMGS initialization. This brings me to another item and that’s the Flight Plan format which is the default fms file format. That’s good news, right? The fms flight plans are stored in the X-Plane Output / FMS Plans folder.
Next the ToLiss Simulation manual. It’s basically all about how to install the aircraft, how to setup the activation process, and how to use the Interactive Simulation Control System (ISCS). This ISCS popup window allows you to make the necessary settings within the simulated model, but also the configuration of the aircraft, controlling ground services and audio-visual issues. You’ll find two tabs that aren’t yet active; the failure scenarios- and the reserved page tab. When you go thru the pages of this manual, you’ll noticed that it also offers X-Plane 10 screenshots.
That brings me the next item; this ToLiss A319 isn’t only compatible with X-Plane 11. It’s also designed to work with X-Plane 10 and I think that’s a good marketing strategy. Although many simmers have moved to X-Plane 11, there are still many simmers out there who are using X-Plane 10.
Back to the simulation manual. All the tabs of the ISCS popup window are in-depth explained so no worries that you miss something.
What else is highlighted in this manual?
Cockpit illumination is discussed, the use of the mouse wheel is highlighted and a brief explanation of the FCU (Flight Control Unit) operation. For those who still prefer the 2D cockpit, several pages explain the use of it. All together an informative manual, in particular the thorough description and operation of the ISCS popup window.
Ho ho, hold on!
I think it’s important to highlight the following in respect to the 2D cockpit, in case you would like to have in in your ToLiss A319. In the simulations manual page 5 there’s the following regarding the 2D cockpit including the updater; “Note that the aircraft delivered by default contains a 3d cockpit only. There is also a version that features both a 2d and a 3d panel available. However, this version does not run on all platforms (namely iMacs with Nvidia GTX graphics card) and it may be confusing to users, therefore it is not delivered in the initial package. If you want the version with 2d and 3d panel, please contact the X-Plane.Org store, they will provide you with the download link. Note that the combined 2d/3d panel version does not have an updater feature; you will have to redownload the entire package every time the aircraft is updated.”
And finally, the tutorial manual.
The tutorial covers a flight from Hamburg (EDDH) to Stuttgart (EDDS), but hold on, with a go-around procedure at EDDS and a diversion to Munich (EDDM). Altogether, a very interesting tutorial. As indicated by ToLiss; This tutorial provides a fairly comprehensive overview of the features implemented in the ToLiss 319. We highly recommend to work through this tutorial first. The ToLiss 319 is a very complex product and its features cannot be learnt by trial and error. The tutorial describes the following aspects of a flight:
– Starting the aircraft from cold and dark and shutting it down at the end of the flight
– Conducting a flight according to standard operating procedures (SOP)
– Entering a flight plan from the departure airport to the destination including fuel requirements, standard departures and arrivals, as well as vertical navigation
– Modifying the flight plan prior to departure and in flight
– Swap between managed and selected autopilot operation
– Diversion to an alternate airport
Prior to working through this tutorial, please read the “simulation manual” _which provides the necessary knowledge to operate the simulator.”
As I started this “quick ToLiss A319 impression”, at this moment it is not my goal to figure out the contents of every tutorial page, but I can tell you of what I’ve seen, it’s a well-written, highly informative and comprehensive tutorial. Not that you can forget all the other manuals, but the tutorial is written in a way that you can find your way thru the aircraft very easily. For now, I can only say, I encourage you to either print it or to read the contents on a tablet.
And this flight plan paragraph brings me to another item, and that’s the AIRAC that’s used for the ToLIss A319. I’m pleased to see that the developer added some additional information in the Simulations Manual (pages 18 and 19) how and what is needed, and not only the way to do it for X-Plane 11, but also for X-Plane 10. A big plus that the aircraft is also made compatible for X-Plane 10!
Taken the following excerpt from the Simulations Manual “The ToLiss systems plugin uses the X-Plane navigation data. Note that the plugin imports either the “Default Fixes” and “Default Navigraph Fixes” (X-Plane 10 only) or the Custom Versions thereof, if available. It does not merge “Default XYZ” data with “Custom XYZ” data. When updating the navigation data, please only update the data in the folder Custom Data. If two valid databases are found, they are displayed on the MCDU status page, including the corresponding cycle info.”
What said, the first 3D cockpit impressions tell me that it looks good, very good to be honest although the 3D cockpit is a bit blueish, or is it the gamma or monitor type we have on the iMac? That blueish look seems to decrease the moment you fly and external light changes the look and feel of the blue panels. While writing this and testing the 3D cockpit under different lighting condition on my iMac, I must emphasize that when the lighting conditions change, the blueish look disappears with at the end a normal expected panel color. Perhaps it’s indeed the iMac that causes this.
But, when for some reason you don’t like the stock panel texture colours, you can always change the look and feel of the 3D cockpit by implementing this package. One of the house painters, X-Plane.Org user matthew007800, created the “ToLiss A319 Enhancement Pack 1 1.0.0. With this pack, you’re able to change the blueish panels to a different blue, light or dark grey. Very nice package I must say!
Will the ToLIss 3D cockpit offer you a weathered/used cockpit?
A bit I would say. If you like a brand new, clean cockpit or a weathered, dirty and used cockpit is a matter of taste. That has nothing to do with the overall quality which is also valid for the external. The text on the panels, it doesn’t matter where you look, is razor sharp, so that’s not a problem at all. No blurry items, just right and this is not only from a distance. When you zoom in closely on e.g. the overhead sub panel, is stays razor sharp. I mentioned something about “weathered” look and feel. Although the panels itself or the area around knobs, buttons, switches etc. don’t show much weathering, the light grey selector knob on for example the overhead panel do offer a lot of “used spots”.
I must say that the overall look and feel of the modeled 3D cockpit is very nice. Not only nice, it’s realistic, but there’s always the question…. have I seen better, read more realistic, modeled 3D cockpits? Again, that’s a matter of taste. Some like a different color thus different textures – taken care for by the previous mentioned enhancement pack from matthew007800 – while others like more weathering. If could give you my opinion, but that’s of no use. What’s personally for me more interesting how realistic does it fly, how real are the flight dynamics implemented. I’m aware that the “eye” wants something, but the flying characteristics are much more important. Enough about this!
Does the 3D cockpit have any animations besides the popups of the PFD, ND, ECAM DU’s and MCDUs?
No, I couldn’t find any further animations like sliding windows, movable armrests, but I mentioned them before, you do have the option of different popup DU’s and perhaps it’s worth to tell you that the MCDUs can be popped up individually and they work, as far as I’ve seen, independent from each other. This is also applicable for the FD (Flight Director) switches or the individual control of the ND (Navigation Displays).
In other words, we’re dealing here with an original split system. Not strange since the whole background and programming knowledge is based on the previous older QPAC A320 models as well as the programmer who’s behind of it. Hold, before I continue; with the mouse wheel you can, within limits, resize the PFD, ND and ECAM DU’s except for the MCDU. That has fixed dimensions.
As far as I’ve seen and tested a bit, the circuit breakers for example on the AFT OVERHEAD C/B PANEL aren’t simulated, but they are very well modeled and even here, the text is razor sharp. This is also applicable for the AFT cockpit wall C/B panels. That the text in general and marking on these panels is razor sharp doesn’t surprise me. In the aircraft Objects folder there’s a specific texture file that has all the text and marking of the panels and thus they are projected on each panel. Well done. A big step!
From the cockpit it’s a small step to the virtual cabin and I can’t complain with what I see. The FWD galley is well done, it seems nothing is missing or at least, I don’t miss anything. The cabin is worth the look and feel. No unnecessary animations are implemented like animated baggage bins. I say on purpose “unnecessary animations” since to me the importance goes to the 3D cockpit and then in particular the flight dynamics.
But I’m also aware that some would love have seen animated baggage bins, animated toilet doors and so on, although that’s again a personal taste. Neither less, the team has taken the time to model a nice and good looking Virtual Cabin.
A lot of time and effort is put into the external model and textures. As far as I’ve seen, all textures for the exterior (engines.png, fuselage319.png and wings.png) are 4K (4096 x 4096). The only thing that surprises me is that for the cockpit panels a special texture sheet had been introduced for text and markings while on the external textures the decals are far from sharp, at some places they are a bit blurry. That said, no special sheet is used to keep these “decals/text” also sharp.
Perhaps you would say … that’s not possible, but then I must correct those who think that! A good example that it is possible to have razor sharp external text on the fuselage, wings and engines is from JARDesign. They use a separate external text sheet.
Doing my walk-around inspection, as usual, I can’t say anything else then that I’m happy with the overall 3D model and it looks like that everything I expect to be there, is there. For example, static dischargers, detailed landing gears etc. Speaking about the landing gears; a more thorough look at the NLG and MLGs is worth the time to check. These are very well modeled, tiny parts are included as well thus the overall if made with great detail.
Depending on the type of aircraft you’ve chosen, you have either CFM or IAE engines fitted underneath the wing, these engines and pylons are also worth a thorough inspection. They differ a lot, but you and I know that. And when I say, they differ a lot I mean with the shape is different, the exhaust looks bigger, the overall IAE model seems longer, but looks for sure less like a balloon which is the CFM cowling. And above all, different indications. The IAE engine uses as primary thrust indicator EPR (Engine Pressure Ratio) while the CFM engine uses the N1 as primary indication.
Overall an external aircraft that is full with tiny details, accurate so I’m very pleased with it. I didn‘t look in detail to every livery, if it’s exactly painted as the real A319 airliners livery, but I hope that small errors that are pointed out by simmers and the small errors I’ve seen, are updated quickly. An aircraft like this ToLiss with an unique FBW simulation and extraordinary flight characteristics is worth an excellent painting, right?
LFBO Test Flight Preparations
How to make a flight plan, where to store it and how to handle it, that’s coming right now.
As you might know, for creating a flight plan you could use many programs like Routefinder which offers you quickly a flight plan, but this is not in “X-Plane fms” format. Or you could go for FlightAware, but again, this doesn’t allow you to export it to an fms file format. Another option simBrief. You need to register but it’s for free and a wealth of flight planning information becomes available.
Then there’s also the browser-based Online Flight Planner, but I go for SkyVector (https://skyvector.com), but I need for this X-PlaneTools. One of the reasons I prefer SkyVector is not because it’s easier, but with SkyVector I have the control over the amount or sort of waypoints, VOR or NDB beacons. Perhaps less realistic, for this LFBO – LFBO test flight to the Pyrenees, it’s handy to create my own plan which is impossible with Online Flight Planner.
You and I all know SkyVector, but SkyVector saves your flight plan in “fpl” format which in turn can be converted to fms with X-PlaneTools. I prefer to create a sightseeing IFR flight, so I use SkyVector above all the other options since it allows me to add waypoints on my scenic IFR route.
You can also go for the offline freeware tool LittleNavMap, but it can do much more then just flight planning. Besides many other things, this is a great tool in case you need to create flight plans for the FlightFactor/StepToSky A320 Ultimate since that aircraft uses corte.in flight plan format. When you open this corte.in file, it looks a bit like the flight plans created by RouteFinder, but then slightly different. Anyway, for the ToLiss it’s much easier, just the well know “fms” extension for a flight plan.
After I’ve updated the default X-Plane AIRAC and placed the lfbolfbo.fms flight plan file into the X-Plane Output/FMS plans folder, it’s time to start with the cockpit preparations.
Oops, almost forgotten. My test flight departs from Toulouse Blagnac Airport (LFBO) and arrives back at LFBO. The overall flight plan looks like this:
LFBO – AGN (114.8) – AUCHE – DISIS – ANETO – TURUV – MOPAS – OKABI – GEANT – KANIG – PORBU – BAMGO – BOLSA – BRUSC – DEPES – NARAK – LACOU – DEGUK – ALIVA – LFBO
As you can see for yourself, I included one VOR beacon. All other entries are waypoints so without a frequency. Does it matter for the FMS … no, not at all!
From LFBO it flies first in a northwest direction, then heading for the Pyrenees. Once flying above the Pyrenees, is makes an almost 90 degrees turn to the sea and once near the sea, back via via via to LFBO. Flight level is set for FL310, but suppose you want to fly this stretch yourself, you can switch during flight to HDG mode and follow your own path before returning to the managed mode and/or you’re also free to select a higher cruising level.
For me the idea to create my own LFBO flight plan was more to see how the aircraft flies and I can tell you already ….. it flies gorgeous (but that didn‘t surprise me)!
Does it mean that you and I can’t use the tutorial? Oh yes, you can still use the tutorial since it offers a lot of additional cockpit preparation information, needed for all kind of flights however, those items in the tutorial related to that flight plan and thus what to enter in the MCDU, is different.
What is and stays important is how to calculate and enter the ZFW, ZFWCG, block fuel, Slat/Flap TO setting, Stabilizer position and the speeds V1, V2, VR. The steps to go thru all of this can be found in the tutorial manual pages 19 till and including 22 and pages 31 till and including 34. Ho ho, hold on, one other important thing to keep in mind. Don’t start the A319 with engines running. When you’ve loaded the aircraft in this situation, INIT page B is no longer available. INIT page A is always there, but INIT B is only available as long as the engines aren’t started.
One last part for those who don’t prefer to use “ready to go” flight plans. This section deals with how to enter my proposed flight plan. You can use the tutorial also for this because you also need to enter waypoint by waypoint with the exception that in my LFBOLFBO flight plan there are no airways included.
Suppose you decide to enter the LFBOLFBO waypoints manually. Not difficult and perhaps easier then expected. After you’ve finished to enter all the waypoints, click LSK 6R (Line Select Key) on that respective FLT PLN page, identified as SAVE>. Enter in the scratchpad a name for your entered flight plan e.g. LFBO1, and click LSK 4L.
Ok, what have I done and where can I find it?
I’ve entered/saved a clean flight plan without a SID or STAR. It’s stored in X-Plane folder Resources/plugins/ToLissFlightPlans as LFBO1.qpc. Whenever you want to fly this once more, or perhaps twice to test your skills or perhaps even more, you can load the saved flight plan via the INIT A page, LSK 1L. When you click LSK 1L, you’ll presented with the saved flight plans in the Output/FMS plans folder (fms extension) and those saved in Resources/plugins/ToLissFlightPlans (qpc extension).
Use or not Using the Tutorial?
It’s a complex aircraft and when you’ve read the other manuals, you’ve understand by now how important it is to read or to use the tutorial for this LFBO test flight?
I can tell you, it’s important!
Everything that deals with cockpit preparations and all that has to be done in the cockpit before the engines are started is important and also applicable to this test flight, even the pages of the tutorial after engine start are useful. I’ve said it before, print the tutorial or else read it on a tablet while you’re doing the necessary preparations.
Loading a flight plan from the DB (Data Base) or entering waypoint by waypoint depends on the type of flight, destination and airliner. I’ve seen pilots using the company’s navigation DB where they only need to enter a Company Route code, but I’ve also seen pilots entering waypoint by waypoint to create a flight plan. This was many years back, I know, when we had a flight from EHAM (Amsterdam) to KMIA (Miami) via Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, Gander (Newfoundland, Canada), Bangor (Northeast United States) along the coast down to Miami. Very unusual for these days, but it was a flight with an Airbus A310-200 with no ETOPS, except the ETOPS Grandfather rights.
The first thing I need to do is to create a “ground situation” and set the “aircraft configuration” of my choice which will be “COLD and DARK” by overriding the XP settings. It should be noted that when you have set at the ISCS window tab “Ground Services – Quick Services – External Power” to a logical “1”, you will have on the overhead panel, section ELEC PWR, a green AVAIL light. but you won’t have externally a GPU connected to your aircraft.
I only highlight this, not as a comment, but more as a note that the GPU unit isn ‘t simulated. In case you made a mesh of your saved situations, look into X-Plane 11 folder Resources-plugins-ToLissData-Situations. It stores the situation files as qps. Delete the situation file of your wish and make a new one although you can also change the siutation on the aircraft , and save it under the same name. This will override the previous situation. By the way, even when X-Plane 11 is still active, once you’ve deleted one or more situation files, they are automatically removed in the ISCS window.
As mentioned before, cargo- and passenger doors except for the emergency exits, are animated. They are controlled via the ISCS tab “Ground Services-Aircraft Doors”. The screenshot below shows you the OPEN selection, but you can also select besides CLOSED, for AUTO. When you select AUTO, then you must keep in mind that “the door(s) opens and closes according to the plugin internal logic to detect if the aircraft is parked at the gate.”
Before closing this section, I would like to higfhlight the following; the simulated ToLiss A319 doesn’t offer external stairs that position themselves near an opened door nor that a baggage belt is simulated, but is it really a problem? Is it really something that should be a part of the modeled aicraft? Again, I’m personally more interested in a realistic FBW system with “as realistic as it gets” flight dynamics!
That said, go for the JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe add-on. You can buy this add-on package at the dedicated X-Plane.Org webpage (http://store.x-plane.org/Ground-Handling-Deluxe_p_415.html). And …. it can be used with any other add-on aircraft too! See some screenshots below, using the dedicated ToLiss GHD A319 set in combination with the AirFrance livery.
As mentioned in my previous section, I’ve decided to go for a COLD and DARK situation. I don’t use the external power which means I need to start the APU. For this I use my checklist, actually it’s my Normal Procedures list, although I could use the tutorial as a guide. While writing this, I suddenly think … there’s no electronic and/or interactive checklist included.
It is correct that there’s no electronic checklist included – perhaps in the future – but the ToLiss Aircraft Manual comes with a Standard Operating Procedures list, starting at page 25 up till and including page 39. So use it!
With the ToLiss Standard Operating Procedures pages in my hand, and doing each step at the overhead panel, I notice something, but I’m not 100 percent sure about this and if this is correct. It deals with the airconditioning zone temperature selectors. I thought they are rheostats, but it looks like in the simulated model that these are rotary knobs with fixed positions at each mark. This “different behavior” is by the way also applicable for the FWD and AFT cargo temperature selectors. Verified with the ASM (Aircraft Schematic Manual) and I think it should be rheostats. Informed ToLIss via Skype and send the necessary data as confirmation.
While following the checklist steps, I found a couple of switches/selector knobs (for example the CONSOLE/FLOOR, RAIN RPLNT, AUDIO SWITCHING (AFT overhead panel), MECH CALL P/B) that aren’t simulated, but I’m not worrying to much about them.
At the point I need to enter data into the MCDU, a look in the tutorial is needed because it explains very well the steps to follow and how to interpret the data from the ISCS window and how to enter this in the MCDU. Perhaps it will cost you a few times to get the right feeling how to do it, but believe me, pilots have had many hours of training before they understood the steps to follow.
Once you get the idea – for those who are new to the Airbus philosophy – how the “flow” thru the cockpit is and how to follow all the steps, you’re done in no-time, but keep in mind, MCDU programming will take a lot of time, but even that is something you can learn!
I’ve finished the steps to follow from my normal procedures, have the IRU’s are all aligned, MCDU data entered and verified with ISCS, so I’m ready to go. Oops, almost forgotten; since the loaded flight plan has no SID and no STAR, I need to enter a SID. Keeping the waypoints in mind, I select AGN5P.
Since there’s no TRANS(ition), I select LSK 6R to insert this SID. I leave the STAR and runway for landing as it is for now. I could enter that data already, but everything can change during the flight and environmental conditions too, so we leave it “open” for the moment. From apron position A23, I taxi via P10 and N1 to runway 32R.
A small note regarding the Cost Index (CI), from MCDU INIT A.
In the tutorial page 17 you’ll find the following about the CI “Cost index 50; the cost index determines the trade off between fuel consumption and the time the aircraft takes for the flight. A Cost index of 0 means flight with minimum fuel consumption. 100 or higher is flying as fast as possible.”
If you want to read more about the cost index background, it worth to read “getting to grips with the cost index”, an Airbus article from May 1998. Although the manual was written issues many year ago, it gives an interesting look on the CI. For those who are interested, just follow this link.
If I decide to ask for a pushback from my parked position, there’s a lot to choose from which pushback truck to use. First of all, the ToLiss A319 comes with a build-in pushback truck. It works fine, but it’s not the most high quality texture model there is since it looks a bit blurry. On the other hand, it works.
You could also decide to download and install the freeware BetterPushback plugin. It’s a beautiful truck, but quite big for such a small aircraft. On the other hand, it comes with a nice controlling tool and it visualizes how and where to pushback too. Very nice add-on for free!
For those simmers who bought the JARDesign Tugmaster Deluxe, which is not only compatible with X-Plane 10, but also with X-Plane 11, they can use this add-on too. Although it’s payware, it comes with 3 different trucks, ranging from small, medium to large. Depending on the aircraft size, you can choose the truck the fits the best and together with a handy controlling tool, you’ve got full control over your pushback. More information can be found at the dedicated JARDesign web page.
After pushback, it’s time to start the engines. Normally I won’t write down anything on how the engine starts or just a brief engine start experience, but this time, I need to! For a comprehensive review as for this aircraft, I found it a good idea to check several A319, A320 movies. Movies that deal with ground preparations, engine starts, aircraft takeoff, climb, cruise, influence of bad weather and so on.
That said, the engine start and sounds are so real. Listening to it, seeing how the engine starts, how it accelerates, very realistic and without doubt a big plus! And it’s not just the engine start behavior, it’s everything that starts already with placing the ENG START selector to ING/START and how other system react on that, as well as when the engine is stabilized. More about sounds in my dedicated Sounds and FPS section.
Taxi, Takeoff and Initial Climb
For NWS (Nose Wheel Steering) you can decide to assign a rotary knob on your joystick or throttle unit. I assigned on my Saitek X52 Pro a small rotary knob for NWS, but needles to say that this way of assigning a rotary knob for NWS, it is not easy to control the aircraft along the taxiline. Although it must be said that this is the most realistic way of steering the aircraft on the ground with the nose wheel.
During taxi I didn’t notice any rumbling sound or whatsoever, but during the takeoff roll I did hear. Good news I would say. Before commencing the takeoff, I verify if all the steps are completed. Then it’s time to takeoff and wow, that engine sound is a great to hear!
The current aircraft configuration I’ve choosen is with CFM engines and I know they aren’t the same as what I know from the past – Airbus A310-200 with CF6-80A3 – but the sound is awesome. Assuming I’m on the third seat, seeing the takeoff and hearing that typical hi-bypass GE/CFM sound. Oh oh, that brings me back to the good old Martinair Airbus days. So, the CFM sound is great, no doubt about that and after lift-off, there’s the sound of gear retraction. Ok, the main gears you won’t hear, but the nose gear, right below you, you do hear it retracting.
As I can remember from Airbus pilots during my good old days in the aviation, FBW Airbus aircraft fly easy or if you wish … easy to handle. That’s the same with this aircraft too. That said, I decide to follow the flight plan by hand. By hand means, A/THR (Auto Thrust) is doing the thurst calculation while there’s no AP connected. Just follow the instructions on the PFD and ND. Ok, instructions ……! The FMA (Flight Mode Annunciator) on the PFD tells you when to move your throttle back to CLIMB thrust and the FD (Flight Directors) tell you what pitch or roll input has to be given.
Worth To Know … trimming … yes or no?
Question … do you need to trim the A319 or A320 Family members? Do you need to trim for example the ROLL and PITCH channels under normal flight conditions? An interesting question isn’t it!
To answer this, I could find it out myself, but it’s better to ask a real pilot, Marcelo Alencar. Marcelo is an active ATPL pilot flying for Qatar and yes, he’s an acting captain on the Airbus A330 Series as well as instructor and also flying the Airbus A340-600. According to Marcelo “None of the FBW Airbuses has a trim switch on the sidestick. Airbus has what we call “auto trim” and this is directly linked with the flight control laws.
On the A320, A330 and A340 you still have the trim in case you end up using a mechanical backup. There you can see the trim wheels moving, but you can’t interact “command” them. If you degrade to a direct law or mechanical backup, than you can use the trim wheels to control the pitch. This is very difficult to maneuver and as per Airbus, it’s very unlike to happen! On the A380 and A350 the trim wheels are replaced by a pitch trim switch which has the same functionality as the trim wheels but only a lot smaller. Remember; on the sidestick you only have the PTT p/b (Push To Talk switch for the radio) and the red AP disconnect p/b. On all Airbus the information goes to the computer and then to the surfaces.
After engine start, you set manually the TO C.G. % using the trim units, applicable for the A330-200/-300 and the old A340. On the new A330F (Freighter) and A340-500/-600, this is automatically done by the computer using the information that the pilot inserts via FMS. After take off there is a transition on who’s is controlling the airplane (what laws are working). You do the take off almost on Direct Law and after approximately 10 seconds the system reverts to Normal Law. At this point the computer start trimming the aircraft based on pitch and speed. During the whole flight, the system looks for the best C.G. based on altitude, speed and weight. It uses, if applicable, the stabilizer TRIM tank to change or improve the C.G. by moving the fuel from the other fuel tanks to the trim tank and of course, some conditions are there to comply.”
Climb to Cruise
Ok, back to my climb. When you and I want to have the overall instrument panel in front of you, but feel that the PFD is difficult to read, click on the PFD and a popup PFD appears. When you don’t like the default position, then put your mouse pointer on it, hold down the left-hand mouse button and drag it to another location. What you can’t do is making a floating window of it.
During climb, with the AP connected or still flying by hand, I play a bit around with – when my speed is not too high – GEAR extension. Ok, I’m lucky that the MAX SPD with GEAR EXTENDED is 280 knots (see PFD) while I’m flying 250. So no OVERSPEED warning but instead, due to the additional drag, engine thrust corrects automatically. It sounds all so logic, and it is.
What makes me happy is to see how smooth everything goes and that with real weather activated. And by the way, smooth means the interaction between the different systems. I’ve approached my initial altitude of FL120, so time to move on to FL310, but let me first check how the A319 levels off ast FL120, and how smooth this process goes. And yes, I din’t mention it, but when passing FL100, the speed was automatically increased to 300 knots.
Suppose you decide not to use the managed mode (the mode on the FCU with the dot behind the SPD, HDG and ALT window) you can set a speed, set a heading, set an altitude and a vertical speed. Although the A319 is normally flown in managed mode, that doesn’t mean you can forget the managed mode. You can decide do it all by yourself and keeping the A/THR and AP connected and enter different values in ther SPD, HDG or ALT window, not linked to the FMS. It’s fun to see how this all works.
But to keep my flight plan as planned, I decided after a while to go back to the managed mode which gives me also extra time to look around in the cockpit. I found something which is not a big deal since you and I don’t have at home, but the outer armrests of the pilot seats have no height adjustment wheel and there’s also no position indicator. This adjustment is needed to have the arm at the right position for optimal sidestick grip. That it isn’t animated, logically, but that there’s no dummy scale indicator modeled, I had hoped it was.
I mentioned it before, and will do it once more. Remember that I wrote a “split system”. We’re familiar with many add-on aircraft – and whenever applicable of course – that offer a single Auto Flight- or FMS system. That’s with the ToLiss A319 not the case! I wrote about the FD switch, or the split MCDU operation, but even other small things you don’t expect are split like the BARO SET and STD knobs.
When you focus during your climb on the left-hand side of the instrument panel, don’t forget that when the yellow box around the BARO value pops up, that this most likely also happens on the other PFD too. Pressing the BARO knob on the left-hand side for STD won’t do the same on the right-hand side. This is just one example of the simulated split system. Very well done and highly realistic!
Descent and Preparations
Using the flight plan and the Top Of Descent makes our life very easy, but hold on, I still need to enter my runway for landing and a STAR. That said, time to check what’s up.
The weather conditions at LFBO haven’t changed and this means that we will land on one of the available runways 32, but this time it will be the run way often used by Airbus Industries 32L. One of our last waypoints is NARAK, and that’s the one we use for our STAR NARAK 6L. STAR MEN 6L was also an option, but we’re flying-in from a more southern direction, but you’re always able to change and add waypoints on-the-fly in the MCDU. When you look closely to the screenshots below, why do we first fly to NARAK and then back south for runway 32L/R. Runway 14L/R was a bit more logic, isn’t it? I know, it was, but let’s make it a bit more exiting. Let’s go for a sight-seeing tour over Toulouse.
Note: NARAK6L is in the MCDU one digit too long thus keep in mind, not only with this STARs/SIDs, that the NARAK6L is indicated as NARA6L. After you’ve entered runway ILS32L, followed by STAR NARA6L, it will ask you to choose a “VIA”. I select for this LASBO and click LSK 6R.
See for this the screenshot below; worth to highlight is that while passing IAF (Initial Approach Fix) LASBO, we have to be at FL080 and this is also expected at waypoint ADIMO as you can read in the official sheet (not included). If we fly to ADIMO, that depens if we need to be in a holding. If not, we can descent to 3000 feet which is also the approach altitude for ILS 32L (TBN 109.30 | 323). Let’s see how it goes. And remember, also in the tutorial manual, any DISCONTINUITY in your flight plan can be removed by clicking the CLR button on the MCDU keyboard, following the LSK with the DISCONTINUITY.
Adding to this MCDU action, I removed from my flight plan while still above the Pyrenees one waypoint. Just to practice, but above all, to see how the flight plan responds to it. As expected I would say. The new intended DIR line – yellow dotted – is shown on the ND while the flight plan on the MCDU becomes amber. The moment you activate this, the yellow line becomes green and all is back to normal. It all feels as “so simple” and “as expected”, and it does work OK.
With the range selector in 80NM -I’m flying towards KANIG – I see already waypoint BOLSA which means not far from NARAK thus where our STAR starts. As calculated by the FMGS, our TOD lies approximately 32NM after we’ve passed waypoint BRUSC thus heading for DEPES. You’ll notice this yourself when you try to follow this flight, or that of the tutorial, at a certain moment the MCDU will ask you to enter landing data (MCDU APPR page) like the QNH, TEMP, DH, and FLAPS.
Although not yet needed, keep in mind that there’s no need to set or change the SPD and HDG. As long as these are in the managed mode, the FMGS takes care for it, but you do need to set the first descent altitude as indicated on the MCDU. In my case that’s FL200 or you set the approach altitude already. Since it will be in managed mode, the aircraft altitude will be controlled by the FMGS.
That said, on the screenshot below you can see that I entered 20000, but I didn’t activated it yet! And other good news … by leaving the Pyrenees behind me, the clouds are gone and I’ve got clear ground view. And yes, for this test flight I used real time tracking and real weather conditions. Keep in mind that when you click the ALT knob to descent, that the FMA on the PFD show DES and not OP DES!
I’ve seen many add-on aircraft struggling with calculating descents, calculating the correct vertical speeds to be at that altitude for the next waypoint as indicated on the MCDU. With the ToLiss A319 it’s a pleasure to see how things are calculated, re-calcuated if needed and how in managed mode the vertical speed is controlled to reach the correct altitude.
Final Approach and Landing
After NARAK the STAR has started and everything goes according to what I see on the MCDU as well as what the A319 is doing. The real weather conditions are still good, but it’s windy. Those windy conditions effect the aircraft behavior while flying more or less parallel LFBO and descending from FL100 to 6000 feet. I can’t say it enough, it’s great to see how the FMGS is constantly, if needed, recalculating speeds, altitudes nd thus the vertical speeds.
While typing this, I’m desending to 6000 feet, all managed mode, heading for LASBO. I’ve activated the APPR PHASE, so all is set I think and yes, of course, I used the list of everything is done. Hopefuly I haven’t fergotten anything!
I’m so exited to see all of this. Oh yes, in case you didn’t got me. Setting up a descent, and all the calculations that belong to this. Then actually starting the descent means again a lot of calculations and re-calculations. The lower we come, the more work has to be done. Environmental conditions can, but mostly will change, like the actual weather at LFBO.
After passing LASBO the flight plan is full with waypoints, each having it’s own altitude, speed, limitations and so on. All together not easy to calculate. For a real FMGS not a problem, for a simulated FMGS a great job.
Keeping all of this in mind, I’m happy to see how the final approach is completed and how the landing is done. Was it worth this test flight? Oh yes, it was even more worth then just a flight. Because there’s so much to see, there’s so much calculated, it’s sometimes difficult to know where to look for.
Sound and Frame Rates
Always a difficult item to discuss although the implemented sound is gorgeous and as far as I can remember, it sounds indeed as the real CFM engine. Hold on , no dedciated sound file for the IAE V2500? Time to check out. A closer look into the ToLiss aircraft folder tells me that in the sounds folder has a ToLiss_Custom folder of roughly 15MB.
Not so much to say about it … custom means dedicated for the Airbus A319. I see many dedicated files customized for the ToLiss A319 which is good news. Further on, I see several engine files and one file of them is related to the IAE V2500 engine. Perhaps the following YouTube movie offers a good comparison between CFM and IAE engines sound.
Listening to the movie it’s clear to me that the IAE engine has overall a higher tone and yes, in case you bring this up, the movie deals with the Airbus A320 engines, but these sound differences are minimal versus the A319.
Back to the ToLiss_Custom sound folder and then in particular the IAE sound file (IAE_SpoolupRoar_FromRear_FirstCandidate.wav). That’s dedicated for an IAE engine, but that’s only one file. I compared and tried to listen in the simulator, switching between both engine models, but honestly, I didn’t hear a difference.
But what when it comes to frame rates. The actual frame rates depends on so many factors then only the ToLiss A319. We have to deal with the monitor size or the X-Plane dimension window, the rendering settings, your computer hardware and then in particular the CPU and the GPU and so on. On my iMac Pro I reach easily 35 to 50 FPS with extreme high rendering settings, but that doesn’t help anybody, so I need to figure out another way to offer you useful frame rate information.
I compared the ToLIss A319 with other similar aircraft models like the FlightFactor/StepToSky 757, 767, A320 Ultimate, the JARDesign A320Neo, SSG Embraer E-195 Evolution. Similar aircraft means for me not of the same size, but roughly the same complexity.
Comparing the frame rates under the same airport, environmental and flight conditions, I found the ToLiss A319 a relatively frame rate friendly aircraft. Not that you get on the ground, in this case with the freeware airport LFBO from XPFR, 50 FPS, but still with high settings I get 30-35. Once in the air, cloud layers active, it goes up far above the minimum of 25 FPS.
Oh oh, I planned, no, I promised myself to write a quick impression of this brand-new Airbus A319 from ToLiss, but it turned out to be a comprehensive review. That’s not really a problem for me. I do the writing with pleasure, but did I cover everything?
Worth to know the following:
The review is based on model version 1.0 build 864. Further on, the used liveries in this review are from X-Plane.Org painter Christoph_T, who is one of the stock ToLiss painters.
I didn’t test the complete tutorial flight, but picked out parts of it needed for my LFBO-LFBO flight. It could be that I’ve forgotten parts of the ISCS, but that’s very well and in-depth explained in the manual. It’s true, it a complex simulated aircraft model and this means, you can’t just jump in the cockpit, set all system for “ready to go and fly”.
My opinion is; a complex and accurate aircraft like the ToLiss A319 deserves a thorough study with the provided manuals. What mentioned before, print the manuals or pass them to your tablet and read them before or reads and try it in the aircraft. Please don’t use the option “engines running”!
What is my overall ToLiss A319 impression?
An extraordinary modeled Airbus A319 for X-Plane 10 and X-Plane 11 which is good news for those who still use X-Plane 10. The aircraft is equipped/fitted/modeled with the well-known QPAC FBW system although FBW is only a part of the overall Auto Flight or FMGS. This is, as ex-aviation trainer and ground engineer, for me a big plus! How does it fly, how does it feel when you fly it manaully? I’m not an Airbus ATPL licensed pilot so I can’t judge about it, but from real pilots I know that the QPAC FBW system (and all that belongs to it) reaches the ultimate flight experience.
When I fly the ToLiss A319, during the many flights I did, manually, so with no AP connected I can only say that this is fun, even when real weather is implemented. Why fun? The aircraft simulated systems react more or less directly on your input. It doesn’t allow you to give excessive inputs, which is correct since the simulated system/computers don’t allow you to do. Did I try everything, or did I see strange aircraft behavior during climb, cruise, descent or landing? No, it does what I expected and yes, perhaps I’ve missed a couple of things.
Does it mean that the ToLIss A319 is perfect? There’s always something you and I can find or what we would love to see different. Remember my notes about the weashtered loko and feel? That’s a matter of taste, you like it or you don’t like it. When something isn’t correctly modeled or is wrong, then it’s fair to mention it.
One final thing to check out; the ToLiss topics at X-Plane.Org.
As of this writing – March 10th, 2018 – I found not many big issues. Since this review is written and the aircraft has been tested on macOS High Sierra, I can highlight also those Mac issues, reported by others. One of them is the low frame rates. I mentioned this before that on my iMac I can’t confirm that. The frame rates are very nice, and yes, it all depends on your rendering settings, CPU and GPU speed as well as the amount of your GPU memory. On the other hand, I think that we should not forget that a simulated model like the ToLiss A319 (and other comparable models too) need a lot of calculations which can result in lower frame rates then expected.
I found some Haversine air plugin topics, but at the end it turned out that the ToLIss is compatible with this plugin. Some topics deal with an X-Plane crash when loading the ToLiss A319. It’s unclear to me if this is/was due to the X-Plane beta 11.20VR or that this is with X-Plane 11.11. Personally I would forget for the moment a beta X-Plane 11 and secondly, I can’t confirm that X-Plane crashes upon loading the aircraft. In relation to this crash topic, I would suggest creating a second X-Plane copy on your desktop, keep it clean and test an aircraft without any add-on, any lua script(s) or any plugin. When the aircraft crashes or X-Plane crashes with this clean system, then it could be that there’s something wrong.
Oops, completely forgotten … how does the ToLiss A319 looks by night?
Panel integral lighting and external lighting are worth some additonal screenshots, dov you think? Yes, it’s worth it and then in particular the 3D cockxpit lighting. You don’t believe me? Check out the following shots!
For this review, I used the following freeware add-ons and/or lua scripts:
– Freeware | Zones Photo ortho ground textures
– Freeware | XPFR Toulouse/Blagnac (LFBO) for X-Plane 10.25 and up
– Freeware | LFBO-Toulouse-Blagnac-06-08-14 1.0 by Org user “parck”
– Payware | Aerosoft LFBO version 1.02
– Freeware | FlyWithLua package
– Freeware | Enviro+ 1.1 / Cloud package with lua script
I started this review with a sentence “will I compare this A319 with other developers”. The answer was no, and stays no. The Airbus A319 can be compared if I want to with the Flight Factor / StepToSky A320, but what does it bring you and me? Believe me, comparing these products is something like comparing an Apple with a Peer. Why do I say that?
Let me highlight one thing that’s different; the ToLIss A319 uses the QPAC FBW plugin, which is as far as my aviation knowledge goes, unique in its way. The Flight Factor / StepToSky developers wrote the FBW plugin themselves. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible to program such a plugin, but the outcome will be different and so I could continue with other differences. A price difference could be also an issue what to buy. And at the end, even for me as experienced reviewer it’s very difficult to judge what is good, what is bad, what is realistic or what isn’t. Therefore, no comparison!
More information about the ToLiss Airbus A319 and buying details can be found at the dedicated X-Plane.Org web page. As of this writing – March 2018 – the ToLiss A319 cost you 69.00 USD.
Angelique van Campen
[table “” not found /]