Why do some people mention A2A

Review: A2A Simulations Accu Sim Piper Cherokee PA-28-180 (FSX, P3DV1 / V2)

 

General aviation aircraft and the Accu-Sim extension from the A2A Simulations kitchen - these have been the basic ingredients for a high-class simulation experience, and not just since yesterday.

After some preliminary skirmish on social networks, the release for the latest product, the PA-28-180 from Piper came. Our reviewer Stefan Benzinger sat down and tested the plane including the supplied Accu-Sim package. Not only for FSX, but also for the first time with simFlight in the P3D v1 and v2 platforms. The product was developed natively for them. So feel encouraged to

The basic concept of A2A Simulations

Basically, A2A always starts where Microsoft Game Studios left off in product development. This applies to on-board systems as well as to the simulation of engine and propeller, flight physics and aerodynamics, climatic interactions and much more. For this purpose, A2A uses an in-house development called Accu Sim. While this module was previously available for a fee as an "add-on to the add-on", it has been included in the scope of delivery as standard since the Cessna 172 trainer version.

What is Accu Sim and how does it work?

Accu Sim breaks down practically all processes related to flying into its individual components, which are considered under various environmental variables such as temperature, air pressure, altitude, etc. and their sequence is calculated.

For example, what happens in the engine? You can unravel it: the sucking in of ambient air is followed by the production of a stoichiometric (ignitable) fuel-air mixture, its compression, ignition, expansion and then its ejection. The processes that take place are calculated depending on the environment variables and the result is transferred to the simulator. The results of Accu Sim are then visible, for example, in the available power, exhaust gas temperature, fuel consumption, vibrations in the cockpit, color and type of smoke emitted and a number of other displays.

Accu Sim uses the flight simulator as a cover that displays the results of the Accu Sim calculation.

A few more examples of what the PC pilot receives as results: If the mixture adjustment is incorrectly set, you can clearly hear the engine running unevenly, you can feel a drop in performance and you can also perceive a change in the exhaust gases. In the “Maintenance Hangar”, a compression test shows the condition of the individual cylinders and thus shows the pilot how well he has treated his darling. Depending on the climatic conditions, the windows in the cockpit mist up and the outside view is increasingly impaired. The cockpit temperature changes depending on the amount of sunlight or the surface of the ground (on concrete on a hot summer day, it gets boiling hot in the small cabin). Defogging and temperature can be set accurately with many controls. Turbulence not only grabs the aircraft and shakes it with a titan fist, it also changes the running of the engine and the flight performance. If you open a window, you can hear the draft rushing and hear a changed engine noise.

Accu Sim first tries to use the two available channels of “seeing” and “hearing” to give our brain an even more rounded illusion of “flying’ than the native simulator. This effect is achieved for the user through a combination of aerodynamic, acoustic and optical effects in the course of the program. But this is by no means just about showmanship. That's just the visible part of what Accu Sim does. These visible effects are based on a very in-depth calculation of the most varied of physical processes.

You can't really appreciate the work and know-how that has gone into Accu Sim enough. The really miraculous thing for me remains that the whole thing can also take place on a standard PC. So no two flights are really alike. Especially in combination with a good weather add-on and when using a good sound system, the effect of Accu Sim is very impressive.

... and what else distinguishes A2A?

The selection of aircraft that have been implemented also shows a clear line. Flight simulators have traditionally always represented machines for general or historical (military) aviation. Only in the last few years has there been a trend towards highly complex simulations of well-known airliners.

All models that have been implemented by A2A so far have one thing in common: they are machines that have practically no automation. Thanks to Accu Sim, all existing relationships are credibly calculated and displayed down to the individual piston stroke. The pilot really has to keep an eye on all parameters and react accordingly. Here systems are shown in epic breadth and depth and problems are simulated with Accu Sim that the rind cracks! In which simulated aircraft do the spark plugs soot or the carburetor overheat - always with the corresponding consequences, of course?

Flying a “warbird”, a historical machine from World War II, becomes a technological journey through time. In the footsteps of the emerging mass tourism, the Boeing 377 ‘Stratocruiser’ can be used for transatlantic flights. And the acquisition of a GA machine like the Cessna 172 or the Piper PA-28 even makes the Flusian a proud owner of a small aircraft.

At A2A, simulated flying does not begin in the cockpit; and it does not end when the parking position is reached. Rather, it is a matter of fulfilling a large number of “keeper duties”. There is hardly a car driver among our readers who simply leaves the family carriage in front of the front door and leaves it to an employed technician. It is similar with the aircraft from A2A: you not only can, you should rather devote yourself to a detailed pre-flight inspection.

Of course, only when the machine in the virtual hangar has been appropriately configured, the right oil and any maintenance of the engine taken care of. Suitable tires should also be fitted according to the flight profile!

Many components wear out sooner or later - depending on how the aircraft is handled by its owner. Needless to say, then of course unpredictable events can take their course during the flight. Thanks to Accu Sim, these are then displayed in a downright terrifying gerade real ’manner. And if you think that after half a year of abstinence you can drag your old Cherokee or C172 out of the hangar again without fear of consequences, you are wrong: the planes age even when the computer is off.

When viewed together, the simulation experience actually evolves. Of course, it assumes an interest in the relationships shown. A2A products are therefore not well suited for gamblers in a hurry. Everyone else can really confidently let the developers take them to a new level of flight simulation - ‘up, where we belong’!

 

The Piper PA-28-180 ‘Cherokee’

“Originals stood the test of time” - this slogan from Levi's from the nineties also applies to the Piper PA-28 “Cherokee” family. In different versions, the model has been built over 51,000 times since its first flight in 1960 and can still be found today as the “Archer III” in the product portfolio of the Piper Aircraft Company. Many flight schools use the reliable and low-maintenance aluminum low-wing aircraft, as do aviation clubs, charter companies and, last but not least, many private pilots. There is hardly a pilot sitting in a Lufthansa cockpit who has not also made his way from a pedestrian to a professional pilot into a Piper cockpit. The ab initio training in Goodyear finally began for many years on the PA-28.

Availability, license models, installation, documentation

Since there has been movement in the simulator landscape again since the release of P3D in version 2, things are now a bit confusing. And unfortunately a bit more expensive if you want to use the Piper in both simulators.

Initially, a pure FSX version for € 45.08 and a combination FSX and P3D1 / 2 in the ‘academic’ version for € 61.20 (THIS IS THE CHEAPEST COMBINATION). Anyone who has FSX and operates P3D1 / 2 with a 'professional' license pays € 86.43 for the bundle. Who ONLY operates the P3D1 / 2 pays € 45.08 for the academic ’, 69.83 for the professional’ and a whopping € 174.60 for the commercial ’license, depending on the license. The download is required separately and is 330 MB for the FSX and 358 MB for the P3Dv1 / 2.

(The prices are the currently valid information in the simmarket. Changes in exchange rates may be possible, especially on the American manufacturer website of A2A)

The manual can be downloaded before you buy it, it has 67 MB. On 104 attractively designed pages you can find everything you need to know about the sample itself, the Accu Sim package, performance tables, checklists including emergency procedures and further links. From my point of view, the authors are making things a little too easy for themselves here. To refer to such important groups of instruments as the autopilot or the radio system, including various ‘specialties’, a general link to the original manuals with many dozen pages, I find it a bit uncomfortable. At least a few introductory words would have been appropriate here.

Overall, however, the manual is very readable and highly informative: Big compliments and a big plus point for it!

Apparent - exterior model, VC, cabin, animations and effects

As shown above, the exterior model invites you to an extensive inspection. The seven paintworks supplied show examples from different parts of the world. Due to the widespread use of the Piper, there should soon be an almost unmanageable flood of paint jobs thanks to many repainers.

The VC and the cabin are very well done. The instruments have a three-dimensional effect, are animated as soft as butter and easy to read. Especially in the P3D with its better graphics thanks to DX11, the quality of the VC comes into its own. See for yourself!

 

Animations and effects create a coherent picture: everything that is necessary is shown. This is especially true with regard to the Accu Sim concept. Classic ‘eye-candy’, i.e. useless frills that only affect performance, are in vain. Nevertheless, I personally would have liked the view under the open cowling.

Under the hood - technology and systems

Here, too, there is a complete implementation, which is also due to Accu Sim. I have already explained the details above, so I will be brief here. In the case of a single-engine piston engine without a turbocharger or pressurized cabin, the number of systems is of course still limited, so that after a quick look at the manual and with a little common sense, it can be operated. However, one should not underestimate the number of possible pitfalls and errors!

The navigation can be operated according to taste: there is the option of pure radio navigation with VOR1 / 2, ILS and NDB. A map that can be called up also helps a lot with française ’. If you want, you can click an additional Garmin 295 handheld GPS or a larger Garmin 400 that is built into the panel. The range of functions unfortunately only corresponds to the FS-Default-GPS.

The integration of the Reality XP GNS 430/530 devices is recommended. A2A has already created the options in the VC for this. This additional investment in payware is worth considering, because then the Piper will receive modern navigation equipment including the possibility of WAAS approaches. Unfortunately, the RXP database cannot be updated either - A2A cannot do anything about that.

 

The autopilot, on the other hand, requires a certain rethink, because it is not the usual Bendix / King colleague from the standard aircraft, but an S-TEC 30. The Piper has also built in some "specialties" in the navigation instruments that are initially confusing. This is because they deviate considerably from the typical FS basic equipment. A thorough study of the original manuals is then unavoidable at the latest if you want to fly the machine according to the IFR standard.

Craftsmanship - configuration, usability and flight characteristics

The machine can be completely configured directly from the session via pop-up windows. Optical changes are immediately visible. There is a loading manager and you can visit the machine in the hangar and wait; the latter, of course, only if you are already on the ground.

The high quality of the visual model makes the VC easy to use. You can also do all the settings via a pop-up menu with a click.

The flight characteristics are generally good-natured. The machine lies quietly in the air and can be moved safely using all standard methods. With Accu Sim, the senses are addressed much more than in many GA aircraft. In this way, the mixture can really be thinned by ear. The response to control inputs varies with airspeed. Different loads are just as noticeably reflected in the flight characteristics as the weather.

 

Operation in different platforms

In my experience so far, there are no noticeable differences in the various platforms on the product side. The RXP-GNS 430/530 system is currently not (yet?) Available as payware for P3D, so this retrofitting option is currently reserved for FSX users.

There are clear differences in the graphics. Here P3D v2 scores clearly. The play of light and shadow in the cockpit when flying through a curve is really worth seeing. The 3D model from A2A really comes into its own here. See for yourself - the following recordings are from the P3D v2.2:

Otherwise there is no noticeable difference. Those who fly with the FSX will be just as happy as those who want to use the currently best GA aircraft for P3D.

Summary

When self-confessed GA grouches suddenly start scrubbing spaces with enthusiasm until the doctor comes, the designer has probably done everything right. Here it is exactly like this: the plane is a lot of fun! And precisely not because it might be simple and straightforward appears. But because an absolutely round, sophisticated overall package is offered here, which credibly depicts the operation of a machine in general aviation and thus guarantees flying fun for a long time.

We at simFlight.de quickly agreed: this product is outstanding! That is why we are giving the A2A Simulations developer studio the Editor’s Choice Award for the Piper PA-28-180 ok Cherokee ’with Accu Sim!

At a glance

Strengthenweaknesses
  • outstanding flight model
  • complex Accu Sim technology
  • Configuration option in the session
  • extensive documentation
  • very good support
  • almost error-free release
  • good performance in all simulators
  • small gaps in the manual - only link list for navigation and autopilot
informationTest system
  • Intel Core i5, 3.4 Ghz
  • nVidia GTX 470, 1 Gb
  • Windows 7 × 64, 8 Gb main memory
  • 32 ″ monitor

Stefan Benzinger