The A400M is the next generation of military transport aircraft and is set to re-equip a number of air forces in 2008. It’s the transport for the new millennium and now virtual pilots get their chance to jump the queue and fly this impressive military Airbus before anyone else.
In this review Pete Markovic has an in depth look under the hood of the new A400M and gives you the scoop on one of Just Flight's latest and greatest creations. Included are a number of screenshots, the comprehensive description provided from the publisher and the official press release from Airbus Military.
Packaging: The software is shipped on DVD, I know many people prefer to download software these days, but the upside is you will have a hard copy and no hassles with registration. The DVD also contains many of Just Flights demonstration videos.
How does it fly? Not a lot of point in discussing flight dynamics for an aircraft that has not even been flown, but I can tell you it is a pleasure to fly, it handles typically as you might expect a large heavy aircraft1stengineandpropellortest.jpg28 of this kind. It reacts slowly and feels like the big heavy aircraft that it is.
How does it look? Visually it looks superb and has enough detail and nice smooth animations to satisfy most discerning simmers?
How does it sound? Not having had any real life exposure to this type of engine configuration it's hard to say if the sounds are accurate. Sounds are very subjective so all I can say here is I like the way it sounds! Particually the interactive clicks and clacks when operating different functions sounds great!
What I like: The virtual cockpit is great and for the most part fully clickable. I particularly like the enlarged pop-ups for many of the gauges and panels. Visibility is very good. The handling characteristics and general flight dynamics are great; it is a pleasure to hand-fly and behaves very nicely. As with all aircraft you need to be sure your weight and balance is within the correct parameters for it to fly as intended.
Dislikes and bugs: Not much to dislike really. The 2D panel can be a little difficult to read all the dials and switches but I do concede that this is a large cockpit that contains a lot of hardware making it difficult to display all the instrumentation in one view. There does seem to be an issue concerning the auto pilot where at altitudes under FL250 there is a tendency for the aircraft to porpoise. Not sure what is causing this but I'm sure this will be addressed with a patch in the near future.
Documentation: A 36 page printed pilot's guide in A5 format ships with the DVD. There is no PDF documentation on the DVD or the website. Would have liked to have seen more information pertaining to the Flight Management and Guidance Computer (FMGC) and auto pilot system.
Load Manager: A basic load manager is available for this aircraft with the choice of loading one or two vehicles.
Summary: In conclusion I found that this aircraft really grew on me and I really enjoyed flying it. The only real minor annoyance for me was the 2-D cockpit. I found the switches and dials a little hard to read in the 2D cockpit, but that would not turn me off buying it. If you like modern military aircraft with modern glass cockpits and enjoy flying aircraft like the C-130 Hercules which is what the A400M is designed to replace, then this aircraft is for you. If you are an Airbus fan this will be a forgone conclusion as you will feel right at home with this Aircraft. This aircraft has a lot going for it and I have no hesitation in recommending it.
The Just Flight web site can be found here:
More information and Video download:
Price: £19.99 approx. AUD $50
Flight Simulator 2004
PC with 1.7GHz (equivalent or higher) processor
512Mb RAM, graphics card with 64Mb (or higher) video memory
Hard disk space: 1.2 GB
Intel Pentium 4 3.2 Hz
ATI 9800 256 Video Card
Audigy 2 Sound Card
Monitor: 22" Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 2070sb
Review by Pete Markovic
The A400M Airlifter has been painstakingly researched to ensure that this version for FS2004 simulates the flight characteristics predicted for the real aircraft. From the unique 8-bladed props to the many animations and authentic sounds, the A400M is at the cutting edge of flight simulation development and represents the shape of things to come for strategic cargo aircraft.
12 detailed liveries
Highly detailed replica of the Airbus A400M
Highly detailed 2D instrument panel
Pop-up instrument panels
Interactive 3D Virtual Cockpit, fully clickable
Detailed, printed Pilot’s Guide
Outstandingly detailed 3D Cabin, fully textured with vehicles featured
Frame-rate optimized with different aircraft variants included (with/without interior, cockpit and virtual cabin) to allow for different computer performance.
A400M Airbus Industries camouflage
A400M Belgian Air Force
A400M French Air Force
A400M French Air Force (dark)
A400M German Air Force
A400M Red Cross
A400M Royal Air Force (green)
A400M Royal Air Force (grey)
A400M Spanish Air Force
A400M Turkish Air Force
A400M U.S. Coast Guard
Unique flight characteristics.
Super sound effects.
Numerous animations; Flight surfaces, hydraulic action suspension, flaps, landing gear, cargo and pilots doors.
Simulated Fly-By-Wire Flight Control System: bank angle limiter and automatic stall recovery system
Load manager for cargo and vehicles
Animated 3D pilots in the virtual cockpit.
Unique 8-bladed propellers.
High resolution reflective textures with dynamic shine and realistic night lighting,
Paint kit included to help create your own liveries (suitable additional paint program such as Photoshop required)
Comes with a cockpit HUD and autopilot as well as TCAS and GPWS.
Instrument panel features
Mouse Hotspots on the panel to access multiple 2D panels
High technology Vector gauges for the Primary Flight, Navigation, Engine/Warning and System Displays.
Head up Display (HUD) with basic navigation instruments in 2D cockpit.
Realistic MCDU - New generation Airbus style with large clickable digital screen
SIDs and STARs included in the FMS database
Navigation Display with arc, rose, nav and plan modes
Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) with multiple audio callouts.
Pop-up EFIS screens for multi-monitor displays.
Resizable and detachable gauges for additional monitor use
Traffic and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) system
Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) simulated.
IRS (Inertial Navigation System) shows Latitude and longitude.
Warnings and caution messages
(MFD) Multi Function Display including NAV, Plan, Rose, Radio modes.
Accurate Autopilot control panel simulating the following features: Speed, Heading, Altitude, ILS approach, Auto land and Flight Path Angle modes.
Battery and generator switches fully operative with corresponding actions
APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) startup/shutdown sequences simulated with corresponding EICAS messages
Anti-ice and lights sub-panels with active switches.
NAVDATA database compatible.
28 February 2006
A400M Programme reaches most important milestone yet
|Airbus Military has today achieved its fifth contractual milestone on schedule with the successful demonstration run of the First Engine with Propeller for the A400M military airlifter. |
The demonstration to the customer, which took place at the Snecma engine test facility at Istres in southern France under the technical responsibility of the engine and propeller suppliers, Europrop International (EPI) and Ratier-Figeac respectively, was the most spectacular event yet in the on-going A400M aircraft development programme.
The power plant consists of EPI’s TP400-D6 engine fitted with Ratier-Figeac’s
FH386 propeller. The three-shaft, high-performance gas turbine engine and the 5.3 metre diameter, eight-bladed, composite propeller, give a combined power output of some 11,000 shaft-horsepower. The TP400-D6 / FH386 combination constitutes the most powerful turboprop power plant in the western world and will enable the A400M to attain cruising speeds and altitudes equivalent to today’s jet powered aircraft.
The choice of a turboprop engine design to power the A400M was made on the basis of providing optimum performance and fuel economy across the wide spectrum of operational tasks that the aircraft will be required to carry out. These range from low speed, low altitude aerial delivery to high speed, high altitude refueling of fast jets whilst retaining the capability for autonomous ground maneuvers as well as fast, intercontinental logistic deployment.
The A400M programme was launched in May 2003 with a single order for 180 aircraft for seven European NATO nations. South Africa joined the programme in April 2005 with an order for eight aircraft and Malaysia followed in December 2005 by ordering four aircraft, bringing the total order book to date to 192. The A400M will first fly in early 2008 with deliveries beginning in 2009.
Europrop International GmbH is a consortium of European engine manufacturers comprising ITP, MTU Aero Engines, Rolls-Royce and Snecma, who are jointly developing the TP400-D6 engine for the A400M.
Ratier-Figeac, the French propeller and control equipment manufacturer, is a business unit of Hamilton Sundstrand.