Laminar Research has released a cinematic trailer featuring one of their new flyable aircraft, the Airbus A330, as a kind of teaser for X-Plane 12’s launch. Let’s have a look at the trailer and what we can learn about the aircraft in advance of the launch.
Is it a “default” aircraft or something more?
After watching this trailer a couple of times, it has me wondering exactly what Laminar Research is showcasing here. Yes there are some nice visuals courtesy of the new lighting engine, the new shaders, and new weather and rain effects. They look great, however, it seems to me like each moment in this trailer seems carefully calibrated to tell us something important. On the interior, we see high quality textures and lighting effects which are far in advance of what we’ve seen on X-Plane 11 default aircraft and look to match payware quality modules (and MSFS while we’re at it).
There’s a few shots of the outside world which seem carefully calibrated not to focus too much on the scenery as X-Plane 12’s scenery engine has yet to be shown off.
There’s a nice scene showing off some of the interior angles including the seats. This is seemingly aimed at differentiating between this A330 and other sims that have previously offered just a cockpit without the extra interior work. Several liveries are on show too including Air Asia, Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, and Lufthansa. Then we have a sequence that is explicitly labeled as an engine start, then later, showing an engine fire.
Default, prepacked aircraft, have a bit of a reputation for not being all that impressive but this A330 may be looking to shake that impression up a bit.
All of these line-up like checkmarks and seem to suggest an aircraft that, as defaults go, is surprisingly well realized already. I do see some eagle eyed viewers noting that it is still using a default X-Plane FMS rather than an Airbus specific one so that may be an area where future updates might focus in on.
We might even see a Zibo/FlyByWire type start-up tackle this A330 releasing freeware mods that enhance the experience and it may also provide enough of a baseline for other airbus models to flow more freely later on down the line (I wouldn’t mind flying that very slick looking A350 XWB).
I can tell you that I was not expecting Laminar Research to release a trailer for just one airplane in advance of X-Plane 12’s release but it does have me thinking that this will be a flagship airplane that showcases a lot of what X-Plane 12 is capable of doing. And, given the intense interest from many in the sim community over medium and high fidelity airliners, this seems like a smart move.
Enjoy the trailer!