In the history of Infinite Flight, no other feature request has come close to the A350. In a community that craves big airliners above everything else, the A350 was seen as the missing piece of the puzzle; until now. Amassing thousands of votes and topic replies on the Infinite Flight Community Forum, developers could wait no longer. This is the beginning of A350 development.
So, what's the holdup? Unlike most simulators, Infinite Flight develops all aircraft in-house. We don't have an army of third-party developers contributing aircraft to the cause around the clock. For this reason, we use the resources we have (including aircraft specs) to develop aircraft that meet the quality standards of the app at that time. In addition, we must ensure that new features—like working instruments—aren't detrimental to device performance. In the case of the A350, we needed data, time, resources. But that's not all.
Any successful company is always looking to the future. While our current customer base seems to mostly thrive on the constant improvement of our heavy fleet, we don't want to be oblivious to the fact that there is still a massive untapped market of aviators who aren't interested in airliners. To illustrate, I'll use an experience of mine from just recently. I travelled to Toronto to hang out with YouTube content creator, Steve Thorne from FlightChops. As I stood in Steve's kitchen and gave him a quick tutorial of Infinite Flight and how it can work in conjunction with ForeFlight, something became very clear to me. Steve, a real-world pilot, had no interest in learning how to land an airliner. His main focus was how to effectively set up tomorrow's flight from Burlington to Kitchener so he could practice his approach.
As Steve and I continued to talk, I made notes:
- Would be good to have offline mode with no scenery (on an airliner, etc) for flying IFR procedures (database for GPS locations, waypoints, fixes, airports). Similar to packing your flight bag in FF (downloads all the necessary things for flight before you fly or leave wifi)
- Need NDBs added back (important - apparently at one point we removed them)
- And so on...
Steve was focused on maximizing use of this mobile simulator that he could take wherever he wanted so he could save time in his workflow. To me, it affirmed the trajectory we've been on. While appealing to our current user base, we must also continue to make strides toward expanding our reach into the aviation community.
Where are we on the A350 build? Well, we've just gotten started, but when our developers start on an aircraft, it's full speed ahead until completion. Recent aircraft standards suggest a complete interior with working cockpit. On a heavy of course, this presents some challenges. First, it will take us a long time. That's a lot of textures and 3D modelling to complete. Additionally, the more polygons in and aircraft design, the more we have to render. Due to the fact that we have multiplayer mode and there will very likely be a lot of these aircraft in the Infinite Flight skies at some point, our developers need to make sure we're building the airplane in a way that doesn't have a negative impact on device performance. Behind the scenes, developers are testing new graphics rendering pipelines, techniques, and technology to make this happen.
Our new developer timeline will keep you updated on all things A350, in a way we have never done before with development. We're taking a risk. This aircraft may take 12 months to build, and it may not. Either way, you'll be along for the ride, and we're excited to have you.