Tuesday, May 24, 2011

iFLY 737ng FSX : a first impression

FSX. The run is over. iFly will have been finished his FSX version a few weeks ahead of PMDG. Here are some impressions on this aircraft.

The good thing is that the FS9 version paved the way for the FSX project. The first impressions about  this aircraft are simple : everything looks good.


External views :

Very few things to say on the external model besides the windshield curious I.R/U.V. reflective lights effect.
The landing lights are very effective and you can almost see them at daylight.



Inside cockpit and panels

Both 2D and 3D panels can be used alternatively without problem. The 2D panel is working perfectly and has very effective lighting effects at dawn/dusk/night.
The virtual cockpit will take  a little more time to adapt. I found that the heading/bank button (on the MCP) was tricky with the mouse. You will need time to get accustomed to the proper click zones.
85-90 % of the buttons, options are clickable.
The lighting at dawn/dusk/ can be still improved. I got there something very similar to the first Airbus Wilco. At some angles and some times (around 17h30-18h30 for instance), there is no special light on the panel and you don't see it very clearly. It's a question of comfort, and i am shure that iFLY team will release soon a small update/hotfix for this.

If you zoom on the text, it's getting more and more pixellized
but its to preserve the framerate. On normal zoom, the panel has a comfortable definition.


75 % of buttons are functional on the pedestal. The ILS frequency is automatically found.
The TCAS system works perfectly and is adjustable.


FMC

All pages are functionnal, including N1 Limit, Prog, CLB, CRZ, DSC, FIX (there is even an advanced fix page). Of course, the pilot can set a de-rated take-off and enter SEL/OAT temperatures.
There are also interesting options to simulate failures, set pushback parameters, adjust panel style etc..

Curved and realistic paths on the navigational display.

Installation:

I made the installation through iFLY website at the begining and i did not encounter any special bug.
Now its even simpler via Flight1 installer.
The file : 675 mb.
During aircrafts installation in FS, several .gau files must be executed (one for the overhead, one for the HUD etc..)
Manual : 6 files with operations and procedures, a quick reference book with 73 pages and a tutorial manual (not a tutorial flight) with more than 100 pages.

Remarks :

* The HUD has only been installed on the Boeing business jet BBJ. In reality, the HUD is only on option. In comparison with PMDG's NGX HUD, this one is less sophisticated, has no special 3D effect but i did not detect any loss of fps when  using it. But mind that while you set the HUD, a few buttons are behind and cannot be clicked.

* A dozen liveries are available until now but more will probably be added.
South African, Kulula, British Airways, United, Thomson, Ryanair, Delta, Continental, Airport, Southweast Illinois (in the cover here), Air Europa, Air Berlin, SAS and Alaska.
* 2 or 3 "serious" bugs reported in iFLY support forum ;
 On a few computers, the VC framerate drops when the mouse is active. There is also a problem
of yoke sensitivity on some configurations. Explanations have been published. A lot of bugs reports come from inappropriate settings in the FMC, trim position, overhead etc... It's a sensitive machine !
* There is an extensive configuration module to set load and fuel. But the most interesting feature here is a special function to manage your fleet and set the livery, panel type and livery. And there is another menu (PMDG-like) in FS, to set options, CDU format, panelstate etc.
Conclusion :
No doubt, the iFLY FSX is a hardcore aircraft and the FMC is very much detailed. All the functions are working properly (the Fix button itself includes 6 pages !).
There are no major issues. External views, sounds, panels everything has been carefully designed. It just needs one thing... time !
This is just a short test written one week after a first flight on this aircraft. There is no more ambition here.
Copyriths Airdailyx may 2011/

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