AVSIM Commercial Aircraft Review

GREATEST AIRLINERS
727 WHISPER JET

Product Information
Publisher: Dreamfleet
Description:  Aircraft Add-on
Download Size:
195 MB
Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
MSFS 2004
Reviewed by: Gene Davis AVSIM Staff Reviewer

Introduction

The Boeing 727 took to the skies in 1963 and was used as a mainstay in commercial aviation for many years and is in some cases still being used today. So, it is only fitting that we would have a 727 add-on worthy enough in our MSFS hanger. Now we have had a great deal of 727’s come and go for MSFS, both being payware and freeware, so you are probably asking “What do I need yet another 727 in my hanger for?” Well, one word “DREAMFLEET” that pretty much answers that question.

Installation and Documentation

The purchase and installation of this aircraft is done through the Flight 1 wrapper system, so installation is quick and simple. Once the product is installed you will find all of the manuals and the aircraft configuration manager available in your start menu under Flight 1.

The manuals have been rewritten since the original release of version 1 to include the changes and new aircraft included in the latest version. Along with a comprehensive manual, you will also find all of the necessary checklists, performance charts and flap schedules via the kneeboard within MSFS 2004.

The 727 Whisper Jet

Once you have installed this package you will find that there are now 5 different versions of the 727:
1. 727-100 Passenger and Freighter
2. 727-100 Super 27 with winglets in passenger configuration
3. 727-200 Passenger and Freighter
4. 727-200 Passenger and freighter with winglets
5. 727-200 Super 27 in both configurations and with winglets

Each model comes with a good array of liveries to choose from and my personal favorite is the Alaska Airlines model of the 727-100, a beautifully painted aircraft! You will also find liveries like UPS, Fed EX and Flying Tigers in the freighter variation of the 727’s. Adding custom liveries is also easily done through the traditional TEXT O MATIC program that comes with the 727 package from Flight 1. Though I found that I really didn’t have to look for a particular livery as the 727 package comes with a good assortment of liveries to choose from. In count there are over 30 liveries included in this new version and compensate well for the new models of the 727.

 

The visual models are stunning and have a very realistic look to them. In fact, at times you almost you forget you are looking at a simulation, they really are that good! Each model includes all of the traditional moving parts and then some. Pay special close attention to the detail of the landing gear and their housings, as well as the movement of the slats and wing elements, they're very impressive! The exterior lighting, as well was the cockpit lighting, is simply beautiful and offers a very realistic look to the overall aircraft and its work areas.

Both the passenger and freighter versions of the aircraft have graphically detailed interiors that can be seen from the external view when you open the compartment or exit doors. I was really glad that DREAMFLEET chose to leave out a detailed virtual cabin and centered mainly on the cockpit itself. This gives rise to better performance as far as the drawing of the virtual cockpit goes and makes for a much more fluid transition between views, and all but eliminates any kind of stuttering when drawing the detailed interior.

 

The DREAMFLEET 727 flies marvelously and I found little to complain about with the flight model, as the aircraft represents a very solid add-on. This is something we have come to expect from the folks at DREAMFLEET. I found that I really enjoyed running some tests with landing this aircraft at smaller airfields by creating inflight emergencies. One of the airfields I landed at was Castlegar BC, and I did manage to get the plane stopped with thrust reversers, full flaps, spoilers and brakes before I made it to far end of the runway. Though I think I probably burned out the brakes and blew out a couple tires!

The Flight Deck

Climbing into the cockpit of the 727 is like a journey through time. There is no auto throttle, no FMC, no LNAV and VNAV as most 727’s were never equipped with such equipment. This is one you will have to fly old school, using those high altitude charts and knowing your way around the many instruments and traditional navigation systems. This is the part of the add-on that really scared me as I have become accustomed to using FMC’s for my commercial aviation flights within MSFS and found myself a little on the rusty side when it came to controlling the plane all on my own. Though the designers did include the default GPS for those who want to take an easier route on their flights, I can understand this, as some don’t have readily available flight charts to use for their virtual flights.

 

Flying the 727 is a lot of fun, as you really have to learn how to micromanage three different stations with only one human pilot at the helm. I would almost like to see an FS2CREW add-on for this one. Every conceivable system is modeled and accessible through the cockpit. I have not found a switch or button that doesn’t have a function. From what I understand, there was a bug with version 1 that had to do with the electrical system and has since been fixed in version 2.

The add-on comes with a 2d cockpit and a virtual cockpit to operate from, though the virtual cockpit is totally functional, I found that I enjoyed flying from the 2d panels instead simply because it was easier to move around and get to the systems that I needed to get to. On the flip side though, if you have Active Camera, you can simply move around the cockpit via the movement keys but I still found the latter easier.

 

The user will also have the ability to change what type of cockpit he or she wants. You can choose from the traditional analogue environment or go with a more modern semi-glass EFIS setup. I prefer the analog cockpit simply because I really like its look, but the EFIS cockpit is nicely done.

With the 2d panel you will have access to both the pilot and copilot’s panels, and you will also have access to the engineer’s panel. On a special note, I found the engineer’s panel to be the most functional out of all of the other 727’s available to date, it isn’t just eye candy on this one.

 

Viewing the cockpit can be done in a couple different ways, using the aircraft manager you can turn the virtual cockpit off and choose to turn on the 2d views. These views include all viewable areas from within the cockpit, as well as adding passenger views out over the wing. If you do choose to use the VC, I like that the designers chose to leave in the passenger views when you turn off the 2d cockpit views.

It is really funny how one becomes accustomed to having the computer do things like manage the throttles or fly an entire route for you while you simply sit back and watch. Though this is where real world commercial aviation has gone, I just don’t find it much fun in MSFS. I like being kept busy and DREAMFLEET has delivered that experience here. A totally workable environment that manages to encompass all elements of flight has been achieved with this version of the 727!

The avionics that come with this aircraft are pretty nice as each gauge and system has been modeled after its real world counterpart. In fact, you will find the actual autopilot that is used in the real world 727’s, and it functions flawlessly. Although a little simpler then that of the more modern aircraft, it still uses much of the same principals and is at times almost easier to use. As I said earlier, there is no auto-throttle. When 727’s entered the market in 1963, pilots still managed the throttles themselves. So it is only fitting that the DREAMFLEET 727 remains true to its real world counterpart!

Included with your avionics package, you will find a fully functional Weather Radar, and if memory serves the 727 from DREAMFLEET was the first add-on to incorporate such an instrument into its release with version 1. This is the same weather display that is available from Reality XP for $24.95. The only difference here, is that it is native to only the 727 and cannot be ported into another aircraft.

Another nice feature is the fully functional TCAS, I usually donít get too excited about this particular system as I have hardly ever seen it at work in MSFS. While I donít fly online, I rely solely on a third party traffic program for my AI traffic. I got to see it in action totally by accident while I was on a flight from KEUG in Oregon to Calgary Alberta. I was at a cruising altitude of about 32,500 feet when all of sudden my TCAS went crazy. The gauge came to life and a voice ordered me to ascend. As I did this, I watched another plane on the TCAS pass below me. The other plane had been off to the left of me at the exact same altitude I was and was heading directly at me. Had it not been for the TCAS, I would have hit the other plane as I was flying under my own navigation and wasnít being directed by ATC.

The Sound

The 727 was a quieter aircraft and was seen as a welcome change over the Boeing 707, as it had a reputation for being very loud. The sounds that come with the 727 are very good and make other titles of this aircraft type cower and hide as a true reality has been accomplished with this add-on. Thus giving the armchair pilot a fluid and very active sound environment with the Boeing 727.

 

Every notable cockpit sound has been recreated, right down to the trim wheel and flap levers. Even the brakes hum when they are applied. This is something that is a really nice touch and I would like to see it in other add-ons. The audible warning system has also been nicely done and seems to work well. The GPWS functions nicely and doesn’t over compensate like some other add-ons do, and there is a switch to turn it off too. Your copilot also has a voice in your cockpit and he or she will read off V1, V2 etc, as well as giving pertinent information on your flap settings and when the gear has been raised or lowered. Surprisingly, the engineer has no voice at all, but I guess there is little need for a back seat driver.

The Aircraft Configuration Manager

Test System

P4 3.0 HT 800 FSB 1 GB Ram ATI 9800 RADION PRO 256 CH Yoke & Pedals TRACK IR 3 W/ Vector Expansion

Flying Time:
30 hours

This little program is the holy grail of the 727 package. From here you can change the different types of cockpits, adjust and change cargo and passenger loads as well adjust the reliability of each aircraft you fly. One of the options in this program is the ability to create inflight problems, engine fires, brake failures as well as changing the stability in a wind sheer situation. This will bring a certain challenge to flying this plane. Learn this program well, as you will need it when flying this aircraft.

Performance

The performance issues that usually accompany an aircraft of this detail, seem to be non existent. But I did notice a slight difference in frame rates between that of using the EFIS cockpit versus the analog one, slower frames accompanying the EFIS version. I was really impressed with the way the virtual cockpit handles itself. It seems to draw nice and fast so you don’t really notice any impact of frames when switching between the views. I really like the developers choosing to optimize the virtual cockpit for performance rather then intensive detail.

In Closing, Time For Another Flight In My 727

DREAMFLEET has a reputation that speaks for itself and frankly needs no real introduction. Their quality and commitment to realistic flight sim add-ons has not wavered since their very first aircraft release, and they have only gotten better over time. I guess the analogy here is that DREAMFLEET is like a bottle of wine, they only get better over time.

As computer technology gets better so do the quality of add-ons, and though the 727 was released some time ago, the new version 2 release has put the DREAMFLEET 727 back at the top and made this a top contender with other aircraft add-on’s for MSFS. Priced at $34.95, which is pretty reasonable when you consider what the cost of other aircraft add-ons out in the market right now, you have to ask “is the 727 for me?” Yes, a whole hearted yes!

I strongly recommend this plane to anyone that enjoys flying the heavies. This is definitely a must have. Even if you own other 727’s, this title will quickly gain your respect and you will be flying this 727 and no other, just like me!

 

What I Like About Dreamfleet 727 Whisper Jet
  • Excellent flight model
  • Superb virtual cockpit
  • Fantastic 2d Panel environments
  • Excellent sound!
  • Good documentation
  • Add-on is true to its real world counterpart!
  • Number of included liveries

 
What I Don't Like About Dreamfleet 727 Whisper Jet
  • I really don’t know of anything I don’t like about it!

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The review above is a subjective assessment of the product by the author. There is no connection between the producer and the reviewer, and we feel this review is unbiased and truly reflects the performance of the product in the simming environment. This disclaimer is posted here in order provide you with background information on the reviewer and connections that may exist between him/her and the contributing party.

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