AVSIM Commercial FSX/FS9 Aircraft Review

767-200ER/300ER

Product Information

Publishers:  Commercial Level Simulations

Description: Twin engine wide body aircraft add-on.

Download Size:
362 MB

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FSX / FS9
Reviewed by: Eduardo Ocampo AVSIM Staff Reviewer - April 20, 2010

Introduction

767, you say? Hmm, that rings a bell…

Here, let me help you out. After the A300 (the first commercially successful wide body twin), it’s the most important aircraft of its type and paved the way to a whole new market niche: Long range twin engine jets. The Boeing 777, the Airbus A330, the A350 (if it is to fly someday), the 787; all of those aircraft are successors in one way or another of the A300 and the B767. They wouldn’t even exist (or at least not in the same timeline they do).

Together with the A300, the B767 helped to convince the aviation authorities to create a new set of rules, based upon the increasing reliability of the jet engine. Those rules, called ETOPS or Extended range Twin engine Operational Performance Standards, would allow the twins to fly unbelievable amounts of time away from a suitable alternate airport, up to 3 hours currently.

Originally intended to replace the B707, Boeing initially designed the 767 as a tri-jet, but that concept was abandoned quickly due to the air travel market of those days that required mid-sized airplanes with a high number of seats. In 1978 the new program was launched as the Boeing 767 (which up to those days was known as Boeing 7X7) and United Airlines and Delta Air Lines became the first companies to place orders for the new ship. Boeing decided to make a sibling for the 767, the Boeing 757. They both share flight decks, so one pilot rated for the 757 can take a very small course and be able to fly both the 757 and 767 without additional training.

The 767 first flew in 1981, was certified in mid-1982 and entered commercial service in late-1982. The 767 was also the very first aircraft certified for CATIIIB auto-lands, and as of July 2009, there were 869 Boeing 767’s all over the globe. Over 1000 orders have been put for the aircraft and the deliveries number has passed the 900 mark.

Today, the 767 continues to play a big role in the air transport industry as passenger and cargo airplane crossing the pond back and forth or flying large trips over land, and as a military tanker aircraft or an AWACS (Airborne Early Warning and Control) platform.

Installation and Documentation

Test System

System 1:
AMD Athlon 7750 Dual-core processor @ 2.71 GHz
4GB RAM
Nvidia GeForce 9500GT
Genius joystick Maxfighter F-23
Windows 7 Professional

System 2:
AMD Sempron 3000+ @ 1.80 GHz
2GB RAM
Nvidia GeForce FX5200
Genius joystick Maxfighter F-23
Windows XP SP3

Flying Time:
16 hours

Although installation requires several steps, it’s still a piece of cake. After registering on the CLS website you are able to download the zip package that contains the CLS Download Manager. Once unzipped, open the Download Manager, insert your license and the actual download of the installation file will start. It may take a while depending on your connection speed since it is a 300-ish Mb file. Once you open the installation file, after a couple of clicks, you are presented with the liveries available for immediate download and installation for both the 762 and the 763. That’s it!

It seems that the CLS 767 had some issues on several computers (including my own). Users claimed on the CLS forums that when selecting the 767, FS would Crash To Desktop (CTD). The reason given was that the textures used for the aircraft could be very heavy on some computers causing them to freeze or crash. CLS released a fix that replaces said textures. It is available on their site and it has worked for almost everyone (including me), and in the cases when that fix didn’t work, CLS always suggested more options. So if you encounter problems, register on their forums, search for a related topic or create one if you don’t find it. Congratulations to Albert Bouwman for the prompt customer support on their forums.

The documentation available in this software consists of a “Welcome” PDF file and the User’s Manual. While the User’s Manual contains the information needed to fly this aircraft and even a bit more than that, like a very wealthy FAQ section, it seems to me there was some unnecessary information. While it doesn’t hurt for example, to know your aircraft’s width and wingspan, the amount of info about turn radiuses and pilot’s visual ranges from the cockpit is fairly useless in my opinion, since you don’t have an accurate perception of distance in FS; and let’s face it, you can always switch to “spot view”. Moreover, the nose wheel steering in FS cannot be used to taxi an aircraft with the same sensitivity and precision you would do in real life.

There’s also some data in the manual that leaves one’s mind with a question mark. Somewhere it states that when the “APU in the taxiing aircraft or parked aircraft is on” you should have certain clearance between the exhaust port of said aircraft and the adjacent aircraft’s wingtip. While you’re taxiing your own aircraft, you have more important things to take care of than try to guess if an aircraft has its APU on. How are you supposed to do that on FS anyways?

In the taxi section, the manual says “check with airlines regarding operating procedures that they use and the aircraft types that are expected to serve the airport”. Unless you have pilot friend for an airline that can tell you some stuff about how certain aircraft are flown in their company, gaining access to that type of information is very difficult; unlikely I’d say. However, this kind of data seems to be a minority in this manual and, in average, it contains useful tips and techniques not only applicable to the 767, but practically for any aircraft.

Something that did lead me off was that there was supposed to be a flight tutorial from Atlanta to Boston in the User’s Manual. According to CLS, the person who was writing the tutorial had not finished it yet due to other commitments and they hope to have it finished by late January. The tutorial was released February 12.

Exteriors

This is the item where the 767 made by CLS stands out. The shape of the airframe has been reproduced with fidelity. The list of available repaints on the installer is very interesting, although throwing in some more for the -200 version would be a good idea as there are only 7 for it and 18 for the -300. Nevertheless, the quality of the textures that CLS has created is remarkable and they definitely scores points for the team; they are clear, crisp and have great definition in their lines. “Attention to detail” are the keywords to define these texture sets: The landing gear, the engine pods and the nose section are beautifully modeled and give the whole aircraft a very realistic look.

In real life, the 767 can be equipped with three different types of engine, and each of them have their own look. CLS included this in their aircraft and modeled the various engine makes available on the 767: Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce and General Electric. They cough some smoke while starting too.

The 767 also has some nifty animations on it, like dynamic wingflex, an airstair truck and a pushback truck. They are both activated through the sim-icons panel. It also has all of the “standard” animations like moving flight control surfaces, flaps, spoilers and landing gear. The flaps and landing gear animations look a bit laggy though. This 767 counts with a wing view activated also from the sim-icons.

Different eye-candy on the CLS 767.

Panel and Virtual Cockpit

The panel is nicely done, showing some very nice graphics. It is perfectly readable and the bitmaps are very crisp. CLS clearly states this is a “lite” product, so it doesn’t have full systems implementation. However, I’ve found that technically, no system simulation is implemented. Pushing buttons all over the overhead panel doesn’t show any changes in the aircraft, not even a Master Caution sign. The annunciator panel shows some 5 messages all the time and you can’t do anything about it. Apparently, this was fixed in SP2; now the panel only has one permanent message.

While attempting to start the engines from a cold and dark cockpit following the checklist (that is not a real representation of how to start any jet engine), I found myself starting an engine, but with the starter still engaged despite having the fuel levers and the applicable fuel pumps on; the engine did not start. While searching for a solution to the problem, I decided to turn on the center tank (which had no fuel) pumps. Voilà. The engine started by switching on a fuel pump that was delivering no fuel.

Once I took off, I decided to see how many inoperative components were enough to have this aircraft flying by religious means. Much to my surprise, I ended up shutting down every single switch, except the battery switch and the previously mentioned center tank pumps, and yet, there was the airplane flying like nothing was wrong with it. Not a single caution or warning sign.

While in cruise, I thought: “Well, let’s shut this whole thing down then” All-engines-out approach. I flew in a bit high on purpose, shut down the engines and off we go; the only cautions I had was L ENG SHUTDOWN, R ENG SHUTDOWN and PROBE HEAT. I lowered the gear with the main system (which is hydraulic, so it’s dependent of the engines) and it came down and locked normally. No Ram Air Turbine simulated either. The only thing that seemed to fail with the engines off was the flaps, which only came down to around 5º. Surprisingly, the handling was very smooth and the airplane was able to fly leveled at speeds lower than 150 knots with no flaps.

The 767 panel with the engines out and virtually every switch turned off. Note the lack of “Master Caution” and “Master warning” activation.

The aircraft is FMS equipped; it has the “CLS” type FMS: Route planning via FS default flight planner, takeoff and landing speeds instant calculation, basic Init Ref, Ident and Progress pages. This seems to be the same FMS fitted on their DC-10.

Bottom line, the panel looks great but is poorly rated in the functionality department. It pretty much has the same systems simulation as a default aircraft. Lots of buttons, switches and knobs to click on, but if they’re not the aircraft lights, the center tank pumps or the starters, nothing will happen.

The virtual cockpit overall, looks very good but I found the gauges a bit hard to read, particularly the EICAS (Engine Indications and Crew Alert System), if you zoom out so you can get a realistic view of the panel, as if one was sitting in the pilot seat. The VC is easy on PC resources and is also fully clickable.

The CLS 767 virtual cockpit.

Multiple engine sounds

Fortunately for the 767 fans, this add-on has a great sound set. As well as the engine pods, the sound set is different for every type of engine the 767 can be equipped with. PW, GE and RR sound sets are included and each one of them is a faithful representation of their real counterparts. Spooling up the engines allows hearing smooth and realistic transitions from idle through 50-60% to full thrust, with no skipping or weird noises in between. Kudos to CLS for creating this “ear-candy” for us.

Different types of engines modeled, each with its own sound set.

Flying the 767

The 767 developers have decided to make three FDE’s: a “realistic” FDE, the “EZ” FDE and the “Accurate No trim” FDE. All of them come in the original installer. The “realistic” .air is installed by default; the EZ and the Accurate No Trim files are in the folder where the CLS 767 user manual is. According to CLS, these sets of files were made because of the developers’ wish to make the aircraft behavior more realistic and give a special feeling to the virtual pilot, yet maintaining another option for “soft-core” fans.

The realistic .air was created based on the experience the developer had flying some Level-D simulators (the real ones), and he wanted to represent that in FS. CLS claims the realistic FDE may be a bit hard on beginners. However, for the medium and seasoned simmers, it shouldn’t be as difficult as one may think when reading the FAQ section of the manual.

The “EZ” file, on the other hand, is the default B777 from FS; CLS states they give no support for this FDE. Flying with the EZ air file shows slight differences with the realistic FDE: aircraft ailerons are a bit more responsive and the most obvious change is that meticulous trim settings are not required to fly the aircraft. The engines, as on the real 767, are overpowered, so if you have a light load or you are flying to and from airports a low elevations be vigilant for high rates of climb and rapidly increasing airspeed.

The tutorial

The flight selected by CLS for the tutorial was from New York – La Guardia to Atlanta Hartsfield on the -300 version. Too bad the tutorial flight was released after the product itself; we had to wait a couple of months for it if I recall correctly…Let’s take a look at it.

Although a tutorial flight is always welcome in a payware aircraft, nowadays more often used in airliners than general aviation aircraft, this introduction flight seems to be a bit extensive for the level of depth in aircraft systems this add-on has; moreover, I also found a couple of things that differ from what I was taught in school.

Taking a glance into the “Fuel and Payload” section of the flight tutorial reveals a massive mistake on the conversion of some values from kilograms to pounds. Second: The instruction the PDF gives to the “student-pilot”, so to speak, is to set V2+10 knots on the speed window in the MCP (Mode Control Panel, the autopilot). Correct (real-world) setting is to select V2 in the speed window; the flight director will recognise this as the V2 and will give you a pitch indication to maintain V2+10 with takeoff thrust. This is not simulated in the CLS 767; the FS default flight director is implemented.

If it is a tutorial flight, one would assume it would be a brief description of the normal procedures, or in the FS world, simple instructions without mentioning unnecessary items; just trying to get the aircraft off the ground as easy and real as possible. I know this last sentence sort of makes no sense, but when you realise this aircraft has only the switches for the respective “systems” and moving them actually makes no difference except for a couple of them, what’s the point of moving the switches at all? And even if you decide to write about the operation of the switches, why list them individually if you have checklists? It saves a lot of time both to the writer and the reader if you ask me.

One thing that left me asking myself was “why did they do that”? Was a deviation (a non-standard nor published) from the WHINZ1 Standard Instrument Arrival (STAR) to Atlanta done because there was not a way to fly the STAR as published using conventional navigation systems such as VOR’s and NDB’s?

Looking at the chart, I found out that said arrival procedure is actually a “pilot nav” procedure; that means no RNAV (GPS) required as vectoring is given only from the VICTU waypoint, which is very close to the airport. Since, according to the writer of the tutorial, you cannot fly this arrival without advanced navigation systems (which are not implemented in the CLS, though the real 767 obviously has them), they came out with a deviation to the procedure invented by themselves.

I know this FS thing is a virtual world and if you crash nothing happens, but still, for me this is a big no-no, since there are people who like to recreate flights as real as possible. In aviation you follow procedures; you don’t make up your own. By the way, subsequent information suggests an “ILS CAT II runway 29R at KATL”. Funny thing though, there is no RWY 29. Digging through my charts, I found out that the approach is actually for runway 26R.

The actual approach seems a bit hectic when you get on the localiser due to the modification of the approach. Once you are on the localiser, the instructions become easier to comply with. But still, the lack of checklist implementation is obvious and it creates an increased workload that it is less wanted.

Conclusion, I would’ve liked a more elaborate, yet simplified, tutorial. It seemed to me that the approach used to write the document was the wrong one in my opinion. It should include the reasons why you are doing all these things it is telling you to do, not just going through the motion.

Overall…

The Visuals? Great. 767 simulation? Not so much. The strong points in CLS aircraft add-ons are the visuals, the animations and the aircraft model. For those who were looking to find a medium 767 simulation, something not as “hard” as the Level-D 767, I will sadly say “keep looking”. I had my hopes high due to my previous experience with their DC-10 series, where the panel required a bit of aircraft systems knowledge, but this is far from being a 767 simulation; it is more of a generic wide-body jet wrapped in very pretty 767 clothing. However, for those who like to get up in the air immediately with no complex procedures, this is your aircraft. Part of me thinks this would make a great aircraft to make merges with.

The FDE implemented in this add-on is a big point for the CLS team; the airplane reacts as one would expect in an aircraft this size. Moderate inputs are required to move the airplane at low speeds and you need to be vigilant with your trim settings and elevator inputs or you may end up in an upset. But for the beginners, if you’d like to take this airplane step by step, the EZ FDE will be perfect for you to get the feel of the “big boys”.

The sound set makes a perfect match with the detailed textures available for the 767. The ability to choose different engine types to fly this aircraft and that each engine representation has its own accurate sound it’s a big plus. I really enjoyed listening to the engines while reviewing this aircraft.

Thumbs up goes to CLS for their customer support; they are willing to provide solutions for you should you encounter any problems. The expansion packs for the 767 were released officially the 28th of January. AWACS, tanker, cargo, wingleted pax and wingleted cargo aircraft models are the contents of the pack; they also include 13 new liveries. The releases are available for purchase on the CLS website. SP1 and SP2 are available to download from the CLS downloads section; the SP’s include modifications to the FDE, so download and installation are recommended.

 

What I Like About The CLS 767

  • Beautiful external model
  • Great sound set for each engine variation
  • PW, RR and GE engines modeled
  • Detailed liveries available for download
  • Different FDE files for “hard-core” and “soft-core” simmers
  • Crisp and clear looking Virtual Cockpit
  • Several animations included, like air stair and pushback trucks
  • Quality customer service

 

What I Don't Like About The CLS 767

  • MSFS default systems simulation
  • Unnecessary information in the aircraft manual
  • The approach used in the flight tutorial

 

Printing

If you wish to print this review or read it offline at your leisure,  right click on the link below, and select "save as"

CLS 767-200ER/300ER

(adobe acrobat required)

Comments?

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

Tell A Friend About this Review!

2010 - AVSIM Online
All Rights Reserved