AVSIM Commercial Aircraft Package Review

Fifty North Simulations
Boeing 737 Package

Product Information
Publisher: Fifty North Simulations
Description:  Add-on aircraft for FS2004
Download Size:
41.2 MB
Format:
Executable File
Simulation Type:
FS 2004 only
Reviewed by: John Binner AVSIM Assistant Managing Editor - June 10, 2006

Introduction

With many 737 variants coming out around the same time, it was really hard to top other vendors. What I was not prepared for was the lack of apparent attention to detail we have all grown to expect. However, the model does have one shining point and might hit a "sweet spot" for beginning simmers.

Installation and Documentation

Installation is very straight forward; one .exe for the main install, one more for the liveries. Install was very easy to do and took little to no time at all. Updates also seem to be very easy to install with downloads available from the main website. Included in the install are the base package and nine liveries ranging from the 737-300 through 500.

The included PDF documentation is a simple PDF file from Friendly Panels. It gives the basics of the panel, what each item is on the panel, and where to click, use items, etc. Included in the manual you will find that you can map keys for the main and rear doors and the engines will open to reveal a "maintenance mode."

 

Visual Model

As stated above, this model has one shining perk going for it, and the 50 North team did a good job here. The outside model is fantastic. Flaps and moving surfaces are all modeled, engine spin, reflective surfaces, it's all good eye candy. For the beginning simmer it might be exactly what they are looking for. However, in switching around in different liveries I found one problem; some of the liveries are missing "painted" tires. The British Airways 737-500 has the basic, un-painted grey tires. Something we hope will be fixed.

 

Good Looking Exterior All "Dirty", Checking Surfaces Missing tire paint

Panel

This is the area you might normally see "Panel and VC" labeled for the section. However, this panel is a bit different. Friendly Panels has a knack for taking all the needed flight essentials and putting them into one full-size window. I like the idea for basic flight and beginners, but again for the cost of this plane I'd expect a bit more for this price range. I also found the included "GPS" to be worse then the original FS GPS. They tried to make it look more like an FMC style you'd find in the 737. However, a lack of working Alphanumerical keys makes this GPS seem out of place.

However I found the panel to be very frame-rate friendly. At Ultra-High mode I still got frame rates well above 35 FPS. This can be attributed to the lack of "systems" running from this plane. Not much processor cycles going on, so the plane does fly smoothly.

 

Cockpit View Cockpit View With GPS Open

Flight Model

Here again we are let down somewhat by this plane. Based on my flight time with virtual airlines that do simulate FAR-121 guidelines, there is just no way a 737 will climb out at over 4500 feet per minute under a full load! If you look closely at the panel shots above, you will note full fuel. I also selected full cargo and this plane handled and climbed more like a fighter jet then a 737!

 

In turning and performing my "Captains Ride checklists" I found the 737 to turn too quickly, too agile, and just to nimble for a 737. Granted the 737 is a nice plane and a very forgiving plane to fly, but this takes it a little to far. Coupled with the other problems of this plane and we're unfortunately beginning to see a pattern of a rushed plane.

Test System

Win XP Professional
Athlon 64 2800+
120GB HDD
1GB DDRAM
Geforce Quadro 128MB
CH USB Yoke
Yahmaha Wavetable Sound

Flying Time:
15+ hours

Sounds

The Fifty North 737 uses the default MSFS sounds. Nothing fancy here.

Conclusion

For a sale price of $12.95 USD at review time, this aircraft still feels more like a freeware plane then a payware. A simple search on AVSIM's own freeware library shows many liveries, panels, and sound sets that can be used for free. I'm not sure if even the low $12.95 is worth it for a payware model. Default sounds, lack of a quality flight model, and no virtual cockpit really hinder the abilities of this aircraft.

However, there may be those new to flight simming that want an easy to install, "I don't wanna have to go looking" plane that they can install and quickly get airborne. But if you are a "die-hard simmer" and want something more realistic to fly, you might want to look elsewhere.

 

What I Like About The FiftyNorth Boeing 737
  • Good visual detail (minus the tires on some liveries)

 
What I Don't Like About The FiftyNorth Boeing 737
  • Default Sound
  • No VC
  • missing paint on tires in some liveries
  • GPS is no good, prefer the default
  • inaccurate flight model

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"

FiftyNorth Boeing 737

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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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