Two years ago, who would have predicted the prospect of three new 757s? The ugly duckling has turned into a trio of FSX swans: Captain Sim’s 757, now Quality Wings’ 757, and – maybe – LDS’ long-rumored 757. Each is aiming at a particular target audience. Quality Wings is going for the broadest.
“ Complexity… simplified!” is the motto of Quality Wings, whose debut product is unabashedly named “The Ultimate 757 Collection.” Flight simmers always seem to want more complexity. A 757 is a very complex piece of equipment, so the more detail that can be packed into a simulated version the better, right? That is certainly the trend in payware, where developers earn respect by modeling as many switches and systems as possible.
Quality Wings bucks that trend by attempting to boil the flight experience down to its essence. As a tonic for the jaded, a big iron introduction for beginners or just a change of pace, the QW 757 is meant to be flown, not managed. Still, it would be unfair to call it a “lite” product, despite its simplicity. Quality Wings has aimed for a crowd-pleasing middle ground better described as a “medium” offering. Complexity Simplified indeed.
Let’s get into the Quality Wings spirit and dispense with the customary lengthy introductory history lesson about the 757. Briefly: the 757 was developed as a replacement for the 727 in the sixties. It continues to perform admirably in a wide variety of roles and is well-liked by pilots. It is not, however, in production anymore, as Next Generation stretched 737s took over many routes, and the 787 is coming on. The 757 is a true transatlantic bird, although barely. With city pairs ranging from across the ocean to sixty miles apart, the 757’s versatility makes it as appealing to simmers as it was to airlines. Its popularity is reflected in the Quality Wings package: 15 models and 125 liveries, all in one package.
Boeing 757-200 Passenger
Boeing 757-200 Special Freighter
Boeing 757-200 Package Freighter
Boeing 757-200 Air Force Variant (C-32A)
Boeing 757-300 Passenger
There are two available panels; the original and the glass retrofit. Your computer will be obsolete well before you will have exhausted the possible combinations of kit and liveries.
Download and Installation
Download is unexceptional, as we have come to expect these days. The installation covers only the QW house colors, but just about any carrier that ever used the 757 is a click away at their website. There are over 100 liveries to choose, from Aeromexico to Zoom. Whatever else you can say about the project, they rolled out with an impressive amount of artwork.
Adding those liveries could not be simpler, too. No tedious moving folders and pasting sections into a config file. That would be, well, complex. Just hit the install button and you’re done. The same interface is used for loading, too. Sliders are available for separate passenger and cargo sections, but it is simpler to just hit the 75% or full buttons, or leave it at the default half-full.
The manual is also available as a separate download, and does not require a purchase. You are free to peruse the 170 pages of well-illustrated text to inform your buying decision. It is one of the few manuals that looked both useful and concise enough to warrant tapping the cartridges in my printer for precious ink. Included is fuel planning charts and instructions for painting and modifying various parameters.
Support is handled through a forum available to paying customers. In the days following the release, the developers must have gone through a lot of coffee judging from their continual presence there. The level of support is well above average.
The external modeling is excellent. Details like antennae pylons have not been forgotten. The paint jobs are a bit mushy up close, but from any distance you are likely to view them from, they are beautiful. Particularly noteworthy are the “metal” liveries which look convincingly shiny despite being a clever painter’s illusion. It is hard to overstate the luxury of being able to download any or all of 125 liveries right out of the box. There are no bump maps, but they are hardly missed. A ground power unit appears any time the airplane is parked with the brakes on.
The Flight Deck
The visual quality carries through to the virtual cockpit, which is quite nice in a rubbed up sort of way. There are visible polygons to be found on some of the round knobs, but the overall impression is satisfying. You have a choice between the original display and the glass retrofit, which is a nice touch.
Other touches include a thoughtful click spot in the virtual cockpit to move the yoke back a bit for an unobstructed view of the HSI. Other click spots trigger animations such as a sun visor or the jump seat.
The flight characteristics are among the best this reviewer has experienced. Once you get this bird steady, you can take your hands off the yoke and let her fly herself. Manual landings are like coming in on rails. I really can’t say enough good things about hand-flying this airplane. The only real problem I discovered was that even at low cost indexes, the autopilot is prone to overspeed. Using a Cost Index of no greater than 30 makes the occurrence rare, but you might turn off stress damage just to be on the safe side.
The autopilot works flawlessly on landing. The only caveat is that flaps cannot be deployed haphazardly on final, or you can expect the airplane to balloon upwards, far above the glide slope. Once you get the hang of landings, they pose no problems, but the beginners who might be attracted to a medium-weight product will need to spend some time reading the excellent flying tips on the forum to avoid frustration.
So what is sacrificed in the quest to simplify complexity? Less than you might imagine. The FMC lacks some functions and others are presented in shortcut fashion. For example, no tedious entry of weights and otherwise fiddling with numbers in order to obtain your V-speeds. A simple visit to the proper page will set your speeds automatically. Your virtual co-pilot will do the callouts, to include flap settings. Unexpectedly, holds are covered. You can enter your waypoints one by one into the CDU, or, conveniently, load the active ATC route. VNAV works to the extent that a vertical profile will be automatically followed. (Navigraph support will be available soon.) More seems to work than not. There is certainly enough to fly a route using automation. This airplane may not be the smartest in the room, but it is as smart as it needs to be.
On the overhead, everything for a start from cold and dark is available. However, many of the switches do not work and some are dummies whose operation has no impact on the simulation. The start sequence is present, however, in broad-brush strokes: battery, APU, engine start switches, and make sure the packs are off.
Frame rates struggled to get out of the teens on the review system, and even dipped into single digits with noticeable choppiness on the ground at a large airport with 50% traffic. This is the only part of the package that disappoints.
Key assignments are not supported.
The sound set is spectacular. I would go so far to say it is the best in my collection. From the initial whine through the subtle buzz of acceleration right to the echoing whumph of the thrust reversers, this package will cause even non-aero-audiophiles to perk up.
Short and sweet: there is nothing about the Quality Wings Ultimate 757 Collection that does not live up to the name.
What I Like About Quality Wings 757
What I Don't Like About Quality Wings 757
Tell A Friend About this Review!
All Rights Reserved