AVSIM Commercial Panel Review

PSS Boeing 777 Panel V2 

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Phoenix Simulation Software has released some of the best packages available for FS2000. They spear-headed packages like Wilco's 767 Pilot In Command and the DreamFleet 2000 Boeing 737 packages. They were the first out the door when it came to innovations like fully functional FMCs, aircraft systems such as hydraulics, and realistic panels where you actually made use of the switches on the panel. When PSS released the 777-200, it was the most realistic aircraft and panel around. The aircraft had some phenomenal textures around areas like the wheel well, the boggies, and the aft spar area of the wing—basically areas that are really hard to get at when it comes to creating textures. The panel was the most authentic looking replica of a 777 flight deck. Now, PSS has released an update to their 777 panel, which makes it more in line with their 747 panel. Here, I'm only going to discuss what the enhancements and updates are. For those that missed the original PSS 777 review, or would like to refresh their mind, can read it here.

[Editor's Note: As this review is an update, please see the original review (cited above) for the product rating and summary information.]

There are a host of minor changes, such as visual enhancements to the backgrounds of the main and pop-up panels, and the gauges. On the throttle quadrant, the complete set of checklists can be called up and be checked off automatically or manually overridden as each task is completed. And the screen is like a touch-pad. With the old panel, the only way to climb to altitude was using the vertical speed mode. Now, the panel includes another way to climb, next to VNAV and vertical speed: flight path angle. By dialing in the angle that you would like the aircraft to climb, the autopilot will maintain this angle. Other visual enhancements include the runway view that we first saw with their 747 panel.

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The updated main panel, with some modified gauges, and an improved background color
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The overhead panel, again with an improved background color
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The Runway view. It gave me quite a weird feeling

And now, on to the biggest change in the package: the FMC. With the initial PSS 777 FMC, we saw the ability for the FMC to calculate V1, rotation, and V2 speeds, as well as complete VNAV/LNAV functionality and many other features not available at that time. Then, the 747 hit the market and we saw even greater functionality. The biggest change with the 747 was how the FMC handled the navigational data and airport information. By storing the information in separate files and having the FMC extract the information from these files, users were able to update the navigational data files and not have to worry about waypoints missing or not being found. It also allowed enthusiasts like Prabal Ghosh to provide regular database updates based on the real world AIRAC cycle. So now, every time the airlines update their FMCs, you could as well by downloading the AIRAC cycle from the Avsim file library and stay updated. And now this feature has been added to the 777 panel, a welcome update. So now, if you have both panels, one set of files will update both panels.

However, the FMC still lacks the 767 PIC FMC's degree of functionality. Each waypoint still has to be manually entered, whereas with 767 PIC, you could enter routes based on airway names. It's as simple as entering the airway entry point, the airway name, and the exit point, and the FMC added all the waypoints in between. With the 777, each waypoint has to be entered manually, so if you're entering a flight plan with 60-66 waypoints, stretching across 10-11 pages, it can take a while.

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The updated FMC. Not much visual difference, but underneath, it's a whole different ball-game.
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And the updated throttle quadrant, showing off the first page of the new checklist feature

The enhancements to the panel are a welcome set of additions. I particularly like the runway view, as it helps when taxiing the behemoth around the airport and during landing. If you do use the view during landing, just make sure your angle of attack doesn't become too excessive and keep an eye on your airspeed, which you can bring up by pressing <Shift><Z>. For those of you that never purchased the original, now would be an excellent time because hands down, the 777 panel was, and is, still the best 777 panel available anywhere on the Internet. You can purchase your copy by visiting the PSS Website.

 

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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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