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Guest Wobuns

Thanks PMDG!

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Guest Wobuns

Hi,I just wanted to write a note of thanks to PMDG.My brilliant family clubbed together and got me an session on a Virgin Atlantic 747 sim near Gatwick.I just wanted to write down my experiences before they became clouded but also to let others know just how good the PMDG sim is. Although I may I suspect I may be preaching to the choir!Well, the first thing I noticed was just how far the PFD and ND are from you. They were kind of down by my knees which I found a little strange at first. They were also a lot bigger than I expected. I adjusted my position and began to have a quick look around.So there I was in the left hand seat staring down the centre line of 27L at Heathrow. Before long I was standing the throttles up and dabbing the Toga button. The takeoff role was slightly wobbly as I tried to get used to the rudder pedals but I managed to get a half decent rotation in. The most shocking thing for me was the pressure required on the control column, it needed a fair bit of effort to shift but if you were too sharp you would feel a sharp jink as the aircraft responded. Likewise for the rudder pedals, I felt that I needed to almost stand on them at some points but just a touch too much breaking would have everyone moving forward on their seats.It was like learning to drive again you just need to be ahead of the aircraft and get used to pressures of the different controls. She definitely needs positive gentle handling.We leveled off at 3000 feet and stopped our acceleration at flaps 10. I was shocked at just how stable the 744 is in a bank, basically I put in the required bank and it felt like it would stay there all day. Just remember a little bit of back pressure and trim to help maintain your altitude. Just like the queen in FS9.On the downwind I had to force my hands to relax I was squeezing the column so tight. Thank god for the Autothrottle. Without it keeping the circuit height would have been much harder. My instructor was changing heading and speed on the MCP, my eyes were welded to the PFD and I really started to understand how difficult it is to take in everything in.I was just starting to relax on the downwind when we began deceleration to 180 knots, again the base leg bank was fairly easy to achieve but I had to trim slightly to keep the queen level. You have to keep the elevator trim in for a couple of beats for it to be effective, whereas I'm used to giving my joystick a few taps.Before I knew it we had captured the localiser. Then came flaps 20 and gear down, and I felt the buffeting on the gear through the control column. We captured the glideslope and began decelerating to Vref25 + 5. We had around a 250/10 knot crosswind.I managed to keep the glide-slope fairly well, but just as I do in FS9 I started to drift too high towards the latter stages of final. I think I was keeping my eyes out of the cockpit a little too much? That plus a slightly over enthusiastic flair, resulted in a rather lengthy touchdown but thankfully perfectly on the centre line.I was struck by how much effort on the rudder pedals was needed to disconnect the autobrakes, the sensation of inertia was amazing. After coming to a halt on 27L, I was whisked to VHHH.I managed a better takeoff role and rotated with a bit more force.A quick trip round the island then we were set up for the approach. My instructor kept at us around 2000ft initially We cleaned up this time and accelerated to 250 knots, after climbing to 3000 and a little trip round downtown Hong Kong island we encountered few rather terse comments from the GPWS annunciation before we began the approach proper. I did as I was told and ignored them. This time my approach was better but just a momentary slip and I was drifting to the right. I corrected but still landed to the right of the centreline.We just had time to set up for a quick approach back into Hong Kong. This was an autoland. It was so amazing having control of this beautiful machine via the MCP. What I didn't expect was just how industrial the buttons are. The whole cockpit is obviously built for a tough life. No dainty mouse clicks here. You had to be really positive. I taxied off the active with the tiller, again a fair amount of effort was required. I dabbed the breaks every now and then but she was really happy to trundle along at Idle. You know you are in something special when you feel every crack in the concrete. I pushed a little too hard on my taxi onto stand and was rewarded by some rather unpleasant vibrations but generally I found taxiing quite easy. I was following taxi technique from the type course, using one of the pillars as my guide.Both my touchdowns were fairly soft, I've definitely had worse in real life. The feedback from the aircraft was amazing.The need for two people on the flight deck was rammed home, flying manually took all my attention. The displays are obviously a lot bigger and require a much wider scan than I was used to. I was concentrating so hard on the flight director and my altitude even looking at the FMA and ND became difficult, let alone the MCP or out of the window. I can easily see how pilots can become transfixed under pressure.The thing that stood out for me is just how much you can learn from our the PMDG Queen it's all there. I felt at home in 15 million pounds worth of sim, my muscles still ache but without the PMDG queen I wouldn't have stood a chance, which is quite incredible for a piece of software available to most people. My instructor suggested that when next at home with the PMDG 744 it would be a bit of a let down, but to be honest if anything having flown the 'real' thing just makes me realise how well PMDG have done. All I've changed since I got back was the view point in the VC. In the real thing you end up looking down the glareshield, and have to look down into the cockpit. Anyway back to turns and bumps for me.Thanks PMDGStuart

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Great read Stuart. Im green with jealousy :) hopefully i might get to travel across the water to take a ride in one as we dont have any here on the Emerald Isle :)


Paul McMahon

Ireland

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That sounds totally awsome!.. I want to do this .. but I just don't feel ready for it yet.. I need to get much more practice..Stuart.. if you could take the time.. I'd really like to know what controls (joystick, yoke, etc) you are using on your MSFS so I can enhance my experience.. My joystick is weak at best.. and I have no rudder control at the moment.. it's making landings a bit more tricky than I'd like..I am trying to pursuade a friend of mine to give it a go.. on one of this sims.. sounds amazing.. If I win the 66 million on the lottery tonight .. I might even buy my own!.. lolCheersCraig


Craig Read, EGLL

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Guest Wobuns

No Probs, I just have a normal Logitech joystick. The only thing I changed was to adjust some buttons to match the trim buttons on the 744 control column...As for not thinking you're ready, if you are happy hand flying the PMDG Queen, I think you might surprise yourself. The key thing I found was getting the trim right, making sure the power setting was right and being able to relax enough to think about something other than the flight director...!It is obviously different to what we are used to, but if you really concentrate on the type course, you have a lot of the skills you need, I'm just hanging out for the landing lesson.My landings could really do with some pointers.If any real pilots out there could tell me why I drift off the glidepath so regularly I would appreciate it! Stu

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