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JasonB

MD-11, a pilot's perspective.

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As the anticipation builds for the release of the MD-11, several of us test pilots have been busy trying to break her (not literally break, but system wise), some of us have been doing ultra-long haul 10+ hour non-stop flights around the world. In the last few days I have been taking her around Europe and finally yesterday, a long over-water flight to St. Maartens from Amsterdam as KL765 which is a real-life route operated by the MD-11. The flight departs Amsterdam at 1435hrs arriving some 8 hours 40 minutes later at 1745hrs in St. Maartens after a long over-water flight. The MD-11 has performed this route flawlessly and continues to do so today. This story covers a flight that was performed yesterday by yours truly, which has been involved in testing the MD-11 since December of last year. The product has come a long, long way since then, after hundreds of bug fixes, hundreds of hours of testing time the product is finally as perfect as it can be. You will definitely enjoy flying the MD-11, it is a solid bird, treat her with respect, she

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Hello Jason,Thank you for the great story. I'm sure she is a joy to fly, and I'm looking forward to make my first test flight in a few days when the MD 11 is released. Reading your story reminds me on how far we have come in the desktop flight simulation. I'm also glad KLM is still keeping its MD 11 fleet. Hopefully for a long time. :)

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Hi Jason,thank you very much for this story, truly a sight for sore eyes!!!Wijnand (EHBK)

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Hi Jason,I loved the story as awaiting the release for fsx, i have just 1 question in mind which is where is Aruba and what is icao code for the airport Many thanks for the storyColin H

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Colin,Here's the wikipedia info on Arubahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ArubaAs you can see, it is situated just off the north coast of Venezuela. The airport is Queen Beatrix, IATA: AUA, ICAO: TNCAhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aruba_AirportKLM operates KL765 as a triangle route, they route AMS-SXM-AUA-AMS with the same flight number stopping in AUA for 1 hour and 20 minutes, all of this with the MD-11. As for the story, I hope it leaves you with the sense of wanting to get the PMDG MD-11, it is well worth the money. You are getting much more than just an aircraft, the level of fidelity is unsurpassed in FSX history. The good thing is, most of the systems are automated so you don't have to interact as much leaving you with more time to hand fly her if the need be. However you still have to be ready to do something in case anything goes wrong.Nothing and I mean nothing compares to the product, there is just so much to see and find... I have been testing this product for almost 9 months and I still find something new to learn everytime. Its also fantastic to hand fly, it trims itself... I'll leave you with a good piece of advice, try and stay ahead of her a little bit, she loves to fly fast so be prepared!After flying the PMDG 744 for so long, I am having so much fun flying the MD-11, its hard to go back to the 744 and when you do, you want to go back to the MD-11 almost right away, thats how powerful the attraction to the MD-11 is. Cheers,Jason http://www.precisionmanuals.com/priv/img/f...ig_md11beta.jpg

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Magnificent story with a bit of go-around drama at the end :), thank you very much Jason.

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Well done- I really enjoyed the read and you absolutely captured the nuances of MD-11 flight! I can't wait for her to hit the shelves/server and read all the posting flurries soon thereafter ;) Best-Carl F. Avari-Cooper BAW0225http://online.vatsimindicators.net/980091/523.png| XP Pro SP3 with FS-GS System Unification | 2 x APC UPS | Coolermaster Stacker 830 SE | Asus P5E-Deluxe (X48) | e8500 @ 4gHz | Tuniq Tower 120 | EVGA 8800GT 512MB | Sony 40" Bravia XBR | NaturalPoint TrackIR Pro | 2 x 1 GB Corsair XMS2 | 500GB Seagate Barracuda 32MB SATA2 x2 (Acronis) | Corsair HX620W PS | PFC Jetliner Yoke and Pedals | Aerosoft 747MCP-EFIS-EICAS |

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You couldn't show off the MD11 in a better flight, airline and type of storyline than you have done!It's truly amazing how well detailed this bird is!Question; Are you going to fly this bird back to AMS with another flightreport? Will you add some more screenshots next time (cockpit)!?Regards, Joey

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Joey,I'm glad you enjoyed the story as much as I have enjoyed flying the MD-11, its a beautiful aircraft and this is truly an impeccable product that PMDG has developed.I just completed a short hop from St. Maartens to Aruba as KL765, another flawless flight that left me shouting with glee at how easy it was as well as a complete and utter satisfaction. Thing is, you never get bored flying her despite all the automation, there is always something for you to do.I am currently awaiting the next Release Candidate which is being assembled right now so to speak and I will be taking her back across the Atlantic to Amsterdam tomorrow afternoon.So... yes I'll do another story but this time I'll definitely focus on the cockpit and take some pictures, so look for the next installation.Cheers,Jason http://www.precisionmanuals.com/priv/img/f...ig_md11beta.jpg

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Just a few moments ago, we took the MD-11 over to Aruba from St. Maartens, a continuation of KL765 that I mentioned is a triangle route, AMS-SXM-AUA-AMS.After spending a glorious afternoon in the sunshine at Maho beach watching a couple widebodies come and go as well as getting a nice body exfoliation from the sand churned up by the jet blast and a refreshing swim in the ocean it was time to check out of Maho Beach Hotel and head over to the airport. With the proxmity of the airport to the beach and the hotel, I still get a kick out of the fact that I was just at the beach an hour ago and here we are, preparing for the short hop over to Aruba. A check in at flight ops reveals an uneventful flight but we might be dodging some thunder heads midway to Aruba. The passenger load for the flight is 167, of which 35,000lbs is cargo and 54,300lbs of fuel. The flight has to be at a certain weight to get out of St. Maartens by a safe margin. This is also the reason why KL765 makes a stop in Aruba even though it is 577nm southwest of St. Maartens. Our TOGW is 380,308lbs, almost half the MD-11's MTOW weight, very light and still within margins. We head out to gate A2 where PH-KCB is parked and being readied for her short haul flight. As we arrive at the gate, looking around I see alot of really tanned passengers, some are burnt... ouch! They don't look too particularly happy to be going home but alas, this won't be the last time they'll come back to St. Maartens. We walk down the jetbridge and onto the aircraft, taking a left towards the cockpit. We prepare our nest for the scheduled 1 hour 28 minute flight, I step outside to perform an external walk around, everything checks out fine, an obvious sign of the dedication of KLM's mechanics in keeping the MD-11 fleet going strong. Upon returning to the cockpit, we go over the before push checklist checking off each item and soon its time to depart. We are pushing out on time at 1820hrs at this time there is not much air traffic happening as all the widebodies to Europe have departed, only a few Twin Otters are coming and going from St. Barts and Saba.We are quickly pushed out of the gate, turning to face east. Engine start is normal, the FADEC does a remarkable job of starting each engine and getting each General Electrics up to idle speed. Flaps are set to 15 degrees, trim set to 4.2 units ANU, autobrakes to T.O. and spoiler lever set to armed. We radio tower for clearance to taxy which soon enough clearance is obtained, nose taxy lights come on and we're rolling.Princess Juliana International Airport is an unique airport, given the topography of the island of St. Maartens, the airport is wedged onto a thin parcel of land of which runway 09 is literally next to Maho Beach. It is not uncommon for spotters to line up along the fence and try to hold on while being blasted by thousands of pounds of thrust. Immediately to the east of runway 09, there is a significant hill which is too close to the airport, so all aircrafts departing 09, have to make an immediate turn to 140 degrees as soon as positive climb is obtained.We are given clearance to takeoff but because there are no taxiways along the runway, we have to taxy onto the runway, make a 180 degree turn at one end and go for takeoff. All exterior lights are turned on, we want to make ourselves visible as much as possible as it is dark outside right now, the sun has long set. Tower clears us for takeoff as soon as we are ready, we taxy to the end of 09, make a 180 degree turn and straighten out. A quick check of instruments is made, I look over at my co-pilot, give him the nod that I am acknowledging we are going to takeoff now. AUTOFLIGHT button is pressed, throttles are advanced to 40%, stabilized and quickly moved to takeoff thrust. Auto throttles take over, stabilizing at 101.9 across all 3 engines. The mighty Generals are pumping out 101.9%, to the spotters on the beach, it is a heart pounding, hot and windy jetblast soon after the sand settles, we are already building up speed rapidly. V1, "Rotate!" the yoke is pulled back, maintaining a 3.5 deg per second pitch rate in no time we are passing V2 and climbing rapidly due to our light weight. The call for gears up is made and at the same time I roll smoothly to the right intercepting 140 degrees magnetic. We are bumping our way through the air picking up every slight burble in the air swirling over the hills and clouds whizzing past the expansive cockpit windows. AUTOFLIGHT is pressed again signalling that the autopilot is now tasked with keeping us on course. NAV profile is selected and we turn to the west intercepting waypoint ANADA, the first of several waypoints that will first take us west, then south and southwestward towards Aruba.Since this is a night flight, there isn't much to see but just sit back, take a couple sips of coffee and talk with the crew about our day's activities. In the cabin, most passengers are asleep, some are groaning about the fact they have to go back to work the next day after arriving in Amsterdam. Snacks and drinks are being served but this is a fairly short flight so not much cabin service tonight. Outside the inky black darkness, the moonlight illuminates some ominous looking clouds we start seeing lightning flashes, its a spectacular sight of mother nature's fury however at our cruise altitude of 38,000 feet, we are safely far away from any weather phenomenon. Before we know it, it is time to begin the descent into Aruba's Reina Beatrix International airport, tonight we are landing on runway 11 on an ILS approach transitioning BEA. This is a path that takes us right over the airport turning to the west for 3nm before turning back onto finals for runway 11. Descent comes and goes with nary a hiccup, we slowly dial in the vertical speed to aid in a smooth transition from level flight to descent. Once a good rate of descent is selected, the PROF button is hit and the autopilot once again is managing the descent phase.The island of Aruba comes into view, its a clear cloudless sky tonight and the whole island is visible, lights dotting and twinkling in the distance. We radio Aruba tower to inform them of our arrival and clearance request. "Aruba Tower, KLM 765 heavy with you, request landing clearance"Tower responds acknowledging our early arrival and clears us for a visual right hand pattern intercepting ILS for 11. "KLM 765 heavy, good evening, you are cleared to land runway 11, right pattern"Soon after that, we are now overhead the airport, autopilot commands a right hand turn downwind of runway 11 and at the same time, commands a speed change to 200kts. We roll out the speedbrakes, the buffet of the speedbrakes rattle the cockpit slightly, we know that the brakes are doing their job. Slats and flaps 15 are selected, we are in a right hand turn intercepting the ILS, speed brakes are retracted. We have runway in sight, out goes flaps 28 and gears are selected down, the rumbling of the slipstream past the exposed gear struts grows louder. I depress the autopilot disconnect button on the yoke and at the same time depress the autothrottle disconnect button on the throttles. I have manual control, making slight adjustments guiding the MD-11 down the glide scope. Flaps 35 is requested and selected, the aircraft slows down even more, the rumbling grows a little louder, the cockpit buffets slightly to the disturbed airflow over the wing and the barn door flaps, thrust is increased slightly to counter drag. Slowly but surely we descent onto the runway surface, at 50 feet throttles are brought back to idle, pulling back on the yoke to flare her out and with a slight but perceptible thump the main gears settle onto the runway surface, auto brakes kick in, thrust reverser levers are selected up and then pulled aft. As the nose comes down, back pressure is increased in order to ease the nose onto the runway with an audible thunk we are now on the runway. Full thrust reverse is selected, the Generals screaming with all their might trying to slow us down to taxy speed. Another safe flight completed, we roll out while stowing reversers at 60kts, disengage autobrakes at 30kts retrat flaps and slats, we turn off near the end of runway 11. While we taxy over to the gate, APU power is selected and the logic turns on the APU automatically we slowly trundle across the ramp to our assigned gate. We are looking for the waving wands which are soon spotted telling us to turn right, taxy lights turned off (you don't want to blind the ground crew) and we pull straight in slowly coming to a stop.Once again, the MD-11 has done a remarkable job of getting us from St. Maartens to Aruba safely and efficiently without any major hiccups. We can relax for one more night and then we have to head back home across the Atlantic, a flight we are all looking forward to. The MD-11 is being retired at KLM at the end of 2014 so every MD-11 crew wants to take advantage of getting as much flying as possible before they are gone from passenger service for good. Tomorrow we'll head back to Amsterdam, 4313nm and 9 hours 25 minute flying time on the world's most beautiful aircraft, the MD-11.Jason(no photos, it was a night time flight but tomorrow we'll see pictures of the sunrise over the Atlantic from the cockpit!)http://www.precisionmanuals.com/priv/img/f...ig_md11beta.jpg

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Jason, thank you so, so much, looking forward to the photos :D!Best regards, Joey

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Hi Jason,I don't reply so much on the forum, but your stories (or is it story's ?) are so nice written and lovely to read. My congrats for these. I hope that other beta-testers will write their MD-11 flights and experiences too.Waiting for your flight back to Amsterdam (it's so sorry that you didn't come to Brussels, ;-))My best regards,PeterBelgiumFlightsimulator is not a simulation, it's a way of life ....

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I'm so looking forward to your journey AUA-AMS back!!Hopefully you'll find some time to create just another intresting story!Thanks in advance, Joey

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Joey,I've just returned "home" from Aruba just a few hours ago and I will definitely conclude my trip story. But first I need some sleep... Here's a photo taken of our MD-11 at FL350 from an AAL 763 just off Shannon, Ireland. We were definitely going faster than the 767 and because of a 106kt tailwind, we arrived in Amsterdam 47 minutes early.http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/193165.jpg Cheers,Jasonhttp://www.precisionmanuals.com/priv/img/f...ig_md11beta.jpg

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WOW, I love that in-flight screenshot!!Take your rest and I will keep a close eye on this thread as I'm so excited to see te screens!Best regards, Joey

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