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737 NGX Questions

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Like pretty much everyone here I'm looking forward to the release of the NGX. Lately I have been spending time reading posts in the 737 forum and I plan to download some FCOM's and put in some heavy studying. Now I think after spending many happy years using the PMDG 747-400 I have a very good understanding of Boeing philosphy, however I am wondering how easy the transition to the NGX will be.Could experianced PMDG 744 & 737 drivers share there views on differences between handling the two? eg moving from one type to the other, I found learning the LDS 767 very easy after using the 744 for so long, is it the same for the 737Cheers

Rob Prest


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At its heart, the 737 is a much simpler aeroplane than many other airliners, and on the face of it, that's not really changed since the first one was built back in the 1960s, even though it has been through several makeovers. This is because Boeing have always been very careful with new iterations of the 737 to try and make them handle like the early variants, to make type rating easier, which is why you see that dorsal fillet on later versions for example so it exhibits the same flight characteristics as the early ones. Most pilots agree that the 200ADV is the nicest-handling version of the aircraft, conversely, the worst-handling one is the 600NG, which is not as stable as other variants owing to its shortened fuselage, slightly redesigned wing (necessary because it was prone to flutter) and derated engines. These things aside, generally speaking, the 737s evolutions have all been an improvement, with better cruise and lower landing and take off speeds. That handling similarity works in the sim world too, which means the excellent Wilco 737 Classic 737 variants will be a good primer for the PMDG NG variant.On the flight deck, things have changed a lot over the years, but it is worth remembering that in spite of all the fancy avionics and management systems that have shown up in that tiny cockpit, the 737 was, right from its inception, always designed to be operated by two pilots rather than two plus a flight engineer. It was largely union rules which forced it to fly with three crew members, so unlike the 747, which needed the souped up avionics of the 400 variant to make it a viable two-man operation, the 737 is particularly well suited to the kind of CRM procedures we see today, and the technology shift that was a necessity for the 747, has merely made things easier on the 737, which is good news for sim pilots, who tend to have to do most things as a one-person operation.It is as well to remember that the FMC and CDU itself was developed and tested using the very first prototype 737, which NASA bought from Boeing. Later, an early production version of the first CDU and FMC was in fact tested on two Boeing aircraft in regular airline service, these being a 727 and a 737, where it was actually proved that such a system could improve scheduling and economy, and that kicked off the cockpit revolution. So although we tend to think of the 737 as having inherited FMC technology from the 757, it is in fact actually the other way around, and as such, the 737 is better suited to an FMC type of operation than perhaps any other airliner.More recently, the 737 became the first major production airliner to offer a HUD as an option, and it has also been favoured with improved avionics to allow RNAV and other fancy procedures to be flown, so despite its simplicity as an aircraft, it is in many ways something of a hot rodded Boeing airliner. This of course means that the transition backwards from larger simulated Boeings such as the 767, 757 and 747 are not the trauma of waving farewell to fancy avionics that might be imagined. Pilots tend to prefer the more luxurious surroundings of the 757 to the 737, but for us simmers, our chair is always the same regardless of what we fly, so we don't have to worry about that, and it means that the differences are less likely to be apparent.I would certainly recommend getting hold of Chris Brady's excellent book, 'The Boeing 737 Technical Guide'. Brady is the pilot who runs www.b737.org.uk, which is well known to many simmers, and although you can glean a lot from that site, there is plenty more info to be found in his book, which no serious 737 enthusiast should be without. It has stacks of information in it, and if you read it all, you will probably be more familiar with the 737 than most real B737 drivers are. It's also very well written for such a technical subject, and is a pleasant read.Al

Alan Bradbury

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Great post as always Al Cheers mate

Rob Prest


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