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captain420

PMDG 737, 747, Airbus X Extended, which is hardest to fly?

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Out of those 3 planes, which do you guys think is the most difficult to get up and running? I am still learning a lot of new things with the 737 NGX, since that is the plane I fly in mostly. The other 2 I have messed around with a bit but didn't invest a whole lot of time in learning to fly. Especially the Airbus X Extended, since I am using an xbox controller to fly, it doesn't seem to even work with advancing the throttles. I want to master the 737 NGX and then the 747. Is the 747 easier to fly once you master the 737 or is it the other way around? 

 

I'd like to hear everyone's input concerning the order of difficulty with these 3 planes. Usually I'd like to start with the most difficult one and once I learn that, it'll be a piece of came to fly the others. That's if they all work similarly.

 

One last question, but I know the PMDG 777 isn't out yet. But how easy or difficult is the 777 to operate compared to the 737, 747, Airbus X Extended?

 

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First of all -and this is said with the utmost of politeness and advisory tone-, I think you should consider the purchase of a joystick if you haven't done so yet. Although you can use an Xbox controller, you're missing out hugely on immersion and general enjoyment if you don't at least have a joystick with twist-rudder and throttle levers. I wouldn't even suggest this if you weren't asking for detailed planes, but seeing as you are, I'm assuming you'd take the simulation aspect as serious as you can. I also think the "if I can master the hardest one, I can master them all" theory goes flying out the window with planes seeing as they're all pretty hard (if modeled correctly), and they're not all sharing the same commonality (a 737 not having the same systems as a 747 and totally different ones from the A320). You get certified for "families" of planes in the real world, and this is for good reason!

As a result, there's no real "easier" option between the 737 and the 747. They're both fully modeled by the people at PMDG with every possible thing you can imagine. Both planes also have radically different "problems" to master due to all kinds of factors. A 747 is a big lumbering beast while a 737 is a (comparatively) smaller plane, just to name the most glaring difference. Airbus planes make it even more different with protections, fly-by-wire controls and so on. 

Simulation wise though, the Airbus X Extended is probably going to be the easiest plane from the three, merely because it only simulates day to day operations and no failures whatsoever. Plus, the protections and such make it a more ... robust aircraft than the PMDG offerings. As far as PMDG is concerned, the 3 you list are all Boeings, so even though they're not fully the same, they're going to feel more familiar. I'd have to wager the 747x is probably the "hardest" because of size and older cockpit systems. The 777 will probably be right after that, and then the 737NGX.

I'm sure more experienced people with more knowledge will be able to give a better reply though!  ^_^

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Most difficult: 737 (less automation, no synoptics displays)

Much easier: 744 (more automation, synoptics)

Even easier: 777 (cleaner, more intuitive pilots' interface than the 744)

 

Airbus 320/321: It's a different world; can't rank it with Boeings - pilots fly Boeings; Airbus computers fly pilots (no kidding!!!)

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Mainly gauges bundled into displays - the only near-synoptic display, as far as I remember (see my sig, lol!) is the flight controls representation on the status page.

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Thanks for all the great and detailed answers. I kinda expected the 777 would be the easiest to learn out if the beings since its the newest, and then the 737 and 747 being most difficult due to its size and avionics being much older than the others.

 

I do wish to take the my simming experience to the next level and invest in better equipment, but at the moment I can't afford it. Can I just by a joystick? Or do I really need a yoke and pedals, rudders too? I fly mostly commercial airliners and once I awhile I'll do some general aviation and helicopters as well. So I'd like to have variety and fly a little of everything from war birds to commercial to bush flying and helicopters. What equipment do you guys recommend that would cover all those within a reasonable amount of money? Last time I saw joysticks and stuff for flight sims, they were quite expensive, which is why I never looked into it.

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Unless I'm missing something here and PMDG released a classic series 737, their 737NGX is actually the most modern of all 3 planes, followed by the 777 and then the 747. As far as joysticks are concerned, just getting yourself a €49 joystick with rudder twist and throttle lever would already do a lot for the realism. Yokes and stuff are of course even more immersive, but if you're on a budget something like the F.L.Y. 5 will do nicely.  ^_^

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Airbus 320/321: It's a different world; can't rank it with Boeings - pilots fly Boeings; Airbus computers fly pilots (no kidding!!!)

Oh is that so? I must have been doing something wrong then for the last 19 years...  Explain to me why it is you think that?  :huh:

 

Regards,

Ró.

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The question asked was which is easiest to fly, but am I correct that what was really meant was what would be the easiest to learn?  If you are already familiar with the ngx, then I would say the 747 would be a very quick transition.  If you are like me and don't know anything about an Airbus, then I would suppose that would have the biggest learning curve.  I have many FSX Boeings, but I'm waiting for the FSL a320, and I'm guessing that will probably be the "hardest" plane I've ever set eyes upon, on par with the FSL Concorde even. 

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Oh is that so? I must have been doing something wrong then for the last 19 years... Explain to me why it is you think that? :huh:

 

Regards,

Ró.

We all know you can fly Scarebuses with just 3 buttons... TAKEOFF-CRUISE-LAND The trick is staying awake :-)

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The Airbus X requires a throttle which sucks.

Agree. NGX is so simple a Caveman could fly it!

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We all know you can fly Scarebuses with just 3 buttons... TAKEOFF-CRUISE-LAND The trick is staying awake :-)

LOL!

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Can I just by a joystick? Or do I really need a yoke and pedals, rudders too? I fly mostly commercial airliners and once I awhile I'll do some general aviation and helicopters as well. So I'd like to have variety and fly a little of everything from war birds to commercial to bush flying and helicopters. What equipment do you guys recommend that would cover all those within a reasonable amount of money? Last time I saw joysticks and stuff for flight sims, they were quite expensive, which is why I never looked into it.

 

Re: Joystick

 

I do not consider myself a hardcore flight sim realist, but I have been into sims since the subLogic days.  I mostly fly for fun these days, when I'm not working, I'm running a VA, and with what time remains I run everything from FSX to Rise of Flight to all of the DCS series.  In terms of hardware, I use a Logitech Extreme 3D Pro joystick.  It's got a throttle, the handle twists to act as your rudder pedals, and there are 12 programmable buttons you can setup to act as common commands (but I haven't even done that).  Just did a quick search on Best Buy website, and it's listed at $34.99.

 

There are scores of more realistic options out there, but I 1) didn't want to spend the funds for the yoke, throttle controls, and rudder pedals, 2) this is much simpler to get setup when I get to fly (my flight sim PC shares a desk with my work desktop and my work laptop, so having to tear down / setup all that hardware if I want to catch a quick flight really isn't an option).

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I have sold my yoke, pedals, and all my joysticks and throttles.

 

I now use only an xbox 360 controller, keyboard and mouse, TrackIR, and voice control.

I have all the immersion I need.

The couch, feet up, in front of a 55" Samsung.

 

Cheers

Steve

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The Airbus X requires a throttle which sucks.

 

Don't know exactly what you mean with this but I can ssure you that with the AIRBUS X you can use the KEYBOARD F1-F4 keys (or the mousewheel) for setting thrust and the mouse (or the joystick) for steering on the ground and flying.

This works perfectly well ! :rolleyes:

 

I personnally fly it most often on my laptop using the joystick for steering and flying and the F1-F4 keys for setting thrust. With AUTOTHRUST and MANAGED SPEED, you don't touch the thrust  levers much !  I use the joystick's throttle only when I want to fly completly manually (Ap and AT off).

 

But  there is even no need of a joystick, you can steer and fly it with mouse and keyboard !

 

As an answer to the original question of this thread, I would say that the easiest to operate is the Airbus. But ALL ARE EASY to fly, once you 'know how'. What is DIFFICULT IS PASSING FROM ONE TYPE TO ANOTHER , especially when changing the make (Boeing/Airbus) !

 

Guy

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NGX is so simple a Caveman could fly it!

I could say the same about the AAX! Extremely simple, not even really the need to read the manual IMO.

 

As for the joystick/throttle discussion, I find it very helpful to have a joystick with throttle axis, it makes controlling the plane easier, because throttle adjustments adjustments can be made faster and more precisely, and there are inexpensive joysticks available that will still be perfect for flying.

 

To come back to the original question: Generally speaking, I find in unfair to compare A to B, because they have differnet philosophies behind their aircraft. And it's even more so, because any PMDG plane (except maybe the JS41) and the AAX were designed with different ideas. While PMDG is "perfect" in every regard, simulating most things of the plane, the Aerosoft Airbus was always intended to depict the pilot's standard operations, so it's not "perfect", but I think they did a really great job so far, and I enjoy flying it.

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Thanks for all the great and detailed answers. I kinda expected the 777 would be the easiest to learn out if the beings since its the newest, and then the 737 and 747 being most difficult due to its size and avionics being much older than the others.

 

Learning-wise 744 and 777 are pretty close: The 777 flightdeck was developed with the 744 flightdeck as a starting point. Both the 744 and the 777 are heavies, the 737 is not.

 

I do wish to take the my simming experience to the next level and invest in better equipment, but at the moment I can't afford it. Can I just by a joystick? Or do I really need a yoke and pedals, rudders too? I fly mostly commercial airliners and once I awhile I'll do some general aviation and helicopters as well. So I'd like to have variety and fly a little of everything from war birds to commercial to bush flying and helicopters. What equipment do you guys recommend that would cover all those within a reasonable amount of money? Last time I saw joysticks and stuff for flight sims, they were quite expensive, which is why I never looked into it.

 

In the end, it's up to you, your wallet and your way of simming:

 

- I recommend a rudder twist on your joystick (rudder pedals would be even better)

- I prefer a yoke over a joystick (Airbus would be a different story)

- And an - inexpensive - second monitor (for popup displays, addon interfaces, reading pdf FCOMs and QRHs on the flight, post on AVSIM in cruise - stuff like that)

Oh is that so? I must have been doing something wrong then for the last 19 years...  Explain to me why it is you think that?  :huh:

 

Regards,

Ró.

 

Got me, Ró: I was slightly ironic ...

 

Had the overall pilot/aircraft interface in mind with the "priorities" assigned by Boeing and Airbus respectively. Airbus generally speaking, under normal circumstances tries to exclude pilot error by performing tasks automatically. Boeing would rather keep the pilots "in the loop".

 

Another (facious?) attempt of mine: As long as things go fine, a below-average pilot could operate an Airbus better than a Boeing. When things turn for the bad, an Airbus pilot must be a heck of a pilot to get the automation back under control (mode reversions, law switching and stuff like that)

We all know you can fly Scarebuses with just 3 buttons... TAKEOFF-CRUISE-LAND The trick is staying awake :-)

 

 

You forgot about the sliding tables extracted/stowed "flows" ...   :P

The Airbus X requires a throttle which sucks.

 

 

The RW planes require throttles, too ...   :rolleyes:

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Oh is that so? I must have been doing something wrong then for the last 19 years...  Explain to me why it is you think that?  :huh:

 

Regards,

Ró.

Hehe,

 

Best to take a deep breath and remember this is just a flight sim site. Most people haven't flown anything bigger than a kite :) Not exactly the best place to get a realistic assessment of Boeing/Airbus operational differences.

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Hehe,

 

Best to take a deep breath and remember this is just a flight sim site. Most people haven't flown anything bigger than a kite :) Not exactly the best place to get a realistic assessment of Boeing/Airbus operational differences.

 

Ró was probably referring to my "(no kidding!!!)" when I actually was kidding ... and I even haven't "flown" a kite IRL!   :rolleyes:

 

Unless I'm missing something here and PMDG released a classic series 737, their 737NGX is actually the most modern of all 3 planes, followed by the 777 and then the 747. As far as joysticks are concerned, just getting yourself a €49 joystick with rudder twist and throttle lever would already do a lot for the realism. Yokes and stuff are of course even more immersive, but if you're on a budget something like the F.L.Y. 5 will do nicely.  ^_^

 

Boeing release-date-wise I would agree.

 

What I had in mind is the date-of-concept: Boeing has a more modern flightdeck concept for the 744/77, while the 737 NG flightdeck still bears some resemblence to the former non-NG 737 models.

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I really don't understand all this Airbus v Boeing stuff, even in jest.  No matter how jingoistic you are, surely it's the case that if it wasn't for Airbus, Boeing would by now have a virtual worldwide monopoly on the airliner market.  America has one of strongest set of laws - and I guess public opinion - against monopolies and their abuses so it's especially odd to read some of the stuff you do. 

 

Think twice next time you buy a cheap air ticket  - you'd be paying a lot more if there was only one airliner manufacturer about.

 

Anyway, am I not right in thinking that the reason the 737 is the way it is is because the airlines asked Boeing specifically NOT to go for cutting edge technology because they didn't want to put all their thousands of pilots through a complete re-training programme?

 

I suppose it's easier to make the first step-up in the 777 class because there are hell of lot fewer pilots in that category compared to the 737/A320 sector.  With the newer technology well established, I don't suppose the airlines wlll be quite so reluctant when it comes to a 737 replacement.

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We all know you can fly Scarebuses with just 3 buttons... TAKEOFF-CRUISE-LAND The trick is staying awake :-)

 

Better a nice Airbus than one of those Boeing "Screamliners" that like to randomly combust!  :P

 

"If it's not Airbus, I'll kick up a fuss!"  :P

 

 

Got me, Ró: I was slightly ironic ...

 

Had the overall pilot/aircraft interface in mind with the "priorities" assigned by Boeing and Airbus respectively. Airbus generally speaking, under normal circumstances tries to exclude pilot error by performing tasks automatically. Boeing would rather keep the pilots "in the loop".

 

I wouldn't say it keeps us out of the loop at all, in fact with our systems display and ECAM, I'd go as far as to say we're much more in the loop than a 737 pilot. Any Airbus pilot that knows his aircraft should never be out of the loop.

 

 

Ró was probably referring to my "(no kidding!!!)" when I actually was kidding ... and I even haven't "flown" a kite IRL!  

Yup, when you say "No Kidding" but mean "Just Kidding", that's bound to cause a lot of confusion.  ^_^  :rolleyes:  B)

 

Regards,

Ró.

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(...) Any Airbus pilot that knows his aircraft should never be out of the loop. (...)

 

 

How 'bout agreeing with you - just for a change!   :P

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Oh is that so? I must have been doing something wrong then for the last 19 years...  Explain to me why it is you think that?  :huh:

 

Regards,

Ró.

Ro

seems you spend most of your flight time in 1st class drinking tea and watching a good film..wish i was an Airbus pilot :smile:

 

 steve

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