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Tim_Capps

Coolsky's Super 80 Pro -- Have You Missed This One?

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By and large, the flight sim community seems to be interested in new products. It's only natural that they generate the anticipation and the buzz. But there are a few older products that shouldn't be forgotten. Everyone would probably agree that the Level D 767 is a classic that has held up well over the years. I submit that Coolsky's Super 80 Pro also deserves a place among those few add-ons that are just as exciting today as the day they came out.

 

At first glance, this rendition of the long, lean flying machine from McDonnell Douglas has a few strikes against it. The virtual cockpit is functional, rather than nice-looking. Although the flight instrument panel doesn't look bad, the overhead is 2D. Personally, that doesn't bother me. It is a very well done trompe l'oeil that I actually have to admire. If it saves some FPS, I'm not going to complain. Frankly, I've seen worse looking 3D modeled VCs, with big, clunky knobs and switches. The VC has never bothered me.

 

Outside there are few complaints. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I've never figured out a way to open cargo doors. (I don't think there are any; GSX luggage passes through the hull of the aircraft by dematerializing.) That's about it on the downside.

 

Plusses include one or two McPhat free liveries, and also they did some payware paints in ultra high definition (4096) textures. Who would not want to fly the Avianca Juan Valdez paint? (That is not payware.) The airplane itself is just so different from the Boeings that are more common. There's a reason they called the 737 "The Guppy." Modern Boeings go from chubby and short to fat tubes of various lengths. The only ones that is pleasing to my eye is the 757, and 737's up to -- maybe -- 700s. (Older ones like the 727 are a different story.) Now, I have just about every Boeing ever made, and enjoy flying them, but, to me, they lack the style of the Douglas lineage.

 

The Coolsky 80 is unique in that it has an excellent training system built into to the airplane. It really does work: taking you step by step through different procedures. It has a great in-sim payload and fuel configurator. You can also easily choose different panel states, from cold and dark, and the way to ready for takeoff. You get your V-speeds from cards, which is a nice touch. All of this -- as well as a selection of pop-up panels to make your life easier -- is available from a little icon that sits discretely at the corner of your screen. (Their new DC-9 employs the same features.)

 

I said elsewhere no developer puts himself in the shoes of his customers like Espen. An example is the co-pilot's nav set. Instead of having to use the "A" button to go over to the right seat just to set a frequency and course, you click an unobtrusive number on the pilot's set. It changes to "2," i.e. the co-pilot's set. Then you can switch it back to the pilot's when you're done. It's little well-though-out touches like this that make flying this airplane... I won't say easy -- convenient.

 

As a matter of fact, I don't think this airplane is easy to fly, not by Boeing or Airbus standards. The MCP where you set the autopilot up comes right from the McDonnell Douglas Department of Confusing Controls. Everything you would encounter on a modern Boeing is there -- somewhere. But VNAV won't work unless you change the TRP mode, and there are three different ways to do everything, each with its own set of buttons. It's a challenge. But it is also rewarding. There's more to do than take off, hit autopilot, LNAV and VNAV and see what's in the refrigerator. Coolsky has made it all work, as far as I can tell. Yes, "gotchas" abound. But part of the fun is learning why it annoyingly yells "FUH-LAPS" or "STABILIZER" or both every time you try to take off. It has probably reduced grown men to tears.

 

It also flies nice without autopilot. But it also will autoland for you, too, and is solid on ILS approaches.

 

So, this is one of my very favorite airplanes. It makes me enthusiastic about FSX even after all these years. It has held up very well, and poses an interesting challenge to most pilots. If you missed it first time around, you might consider taking a look. Note: there is the Super 80 Pro -- the one I'm talking about -- and a Super 80, which is a steam gauge version with a unique auto-navigation system of its own. It's an interesting bridge between the DC-9 and the MD-82. And one other thing, the Super 80 Pro is the only airplane I've ever had an OOM problem with. Just once. It's a known issue for some users, but I just completed a flight from Atlanta to Chicago FSAltitude, ASN, and FSDream Team's KORD with no problems.

 

So as much as we love our Boeings, the Maddog offers something very different that is not only a piece of history, but is used by many carriers today. It is indeed a flight sim classic. Maybe some who have gotten the DC-9 will want to move into the beginning of the Age of Glass. They are similar enough for an easier transition.

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Thanks for this.  I've only just discovered the DC-9 and was wondering about the MD-80 Edition (the one that gives you both the Super 80 and the Pro).  I'm blown away by the training system - I'm amazed that it hasn't gotten more attention or sparked more imitations.  Once I've got my mind around the DC-9 a little bit better, I think I'll take the next step and try the MD-80s.  So feel free to add at least one convert to your list....  B)

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I am glad to win a convert! :lol: I'm like you: I've wondered by the training system never caught on outside of Coolsky. Same with other nice touches. I think a genuine care for the customer / pilot is just one of the things that makes Espen stand out. Sure, you can give a manual and (maybe) tutorial flight, but I think Coolsky knows few of us are as eager to sit down and digest a long manual as we are to hop into the left seat and start the engines. So I think it is a kind concession to reality, accommodating us in the way we really want to use our add-ons. There have been times when I have been out of simming for awhile, and when I come back it is nice to have that training system as a refresher course. The DC-9 is oh so sweet. All the goodness of Coolsky's previous work, with second-to-none graphics! And their radio navigation system is another good example of how they put the pilot first.

 

If you take the plunge on the Super 80 Pro, don't hesitate to PM me if you run into any gotchas. I think I've been got by all of them.

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Many thanks, and I'll be glad to take you up on that offer.  I've got to spend a little more time with the DC-9 just to get it under my skin... and to get it into FSX (right now I have it in P3D only, but I want to try it out in a "full feature" environment).  But after that, I think I'll move up the MD-80 food chain.  I hear the -80 has some quirks, and I'll likely need some guidance.  More soon...  

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What a co-incidence eh Alan! :smile:   (Alan and I were just chatting on PM about the Coolsky MD-80 Pro over the last few days).

 

Yes I agree Tim, a real classic and has that "magic" feel to the flight handling characteristics.   I do feel it has been eclipsed by the DC-9 now in terms of state of the art, but the Coolsky MD-80 Pro is still an amazing add-on in it's own right, offering some great things that the DC-9 doesn't have (like an excellent, full featured FMS).

 

I'd say the Coolsky DC-9 and MD-80 Pro are both must-haves for the airliner fan. :cool: 

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Speaking of Oldies-But-Goodies... how would you compare the Coolsky MD-80 to the Leonardo Maddog, which I still fly quite a bit and still enjoy?  I love the DC-9/MD-80 series and have been looking at the Coolsky products, but haven't convinced myself that I really need another one.

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The Maddog has more systems coverage and better sounds (especially in the cockpit), but the VC texturing is very hard to get away with by today's standards.     It's the only thing that let's it down, but for sufficiently for me to have retired it and only fly the Coolsky now.

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The Maddog has more systems coverage and better sounds (especially in the cockpit), but the VC texturing is very hard to get away with by today's standards.     It's the only thing that let's it down, but for sufficiently for me to have retired it and only fly the Coolsky now.

The Coolsky MD-80 VC is not quite 3D...

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The Maddog is a serious procedural sim where you can mess up something as simple as mis-timing the fuel lever on engine start. Two pilots can fly it online, which is something you don't see much. There will always be a soft spot in my heart for the Maddog, since a previous iteration was my first add-on -- a boxed version from Lago. But like the man said, the VC just doesn't cut it for me. The Coolsky version is plenty complicated enough for me. But the Maddog goes over the top in realism, if that's what you're looking for.

 

I have both, but only have the Coolsky installed. That's not taking anything away from Maddog, just my preference. And their DC-9 is arguably the best-looking airplane in flight sim history (as well as being a great flyer with the usual Coolsky goodies.)


The VC in the Coolsky is partially 2D, but done very cleverly so it doesn't look bad to my eye. Between the two, I don't know that I could say the Maddog VC looks better, even though it is 3D. The Level D 767 isn't quite 3D either, and the original textures are nowhere as good as Coolsky's. (A later mod improved them somewhat.)

 

The great thing is that you can get it from Flight 1 if you're at all interested, and check out the VC and everything else at your leisure. If it's not up to your standards, you can return it within 30 days.

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What a co-incidence eh Alan!   (Alan and I were just chatting on PM about the Coolsky MD-80 Pro over the last few days).

 

Isn't it interesting how you're not paying any attention to a product, and suddenly it pops up in three or four discussions at once?

 

For the record - Dave gets the credit for helping push me over the edge into the DC-9.  And Dave and Tim together will be responsible when (soon) I step into the Super 80 Pro.

 

And that's how I became a Douglas/Maddog driver...

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I'd like both Coolsky and the Maddog to be officially supported in P3D v2.  Hopefully that's on the horizon for these two developers sometime in the near future.  :smile:

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I'd like both Coolsky and the Maddog to be officially supported in P3D v2.

 

This doesn't rise to the level of official support, but on Dave's advice, I installed the DC-9 into P3D V2 using the Estonian Migration Tool and can confirm it works perfectly.  Very easy on frames as well.  I understand the same is true of the Super 80 Pro but I haven't tried it yet.  Agree that a supported version would be better, but the migrated version is much better than nothing, at least for now.

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