Sign in to follow this  
Tim_Capps

Dogfight Between Coolsky Flight One DC-9 and Captain Sim 737

Recommended Posts

NOTE: this is not really a review, and does not fit the member review template, which is why you are finding it here. I hope you enjoy it!

 

 

Dogfight: Coolsky Flight One DC-9 vs. Captain Sim 737-100/200 & 200ADV
 
The DC-9 first flew in 1965 on short to medium routes. The 737-100 competed for the same market, and entered service in 1968, followed that same year by the 200, and the ADV in 1971. Both were hugely successful products for their makers, and lasted well into the age of glass cockpits. In the end, it was the 737 that turned out to be the most popular jetliner of them all, but that outcome was not always obvious.
 
These classics were rivals in real life, so how do they compare in FSX? Let's put them head to head and find out. Each category will be ranked 1 to 5 (best), except where there's something exceptional.
 
 
ROUND ONE: PURCHASE AND DOWNLOADING -- EVEN
 
737
 
The Captain has the best system in the business. You buy the product, get a link and an install code, and you're ready to install. Later, as long as you remember your email address and at least one product code, you can access your account for updates and re-downloads. Aerosoft has a similarly friendly system, and anything more complicated than this is likely to get marked down. (There are still some vendors doing weird stuff out there, and this does affect my purchasing habits.) Fortunately, it doesn't get more consumer-friendly than Captain Sim's method.
 
SCORE: 5.
 
DC-9 
 
Flight One has its wrapper, and it's license key, and, yes, it all works, but it's just shy of the intuitive ease of Captain Sim and some other companies. That said, it doesn't warrant a mark-down.
 
SCORE: 5
 
 
ROUND TWO: Documentation -- ADVANTAGE: DC-9
 
737
 
Captain Sim's documentation is one of their strengths. While I would like to see some systems covered more in depth (like the PDCS, although... you'll see) it is decent. The lack of a tutorial, however, brings it down. Captain Sim, for some reason, stubbornly refuses to include tutorials in their products.
 
SCORE: 4.
 
DC-9
 
You not only get good conventional documentation, but a whole in-sim interactive instruction system that points to relevant elements of your panel while displaying explanatory text. The tutorial is linked to this system, which is less than ideal in my opinion (unless you enjoy flying from the 2-D panel) but, that's not much of a complaint. This is a complex airplane, and it looks like the developers really want you to know how to fly it properly.
 
Since it lacks an FMC, we're talking radio navigation here for both contestants. The DC-9 gives you a "Nav Sim," however, which both helps and instructs you in this arcane art. The beauty of it is that it doesn't just take away the challenge of radio navigation. It actually teaches you along the way. The upshot is you needn't be afraid to buy the DC-9 because you don't know how to use radio navigation. You will learn, and until then, you've got training wheels.
 
While not really documentation, the DC-9 also provides in-sim loading and fueling, and an "auto-configure" function to set up your airplane in different states: cold and dark, ready for taxi, ready for takeoff, and even in-flight configurations. Captain Sim, in comparison, has it's familiar ACE, which loads your airplane and... well, that's all it does. No, it's not broken, but when you see what other developers are doing with the DC-9, or Aerosoft's A318/319, people are getting a lot more elsewhere.
 
SCORE: 6!
 
 
ROUND THREE: LOOKS -- ADVANTAGE 737
 
737
 
This is where Captain Sim can be expected to shine, and it does. When you look at the hand-painted, subtle gradation of lighting on the bezel of an instrument, you know you are looking at sheer artistry. Nodoby can beat Captain Sim on visuals, and this is possibly their best. Be advised it features Captain Sim's trademark "distressed" look, so if you enjoy that new jetliner smell, you might not appreciate the effort.
 
Score: 6!
 
DC-9
 
Not as far from Captain Sim as you might expect, especially after the "functional" artwork on Coolsky's previous MD-80. Espen and the crew have really upped their game for this one, and it does not hurt that they have McPhat on board. The visuals are very well done. You can even buy ultra high definition panels and aircraft paints from McPhat if you prefer extra crispy visuals.
 
SCORE: 5.
 
 
ROUND FOUR: Systems -- ADVANTAGE DC-9
 
737
 
The industry was transitioning to greater automation in these 60s birds, but were still pretty primative compared to modern airplanes. Captain Sim has had trouble with systems in the past, and the 737 carries on that dubious tradition. The PDCS has a real CRT, with a keyboard to enter data so a computer can figure your EPR and do other things. The problem is, the thing gives you a crash to desktop half the time you try to use it. This seems to be a universal problem that Captain Sim is aware of, but has declined to address.
 
If you can resist playing with the PDCS, you can certainly fly the airplane without it. Frankly, I don't think this was really intended to be flown by the numbers. The fan base has come up with V-speed cards and other tweaks if you like, but I don't use them. Autopilot works fine, and the control wheel steering also works nicely. In fact, the 737 is one of my favorites. Even so, you can't put in a system that not only doesn't work, but dumps you unceremoniously to the desktop if you try to use it.
 
If the PDCS worked, I'd give it a 4. As it is...
 
SCORE: 1 (ouch!)
 
DC-9
 
Coolsky did a great job on this wacky bird. Sometimes I have imagined that Douglas perpetrated an elaborate practical joke on the industry by making things as counter-intuitive as possible. The autothrottle button is cleverly disguised as an ordinary panel light? Who knew? Still, that's on Douglas. Coolsky did a great job on the systems. They even have a live schematic!
 
SCORE: 5
 
 
ROUND FIVE: FLYING -- ADVANTAGE 737
 
737
 
This is a very nice flying airplane. In fact, for touch and goes at RWY 34R KSEA it is my favorite. Its automation works like a charm. Most owners make an adjustment to a value in the aircraft config file to tone down the engines. Aside from the PDCS problem (which really doesn't affect practical operations), this is an airplane you can have fun with in the circuit, or flying routes.
 
SCORE: 5
 
DC-9
 
This one just doesn't seem quite as easy to fly. Having never flown a real DC-9 (nor a 737, for that matter) I have no idea if this is realistic. Get distracted for a minute and your autopilot will cheerfully stall you. It is a real chore to break through those final ten feet to touchdown. Is ground effect really so pronounced in a DC-9, as compared to all my other airplanes? All I know is that the 737 just seems a little more fun to fly.
 
SCORE: 4
 
 
THE FINAL RESULT
 
Captain Sim 737: 21 Points
Coolsky Flight One DC-9: 25 points THE WINNER!
 
Note that without the botched PDCS (which you don't need to fly the airplane) we would almost have a tie. Truth to tell, these are both great representations of classic airliners, and both are a blast to fly. You can confidently use radio navigation with either (assuming you have that skill) and the DC-9 comes with the extra benefit of the Nav Sim. I'm glad I have both, and if I had could only keep one, it would be a hard choice. One that, fortunately, I don't have to make.
 
One caveat: I have run into occasional Out Of Memory issues with the DC-9, something that also plagued their MD-80. There's no doubt there is a lot going on with this airplane. I never used to have them, but have recently added quite a few new airports, so I am learning to disable everything except what I'm likely to fly to during a session, to see if that helps.
 
So there you have it! The Coolsky Flight One DC-9 wins this dogfight on account of Captain Sim botching the 737's PDCS. But either one or both are decent choices for classic airliner buffs, or anyone who just wants to find out if they have what it takes to be a real aviator.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

I wish it was that close. If it was, the DC-9 wouldn't be 6 to 1 ahead on hours in my logbook. But it is. I would agree that the 737 wins on the looks front, although there is nothing really wrong with the DC-9. The -9 is a bit of an odd looking plane at the best of times, IMO (it has grown on me).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I'm flying KSFO - KLAX at this very moment. The DC-9 is a very nice airplane, and quite the handful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know, in my opinion the DC-9 is in a whole other league from the CS737, just way ahead.

 

The DC-9 is also a joy and pleasure to hand fly, I don't remember how the 737 was but I don't remember it flying particularly well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is an insult to any reputable software company being compared to captain sim. The milviz 737 would be a better comparison.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 737 was way over powered and there were a host of other bugs ( pressurization, overhead switches getting moved around when clicking menu items in the left hand corner-alt, lack of rudder input) and many others. DC-9 is much more robust, detailed and accurate in my opinion. I did install the all the fixes in the 737 and it seems much more realistic now and I do enjoy flying it occasionally. But the DC-9 I feel is in a whole other league. I only paid $12 for the CS 737 on sale. That's what I feel its worth. The 737 is beautiful graphically though.

Plus, Espen, DC-9 developer, get's right back to you personally ( no matter how many times he's heard the same question) if you have an issue, rather than telling you to go look in the knowledge base for something that isn't even relative to your problem, then closing the ticket.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is an insult to any reputable software company being compared to captain sim. The milviz 737 would be a better comparison.

I wouldn't go that far. To CS's credit their L1011 is quite nice. I would agree with others that the Milviz 737 is a better comparison, it is nice too. I just wish they would fix a few niggles with the exterior model.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't go that far. To CS's credit their L1011 is quite nice. I would agree with others that the Milviz 737 is a better comparison, it is nice too. I just wish they would fix a few niggles with the exterior model.

I am glad to hear they are improving but I have been burned way to many times by CS to take another chance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am glad to hear they are improving but I have been burned way to many times by CS to take another chance.

+1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do have the Coolsky DC-9,  I don't own the CS737.

When I zoom in on the instruments when flying the DC-9 in IFR, it feels as I'm in the real airplane.

The refresh rate & smoothness of all the analog instruments & the looks, are just so real (thanks to McPath). I've never seen such realism in any other analog airplane.

The FDE is one of the best, on par with PMDG NGX & Majestic Q400.. :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, well. It was indeed a couple of months without CS critic thread.

 

CS 737 is visually great as the thread starter noted.

Another advantage over Milviz version is that it is more retro, no modern avionics stuff added. With little modding the overpowering is no issue. And in comparison with Coolsky niner it works fluently. The DC tends to be unstable, sometimes it works but often it crashes the sim. Great addon in every respect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good read, I like the way you outlined your thread, as a reader I enjoyed reading.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, well. It was indeed a couple of months without CS critic thread.

 

CS 737 is visually great as the thread starter noted.

Another advantage over Milviz version is that it is more retro, no modern avionics stuff added. With little modding the overpowering is no issue. And in comparison with Coolsky niner it works fluently. The DC tends to be unstable, sometimes it works but often it crashes the sim. Great addon in every respect.

Hmm, I have zero problems with DC-9 since early on, patches have fixed all that. My only knock on it would be the cockpit lighting could be a bit better, but that's a rather small issue and I'm working on custom fx's to help it a bit.

 

There are pluses and minuses to both the CS737 and Milviz 737, they are two parts that if they could be combined would make a really good 732 sim. As far as comparing the CS737 to the DC9, the DC9 has all those little extras that put it in a different class and make it what I consider a more complete package. And as somebody else mentioned the support for the DC9 is hands down spectacular, Espen takes care of his customers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Geez, you'd have thought I had said the Captain Sim 737 was the better airplane! But I realize any mention of that company provokes a Pavlovian response here. That's why I broke it down so people could see where I thought each had its strengths. When I give the CS737 a "1" for systems, that's as low as I could go. But there are people who don't minding changing a value or two in the aircraft config file to get a less powerful engine, or who don't really care about setting throttles by EPR. They want a beautiful, nice-flying 737-100/200/ADV and/or freighter.

 

CS does a lot of things right, and has gotten better. As someone pointed out, their L1011 is really nice. I like their 757, 767, 707 and 727, too. I think the moral to the story is that if you get a bad reputation, it may take years, if ever, before you overcome it.

 

As a matter of fact, I DO think the DC-9 IS better, for all the reasons I cited. Yet I still enjoy the Guppy. I can hand-fly SIDs and navigate by radio in both. I have a reliable autopilot in both (and an auto-throttle in the DC-9). Both are really nice-looking. The DC-9 gives you a lot more extra value in their "dispatch" and auto-config and training features. It is nice to see some devs really piling the icing onto the cake, e.g. Aerosoft with their new A318/319. (Looking forward to seeing the a320/321 brought up to that standard.)

 

As far as OOM issues with the DC-9, I found a trick at the Aerosoft forums. Disable all the add-on scenery you're not going to be using. I did that and made the first KSFO-KLAX flight without an OOM. Who would have thought scenery on the other side of the world could mess up your flight?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The DC9 is in effect flown on to the ground. If you flare by what you think will be ok it will float forever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good review overall, but I was amazed to read that you thought the Captain Sim 737 'flew better' than the Coolsky DC-9.

The FDE of the CS737 are all over he place in terms of power delivery and there are half a dozen people on the CS forums, who have tried (with limited success) to fix up the FDE.

The Coolsky DC-9 flies divinely in my opinion, and right on the numbers.

PS... as you seem a little sensitive to believe that anyone that criticizes Captain Sim is a Pavlovian CS 'hater', I'll just point out that I enjoy the CS737 (and moreso their 707) and have no beef with them whatsoever.    I just think Coolsky are in a different league concerning flight modelling realism.


 

 


With little modding the overpowering is no issue.

 

If this is the case, please coud you share these mods?

I have been trying to address the extreme overpoweredness on take-off, followed by the asthmatic mid-altitude climb for years, with no success.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If this is the case, please coud you share these mods?

Craig,

If you haven't already, go to CS 737 forum you'll see a list of user fixes and patches. I believe it was a user named Bud who came up with some changes that really helped. That in conjunction with Pauls V-0ne gauge really gives it a feel you'd expect. What I'd like to figure out is the on again/off again rudder input.Sometimes it's there, sometimes not. I've played around with the CFG files and gotten the same results, working and not working at various times. Has CS even released a SP for the 737? It been 2.5 years since release. I think they're too busy chasing dollars elsewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, although the Pavlovian CS haters have perhaps indeed seen their day, it's nice when someone actually reads my little article and offers some intelligent feedback.

 

Nothing could be more subjective than the sense of how something flies. And we're talking pretty fine gradations. I know there are a lot of mods for the FDE, and V-cards, all community produced. The only one I use is the replacement for this section, as follows:

 

[TurbineEngineData]
fuel_flow_gain = 0.002                          //Gain on fuel flow
inlet_area = 9.6                               //Square Feet, engine nacelle inlet area //19.6
rated_N2_rpm = 29920                            //RPM, second stage compressor rated value
static_thrust = 17400                        //25000
afterburner_available = 0                       //Afterburner available?
reverser_available = 1                          //Thrust reverser available?
ThrustSpecificFuelConsumption = 0.385             //Thrust specific fuel consumption (Jets)
AfterBurnThrustSpecificFuelConsumption = 0      //TSFC with afterburn/reheat engaged 
 
The CS 737 has glaring problems, as I think I pointed out fairly. Apart from that, CS is a "survey sim" company. They are not a company that releases an airplane once every few years. That's just not their model. What you get is a virtual history of jet age Boeings, some better than others, but all of which I find a lot of fun to operate, whether anyone else does or not.
 
The 737 is way overdue for an update (as is the 727!) if nothing else to fix the PDCS of Death. It would be nice to (a) use it without crashing the sim; and (b) have it actually generate useful numbers. As for how realistic the way it flies is, I have no idea. Since I tend to fly a lot of different airplanes, I probably care less about realism and nuance than some.
 
I'll try to modify my landing technique -- thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After thinking things over, I think I should clarify my findings.

 

The difference between the "final scores" was relatively small (although the "systems" portion was as different as it could be). To the extent that suggests the CS 737 is in general almost on a level with the Coolsky / Flight 1 DC-9, I can see where that could be misleading, especially if one did not closely read the text. While I think breaking it down and assigning points illustrates the relative strengths of different elements, the final total didn't come out right. 

 

The DC-9 is obviously a labor of love by a crew that learned a lot from their previous offering, the MD-80. Espen came out with something really special for our hobby. They obviously worked on the appearance of their airplane, making huge strides from the MD-80. Although I don't think they beat Captain Sim at their own game, the robin's egg blue panel is something to behold, especially if you buy McPhat's UHDT.

 

The Captain Sim 737 is better than some would give it credit for being, but inherits the maddening family trait of being left in an unfinished state . I think the review fairly pointed that out. Selling a product with an instrument that crashes your sim nearly every time you use it is not acceptable, even to those of us who like the company. Even so, I enjoy the heck out of the airplane, and think they got it mostly right, or, more exactly, got those things which I care about most, right. (I just don't touch the PDCS.) With the choice of either the 737 or the DC-9, it's a coin flip which I'll choose, even though I would never try to argue the CS737 is a better bird.

 

It's no secret I like their airplanes. I like the way they look and handle, the great community on their forum, and give them credit for improvements. It is also very frustrating to us supporters to have to endlessly qualify our recommendations and have the rug pulled out from under us by things like the stupid PDCS and a lack of attention to detail. (Although most of those missed details are noticed by people are more knowledgeable about the aircraft than I want to be.) It's cool for me to able to fly a 707, a 727, a 737, a 757, and a 767 and relive the jet age history of Boeing.

 

I also might be caught flying an Aerosoft Airbus. (I'm loving the little A318/319s now.)

 

I suppose the best summary would be: Yes, I would give an unqualified recommendation to purchase the DC-9. As for the CS 737, there are some things you need to know, first...

 

In keeping with the retro theme, "You've come a long way, baby."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Milviz 737-200 is a great airplane. I agree this should have been used to compare. Captain Sim is all eye candy and no realism. Not a comparison between the dc-9.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I'm tempted to buy the Milviz because I have become quite a fan of the old 737. I am reconciled to the prospect of average graphics, but I hope I am not buying the kind of trouble we're all agreeing the CS 737 has.

 

P.S. I'm getting the Flight 1 version so I'll have a money-back guarantee.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I got the Milviz. As expected, there's not much competition in the graphics department, no matter how beat up and stained they made the panel. Example: look at the caution buttons in the Milviz 737. Bright, pristine, flat red with a perfect white Arial font. It just doesn't fit with the rest of the panel. The old saying applies equally to barns, prostitutes and airplanes: a good paint job covers a multitude of sins. I get it that graphics don't matter to many people. But they do to me.

 

I like the start-up on the Milviz; seems a lot more realistic. The Sperry autopilot seemed a bit more complete. I did not, however, like the autopilot capturing the localizer and glide slope, and tracking twenty feet to the left of RWY 34R at KSEA. (That's my testing and practice runway.) Don't know what's going on there. More testing tomorrow.

 

I also noticed relatively few paints compared to Captain Sim's. Peace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this