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SirBismuth

New PMDG 737NGX Pilot

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I was recently gifted a PMDG 737NGX, and all I can say is "Wow", the work done to the 737 by PMDG is amazing.

 

I ran through the Tutorials, they are a great help.  When i first climbed in the the cockpit, I wanted to click on everything (having come from the FSX default cockpit, where half the switches are for decoration), so might have inadvertenly set some ground crew on fire (and probably had the APU destroyed when I inadvertently tested the fire alarm), but otherwise had no idea what to do (I like starting "dark and cold" so change the panel state to that first-off, but then had to change it back to "default" for the Tutorial).

 

My previous experience was in Feelthere's ERJ145, so the 737 is an upgrade for me, and I do love the FMC on it, find it quite user-friendly (well, the config part), had no idea about entering routes etc. until I followed the Tutorials.  I have successfully flown procedure turn approaches in the ERJ (though not as scenic as LOWI), but am still not getting the circle-to-land approach right in Tutorial #2.  First attempt at the approached I messed up as I was way too high and not setup correctly, dunno how I missed descending to 3700 and all that, but yeah.  So I then loaded the saved flight just before the visual approach, but keep ending up too high after the turn, dunno how I am not managing the descending turn correctly, but yeah, will figure that one out with practice.  

 

Once I am comfortable with the operation of the 737, plan on flying it around the world, like I did with the ERJ, more online than offline as much as possible this time.  

 

Douglas Uyate

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I came from the default 737 about two years ago. It was a huge learning curve, but in the long run its a gazillion times better then the default.

 

I remember the first flight in the NGX, I absolutely couldn't figure anything out.. especially with the autopilot. I remember thinking I'm in way over my head. The default 737 in hindsight is set up to be very user friendly... a game -  as it should be. The NGX is setup to be a simulation, as real to life as you can get in the confines of the program- not user friendly or intuitive... unless you take lots of time to learn a bunch of stuff. 

 

It's a commitment. Use this forum as a learning tool, usually everything you'll run into as far as questions has been discussed here. 

Heres another tip that helped me with getting the plane off the ground. Use the FCOMv1 PDF that came with the software. Chapter NP in Section 21, the Normal Procedures "amplified procedures". Print off NP.21.1 through NP.21.86. This and the supplementary tutorials were to me the basic bible on how to get in, fly, and land.

Over time you will remember most everything in there and all you'll need is the little checklist cards that are somewhere in the documentation. Theres a ton other procedures in there to deal with special situations too if you ever get bored with everyday uneventful flights. 

Depending on your level of commitment or what you want to get out of the game, you can add to your knowledge by learning things outside of the airplane, flight planning, route flying, general flight rules, and one of my favorites, ATC communications.

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Thanks for the informative reply Nick.

 

I have known about PMDG for awhile now, so am glad to finally be flying one of their jets.  I wanted a sim, not a game, and that's what I've found in the NGX.

 

I have already read through the two FCOMs, QRH and FCTM, well, skimmed through them, but do plan on going back to them and studying them a bit more in-depth.  It's a pity that they weren't allowed to included the FPPM, but yeah, it's a minor compared to what is included.  I don't mind repeating certain procedures like programming the FMC, or configuring the jet for various stages of flight, then eventually the flow becomes second nature.  This is also why I liked a "cold and dark" start to the day's flying.

 

The NGX may not be "friendly or intuitive", much like the real thing, but I've found that the lady treats you well if you respect her.  Still loving the Autoland in EHAM, but also don't want to get too reliant automation, and then fall apart when things go pear-shaped, and I need to do things manually.  So, also want to hand-fly as much as possible, while also using the automation technology available to me.

 

What do I want to get out of this?  Simple, I would to fly the NGX, and learn about all the rest, as close as possible to what a real NGX pilot would go through.  Would build a true-to-life, full-size, 737 cockpit if I could.

 

Douglas Ulyate

 

 

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If you haven't already run though the tutorial flights! I didn't know which way was up until I did them. Also on YouTube Frooglesim has a couple of fully loaded video series using the NGX that are great.

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NGX is still my all time fav plane.

Wish PMDG would add a true Freighter version.

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Hi,

 

There are also other goods documents to learn how to fly it:

 

_ FCOM v1: describes all the normal procedures

_ FCTM: describes the normal, supplementary and abnormal procedures

_ QRH: describes the emergency procedures

_ FCOM v2: teaches you how the systems work

 

For me the first two are as good as the tutorials to learn how to operate the aircraft in day to day operations.

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 I don't mind repeating certain procedures like programming the FMC, or configuring the jet for various stages of flight, then eventually the flow becomes second nature


I don't even know if you could (I suppose you could) fly without programming the FMC. For me though thats half the fun. Some of the features though you'll need additional software (and a a few extra$$). To fully program the FMC and properly estimate fuel and get a proper descent, you'll need Active Sky 2016 (which also makes the radar function start working). You'll also need something like TOPCAT to calculate the derate (you want to use up the entire runway when you takeoff, right?). Of course if your going to pay more, why not get the cloud art too, right? The default clouds are crappy when compared to the aftermarket clouds... not much to look at other then clouds when your cruising, right? And its nice to have some chatter and ground crew (GSX)... and a must have is EZDok (IMO)... well you can quickly see you get what you pay for, but comes back to what do you want to get out of this thing? Oh and if you're going to travel real world routes and use real world up to date charts you need a navigraph subscription....

 

Take a breath...

 

It depends on what you want, you don't NEED all that stuff, it just depends on how real and deep you want to get into it.

This is my hobby, I love it - so I paid for what I want, and learned how to use it - and  its very rewarding!

 

 

 


This is also why I liked a "cold and dark" start to the day's flying.

 

I liked that too - at first... but I start from a turnaround state nowadays... still takes at least 30 mins for me to sit down at that panel state to get push back ready, even with 10 mins of planning beforehand. And time with online controllers at vatsim is sometimes limited, if you take too long they might go offline while you're getting ready to take off from what you thought was a controlled airport.

 


Still loving the Autoland


Cool feature, but if you want to be real, you can only use that feature legally under certain circumstances. Plus in my opinion its more rewarding to do it by by hand. But to each his own, if you love it, use it!

Theres so much to learn, and its overwhelming at first. Take it in bite sized pieces, and over time you'll get to where you want to be. For me, I usually am eagerly looking forward every 2nd or 3rd  night after the kids go to bed to fly a short route, usually 2 hours a night. It adds up fast. I started using VATSIM May of last year - since then I fly vatsim on about 80% of my flights. I found an automated site that logs your flights and it turns out I've flown 98 times for 101 hours in the air, over 20,000 miles.

https://www.vatstats.net/pilots/1345456
 

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If you haven't already run though the tutorial flights! I didn't know which way was up until I did them. Also on YouTube Frooglesim has a couple of fully loaded video series using the NGX that are great.

 

I have successfully completed Tutorial #1, still need to complete #2 (the approach into LOWI, need to successfully execute the Circle-to-land there, but have done it up to just before the visual approach).

 

 

NGX is still my all time fav plane.

Wish PMDG would add a true Freighter version.

 

I am heading that way as well, any aircraft I fly in future will be compared to the NGX and the work PMDG have put into it.

 

 

Hi,

 

There are also other goods documents to learn how to fly it:

 

_ FCOM v1: describes all the normal procedures

_ FCTM: describes the normal, supplementary and abnormal procedures

_ QRH: describes the emergency procedures

_ FCOM v2: teaches you how the systems work

 

For me the first two are as good as the tutorials to learn how to operate the aircraft in day to day operations.

 

Couldn't agree more!  Am going to print them all out eventually (at least, relevant extracts from them), so I can refer to them at any time.

 

 

 

I don't even know if you could (I suppose you could) fly without programming the FMC. For me though thats half the fun. Some of the features though you'll need additional software (and a a few extra$$). To fully program the FMC and properly estimate fuel and get a proper descent, you'll need Active Sky 2016 (which also makes the radar function start working). You'll also need something like TOPCAT to calculate the derate (you want to use up the entire runway when you takeoff, right?). Of course if your going to pay more, why not get the cloud art too, right? The default clouds are crappy when compared to the aftermarket clouds... not much to look at other then clouds when your cruising, right? And its nice to have some chatter and ground crew (GSX)... and a must have is EZDok (IMO)... well you can quickly see you get what you pay for, but comes back to what do you want to get out of this thing? Oh and if you're going to travel real world routes and use real world up to date charts you need a navigraph subscription....

 

Take a breath...

 

It depends on what you want, you don't NEED all that stuff, it just depends on how real and deep you want to get into it.

This is my hobby, I love it - so I paid for what I want, and learned how to use it - and  its very rewarding!

 

 

 

 

I liked that too - at first... but I start from a turnaround state nowadays... still takes at least 30 mins for me to sit down at that panel state to get push back ready, even with 10 mins of planning beforehand. And time with online controllers at vatsim is sometimes limited, if you take too long they might go offline while you're getting ready to take off from what you thought was a controlled airport.

 

 

 

Cool feature, but if you want to be real, you can only use that feature legally under certain circumstances. Plus in my opinion its more rewarding to do it by by hand. But to each his own, if you love it, use it!

 

Theres so much to learn, and its overwhelming at first. Take it in bite sized pieces, and over time you'll get to where you want to be. For me, I usually am eagerly looking forward every 2nd or 3rd  night after the kids go to bed to fly a short route, usually 2 hours a night. It adds up fast. I started using VATSIM May of last year - since then I fly vatsim on about 80% of my flights. I found an automated site that logs your flights and it turns out I've flown 98 times for 101 hours in the air, over 20,000 miles.

 

https://www.vatstats.net/pilots/1345456

 

 

 

I had a Navigraph subscription with the ERJ, recently re-activated so that I could update the NGX's AIRAC.

 

Will also take a look at AS, cloudart, Topcat, GSX and EZDok.  Am also going to get a CDU app to use on my Tab, will make programming the FMC that much easier.  Am tempted to get another one eventually, if I can find one for a reasonable price, then have TWO FMCs going outside the sim.

 

Was looking at my "Flight Analysis" when I completed Tutorial #1, pushback and taxi commenced 30-45minutes after starting the Tutorial, so can believe that it takes 30mins to get ready for pushback.  Think I took just as long, if not longer, for Tutorial #2, especially as that was from a "cold and dark" state.

 

Would it not be better to do as much as possible offline, then go online, make any changes to your flightplan that CD might make, and then push & start from there?  Then there is less chance of ATC going offline while you are getting setup?  Just a thought.

 

Douglas Ulyate

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The PMDG stuff is great.

 

Just wanted to add PFPX for flight planning :-)

I could not go without it.

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ATC going offline while you are getting setup?

 

They run on their own schedule. You can peek and see what space is controlled and pick a route based on that. But that coverage map is a snapshot of the present, controllers come and go when they have time independent of what I'm doing. 

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If you really want to enjoy hand flying this machine, you could practice in less complex airplanes and learn the four fundamentals of flight in those, then practice on the 737. When you feel you are ready, turn off the autothrottle and the Flight Directors. Learn to fly straight and level adjusting your power to maintain airspeed within 10 knots, and try an airspeed like 210 KIAS first. Then practice constant rate of descent or climb with an appropriate N1 power setting at a constant airspeed. Then practice the turns with different degrees of bank and master 10 or 20 degrees first, then 30. When you got those techniques mastered you can try a visual approach and then some instrument flying !!!

 

Stabilize all your maneuvers with trim, just getting the hang of that is a ton of work at first.

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You might find this useful:

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flying-Boeing-700-Flight-Simulators/dp/1453860819

 

Beyond simply 'what to click on', that book is a mine of useful information on 'why' you click on that particular button, so it goes beyond merely what to do, and all pilots should know why they are doing what they are doing. More than this however, it is quite possibly the nicest tutorial book you will ever read, with a really friendly and likeable writing style, written by a a guy who was a US Navy aviator on the Grumman S2 and an airline pilot for United Airlines for decades. Should be on every serious simmer's bookshelf for sure.

 

If you want to get really 'nerdy' on the 737 and would like to literally know every nut and bolt on the thing, and how all the systems really work, then this is another book you should also consider:

 

http://www.b737.org.uk/book.htm

 

Truly an excellent book, which I found incredibly helpful when I did a 737 review for Avsim years ago. It is written by a guy who did test check flights for the 737 at his airline, so he really knows his stuff. If you love the 737, you'll love this book too. Great in particular if you like simulating emergencies, since it will get you familiar with every single system on the NG.

 

Also worth a look is this one, for a good overview of the aircraft:

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Boeing-737-Crowood-Aviation-Series-New-Copy-/151172319700

 

Lots of good pics and info in that one. Nice to have, but only if you are obsessed with the 737 lol.

 

Anyway, glad you're liking the 737, it's certainly one of the best FS aeroplanes you can get your hands on.

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Hey All,

 

Thanks for all the replies so far, will definitely take a look at all the suggestions.

 

Will definitely try to hand-fly the jet successfully at some point.  I am used to hand-flying the ERJ on departure / arrival mostly, just depends on the relevant SID/STAR and how well I know it, worst case is usually until established for an ILS approach.  For visual, usually until runway in sight.  

 

I did finally complete Tutorial #2 last week, I kept my turn much tighter and with a more positive rate of descent (guess being so close to the mountains made me reluctant to descend as much as I needed to).  While I wasn't perfectly aligned with the runway, a few small corrections sorted that out, and I landed safely.  I have since flown to two local airports, FACT and FALE, and executed ILS approaches for both successfully.  ProATC/X crashed halfway to FALE, and had to land at my alternate as I stuffed up my routing on the FMC (was fiddling with it and couldn't figure out how to revert my changes) and needed to rectify that.  FSX default ATC sent me to GA parking at FXMM (alternate), lol, but once I had my FMC issue sorted and ProATC up and running again, all was well and I got to my destination, albeit 2hrs later than intended.

 

The HGS on the 737 helped me a ton there, as well as for takeoffs, compared to the ERJ where I would have to look down.  I haven't flown it for years, think you had a minimal "virtual cockpit" option it, which only displayed the necessary information, much like the HGS does.

 

Douglas Ulyate

 

 

 

 

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https://www.amazon.c...s/dp/1453860819
 
Beyond simply 'what to click on', that book is a mine of useful information on 'why' you click on that particular button, so it goes beyond merely what to do, and all pilots should know why they are doing what they are doing. More than this however, it is quite possibly the nicest tutorial book you will ever read, with a really friendly and likeable writing style, written by a a guy who was a US Navy aviator on the Grumman S2 and an airline pilot for United Airlines for decades. Should be on every serious simmer's bookshelf for sure.

 

Mike Ray's books are amazing, in addition to the general 700 series book he does a 737NG specific syllabus.  I cant recommend these books enough. 

 

http://www.utem.com/shop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=34

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On an impulse, I bought the NGX last night, and took it for a spin over London (Orbx UK) to see how it performed on my new system (smooth as silk) and made a cack-handed but non-fatal landing at Heathrow (does she generally like to float or is that just me?). Then I reloaded without Orbx (just Global) and headed east, just to see how it hand-flies...more responsive than I expected. Then I headed south over the channel and dialled in the Dieppe VOR...oops no DME, so switched to Abbeville instead and on to Paris CDG, where I was totally misaligned and aimed for another runway instead, but didn't get down or slow quick enough overshot it. Oops.

 

I never went near the FMC, just dialed in the frequency and adjusted the course knob for the track to the VOR. I could't find an equivalent of autopilot NAV mode. I thought LNAV might have done it but I guess that just works with the FMC. I got where I wanted to go by just using Heading Select to track the correct course. Of course, I'll do the tutorials before tackling anything more complex.

 

Very nice, smooth performance, terrific VC. I love the way changes to equipment layout are implemented instantly before your eyes. Great product, worth every penny. It's made me re-think my entire hangar and the path I'll take before I think I'm really ready to fly it properly. All I need to complete my collection now is a decent King Air with steam gauges given the (close-to) PMDG/Majestic/FSLabs treatment.  :smile:

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does she generally like to float or is that just me?

 

Not sure what plane your coming from (I came from the default 737) and I thought it floated alot too until I realized I was just flaring too hard - pilot error due to being used to the default plane, you'll get used to it.

 


I never went near the FMC

 


ind an equivalent of autopilot NAV mode


Again, if you came from the default 737, the autopilot in the NGX will not make sense. It does a whole lot more then the default A/P - and LNAV does a whole lot more then anything the default A/P does. 

The tutorials will clear most of it up, but to get everything the plane has to offer will require a commitment.

 

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does she generally like to float or is that just me?  :smile:

 

The NG does indeed like to float, it is a function of several features of the aircraft. Unless you are talking about a 737-600 (which is more or less the same length as an older 737-200 variant), NGs land much faster and therefore typically 'flatter' than the older versions, most especially the 900/900ER, where there is considerable risk of a tail strike if over-flared, it having an extra tail skid for just that reason. Approach speeds on 737NGs are around about 20 knots above VREF, but it is known that even at reasonably high landing weights, a 737NG can still be generating enough lift to keep flying (especially when in ground effect) when traveling as slow as 90 knots, so if you're coming in hot, and even if you are not, then you will almost certainly land long in an NG, as you're likely to be doing at least a good thirty-five knots higher than that speed on short finals.

 

For example, at Schiphol in 2008, Turkish Airlines Flight 1952,a 737-800, bellied in short of the runway as a result of its autothrottle closing to idle on approach owing to an altimeter failure, which led the autopilot to calculate the aircraft it was just about to touch down when it was still over 500 feet above the ground (autothrottle closure should actually occur when the aircraft is at 27 feet above the runway). It was written off (breaking into three pieces and shedding both engines in the hard landing on the grass) but even so, most people on board survived the impact (although there were quite a lot of serious injuries and several fatalities), but even so, it is remarkable considering that at one point on the approach the aircraft was only traveling at 83 knots (when it should theoretically have been doing 144 knots to remain on the glideslope). This just goes to show you how slow the NG can go and still not completely fall out of the sky.

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In sim at least, the NGX likes to float if you aren't used to it.  I have to be honest, once you get some time and practice, you learn that you almost don't need to "flare" per se.  What I mean by that is that most add ons I've had for FS2002, FS9, and FSX aren't developed much differently (exception is the NGX and MJC Dash-8).  You have to idle and pull back, sometimes quite a bit to flare and settle at Vref.  They've almost all rested onto the runway with little effort.  I've only had a couple that ballooned terribly during flare.  It was almost unrealistic IMO.

 

Anyhow, the NGX, properly configured on glide-path will have some nose up attitude, despite not looking that way from the flight deck.  You idle the thrust at 30' AGL and slowly level out your descent until you put her down.  I no longer float and feel that the NGX actually is the easiest to land.  To go even further, there are times when your level off to touchdown actually forces you to apply forward pressure to get her down.  If you watch pilots landing, forward and back pressure is applied during the "flare/landing" phase. 

 

I realize it's tricky, and lots of people struggle to not float, but the main reason for that is as follows - sim "pilots" are way too hung up on greasing the landing and touching down at -25 fpm.  That's just unrealistic and silly.  The majority of flights are touching down at -200 fpm give or take.  I actually irritates me to see this greasing crap online.  You have to get down within a TDZ and companies don't really allow you to float along without some retort based on SOP.

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I agree re. the floating of the NGX, noticed that on more than one occasion that I actually hardly need to flare.  The ERJ did need a more positive flare, much more than the NGX.  I was still scared of planting the aircraft in the runway nosewheel first, which would not be a pretty sight.

 

Douglas Ulyate

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True, in fact when I was first learning to fly in real life, I used to grease it on every time, and initially my instructor was impressed that I could do that, until one day when I got a bit target fixated on the ground and flared too late, causing a pretty hard landing which although causing no damage, did have us walking around the aeroplane afterward to check I hadn't bent anything, fortunately I had not, since training aeroplanes are built with that kind of thing in mind. After that experience, I stopped greasing it in and instead used the less flashy but ultimately more sensible way to land. 

 

Incidentally, if you ever see a 747 pilot who's not used to flying small GA aeroplanes come in for a landing in one of them, stand by for a good laugh when you see them flaring that little aeroplane when still 75 feet in the air. I used to know a 747 skipper who did that all the time lol.

 

Most airlines prefer to have their pilots plant the aircraft down fairly solid as far as I'm aware, since there is less wear caused on the tires when you do that. If you try to gently kiss it down, the tires skid more before picking up speed and that causes wear. Airliner tires cost many thousands of pounds and in some cases can last as little as thirty landings if abused in that way, whereas if treated well, airliner tires have been known to last for as many as five hundred landings, so you can understand why airlines would advocate planting that bird down properly, otherwise, one dodgy landing could basically blow the profit for that entire flight. Oddly enough, many airlines don't actually own the tires on their aeroplanes, they essentially lease them off companies, because when the tread wears down, they are sent back and retreaded, and this can be done quite a few times before the thing is useless, which is just as well for a tire that can cost 20 grand. Something to consider, even in your simulated flights, if you are into doing it 'properly'.

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Another question here:

Compared to the PMDG 777, how would you rate the 737 in terms of details and overall impression?

 

I really love the 777 but I am 50:50 to buy the 737, with FS2Crew this would be another 100€....

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Never flown the 777, so can't compare, but am sure that you will be impressed with the 737.

 

When flying for real, I don't mind if the pilots put it down a bit hard, known WHY they are usually doing that (tyre wear considerations etc.).  For the less-informed, they prefer the "greased landing".  Heck, isn't there a cliché along the lines of "any landing you can walk away for a pilot is a good landing."

 

Douglas Ulyate

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Another question here:

Compared to the PMDG 777, how would you rate the 737 in terms of details and overall impression?

 

I really love the 777 but I am 50:50 to buy the 737, with FS2Crew this would be another 100€....

 

 

The PMDG 737 is without doubt one of the best FS add-ons you can get, and a dream come true for any 737 fan. If you even remotely like the B737 then it's a no brainer to get the PMDG 737NG.

 

There are some nice 737 add-ons out there for FS, and some of them even come fairly close to the PMDG NG (i.e. the iFly 737 is a good and comprehensive package for the money). There are many decent 100 and 200 series 737 FS add-ons, and there is soon to be a decent 3/4/500 series add-on from QW to replace the aging Wilco ones, which are showing their aged origins a bit nowadays. But if you want ultimate realism, the PMDG 737 is at the top the tree. The only other short/medium haul FS add-on which can justifiably hold a candle to it, is the FSL A320.

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