mikeglaz

Which PMDG aircraft?

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Which PMDG aircraft is the most popular and the easiest to learn?  I.e. which has the best manuals and the most tutorials?

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3 minutes ago, mikeglaz said:

Which PMDG aircraft is the most popular and the easiest to learn?  I.e. which has the best manuals and the most tutorials?

Probably the 777 since it has the most automated systems, so a lot of it's systems are controlled automatically. 747 and 737 are a bit more archaic and require manual system intervention.

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Popular, probably the 747. Easiest, 777. Most manuals, who knows. It's PMDG, whatever you buy is going to be great. As I assume you a newcomer to PMDG, I would get the 747. 

Zach Ludwick

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The 737NGX comes with two tutorials.  The 777 comes with one, but there is a second tutorial called Tutorial 1.5 available on the PMDG web site and in the PMDG forums.  The 747 comes with one tutorial, but there are four type rating tutorials for their earlier 747 available on the PMDG web site.  These should be applicable to flying the new 747, since they are written for the same type of aircraft.

In most respects the 777 is the easiest to fly, but it is a heavy jet so you need to plan ahead more, since it is less maneuverable and harder to slow down than the 737.

Mike

 

 

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If you want to get in and just fly, then either the 737, 777 or 747 will allow you to do that. If you're referring to FS9 products, then there was the B1900 that came out a long time ago and is very easy to fly with minimal systems. If you want to do a flight in FSX from one airport to another using waypoints, then probably the 777 is simplest. But really, I think the 737, 777 and 747 are all pretty easy to master to the point where you can do a straight forward flight from one airport to the next and utilise SIDS and STARS. The FMC in each aircraft will even help you calculate weights and centre of gravity and so on, taking a lot of the guesswork out of the equation. In the end, I think it really comes down to which aircraft you're most interested in and starting off simple and gradually getting more complicated as you learn more about the aircraft. In a nutshell - pick your favourite aircraft and start off simple with it.

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I'm an unapologetic Boeing enthusiast and think each one has their charm and ease of use.  I do a rotation of all three to stay sharp with each and it also helps me appreciate the systems commonality and differences.  

Cheers!

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That is unquestionably the PMDG Boeing 737 NG. In fact it has a good claim to being perhaps the most well-loved flight simulator add-on of all time. You will find that since the 737 is designed to make shorter flights than either the 747 and 777, it is a more popular aircraft with flight simmers, since it does not require many hours to simulate a realistic flight. This is not to say the PMDG 777 and 747 are not good, they are awesome and the 747 is particularly good value too, given the number of variants you get included with it, but there is no denying that the 737 is the one which the vast majority of flight simmers will own.

As a result, the 737 has (by a considerable margin) the most official and unofficial tutorials out there with everything from payware add-on tutorials to youtube videos, and not least by virtue of the fact that the real Boeing 737 is the most popular jet airliner ever built, with well over 9,500 of them having rolled off the production line in comparison to the approximately similar numbers of  747s and 777s built (both around the 1,500 mark), so you will find more info out there about the real thing as well, since there are by definition, more pilots qualified to fly the thing for real than there are for either the 747 or the 777. As far as as all Boeing aircraft go, I suspect only the Boeing B17 Flying Fortress has enjoyed more qualified pilots for it than the 737, since Boeing (with help from Lockheed and Vega) made nearly 13,000 of those things lol

Being a lot more basic than either the 747 or 777, since it was originally designed to operate from basic airports and rough fields (it can actually take off from a grass or gravel strip) and the fact that it was one of the first airliners designed to be operated by a crew of two, the 737 is a simpler aircraft to learn and its size means it is a bit easier to handle too of course.

They are all worth having, but if you want the one which most other people have, then it's the 737.

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Sorry guys, I can't agree with either of these pieces of advice:

 

4 minutes ago, Chock said:

Being a lot more basic than either the 747 or 777, since it was originally designed to operate from basic airports and rough fields (it can actually take off from a grass or gravel strip) and the fact that it was one of the first airliners designed to be operated by a crew of two, the 737 is a simpler aircraft to learn and its size means it is a bit easier to handle too of course.

Yes in a sense the NGX is more basic than the other two, and your description of the versatility and ubiquity of the NGX is right on the mark.  But to me the more "basic" quality of the NGX makes it more difficult to fly.  Manual tuning of ILS radios, more complicated engine startup than the 777, greater attention to things like cabin pressure, involve additional learning and care.   The 777 and 747 autotune VORs and the selected ILS approach, the 777 pretty much auto-starts its engines.

 

25 minutes ago, mcbellette said:

If you want to get in and just fly, then either the 737, 777 or 747 will allow you to do that.

I don't recommend any of these aircraft for just jumping in and flying.  None of them will follow an FSX-created flight plan; they don't have the default GPS for doing so.  I suppose you could fly them like general aviation aircraft or use minimal autopilot functions (altitude, heading, speed, vertical speed), but why not just fly one of the default aircraft then?  Setting weights, entering the flight plan, learning startup procedures, including SIDs and STARs, coming to understand the FMCs, VNAV and LNAV, as well as alternative kinds of approach, dealing with failures, that's what makes these aircraft worth owning and learning to fly.  Time and again I've seen new users of these aircraft post about problems they have run into because, clearly, they hadn't done the basic tutorial and had very little idea of how their aircraft was supposed to work.

Mike

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32 minutes ago, Mike777 said:

Sorry guys, I can't agree with either of these pieces of advice:

Yes in a sense the NGX is more basic than the other two, and your description of the versatility and ubiquity of the NGX is right on the mark.  But to me the more "basic" quality of the NGX makes it more difficult to fly.  Manual tuning of ILS radios, more complicated engine startup than the 777, greater attention to things like cabin pressure, involve additional learning and care.   The 777 and 747 autotune VORs and the selected ILS approach, the 777 pretty much auto-starts its engines.

Mike

I'd take the view that since the original question was which is easier to learn, not which was easier to operate, that by virtue of manually tuning nav radios and manually selecting the correct buses and bleeds, the aircraft becomes easier to learn, as in, understanding what it is doing and why it is doing it. The systems are are visible, which makes them understandable, rather than being hidden away on a page of a CDU and happening in the background whether you want them to or not.

So yes, it's great when a 747 or 777 can automatically tune an ILS frequency for those of us who are familiar with that process and what underlies it, but it's not conducive to understanding the process itself, and to have it do that you have to have the arrival airport's data and such in the FMC, so you still have to learn that additional process in order to have the aircraft carry out that automated tuning, thus it isn't really automatic at all, you are just putting the necessary info in at a different stage of the flight and a different place in the cockpit (and one which you have to press a few keys on the CDU in order to get to). Whereas on a 737 you could have a discontinuity in your FMC's flight plan, or even no flight plan in the FMC at all, in fact your FMC could even be switched off, and that still won't prevent you from making an automated ILS approach; you pop a frequency into the nav radios, dial in both course windows on the MCP and Bob's yer uncle, done, and these things are not hidden on the page of a CDU, they are right there in plain sight in the cockpit.

Of course you can do all that manually in a 747 too, but that's exactly what you should know how to do, and certainly before you start relying on automatic or semi-automatic systems to do that stuff without you understanding the concepts behind that automation. It's that kind of thing which had pilots crashing Airbuses all over the shop before the CAA and FAA etc started insisting on them knowing how to do stuff manually as well.

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4 minutes ago, Chock said:

I'd take the view that since the original question was which is easier to learn, not which was easier to operate, that by virtue of manually tuning nav radios and manually selecting the correct buses and bleeds, the aircraft becomes easier to learn. The systems are are visible, which makes them understandable, rather than being hidden away on a page of a CDU and happening in the background whether you want them to or not.

So yes, it's great when a 747 or 777 can automatically tune an ILS, but to have it do that you have to have the arrival airport's data and such in the FMC, so you have to learn that process in order to achieve that, whereas on a 737 you could have a discontinuity in your FMC's flight plan, or even no flight plan in the FMC at all, and that still won't prevent you from making an automated ILS approach;  you pop two frequencies into the nav radios and dial in both course windows on the MCP and Bob's yer uncle, done, and these things are not hidden on the page of a CDU, they are right there in plain sight in the cockpit.

I agree about the ILS (and VOR) frequencies -- coming from a default aircraft one would already know how to enter them and the dials are right there on the glare shield.  Not so sure about all the buses and bleeds though. (Pretty sure that, with no approach or even flight plan, you could tune the ILS manually on the 777 or 747 NAV/RAD page and it would allow an ILS landing, but of course you would have to know where to look for the Parked line and what it meant.)  I see your point about everything being hidden in the 747 and even more so in the 777.  But in the latter two, the 777 most of all, there is less to learn to manage.  One could probably fly it well without knowing that there are buses and bleeds - just leave all the switches in the on position and the various systems will switch themselves on at appropriate times.

My own first experience flying the NGX, (after years of flying the 777 and the Level-D 767), was that an alarm went off as I climbed -- turned out to be a cabin pressure warning, but this was not easy to figure out.  No synoptic display (or I think even clear warning message anywhere) to figure out the problem.  So I did find the NGX somewhat harder to learn.

Mike

 

 

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I own them all but find myself enjoying the J41 (FSX here) the most. After you learn how not to set the engines on fire. Because it keeps you busy. The 777 is a beautiful model but I find it boring being so automated. But everyone has

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31 minutes ago, Mike777 said:

I don't recommend any of these aircraft for just jumping in and flying.  None of them will follow an FSX-created flight plan; they don't have the default GPS for doing so.  I suppose you could fly them like general aviation aircraft or use minimal autopilot functions (altitude, heading, speed, vertical speed), but why not just fly one of the default aircraft then?  Setting weights, entering the flight plan, learning startup procedures, including SIDs and STARs, coming to understand the FMCs, VNAV and LNAV, as well as alternative kinds of approach, dealing with failures, that's what makes these aircraft worth owning and learning to fly.  Time and again I've seen new users of these aircraft post about problems they have run into because, clearly, they hadn't done the basic tutorial and had very little idea of how their aircraft was supposed to work.

Mike

You can get in and fly and get a feel for how it handles - to get used to the aircraft. Then move on to learning how to operate the FMC, create a flight plan, then move on to setting failures and learning how to deal with them. That's what I did at first.

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3 minutes ago, mcbellette said:

You can get in and fly and get a feel for how it handles - to get used to the aircraft. Then move on to learning how to operate the FMC, create a flight plan, then move on to setting failures and learning how to deal with them. That's what I did at first.

Not in fact a bad approach.  My own experience is that first I learned the systems and then learned to hand fly (except of course manual takeoff was from the beginning). But I had flown less sophisticated heavy jet simulations for awhile.  

Not having hands-on experience is a real problem in RW automated jet flying, not just flight simulation.  In real life, automated aircraft have an annoying habit of disconnecting when there is a serious problem, and dumping it on rather surprised pilots.  At least that contributed to the crash of AF 447, and excessive reliance on the autothrottle was a key factor in the crash of Asiana 214.  But I'm not sure how far off the ground I would have gotten without starting with the tutorial(s).

Mike

 

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1 hour ago, mcbellette said:

If you're referring to FS9 products

If he's trying to decide which one to buy (and he hasn't indicated as such, so I don't know), he'd have a hard time finding FS9 products.

1 hour ago, Chock said:

Being a lot more basic than either the 747 or 777, since it was originally designed to operate from basic airports and rough fields (it can actually take off from a grass or gravel strip) and the fact that it was one of the first airliners designed to be operated by a crew of two, the 737 is a simpler aircraft to learn and its size means it is a bit easier to handle too of course.

I know the 737-200 had this capability with the gravel kit, but can the 737NG do this?

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I agree with Chock. None of them are easy to a novice but the NGX is a much more versatile learning tool. If real world routes are important to you you will find so much more in the737. They are all complex study sims, and if you have a low tolerance level for frustration as you learn, the defaults might be best.

Bottom line, if it's a PMDG product no matter which, there is nothing better.

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3 hours ago, Captain Kevin said:

I know the 737-200 had this capability with the gravel kit, but can the 737NG do this?

Probably not recommended, but yes, it could do it, and (sort of) has demonstrated that it is possible, courtesy of a problem which the CFM 56 engine used to have before its intake spinner was redesigned. The problem was discovered in 1988 when TACA Flight 110, which was a brand new 737-300, only in service for about a week and a half at the time, had both engines shut down when going through a rainstorm whilst en route from Belize to New Orleans. A severe rain storm near New Orleans swamped the engines and caused them both to flame out. The crew were initially going to try belly landing the stricken 737 on a river, but as they lined up for that, they saw a grass levee which looked flat and so at the last minute the Captain lowered the gear and decided to put the 737 down on that levee, which he managed to do without damaging the aeroplane at all; probably one of the best landings anyone has ever made in a 737. Boeing engineers initially thought they might have to dismantle the aircraft and put it on a barge to get it out of there, but instead they replaced one engine on the aircraft in-situ and cleaned out the other one, then with minimal fuel on board, they flew it off that levee to New Orleans. It was subsequently checked over and went back into service, eventually ending up with Southwest airlines, with which it continued to operate right up until late last year, when it was finally retired, so it was evidently none the worse for having had that adventure. The take off from that levee can be seen on this video, at 1 minute 25 seconds:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwQKzlXrMWA

This just goes to show how tough aircraft such as the 737 actually are given that the aircraft in question did not have that unpaved runway kit since it was only made available for the earlier 737 variants and a few other aircraft such as the Boeing 727. This is even more amazing when you consider that he unpaved runway kit for the 737-100/200 variants involves quite a lot of modifications to the aircraft, among them: a gravel deflector on the nose and main gear, shrouds over the landing gear hydraulics, fibreglass reinforcement plates on the flaps, teflon paint on the underside of the fuselage and the wings, reinforced antennas on the underside, a retractable anti-collision beacon, vortex dissipators on the front of the engine nacelles which blast out compressed air to break up turbulent air from the ground, mesh reinforcement screens in the wheel wells, some slightly different switches in the cockpit, reduced tire pressures, reduced gear extension speeds etc. Even with all those modifications, 737s so fitted had increased maintenance costs from things like more chance of getting paint chips etc. So you would think an NG, with its larger diameter CFM 56 engines would have no chance managing that sort of thing, given that its engine nacelles are much closer to the ground. But the NG's layout in terms of where the engines are, is essentially similar to that of the 300/400/500 series 'Classic' 737s, and as you can see from that video, if a 737-300 could do it, then an NG almost certainly could too.

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My vote goes to the 737 NGX. Especially because it is less automated. You will have more to do and the flights are shorter. The mix of analogue and digital gauges makes the flight deck somewhat interesting and you need to pay attention to a few items, that no computer will do for you, i. e. you get away less for not paying attention or omitting check list items. 

If you want a deep system study, the larger aircraft are interesting, because behind all the automation on the 777 there is still a complex array of simulated systems with correct interdependencies and all. 

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3 hours ago, richcam427 said:
47 minutes ago, MorsAbAlto said:

My vote goes to the 737 NGX. Especially because it is less automated. You will have more to do and the flights are shorter. The mix of analogue and digital gauges makes the flight deck somewhat interesting and you need to pay attention to a few items, that no computer will do for you, i. e. you get away less for not paying attention or omitting check list items. 

Learn the 737 first, and the 747 and 777 will seem like a piece of cake.

I agree that competence in the 737 will make transitioning to the 777 or 747 relatively easy, and that the NGX has more that requires attention.  But the OP wants to know the easiest to learn -- seems to me that would be the 777. 

Mike

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As I spent many of my 26 years in the Air Force as an Instructor in various capacities (alongside my primary career field) I have to agree with Chock's assessment the OP asked which aircraft would be the best one to LEARN.  And I would also select the 737 NGX in that case. 

It may not be the EASIEST one for a new sim pilot, but if they are willing to put the required EFFORT into their learning process, they will get the knowledge and experience required to "move up" to the 777 and 747.  In essence, as some others have mentioned, just because something might be automated (like in the 777 and 747), it doesn't mean the user DOESN'T already need to have the KNOWLEDGE level of what the automation is doing (and why), but they also need to know how to "fix" it by having acquired the manual SKILLS to use the equipment in the aircraft to make everything work when the automation goes tits-up on you (which is also something that can be simulated in the PMDG aircraft...failures!!!).  :biggrin:

If the user doesn't want this stuff, fly a default aircraft with a default GPS and a sim created flight plan.  No PMDG aircraft is a plug-and-play addon.  You should view purchasing one as "Going to Flight Simulator College" and plan on studying the aircraft if you really want to LEARN it (the original question of the OP).

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26 minutes ago, FalconAF said:

As I spent many of my 26 years in the Air Force as an Instructor in various capacities (alongside my primary career field) I have to agree with Chock's assessment the OP asked which aircraft would be the best one to LEARN.  And I would also select the 737 NGX in that case. 

It may not be the EASIEST one for a new sim pilot, but if they are willing to put the required EFFORT into their learning process, they will get the knowledge and experience required to "move up" to the 777 and 747.  In essence, as some others have mentioned, just because something might be automated (like in the 777 and 747), it doesn't mean the user DOESN'T already need to have the KNOWLEDGE level of what the automation is doing, but also how to "fix" it by having acquired the manual SKILLS to use the equipment in the aircraft to make everything work when the automation goes tits-up on you. 

You may be confusing real world training with making choices in the sim.  RW, one would typically start with a Cessna, perhaps move to twin props, then jets.  No-one would go from zero jet experience, or no prop experience, into the cockpit of a heavy jet.  And of course no-one would be permitted to fly a heavy jet without knowing extremely well what is going on "under the hood", so that when an automation failure, or any other kind of serious failure occurs, s/he knows how to handle it.

But in flight simulation we can choose how realistic to make our flying.  My own flight simming is kind of a-- backwards from real life.  I spent hardly any time in a Cessna simulation or a light jet.  I went pretty quickly to the T7.  (Even starting with the NGX, which does require more systems knowledge to make it work, is only a little closer to RW training.) Any of the three aircraft can be set to never have a failure, to have predictable failures, or to have many unexpected failures.   In part, it's a question of time.  For someone who doesn't have the time to go in-depth into understanding systems, it is perfectly acceptable to choose not to have failures or the required in-depth understanding that having failures active requires, and it is perfectly  acceptable to choose an aircraft that is the easiest to fly (failures not activated).  I practice some preset failures in the 777, like engine failure on takeoff.  But I don't have the time to frequently set up random failures, as I can't constantly  sit in front of my computer.  So most of the time I set my aircraft to not have failures.  (I did suggest to PMDG that they introduce a "pause on failure" option, similar to the "pause at TOD" option, but have no idea if it will ever be implemented.)  Likewise I might have chosen to set up my NGX to load with engines on, IRUs calibrated, etc. (although I didn't).  It's a matter of how much time I have to delve into the depths of the simulation, something not really relevant for a RW pilot.

BTW the OP asked which is the easiest to learn.

Mike

 

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4 hours ago, Chock said:

The problem was discovered in 1988 when TACA Flight 110, which was a brand new 737-300, only in service for about a week and a half at the time, had both engines shut down when going through a rainstorm whilst en route from Belize to New Orleans. A severe rain storm near New Orleans swamped the engines and caused them both to flame out. The crew were initially going to try belly landing the stricken 737 on a river, but as they lined up for that, they saw a grass levee which looked flat and so at the last minute the Captain lowered the gear and decided to put the 737 down on that levee, which he managed to do without damaging the aeroplane at all; probably one of the best landings anyone has ever made in a 737. Boeing engineers initially thought they might have to dismantle the aircraft and put it on a barge to get it out of there, but instead they replaced one engine on the aircraft in-situ and cleaned out the other one, then with minimal fuel on board, they flew it off that levee to New Orleans. It was subsequently checked over and went back into service, eventually ending up with Southwest airlines, with which it continued to operate right up until late last year, when it was finally retired, so it was evidently none the worse for having had that adventure. The take off from that levee can be seen on this video, at 1 minute 25 seconds:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwQKzlXrMWA

Alan, your vast depth of research and knowledge never ceases to astound me. This is a terrific fact-based piece of research. I'm impressed.

Now wonder your absence within this Community was missed for a while back there.

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