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RobJC

Invest the time learning Boeing or Airbus?

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Posted (edited)

Unfortunately I do not have a lot of time to learn a lot of complicated airplanes, so I need to think about how I want to invest my time. And that got me thinking. If I bought the PMDG 737 how well would that knowledge transfer to say the 777, or the 747? What other ac would I have a good jump on if I learned the ins and outs of the 737? Same exact question about the Fenix A320. I guess I am trying to figure out if learning one vs the other has additional benefits if I buy other ac, so I can decide which one makes the most sense. 

If I learn how to operate the 737, what other Boeing and non Boeing ac would I be able to apply some or all of that knowledge to? Again, same question with the A320.  

Edited by RobJC

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Well if you learn the 737 then the 777 and 747 will be easy to learn.

The A320 we only get you to a A330 and if that option is the Aerosoft one, then the answer is just stick to the Fexin.

But frankly I think the Airbus is easier to learn than the 73.

Look at my sig below and you can down load a step by step walk through for the Fenix. Will give you an idea what you have to do.

 

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Posted (edited)

I’m sure a line pilot needs a lot of in-depth knowledge that’s hard to come by, but just operating them is pretty easy tbf, with “skills” being readily transferable not only across product lines of the same manufacturers, but also between Airbus and Boeing: it certainly ain’t rocket science. So … don’t overthink it 🙂

Edited by tfm
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Me thinks getting to a point where you can fly the A320 following and flight plan is a lot easier to do than it is with a 737NG

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When I feel like flying tubeliner I use  Leonardo MD-82! If I want to relax a bit I use PMDG 737! If I feel totally lazy but still want to fly I use Fenix A320! LOL

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flight sim addict, airplane owner, CFI

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For me, the A320 is the most automated and easiest. The 737 is not as automated, but still easy to learn. Once you learn the 737, then you'll naturally be familiar with the 777 and 747. Especially the 777 and 747-8. Those are more modern and automated and easier to fly. Because there's less hands on involvement since the avionics are taking care of most things. You mostly just monitor everything to see if the plane is running correctly.

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Posted (edited)

The Airbus philosophy is that they are all pretty much common to operate across the whole range - barring the very old A300/310. If you learn how the A320 works, you'll feel right at home in an A330,340,380 etc. They're not identical, but the general layout of the flight deck and the system principles are the same.

The Boeing range is more of a mix, and reflects the fact that it consists of aircraft developed in widely different decades - the 737 being a child of the 60s, the 777 designed much later in the 90s and much more modern and automated being a prime example. For that reason there are all sorts of quirks about the 737, like it lacking any sort of auto-start on the engines for example, and the fairly basic and manual electrical and air conditioning systems. I wouldn't say its more challenging, but its certainly clunkier and there's usually more steps required to perform the same task. Starting the engines in an A320 you flip two switches and that's it. In a 737 you have to turn the A/C off, open the isolation valve, run the starter, watch for N2, pull the fuel lever, put the generator online, and repeat...

As I read in another topic recently and I think its a great quote and certainly rings true - you FLY a 737, you OPERATE an A320!

Edited by Tom Wright
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Tom Wright

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, RobJC said:

Unfortunately I do not have a lot of time to learn a lot of complicated airplanes, so I need to think about how I want to invest my time. And that got me thinking. If I bought the PMDG 737 how well would that knowledge transfer to say the 777, or the 747? What other ac would I have a good jump on if I learned the ins and outs of the 737? Same exact question about the Fenix A320. I guess I am trying to figure out if learning one vs the other has additional benefits if I buy other ac, so I can decide which one makes the most sense. 

If I learn how to operate the 737, what other Boeing and non Boeing ac would I be able to apply some or all of that knowledge to? Again, same question with the A320.  

The A320 is MUCH easier to learn and handle, but the 737 will give you a good foundation for the 747 and 777. The Boeing layout is quite different from Airbus.
I'd say if you have fun learning new stuff, the 737 will give you more enjoyment out of it, because you really have to learn how systems interact with each other and manage them accordingly. This is mostly true for stuff like bleed air, hydraulics, anti-ice and electronics. Eg. if you forget to switch the generators after engine start from APU to the engine generators, you will be left without electricity if you turn the APU off after engine start (this has happened to more than a few unfortunate real life 737 pilots... now explain that to the passengers!). On the A320 most of this is automated so you can hardly do anything wrong. Actually you can fly the A320 without having any idea of what bleed air is or what generators are. This can be good or bad, depending on if you only want to fly an airplane or if you want to understand how an airliner works.
Personally I'd say the 737, it's the best mix between computerization (with a mighty FMC, which I personally find superior to the A320 FMS) and old-school manual switch flipping. Also the 737 looks sexy, while the A320 looks more like your friendly neighbor.

Edited by Fiorentoni
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I have both. For the past ten days or so since the Fenix release my time has been all Fenix. I have become very familiar with it as both a MSFS software mod and as a model of the Airbus 320. I also own all the PMDG product on the “other flight sim”.  For transparency I also own all the FSLabs Airbus offerings, likewise for the OFS and have for many years, so I think both planes, a320 and B737 are  familiar to me, but I digress…

Owning and flying both I suggest that you choose whatever your heart desires, they are both high quality planes with lots and lots of stuff that makes this such a fun hobby. One caveat; if your sim box is in any way challenged by MSFS the PMDG will be your best option because it is a bit easier on the frames maybe by 10-15 percent but that’s not an issue if you have a solid PC

I think one you learn one, you will want to learn the other. Both will be here for a long time so enjoy whatever you choose. 
 

-B

PS. As I type this I am flying the PMDG 737 @ FL 370 heading to Vegas!  The PMDG 737 was just updated with a very comprehensive and solid post-release update. The plane is truly a joy to fly. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Nyxx said:

Look at my sig below and you can down load a step by step walk through for the Fenix. Will give you an idea what you have to do.

That's a great guide.  It is especially of help when you go between different aircraft and forget your flows.  BTW - Do you have one of these for the 737?  I thought you did at one time..

 

To the OP...I fly both regularly and it is a tough call.  They are both different but I'm not sure one is harder than the other. They are both wonderful to fly so if you can, learn both!!

Edited by Flic1
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Eric

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Posted (edited)

As you have surmised, the gist of it is that if you choose the A320, essentially you will be learning some variation of Honeywell Legacy, Pegasus or Thales FMC with its Airbus-relevant software systems, all of which can be found on various A319s, A320s, A321s, A330s and A340s, whereas if you choose the 737, you will be learning the Honeywell or Rockwell-Collins FMC with its 737-relevant software. The first 737 NGs came equipped with the Honeywell FMC, the later ones have the Rockwell-Collins. These FMCs can be found in most other Boeings (an exception is in the 787 Dreamliner, where it has a different CDU although conceptually it is fairly similar to operate) as well as a few other airliners, so that would be the 757, 747 and the 767 which would be fairly easy to learn if familiar with the 737 NG.

Between the various makes of FMC found in all these aeroplanes, there are very few differences in terms of individual aeroplane types with various different ones, so in most cases it doesn't even require any additional training for pilots to switch between using these things other than being familiar with the few differences via self-briefing.

Getting completely comfortable with either the 737 or the A320's FMC is comparatively easy if you follow a decent tutorial and repeat that maybe two or three times. There are lots of these on youtube or you can follow the (very good) manuals for the PMDG 737. Good luck with the manual which comes with the Fenix A320 however, because that's more like a pamphlet than a manual and is essentially not very helpful at all (awful in fact for anyone who is not really familiar with the A320), however, as noted, with youtubers to the rescue, learning how to operate the Fenix A320 is not a big deal so don't let its farcically spartan manual put you off. I would say that if you like being hands-on with flying the aeroplane and telling it what to do, pick the 737, whereas if you prefer inputting some initial data then having the aeroplane doing the work based on that, then pick the A320, because this is the essence of the difference between the two aeroplanes.

The other bit you have to learn, for either type, is the mode control panel (i.e. the autopilot bit up at the top of the panel). This is a bit more intuitive on the 737 than it is on the A320 (because of the decisions the fancier Airbus is making under the hood), but neither of them are particularly hard to learn about if you follow a decent tutorial.

So the answer is, in terms of the Fenix A320 or the PMDG 737 NG, pick which one you like (they're both great) because at the moment it is anybody's guess as to when a very realistic Boeing other than the 737, or an Airbus other than the A320 will be available for MSFS, so the 'future investment' bit of your question is a dice roll, although if I had to guess, I'd say PMDG will probably get one of their other Boeings out of the door before we see anyone get an Airbus other than the A320 out.

Whichever you pick, if you want a really good (and not at all scary) actual paper manual which you can also read and actually enjoy reading when away from your computer (the real bonus of such things), then I'd recommend having a look here.

Edited by Chock
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Alan Bradbury

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The only other thing to add to the mix which hasn’t already been mentioned is your setup at home. I find myself flying the Fenix more as it’s easier to move the joystick off to one side if a work call comes through on the computer. I’m aware this is niche, but it becomes tiresome attaching the yoke to the desk.  

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30 minutes ago, mikethe6th said:

The only other thing to add to the mix which hasn’t already been mentioned is your setup at home. I find myself flying the Fenix more as it’s easier to move the joystick off to one side if a work call comes through on the computer. I’m aware this is niche, but it becomes tiresome attaching the yoke to the desk.  

I agree, I have the honeycomb yoke and throttle quadrants and I hardly ever use them due to this. I prefer using an xbox controller and keyboard instead.

I may invest in getting the thrustmaster TCA set for the Airbus/Boeing later though as it takes up way less room than the honeycomb.


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Thanks everyone. Really good info! Gives me plenty to think about. 
 

Thanks again!


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6 hours ago, Tom Wright said:

As I read in another topic recently and I think its a great quote and certainly rings true - you FLY a 737, you OPERATE an A320!

Or - you OPERATE a 737, but you don’t FLY an A320 - it flies you 😉


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