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chickster25

Differences in PMDG 737 models

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Hi all 

With the PMDG 737-800 about to hit the runway, I was wondering about the different versions.

Excluding the obvious difference in size and exterior items, are there any differences in cockpit layout, performance or operational procedures?

 I would like to add the 800 considering it’s the most popular version but don’t really want to pay for something which technically I already have, apart from the exterior model changes?

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, chickster25 said:

Excluding the obvious difference in size and exterior items, are there any differences in cockpit layout, performance or operational procedures?

Performance, yes, but the rest as far as I know is similar.

Edited by steve310002

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2 minutes ago, chickster25 said:

Hi all 

With the PMDG 737-800 about to hit the runway, I was wondering about the different versions.

Excluding the obvious difference in size and exterior items, are there any differences in cockpit layout, performance or operational procedures?

 I would like to add the 800 considering it’s the most popular version but don’t really want to pay for something which technically I already have, apart from the exterior model changes?

When I had PMDG in P3D I had all the version 600-900, not too much difference if I remember correctly. 

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Cockpit layout are the same. Of course performances will differ, but in the sim world, it’s not a huge difference. Same with operational procedures, they’re pretty identical. It’s honestly the difference in range that is the main factor. I’d be willing to bet most people will pick up the -800 just because it’s the most popular real world 737. Will still be seeing 1.5 - 4 hour legs in the -800 that any of the other models could do just fine. I personally think the 900 is the best looking variant and I used to only fly the 800 in the previous sims, but I’ll be saving my money since I’ve been happy with the 700. 

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1 minute ago, steve310002 said:

Performance, yes, but the rest as far as I know is similar.

Agreed. I was typing a similar response but saw this and agreed was the most appropriate verbiage I could add. 

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6 minutes ago, chickster25 said:

Hi all 

With the PMDG 737-800 about to hit the runway, I was wondering about the different versions.

Excluding the obvious difference in size and exterior items, are there any differences in cockpit layout, performance or operational procedures?

 I would like to add the 800 considering it’s the most popular version but don’t really want to pay for something which technically I already have, apart from the exterior model changes?

There are a few little differences in the cockpit, e.g. there's a trim air switch and three cabin temp knobs (instead of two on the -700). On the exterior there should be a tailskid since the -800/-900 are much more prone to get a tailstrike with if you rotate too fast.
But for the rest, yeah, pretty identical. Most people will not notice a difference except that's it looks longer.

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I am sticking with the 700... which I very much like. 

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If I understand this correctly, the 800 is unique in having a "dead band" in elevator authority on takeoff. Apparently airflow over the wing disturbs that over the horizontal stabilizer/elevator shortly after establishing a positive rate of climb. This requires that one pull back a bit further on the yoke to continue pitching up to 15-20 degrees. This phenomenon was successfully simulated by the Zibo mod in XP or so we were told in some of the excellent videos by flightdeck2sim, but perhaps not in the PMDG simulation in P3D. 737NG Driver confirmed that it is observable in one of his recent videos on the MSFS -800.

It's a small point, but there you go.

 

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The -800 tends to float in the flare/landing as compared to the -700.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, chickster25 said:

Excluding the obvious difference in size and exterior items, are there any differences in cockpit layout, performance or operational procedures?

Ignoring their obviously different lengths and how that affects things, most of the NJ 737 variants are broadly similar in the way they fly, and apart from a few cockpit switch differences between models, you'd be hard pressed to tell which one you were in from the cockpit, with the exception of one model, this being the -600 variant. The 600 has some significant structural differences the other NG do not have, which makes it fly a bit differently from the other ones. Notably there is a slightly redesigned wing-to-body fairing design on the -600, to account for where the rear of the wing joins the shortened tapering fuselage. It was necessary to significantly strengthen the outer wings on the -600 by using thicker gauge metal for the skin to help counteract flutter which was a result of the shortened fuselage making the -600 variant less longitudinally stable than the other, longer variants.

It's the -600's tendency to be less longitudinally stable in the air than other 737 variants which led to it gainng a bit of a reputation for inducing air-sickness, in even veteran cabin crews who are not normally prone to that. This and its less-than-brilliant flight characteristics have gained it the not very complimentary nickname of 'the wobblin goblin'. Since it isn't really significantly cheaper than the -700 to operate either, and it has that somewhat poor reputation, it's not a popular variant.

With regard to the other differences in variants, most of that concerns cautionary notes in the SOP manuals about being careful not to over-rotate the longer variants when pilots are used to the shorter ones (the same is true of the A320 to the A321), plus some differences when actually rotating between variants, and the fact that the longer versions have increased turning circles when maneuvering on the ground.

If you're into all that GSX malarkey, for ground operations, the -900 presents a significant tail-tipping risk which cabin crews, dispatchers and rampies have to be aware of. Because of this, it's not a bad idea to double-step it, i.e. put an airbridge on the normal forward entrance, but also get steps put on the rear exit as well. This is because most hold ups where passengers are faffing about getting bags out of overhead lockers etc, tend to occur in the middle of the aeroplane, which means if there are no rear steps put on the aeroplane, people tend to get off the front, but people are still in the back owing to the middle of cabin hold ups, which leaves all the weight in the rear cabin and when this happens, you really see that nose-wheel oleo start to extend a lot which starts to look pretty alarming. On the ramp this means it's important to get a belt loader on the rear hold ASAP, and start getting bags off the back quickly and it's not a bad idea to be a bit slower on getting a jet bridge on a -900 to give the rampies a chance to get some weight out of the back.

What that also illustrates with the -900 variant, is why in spite of its length, it is limited to the number of passenger seats it can have installed. Technically, it's not that far off the capability (volume-wise) to hold as many seats as a B757 can, but it is not permitted to have that many seats installed, because it's not as easy or speedy to evacuate as the 757 is, owing to its emergency exit configuration, which was noted during its certification testing and led to that seating limitation being put on it. This is also somewhat dictated by its interior layout of the galley, whereby since you need at least one member of cabin crew for every fifty passengers, you're ending up with more cabin crew on a -900, when it was never really designed with that in mind, whereas it was always intended to stretch the B757, which among other things, is why they gave it a massively long undercarriage to alleviate the possibility of a tail-strike.

So as a consideration of all of the differences on various 737 models, generally speaking it has a few limitations for various models which are inhereted as a result of it being what started out, in its original -100 model form, as basically a jet version of a DC-3, able to operate from fairly rough and not particularly well-equipped airfields. Which is one of the reasons why there were all those issues with the 737 MAX (some of which do affect the NG too); basically in hoping to keep the same type certification for all 737 variants, but trying to keep competitive with the A320 family, what Boeing did was akin to putting a V8 engine into a Model T Ford and crossing their fingers; they've got away with a lot of it, but only just.

Edited by Chock
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Alan Bradbury

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Beautifully informative reply from @Chock! I learned a lot, thanks. 
 

Still not going to get the 800 as I personally am not that fussed about having the exact right plane for the route, but I can totally see why more serious/realistic/whatever-you-want simmers would want this. 

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Thanks Chock - a very information and interesting explanation!


Edmundo Azevedo

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