When PMDG released their latest and most lauded product for FSX, the 737 NGX, it came with a feature that had me dancing about the room for a while before I could sit down and get going with actually flying it.
PMDG had implemented a failure model based on actual real world data for almost all the parts of the 737 which meant that once a certain time period had passed, based on time scaled averages in the industry, almost every part reaches the limits of its life span.
Now this does not mean that you will have failures on every flight. You just need to keep an eye on the aircraft and make sure that you do the services that are required in the FMC section, your 250 hour services.
This was great, but the problem still remained that should there be a failure, even with the standard FS2Crew for the NGX, you would have to handle these emergencies on your own with minimal if any input from the first officer on the flight deck, which is not entirely realistic. This is about to change...
With the release of the Emergency NGX release of FS2Crew for the PMDG 737 NGX, you now have the ability to involve your first officer in handling these emergencies with you and use the element of cockpit resource management (CRM) to deal with emergencies according to the real world QRH that was delivered with the NGX. Now the simulation is complete!
Installation and documentation
The download is quite large, at around 345 MB. As always though, downloading from the FS2Crew site was a breeze, no vices and with excellent line speeds. Installing it is just as easy, the same installation procedure as with the other FS2Crew products. You get the slight pause at the end as the Direct X files are updated, and then it finished, placing all the relevant shortcuts to the documents on your desktop. No vices.
The documentation you can find is located in your FSX\FS2Crew 2010\Versions\PMDG737NGX folder. You will find the following documents:-
1. FS2Crew Emergency NGX;
2. FS2Crew NGX Button Control Manual;
3. FS2Crew NGX Button Control Tutorial;
4. FS2Crew NGX Readme First;
5. FS2Crew NGX Voice Control Manual;
6. FS2Crew NGX Voice Control Tutorial; and
7. RAAS Coupon NGX.
Now as you can clearly see, there is, just like with the standard FS2Crew version, a voice and button control version. The documents are all in PDF format. The FS2Crew Emergency NGX document is a 20 page read informing you of everything you need to know on how to operate the Emergency NGX part of the package and is a must read. Just like the standard FS2Crew package, the checklists and the know-how in operating this software is essential! You can print it or save the planet (like I do) by using the manuals on your tablet or iPad.
The FS2Crew NGX Button Control Manual is a 45 page read and is the standard manual on the standard part of the FS2Crew NGX Button Control version. If you want to use the button control version, and you have not familiarized yourself with the standard operating procedures and normal procedures of the FS2Crew NGX Button Control version, this is essential.
The FS2Crew NGX Button Control Tutorial is just what it says: a tutorial on how to operate the FS2Crew NGX Button Control part of the software, a 21 page walkthrough for the software.
The FS2Crew NGX Readme First part of the documents is just what it says - you really should read this first, it is just one page long but you could stop many potential problems by just spending the two minutes required for an in depth read of this little document.
The FS2Crew NGX Voice Control Manual is the standard 72 page manual of the standard operating part of the FS2Crew NGX Voice Control version of the software, a must read if you are not familiar with the software. Please note that the emergency part is not covered in these manuals, you have to refer to the FS2Crew Emergency NGX manual!
The FS2Crew NGX Voice Control Tutorial is again just a tutorial on how to operate the standard operating and normal procedures of the FS2Crew NGX Voice Control version of the software, and is a 21 page read. In fact, I will recommend that, whether you are using voice or button software, these tutorials are a must. Please note that I will not be focusing on the standard operating procedures for the purposes of this review, as another review about the standard FS2Crew NGX has already been published, and I will keep to the Emergency NGX only.
The RAAS Coupon NGX is a 1 page read about a promotion for the RAAS package, of which I wrote an AVSIM review for quite some time ago.
All in all, as is always the case, the documentation is graphically gorgeous, the software and the different features are fully and easily explained and makes getting used to the software a seamless and easy task, even if you are new to it. All the issues you may encounter are fully explained, yet in easy terms so you can troubleshoot any problems before pulling your hair out!
As I said a little earlier, you get the voice control and the button control. The standard package is upgraded together with the Emergency NGX package to version 2.3E. This means you get version 2.3 of the standard FS2Crew and the Emergency NGX package in one - awesome Bryan, thanks! Do note however that you first need the base package of the standard FS2Crew for the NGX to be installed on your machine, purchasing the Emergency NGX package WILL NOT install the base package to - you have to have a separate base package installed, it will only upgrade the base package to version 2.3.
You also get some extra nationalities in the voice packs, to whit:-
1. American Female
2. French Male
3. Australian Male (This is the FO Voice used exclusively for "Emergency NGX!")
4. Korean Female
5. Spanish Male
6. Italian Male
7. German Male
The following list of non-normal procedures are modeled according to the QRH of the 737 NGX for use with FS2Crew Emergency NGX:-
Aborted Engine Starts
Bleed Trip Off
Cabin Altitude Warning or Rapid Depressurization
EEC Alternate Mode
Engine Failure or Shutdown
Engine Fire or Severe Damage
Engine In Flight Start
Hydraulic Pump Overheat
Loss of Hyd System A
Loss of Hyd System B
Off Schedule Descent
One Engine Inoperative Landing
Partial or All Gear Up Landing
Standby Power Off
Transfer Bus Off
Wow, that is quite a list! You will find the proper checklists in the FS2Crew Emergency NGX manual. Just a word of common sense here - I will obviously not look at all of these failures for the purposes of the review, we will simply explore a few random failures.
You will obviously need to speech train your windows system if you have not already done so and please note that Windows 7/Vista is preferred since XP apparently does not do so well with speech recognition, or at least, not as well as Vista/7.
Also note that you can only use the Aussie first officer for emergencies, the other nationalities’ voice packs will not work for this. Having said that, you can hardly detect the Aussie accent and it is quite refreshingly different from the voice pack I used to run.
Also note that you have to turn on the emergency mode, it is not on by default. After you load the package up for the first time, check the main FS2Crew panel to the left side of it. You will find a button labeled “FAIL”. Click on it to switch it on. The Aussie crew is loaded by default, so having switched it on, you are ready to go. The crew WILL NOT deal with the emergencies if you have not switched the “FAIL” button to “ON”!
Having done that, we are ready to practice some hair raising procedures not normally encountered in flight...
I say captain, there is something wrong here!
Okay, so let us see what we can rehearse to put the package through its paces... Let us try the following on the ground:-
1. Aborted engine start;
2. APU Fire; and
3. Engine failure after V1.
For our in flight entertainment we shall try:-
1. Cargo fire / Emergency descent; and
2. An engine inoperative landing.
Phew, let’s get started...
Before we get into this though, a word of caution, which is contained in the manual too. DO NOT attempt to simulate more than one failure at a time, since there are limitations to the software in terms of what the software development kit (SDK) was capable of modeling. Besides, you will have more than enough to deal with in one emergency, trust me...
If you are using service based failures, you are advised to install a different livery for practicing your emergencies. As you will know from the PMDG manual, each tail number (read different livery) has its own separate airframe hours logged. Will practicing single emergencies interfere with this? I don’t know, I decided not to experiment with it and lose my airframe hours having to start all over again! I installed a separate livery for the tests and I will be using different airframes for different tests, and I will also split my tests across the entire -600 to -900 series to see what it behaves like for a good test!
Good, so let us setup our first emergency, an APU fire at the gate. How to deal with this emergency is found in section 8.1 of the QRH (quick reference handbook) for the NGX. I will use the -600 for this test.
Now, according to the 737 NGX QRH, when presented with an APU fire, I need to:-
1. First confirm with a visual from the fire handle of the APU;
2. I then pull the APU fire handle, rotate and hold it for one second to fire the extinguishing agent;
3. Switch the APU off.
After this I am presented with more options:-
1. If the APU fire is extinguished, we end the checklist at the line;
2. If the APU fire is not extinguished, we proceed to the following step which is to land at the nearest airport.
Before we can start to deal with any emergency, we need to understand the checklist system employed by Emergency NGX. You have to understand that you are the Captain and the PF (pilot flying) and that the computer is the PM (Pilot Monitoring). So now let us look at the FS2Crew checklist and how it is laid out for any emergency.
Text indicated in RED are your responsibility. That means, CA (Captain) also refers to you. PF (Pilot Flying) also refers to you as I said. An “A” in RED in the checklist denotes some action that you as any of the above persons, have to take. An “S” in RED indicates speech that you have to say in order for the item to be dealt with. An arrow in red “->” indicates further action to be taken by you.
Don’t worry, this all sounds a lot more complicated than it is, but you can clearly see that to become proficient in both the software and abnormal procedures, it takes practice, practice and more practice!
So how do I take note of the First Officer / Pilot Monitoring (read computer) actions? His responsibilities are indicated in BLUE text. “FO” refers to the First Officer. “PM” refers to the Pilot Monitoring. “A” and “S” in BLUE denotes actions and speech to be done by the First Officer during the checklist.
What if I need more time to do something whilst the checklist is being operated too fast for me to keep up? Just speak “pause the checklist” and when you are ready to carry on, speak “resume the checklist”. Again, this is far less complicated than it looks on paper.
Now, I am on the ground, so step 4 won’t be followed in any event. Let us now put this into practice...
I go to my failures inside my FMC in the -600 and select the APU FIRE as indicated by the Emergency NGX manual. Please note the right emergency has to be activated for the checklist to deal with it. If you have the incorrect checklist for the procedure, you will not be able to deal with it. Follow the instructions in the Emergency NGX manual!
Good, so I arm the failure to activate within 5 seconds. When the failure activates, the alarm goes off. The FO tells me that there is a fire onboard, which I confirm by speaking “check” followed by “identify”.
The FO then tells me that it looks like there is an APU fire. I visually check and confirm that all the bells and whistles indicate that it is in fact an APU fire. I speak “confirmed” followed by “APU fire memory items”.
The FO then speaks “APU fire switch” to which I reply “confirm”. The FO then speaks “pull, rotate, and hold” followed by him doing just that. Once he has done so for one second as per the checklist, he switches the APU Fire Switch to the off position, and informs me that “Memory items are complete”.
Now for a really neat bit - the first officer will then read from the QRH checklist as to what options are available for the different situations that may occur after following the checklist for dealing with the emergency. So, according to our QRH checklist for this emergency, as I had indicated, your options are:-
1. If the APU fire is extinguished, we end the checklist at the line;
2. If the APU fire is not extinguished, we proceed to the following step which is to land at the nearest airport.
Well, the FO checks the warnings and confirms that the fire has indeed been extinguished. Good, no further action.
During this emergency, the software performed flawlessly and 100% as advertised - we are off to a promising start!
Now for the aborted engine start; this according to the FS2Crew manual is section 7.1 in the QRH manual. Let us have a look at section 7.1 then.
When looking at this we can see that there are different conditions under which the engine start may be aborted. Also note that there is a difference between when Auto Ignition is used, and when not. We will use Auto Ignition for the purposes of this exercise. We will look at when it is aborted on the ground. The checklist instructs us as follows:-
1. Affected engine start lever - CUTOFF
2. Then we choose one of the following:-
2.1 The engine start switch is in GND mode - if this is the case we motor the engine for 60 seconds, and then turn the start switch into the AUTO position.
2.2 The engine start switch is in the OFF position - if this is the case proceed to step 3 in the checklist.
3. Step 3 tells us that when the engine N2 drops below 20%, we have to switch the particular engine’s start switch to GND mode, motor for 60 seconds and then switch it off.
Please note that this is different from the first exercise - YOU have to announce the failure this time around. You will also be doing most of the items in this checklist yourself. For this exercise, we will setup a failure where the EGT is exceeded. Now remember, since you are trying to save the airline money, and possibly keep your job when this is all over, try to call the emergency and react BEFORE the EGT runs into the red. Good!
So let us put theory to practice once again, this time in the -700. We are at the gate, and I have just ordered the FO to start engine no 2. Whoops, the EGT is running away here, we have to do something about this quick!
I proceed to announce “Engine 2 EGT exceedence”. This is followed by me speaking “aborted engine start memory items”. I follow this by speaking “engine start lever cutoff” and then moving the affected engine start lever to the cutoff position.
This is followed by the FO speaking that the memory items are completed. Once he has done so, you can call for the relevant checklist by speaking “aborted engine start checklist”. The FO will then complete the items as per our first exercise walking through the options available in the QRH. Again, this performed absolutely flawlessly!
Next is an emergency procedure that has been modeled that is worth gold to me and every other pilot I would imagine, the capability of the First Officer to assist when an engine fails at the worst possible time, just after V1! It allows me to fly the aircraft while the First Officer is going through the rest of the emergency with me.
Right, so we are roaring down the runway, the engines at take off thrust, and we just passed V1. Suddenly the right engine fails on my -800 as I had set it up to do, and the First Officer chimes in immediately informing me that this is indeed the case. Now since I have passed V1, I speak and tell the First Officer “continue” since we are going to get airborne.
I now fly off the runway keeping the aircraft straight and making sure that the inclinometer is aligned and the ball is centered. I proceed to climb up to 400 feet AGL. I now speak to the First Officer asking him to “select heading select” which will ensure that he programs the auto pilot accordingly.
Once this is done I speak again telling the First Officer to “confirm the failure”. He will respond by saying “engine failure number 2" since our right hand engine mysteriously failed. I will then speak to the First Officer after visually confirming his diagnoses of the problem by saying “confirmed”.
At this stage the Master Warning Caution will be ringing in your ears and screaming at you. It is important to note that the First Officer will NOT extinguish this warning - you have to speak to him ordering him to “reset master caution”.
What now? Now I see that since I have a vertical profile programmed into the FMC and the VNAV mode in my flight system is armed, I simply leave the aircraft to accelerate at my pre-programmed engine out height in the FMC, which for the purposes of this exercise, have set to be 1000 feet AGL. As the aircraft accelerates, I ask the First Officer to clean the aircraft up as within the usual FS2Crew way of doing it. If my VNAV was not engaged, I would ordered the First Officer to “set flaps up speed” at which point he would have done so and we would have manually climbed the aircraft and retracted the flaps as commanded as per the usual FS2Crew way of doing so.
So the aircraft is flying on runway heading climbing out the first block altitude restriction speed and is cleaned up. Now what? Now I as the Captain disconnect the auto-throttle and speak “auto-throttle disengaged”. I now order the setting of maximum continuous thrust by speaking “set maximum continuous thrust” and if the autopilot is switched off, I can command the First Officer to “select command a” as I usually would.
So far so good. What now? Now that the situation is more or less under control, I order the appropriate checklist by speaking “engine failure checklist”. The First Officer will now speak “auto-throttle disengage” if it is engaged, which in our case it is not, we disengaged it a little earlier remember?
The First Officer will now speak “thrust lever number two close”, at which point I will speak “thrust lever number two” and place my little mouse hand over the right hand throttle lever. The First Officer will now speak saying “confirm number two” at which I would reply “close” and then retard the throttle lever to idle.
Right so the emergency is under control, now we need to land at the airport again. I call for the after take off checklist as I normally would, clean up the aircraft, and gently start to set myself up for the return to the airport. Now that I am ready, I run the usual approach briefing and approach checklist and continue to configure the aircraft for the landing at the airport.
Let us now assume we cannot restart the engine in flight (yes there is a procedure for that to, but I will not go into it for the purposes of this exercise), and it has failed. Now we run the one engine inoperative landing checklist, which will be carried out by yourself and the First Officer and since the runway is nice and long, we can select to perform this checklist with the flaps 15 option as opposed to the flaps 30 option. I will deal with an engine inoperative landing a little later on, so stay tuned!
Performing this happens very quickly! You need to practice these like the real world pilots do to make sure that you can in fact cope with it when it occurs and if you use service based failures, you will find that it could happen on every single take off, be prepared!
The software managed the emergency 100% as advertised, no vices. Very impressive!
Now for the in-flight entertainment I had promised...
For this one we will use the -900. We will start with a cargo fire followed by an emergency descent.
Right, we are cruising at FL350, in the -900, and we make sure that we are not overweight for an emergency landing for this exercise. We have to keep section 8.14 of the QRH handy for this one. For this exercise we will say that there is a forward cargo fire that will present itself.
Section 8.14 stipulates the following about a cargo fire:-
1. The cargo fire arm switch has to be confirmed, then pushed, then confirmed that it is armed.
2. The cargo fire discharge switch should be pushed and held for one second.
3. Now, for the -900 we also have to make sure that both recirculating fan switches are switched to off. Remember the -600 and -700 only has one each, and the -800, like the -900 has two.
4. Both pack switches are to be set to high.
5. The Cabin/Utility switch is to be switched off.
6. We then need to plan to land at the nearest airport.
Together with this, we find the deferred items, an emergency landing which is as follows:-
1. Set the pressurization switch to the landing altitude.
2. Check the recall.
3. Set the Autobrake as desired.
4. Program the landing data into the FMC.
5. Do the approach checklist.
At the appropriate point the approach checklist needs to be performed:-
1. Check that the altimeters are set.
When we are about to land, we follow the landing checklist:-
1. Check the engine start switches are set to continuous.
2. Speed brakes must be armed.
3. Landing gear must be down.
4. Flaps must be set with a green light.
So now for the practical part...
The FWD cargo fire light illuminates. The First Officer calls “fire”. I respond by speaking “check”, followed by “identify”. The First Officer will reply that there is a fire in the forward cargo hold.
I will then speak “confirmed” after visually confirming same. I will then call for the “cargo fire checklist” The First Officer will proceed with the checklist. He will speak “cargo fire arm switch forward” and will proceed with holding the switch. He then asks me for confirmation which I will give by speaking “confirm forward” at which point he “confirms” and pushes it and speaks “push, verify armed”. He then continues to complete the checklist.
Done flawlessly! Good so now we have the fire situation under control (if it is in fact under control the First Officer will inform you that the fire is out). Now the checklist instructs us to land at the nearest airport.
From my PFD I select one and set us up for the landing. Next we have to start an emergency descent according to the checklist, and this procedure is found in section 0.1 of the QRH. What I now do is simply call for “emergency descent memory items”. As the pilot flying, I only commence the descent to 10 000 feet, and I will reduce the thrust levers to idle whilst doing so, but DO NOT retard the thrust levers to idle before the First Officer has set the start switches to continuous.
Remember though, if you are above 14 000 feet, the pressurization cannot be controlled, and this means that it is better to keep the autopilot engaged and use flight level change since you will be severely uncomfortable during the descent!
Together with this, I place the speed brakes into the flight detent position to speed things up, and we set the speed to be followed by the flight level change mode to VMO, the maximum operating speed to get down as quickly as possible.
After this has been done, I will call for the “emergency descent checklist” at which point the First Officer will complete same. Up to this point, there are no flaws to be detected in the operation; everything is working smoothly and 100% as advertised - marvelous!
Right, from this point onwards the checklists that follow are pretty normal and I will not go into them in any detail. As you can see from the QRH sections above, it is a normal approach and landing checklist that you will follow.
Lastly, let us see how it performs with an engine inoperative landing...
For this part we will assume we have had an engine failure instead of a cargo fire at altitude. The checklist for such an eventuality, instructs us as follows in section 7.14 of the QRH:-
1. Since the auto throttle is engaged, we will have to disengage it.
2. We confirm that the engine (for this exercise engine number 1) is the affected engine and we close the thrust lever for that engine.
3. If conditions permit we will run the engine for at least 3 minutes before shutting down.
4. After 3 minutes, we move the fuel cutoff switch to the cutoff position after having verified it is the switch for the affected engine.
5. Now we switch off the pack switch for the affected engine, in this case the left pack switch for engine number 1.
6. We now have to choose whether we can start the APU or not. For this exercise we will have it available since no failure affects the APU, so we start it and switch the APU generator switch on for the number one engine.
7. We will then need to balance the fuel.
8. We do not need the wing anti-ice for this one.
9. We will then plan to land at the nearest airport.
Now please read into this the emergency descent procedures as outline above, it is exactly the same, so I will not repeat it.
In accordance with number 9 above, we then proceed to see what is said about an engine inoperative landing in section 7.26 of the QRH:-
1. We will plan for a flaps 15 landing since the airport I use has a nice long runway.
2. In the FMC we will set flaps 15 reference speed or use VREF ICE. I will use flaps 15 reference speeds.
3. Since we have not encountered icing conditions and have not needed to use wing- or engine anti-ice, and since we will not encounter icing conditions during the approach and landing, we will not use VREF + 10 for the approach - we will use VREF 15 + 5 KIAS.
Now for some of the deferred items:-
1. We need to run the descent and approach checklists as cited above for the emergency descent procedure after our cargo fire, EXCEPT that we have to add that we have to set our Ground Proximity Flap Inhibit switch to inhibit.
The landing checklist remains the same, EXCEPT for the fact that we have to check flaps 15 set, not flaps 30 or 40 as for a normal landing.
Good! Now let us put this into practice...
Firstly, the engine failure drill will mostly be the same as described in my exercise of the V1 engine failure. So we go through the same drill, this time the number one engine. The only real difference here is that we will not be going through the acceleration and climb drills associated with my earlier description. This again, operates flawlessly, no surprises there really. The minor differences between the take off and in flight failure of the engines are clearly illustrated in the FS2Crew Emergency NGX manual. Study them!
We will pretend that the engine is seriously damaged and that we cannot restart it in the air. We then follow the emergency descent and approach items as outlined above. Again, the First Officer is there assisting you as per usual.
Now for the part that we have left for last - the engine out landing! I will call for the “one engine inoperative landing checklist” at which point the First Officer will ask me as to whether I want to land with flaps 15 or flaps 30. As we have decided above, we will use flaps 15. I tell him “flaps 15".
After this the First Officer diligently completes the checklist and I then proceed to brief him according to the briefing that is provided in the FS2Crew panel for it. That’s it! Another flawlessly handled emergency situation.
All this sounds terribly difficult and I have to admit that at first it can overwhelm you a little, but once you have practiced it a little bit it gets a lot easier very quickly. Folks, trust me, this will give you a whole new level of respect for the guys who do these things for real. It will also give you a priceless insight as to how crews actually have to train!
As indicated, everything worked exactly as advertised, across all the platforms from the -600 to the -900. I never once had to sit and scratch my head because theory and practice seemed to lose each other in the mix somewhere.
Simply amazing, very high fidelity, full marks to the developer!
I run an Intel Core2Quad 2.83GHz quad core CPU with 6 GB RAM and a GeForce 480GTX with 768MB VRAM and the performance is amazing. If you can run the NGX decently you will have no issues running either FS2Crew on its own or with the Emergency NGX package. As per usual, always follow the developer’s guidelines for minimum specifications though.
| Publisher: FS22Crew |
Reviewed By: Werner Gillespie
So what remains to be said? The NGX has transformed realism in what is possible in airliner simulations for FSX. What this package does is fill that vital gap between ultimate realism and a slightly less immersive and realistic experience!
As far as I am concerned, the base and emergency packages have made my NGX complete. I now find that I do need to actually do training exercises and keep current the way the real guys have to do it as far as dealing with emergencies are concerned. You have to raise your game!
You now need to make sure that you always properly study those charts for engine outs on take off since you may eventually get one if you fly often enough and when you do, you have a full crew to operate the emergency and bring the aircraft down safely. I’m in seventh heaven right now!
The package adds to an already amazing base package in terms of the usual functionality and integrates absolutely seamlessly into the fray. Just wonderful!
The price? Just Euro 24.95! Guys, this a steal at the price! It has no vices and in the time it took me to review this, the latest version, 2.3E has been released. Product support is quick and friendly. This is well worth the money; I cannot imagine my NGX without it anymore. Don’t event think twice about it – it’s a no brainer, just get it!
What I like about it:
1. Full set of high quality documents.
2. Extra features added to the base package.
3. Absolute realism in multi crew operations for emergencies.
4. Seamless integration into the main package.
5. Does not affect performance of NGX at all.
6. Operates without any vices or glitches.
7. The price.
8. Extremely polished package!
9. Friendly and continuous support and free upgrades, just like all other FS2Crew releases!
What I did not like about it: