Ever wanted a bunch of FSX/FS2004 airplanes with 2D and VC cockpits together for the price of one? Now you can with the Overland Fly into the Sky! World Airlines package!
This CD or download version offers you a large amount of Airbus - A300-600R, A319, A320, A321, A330-200, A330-300, A340-200, A340-300, A340-500, A340-600, A380-800 – and Boeing - B737-700, B737-800, B737-900, B747-400, B767-300ER, B777-200, B777-300, B777-300ER and MD11 airplanes. It this is not enough, then I’ve got more for you, since all the aircraft come with additional 2D and VC cockpits for the Airbus A300-600, A320 Family Series, A330, A340 and A380; as well as for the Boeing B737 Series, B777, B767, B747 and the MD11.
That’s pretty impressive and the price for a boxed version at SimMarket, which contains two CD-ROMs, will cost you no more then 49.00 Euro’s, but does it represent high quality? High quality is different for everybody; if one is already happy with good looking airplanes, another may need a cockpit created with full FMS control – if applicable – and so on. I would say, let’s have a look at this huge package.
Installation, documentation and additional info
The standard Airbus/Boeing installer on the CD-ROM is already an old version. By old version, I mean that you should not use it. That’s strange … you buy a CD-ROM, but you don’t get the latest software? You need to see this differently.
Ok, you need to know this in advance but otherwise, there are no problems. You surf over to the Overland SMS website download section and download the FS2004/FSX Airbus and Boeing updated files (fs9-airbus_update.exe, fs9-boeing_update.exe, fsx-airbus_update.exe and fsx-boeing_update.exe). They (the FS2004 files) are replacing the files on your CD-ROM with brand new files with all kinds of modifications and it also detects the correct FS version automatically, including its location (done via reading the Windows Registry). Furthermore, bug fixes and other aircraft/cockpit related items are changed. Installing the Airbus/Boeing FS2004 version is done via the downloaded file, a legal check is made with the help of the CD-ROM and before you know it , you have used about 600Mb of hard disk space.
The same sequence is followed for the FSX update files but remember one thing here, the FSX version is just to make it compatible with FSX. So it’s not redesigned for it. Not really a problem for so many aircraft and looking at most of the competitors, this also means that it doesn’t make any difference under which MSFS system I test the Overland models, since the FSX models don’t have any additional improvements except that the default ground and sky textures are more realistic than in the one offered in FS2004.
I will do an FSX install for you, just to figure out if there are other items which are strange or not correct, or things that surprised me and I can tell you it’s all the same. No difference between them!
After the installation processes are finished, let’s see what shortcuts we have or Start menu entries. That’s odd … there’s nothing. No shortcut on your desktop, no Start menu entry, no manuals, no uninstaller except the one via the Control Panel – Add/Remove Software. Searching on the Overland website doesn’t help either. So it really means there’s no manual at all except for the one you’ll find below in the sub chapter “documentation”. Strange but true!
This will be my first review where this sub chapter is very small. Simply because there’s almost nothing. I can’t write down there’s nothing, since the boxed version comes with a very small black and white printed manual. It’s a mix between Japanese and English and holds no more than the following chapters; Installing/Uninstalling “World Airlines”, Selecting Aircraft (from within MSFS), Operating Moving Parts, Technical Support and finally, a list of all available liveries.
The only part that’s interesting is the sub chapter “Operating Moving Parts”. It tells you how to assign all the specific passenger/cargo doors to MSFS commands like tailhook, wing fold, water rudder and Shift+”x” commands. As stated, there is no other manual which would explain something of the available cockpits. Later, we will see that the 2D/VC cockpits are not that impressive or sophisticated, but no manual at all? That’s weak in my personal opinion. End of discussion and end of this documentation section.
2D cockpit (FS9)
Where should I start? There are so many possible cockpits available, but within a minute you will see that there are hardly any additional sub panels simulated. When you see sub panels, like the radio panel, then those are representing the default FS9/FSX panels, which disappoints me. Ok, see below for every aircraft/cockpit combinations, all the possible 2D main panels and if applicable, the sub panels. As I mentioned before, since there’s no documentation at all, I think this is it and hopefully I didn’t miss any add-on panels.
It’s now time to look closely at the VC’s. Since Overland comes with 10 different cockpit lay-outs, I’ll try to keep it simple by not making too many screenshots. I will make three shots of every available cockpit and one comment section. Keep in mind, the gauges used in the VC are generally the same as the ones used in the 2D cockpit, so there’s not really a difference. However, what is different, is the total overall cockpit impression. Where there’s a lack of sub panels in the 2D view, there’s no limitation in a virtual look, so let’s go and see what Overland offers.
Normally there’s much more text, highly detailed screenshots and as written before, lots of comparisons between a real cockpit and the modeled one. None of this can be found here. I think it's like I said before, the 2D and VC cockpits are very simple, straightforward and they look in one way or the other to the default Boeing airplanes. Even the EFIS displays of the Boeing models seems to be the same, including the EADI and EHSI, which aren’t like in reality and thus not very realistic. On the other hand and probably that’s Overland’s idea, a beginner can fly it and learn something of these aircraft types, but unfortunately without any manual.
Let’s start with the fact that the overall look of all the models is good, although the A300-600 has not that many details than for example, the A320 Family models, A330 and A340 or Boeing models. Is this enough then?
It compensates for the previously discussed cockpits. I could check every model and make several screenshots but that’s too much and there’s no need for it. I suggest we highlight a few aircraft types and try to show you the positive and negative items. One negative item is – although this has to do with the maximum polygons MSFS can handle – the main and nose wheels. They are not really round in my opinion, but is it worth making fully round wheels and then leave other items in a minimum state? No, I don’t think so and therefore it's always a problem to find a balance between one or the other parts.
Ok, let’s first have a look at the following external models; the Airbus A320, Airbus A340-600, Boeing 747-400 and the McDonnell Douglas MD11. So once again, I’ve just made a collection of a few aircraft types in relation to their external look and not chosen all the Overland models. These 4 aircraft types therefore represent the total range of Overland airplanes, but during the flight dynamics section, I’ve got some more surprises.
An in-between conclusion of these external models: The overall look of the airplane types is good, although certain details are missing. Wheels could be designed as a more rounder model. Further, you can look at a few places through the MD11 wing – so, it's not well aligned – certain placards with symbols/text, which are located on several places on the fuselage, are not sharp or not readable at all. Since the above is a collection, In my “how do they fly” section, different models will show you all the Overland models. Although it’s not a summery here, for MSFS beginners, this Overland package is a good start to challenge the small, medium and big jets. They are simple, straightforward, with uncomplicated cockpit handling and above all, have very good frame rates. Let’s go to the next chapter and see if the models offer real flight characteristics.
How do they fly ….. or flight dynamics?
Oops, this will be heavy! As stated above, I will make several test flights – depending on the aircraft type – in Europe (Toulouse/Blagnac LFBO) and the United States (Seattle Boeing Field KBFI) with the other remaining models. First to get an idea of the flight characteristics, and second so you can see for yourself the other Overland models. Keep one thing in mind, I don’t own a professional ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot License) but only a PPL. However, this, with 24 years real maintenance aviation experience, helps me judge of the flight dynamics from the Overland models.
Let’s first start at KBFI with the smallest Boeing member, the 737 NG Series. It comes in three different flavors, the -700, -800 and the -900. Although all the individual models have their own flight characteristics in the real world, for real pilots there's a certain commonality between the 737NG series. Commonality means that airlines owing these 737NG models, can swap their pilots between the different models. Ok, pilots need to follow conversion training, but that’s it I hope.
What’s the use of this story? The use of this is that I’m going to test, for example, the 737-700 model and not the other 737 NG Overland models, since the flight dynamics are more or less the same. While the test flight of the 737-700 seems to have average characteristics, then this means to me that the two remaining models have the same responses.
Enough, let’s jump into the brand new China Eastern 737-700, parked at the cargo apron of Boeing Field. It’s a cloudy day but that won’t stop us from making several test flights. Since there’s no manual or anything else except the kneeboard, I’ll make the necessary default MSFS preparations for payload and fuel, this is because the models are not offering any fuel planner or payload editor. Officially, I don’t need that much fuel so I’ll put it at 50%. We’re ready with all our checks completed and don’t forget there’s not that much to do since there’s no FMS, no FWD and AFT overhead panel to check/test so I.m ready to taxi to runway 13R.
Taxi to our runway is without any problems and when we reach the runway, we hold at A1 of runway 13R. We check if everything is ok and then we turn onto the runway and apply full TO thrust. We decided to climb out to 4000 feet following the runway heading before making a RH turn to 090°. So here we go, at VR (Rotation Speed) we apply some force on the yoke or if you wish via a keyboard key and once airborne, we retract the gear and then our flaps. I face one thing already and that is it’s not restricted at all. You can pull and pull and the aircraft will follow.
Since this aircraft is very easy to fly, although the real thing is probably different, we easily fly further by hand and do not use the Auto Pilot. In the mean time, I can make some screenshots of the external model and even this 737-700, which is representing the other 737NG models. Surprisingly, the engines have lots of details but other parts of the fuselage are not really. As you’ve probably seen already, all the test flights are made within FSX. What I wrote earlier, since the FS2004 models are made compatible with FSX, you can also fly this version of the simulator.
Whatever you chose, one thing is for sure; even in FSX the frame impact is very good or probably I should write; "your frame rates are hardly reduced with the Overland Simmer Sky models and cockpits, which his very good news."
One huge advantage of MSFS, is that we are able to jump during our flight into the second Boeing test model, the 767-300ER (Extended Range). This aircraft was just delivered to Air Canada and before we take our captain's position, we'll first have a look at the outside. The same as we saw with the 737NG model, the overall model looks very nice, including the engine circumference, but the moment we get closer to the model, some details are missing or not that sharp. This can be seen, for example, at the RH wing screenshot. I’ve not zoomed that far into the wing and as you can see, lots of details on the wing itself are not available. It’s not all bad but I’ve seen more detailed FS9/FSX models.
It’s time to jump into the cockpit and do some manual flight practices. It flies very easily to be honest, perhaps a little too basic. I can make +40 degrees bank angles or even pitch a lot. Again, I’m not a licensed 767 pilot, but this is not real, in my opinion. Since the flight controls of the two Boeing models are all controlled in manual flight by cables, there’s not really a limitation unless you reach the flight control stops or the steering force becomes too high.
Welcome into the world of fly-by-wire!
This is different and as far as I know, the 777-300ER from Eva Air is a Boeing type with fly-by-wire but with a stick between the pilots legs. As far as I can remember from ex-KLM colleagues, this is a real fly-by–wire model, which means that when flying manually, the input of the roll and pitch channel is controlled by computers. That means you can do what you want with the control wheel or control column, but the computers will see if it’s allowed to do so under the current flight condition.
Ok, back to the 777 model. On the screenshots below we can see more or less the same. Overall model looks pretty good, but zooming into parts of the wings, fuselage, and tail gives a different impression. An impression where details are missing! I’m personally more concerned about the possibility of making huge bank angles or giving extreme pitch inputs. While doing this in a manual controlled flight situation, no auto pilot connected, the aircraft follows my commands without any limitations. In reality I have my doubts if flight control computers allow you to do this. Ok, it looks nice when you can make huge bank and pitch angles, but is it real?
Anyway, with the impression of these three Boeing models, including the ones we saw at Seattle Tacoma International Airport, I can finish with the words that the Boeing external models look good although it could be lifted to a higher detailed standard. The Boeing flight dynamics or characteristics are not as real as could be possible, but for the beginner, it’s a good start.
We’ve left the United States and are heading for the warm mid-southern area of France. To be more precise, the incredible city of Toulouse, with its famous airport Blagnac. Why famous, because Airbus Industries' main factory is situated here. It’s now time to check the flight dynamics of two other Airbus members, an A330 model and the huge A380. Running on the flight line, I got the possibility to fly along with the Airbus guys to check a brand new A330-300 from Garuda Indonesia and you won't believe it, the one and only one A380-800 from Singapore Airlines.
Ok, let’s first start with the A330. The external model is very similar to the previously seen A340-600, since the aircraft are like brother and sister. But as we have seen now from all the previous models, the overall look is good but most of the times details are missing or weak. This is , by the way, also applicable for the A380. Taxiing, climbing, cruising, descending and landing with Airbus models give me more or less the same feeling.
If this is real, I don’t know! I only know that both Airbus models are all fly-by-wire ones, but if they fly and feel the same, I have no idea. But there’s a reason to write this down. It flies so easy that you hardly believe this it’s representing the real dynamics and the moment I start my climb doing manual manoeuvers like extreme bank and pitch angles, then once again I can do what I want.
For the Airbus types I know, this is not real. Once in the air, the Airbus A320 Family and the A380 are all controlled and monitored by FCPC (Flight Control Primary Computer) and/or FCSC (Flight Control Secondary Computer) computers. They don’t allow the pilot to do things that could harm the aircraft structure or place it in a dangerous flight situation. Pilots only have a side stick input and the computer(s) decide if it is allowed or not. Ok, that’s the real world, but the moment there’s no limitation in MSFS, you get situations that can be seen on many of the screenshots below, huge pitch and bank angles.
I’m a very happy person; I’m back on the ground and while relaxing with a glass of red French wine, I review the American and French dreams. It was a lot of work this time but that’s the consequences of so many aircraft types in one package. I would rate the aircraft flight dynamics on a scale from 0 to 10 at about a 6. The fact my rating is not that high is probably a result of the extreme flight possibilities, which is not as real as it gets, apart from the fact that MSFS limits things like these. This package is nice and full of models, especially for the beginner who wants to try something and has all these models in house. On the other hand, the Overland package is not intended for the intermediate and expert MSFS virtual pilots who are looking for bigger challenges.
Unfortunately, this will be very short since the Overland SMS models don’t come with their own sound files. All the aircraft models, ranging from the different Airbus models and the Boeing airplanes are all linked to the default Fs2004 sound folder of the Boeing 737-400 aircraft. In other words, very unrealistic and that really disappoints me. Since everybody knows that the default B737-400 sound from Microsoft is already of an average quality, in relation to these add-on models, it's even worse.
For the FSX models, it’s slightly different because FSX offers an Airbus model, but still no customized sound. All the Overland FSX Boeing models, excluding the MD11, are linked to the default B737-800 sound folder, while all the Airbus models including the MD11, are linked to the default FSX Airbus A321. Again, deeply disappointing. Why? Because suddenly, and according to Overland, a CF6-50, Pratt & Whitney JT9D or Rolls Royce RB211 engines, do sound the same as the default Airbus FSX CFM 56 Airbus A321 engine.
Summary / Closing Remarks
Ok, what do you get for your money? You get good looking external models, average 2D and VC cockpits, which are not better than most of the freeware cockpits offered, for example, in the AVSIM Library. You get no customized engine, cabin or cockpit sounds, so for this you need to look for freeware packages on AVSIM or buy separate sound packages. The last one is, in my opinion, not really an option since you already paid for this package.
Furthermore, you don’t get any manuals and even that is strange since some freeware software even offers you nice looking manuals with lots of information, at least to explain a little about the cockpits and if needed, to provide some background information.
It seems that I’m disappointed but I’m not. I think you need to look where it is intended for. After testing the package and models, I personally say it’s a very good start for MSFS beginners. For FSX, you’ve also got the advantage of having lots of models with a minimum frame impact.
Ok, now the price. I wrote it already earlier; the CD-ROM version contains all the Boeing and Airbus models, cost you €49.00 (˜ $70.00). That’s a lot, but is it? You get 20 aircraft types or if you wish 10 different cockpits. That means €2.45 per aircraft or €4.90 per cockpit and that's all packed together for FS2004 and FSX. Just install it and you’re done. Ready to fly!
You could ask yourself; “Is there no way to get this as freeware?” Probably the answer is yes, but for FSX it's not that quickly answered apart from the fact the beginner must collect all the different cockpits and aircraft types and tehn merge them together if they were offered separately. For a beginner this could be a huge problem, while buying the package immediately gives him the possibility to fly after 5 minutes of installation and not have to struggle or look around for the necessary software.
the Overland package
is really great for
new virtual pilots who want to have all the Boeing
and Airbus models together with uncomplicated cockpits and can apply their
basic flight knowledge.
What I Like About World Airlines
What I Don't Like About World Airlines
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