AVSIM Commercial Utility Review

Learn the Mad Dog
Training DVD + Study Guide

Product Information

Publisher: Learn The Mad Dog

Description: Learn the Mad Dog MD80 Series Training Bundle.

Download Size:
5 MB (Study Guide Only)

Download and DVD
Simulation Type:
Reviewed by: Angelique van Campen AVSIM Staff Reviewer - August 8, 2008


This time no aircraft, scenery or airport review. Now it’s time for a very nice, handy and educational product … the Learn the Mad dog DVD and associated Mad Dog study guide.

Mad Dog: this is one of the nicknames for the wonderful old McDonnell Douglas DC-9-80 Series or MD80 Series. I know; those of you who know this aircraft or even fly it already, say … no … it’s the MD80 Series. Looking at the review material, they are indeed right. The old and very early DC-90-80 Series I know had the old fashioned ADI and HSI, while this DVD and the MD80 from, for example Leonardo SH Maddog 2006, reflect the later version with EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System) instruments and even FMS.

Who doesn’t know the Maddog 2006 and its older version, the Maddog 2004 add-on flight simulator models - McDonnell MD82 - from the famous Italian Leonardo SH group? They are already responsible for a nice and highly realistic MD82 version. But what about the even more famous Flight1/Coolsky Super 80. This Flight1 product will very soon be followed by another successor, the Super 80 Professional. Apart from lots of differences between the old and new Coolsky products, the Super 80 Professional is made exclusively for FSX, equipped with EFIS and FMS , includes highly realistic external airline liveries from McPhat Studios and, of course, the house liveries from Coolsky.

As far as I know, these are the only complete payware models – cockpits and external model - of the McDonnell MD80 Series, apart of many nice freeware cockpits and models. I didn’t mention JCA (Jet City Aircraft) on purpose since it seems that there’s nothing new available. It seems they’re unfortunately stuck with the FS2004 models.

Ok, I’ll stop with this introduction since it hasn’t anything to do with the products from Larry Foltran, who’s the owner and developer of the Learn the Mad Dog products. Let’s first have a look at the Learn the Mad Dog website.

The Learn The Mad Dog team is proud to announce the release of a complete training program covering the MD-80 series aircraft. Many flight simulator enthusiasts have experienced frustration as they struggled to learn how to handle the very detailed payware versions of these great commercial aircraft. Our new training DVD will end that frustration and have you flying the virtual Mad Dog quickly and realistically.

Based on input and experience provided by a pool of actual Mad Dog pilots from airlines around the world, Learn The Mad Dog comes astoundingly close to the actual ground school training professional pilots attend. Complete with professionally voiced instruction and accompanied by video and detailed illustrations, this 3.5 hour presentation streamlines your training in order to teach you everything you need to know to comfortably fly this aircraft.

Related to the Learn the Mad Dog Training DVD, Larry continuous ….

Learn the Mad Dog Training DVD is the complete training package covering the MD-80 series aircraft. This DVD features over 3.5 hours of professionally narrated instruction covering each system in detail and a ride along example of a typical flight scenario. Systems covered in this presentation include:

- Panel Introduction
- Electrical Systems
- Aircraft Lighting
- Fire Detection
- Air & Pneumatics
- Ice & Rain Protection
- Hydraulic Systems
- Landing Gear & Brakes
- Fuel Systems, Flight Controls
- Powerplant & Engine Controls
- Flight Instruments
- Warning & Caution Systems
- Autoflight Systems
- Radios & Communications
- Flight Management System (FMS)
- Crew Communications.

The package also includes an Official Learn the Mad Dog Checklist. Separately or as a bundle with the DVD package, you can buy the Study Guide.

It’s the perfect accessory to your Learn the Mad Dog DVD, the Study Guide features key information to help you learn while watching the DVD presentation and serves as a reference document during your Mad Dog flights. Nearly 50-pages of content including 75 exam questions covering every aircraft system to prove you really know your stuff. Also included in this manual, and by popular request, is information related to the weather radar and how to use it during each flight.

So are you convinced? Have you ever wanted to be a real MD80 pilot, but you didn’t have the money or possibility to be become one? With this DVD and the study guide you can! Together with the free downloadable manuals from the Fly the Maddog Maddog 2006 aircraft, you’re ready to start your virtual study on the McDonnell Douglas MD80.

As an ex-licensed MD80 Series ground engineer with test run approval, I can tell you already that this combination of the Maddog 2006 manuals, the Learn the Mad Dog DVD and Learn the Mad Dog study guide, is awesome.

Ok, I’m running too fast and need to go back to this chapter. I want to make one thing clear to you and that’s related to the Maddog 2006 manuals from Leonardo SH. This DVD package and study guide from Larry Foltran deals with the Maddog 2006 plane, but when you order his instruction/lessons DVD and/or study guide, you don’t get the add-on aircraft from Leonardo SH. What you get is a great visual tool and nice looking manual, which helps you understanding the Maddog 2006 airplane.

Installation, documentation and additional info

Test System

Dell Precision Workstation 650
Dual Intel P4-Xeon 3.06Ghz
4Gb RAM DDR 533Mhz
nVidia 7800GS+ 512Mb AGP
RAID-0 HDD’s - SCSI 340Gb
Saitek Pro Flight Rudder Pedals
Saitek ProFlight Yoke System
TrackerIR Pro 4
TrackerClip Pro
Windows XP Professional SP2
Flight Simulator 9.1
Flight Simulator FSX SP1+SP2

Flying Time:
19 hours

This will be very short as it’s related to the DVD package, since there’s nothing to install except – if needed – a PC DVD player. If you have an NTSC TV/VCR at home, then you can start right away, but like me, living in Holland, we have the PAL system so playing via the VCR won’t work. Here I needed the help of my PC and Microsoft Media Player. This should work fine and if this doesn’t work, it’s a good time to have a look on the Learn the Mad Dog forum, since you’re not the only one that has a non-NTSC system.

Ok, I will help you a little bit: when Microsoft Media Player doesn’t work you can download WinDVD or PowerDVD (Cyberlink) and with one of these, you should be able to sit, relax and listen to one of the narrators.

Together with the DVD package you will also find a double sided Learn the Mad Dog checklist. It’s nice to have it although many other checklists related to the aircraft can be found besides the default ones which come with the Mad Dog 2006 or Coolsky Super 80. That’s all when it comes to the DVD package.

Looking to the Study Guide, which is offered as an Acrobat file, there’s not that much more to write down. You download it and, of course, there’s no installation procedure to follow. Details about the manual are explained in more depth later in this review.

What’s the "Learn the Mad Dog" DVD offering?

As I wrote before, the DVD offers more than 3.5 hours of visual information of how to handle and fly the MD80. After inserting the DVD it will start automatically and a start-up menu appears. Generally the menu or contents of the DVD can be divided into two parts:

Part I provides you with detailed instruction on how to operate the aircraft's systems and controls. Each system is covered extensively to ensure you understand the function and use.

Part II applies those new skills and knowledge from preflight to shutdown in a special instructional demonstration. You'll watch from the jump seat as it takes you through a complete flight scenario and explain each system's use as well as different techniques.

I would like to warn you of one thing, don’t think that when you’ve no clue about what and how the MD80 systems work that this DVD and study guide bundle will tell you everything. No, in this case you need – I repeat you need – to study the Maddog 2006 manuals in advance otherwise you'll get stuck and will probably be frustrated. Since the Maddog 2006 manuals are free to download, there’s not even a need to buy the Maddog 2006 aircraft itself, but it would be advisable.

After you finished carefully studying the Maddog 2006 Operation Manual - Volume I, it's time to start the DVD. All the aspects of the MD80 systems and/or handling of the aircraft are narrated by Gayle Conroy or Pete Presnal. It’s fun and even interesting listening to them but at times you need to restart a sub-chapter because “that was a difficult system” or “you need to verify for yourself a few things once more” or because “English is not your first language”.

Unfortunately, the narrators look like they are in a little bit of a hurry, especially Pete. This means he is sometimes speaks a little too fast and doesn't take a breath in between some parts. Apart from Pete’s speed, it’s a highly educational DVD, which really explains in depth the Maddog 2006 systems.

While virtually moving through the cockpit, you’re guided to the overhead panel, to the captain and/or co-pilot's panels, pedestal and every detail related to this MSFS model. In other words, not only in-depth system descriptions and/or system operations are handled but it's a total virtual presentation of the MD80 aircraft. Too much information? No problem, just rewind the lesson and start again.

Just a very small collection of “screenshots” from the Learn the Mad Dog DVD. Basically, the contents of the DVD can be seen on the LH upper corner screenshot. All the others are just to give you an idea of this instructional DVD, completely based on the Maddog 2006 from Leonardo SH. The DVD shots are only filmed within the Maddog 2006 2D cockpit. So it's an excellent instruction guide for your favorite MD80 Series. The lower three screenshots are examples taken out of part #2 “Flight Ride Along”.

You’re still curious what to expect before buying this DVD? Just have a look at this demo video link, which shows a small part of the introduction and a selection of the Hydraulic section lesson. The total video experience is almost 4 minutes. This demo, with the in-depth sample of the hydraulic section, should give you a very good idea of what you can expect. Since you’ve got the demo link, there’s no need to add more screenshots.

If you’re already in possession of the Maddog 2006 add-on software and you’ve got a notebook PC, I think it’s a good idea to insert the Learn the Mad Dog DVD into the notebook DVD bay and watch it from there while firing up MSFS and the Maddog 2006 on your gaming PC. While listening to the DVD, you can try and follow all the actions in real time on the Maddog 2006. Based on my knowledge, I can tell you that this is the best combination with the highest learning curve and not only that, it’s fun to have a visual and aural instrument with you. This combination will look like this …..

Part #1 – Section 1 “Panel Introduction”
(LH side Maddog 2006 MSFS – RH side Media Player DVD Section 1)

Part #1 – Section 9 “Fuel Systems”
(LH side Maddog 2006 MSFS – RH side Media Player DVD Section 9)

Part #1 – Section 12 “Flight instruments”
(LH side Maddog 2006 MSFS – RH side Media Player DVD Section 12)

Special double screenshots – 2 x 20” TFT – which shows the relation between the Learn the Mad Dog DVD (on the RH side) and the Maddog 2006 (add-on software product) 2D cockpit (on the LH side). You can see and check for yourself directly the relation between what is explained and how it looks, works or whatever you want to try in the Maddog 2006 aircraft.

WARNING – these screenshots are 3200x1200 pixels!

When you don’t own a notebook, you could view the DVD on the same PC where MSFS is running too, but keep in mind that this will cost you MSFS performance. Either you try running MSFS and the DVD player together or you first study the DVD and start implementing this knowledge by starting MSFS. That’s up to you!

What about the Study Guide & Reference Manual?

This Acrobat file can be either ordered directly with the DVD or separately. I would advice new users to buy the total package, that's the DVD with the study guide.

Why? Because the additional study guide will cost you just a few US$, while separately it’s a little more. Whatever you chose, retrieving the zipped Acrobat file is always via downloading and since it’s no more than 5Mb, it’s the fastest and easiest way there is.

The manual starts with “document purpose”. It’s not my intention to explain every page of this guide, but this is very important otherwise you could end up with a lot of frustration. This guide is not meant to be a “stand-alone” document, but rather is designed to enhance your learning experience as you watch the DVD, serve as a source of reference information during flights, and contains a section to test your knowledge based on the information presented in Learn the Mad Dog.

Ok, that’s not a short story but the idea is that every sub-chapter of the study guide refers directly to the related DVD chapter, which increases the relation between these two learning tools.

Remember what I wrote before and what Larry is telling us; it’s a reference guide so you won’t find complete system descriptions and operations in this book. Thinking about this, it’s also ridiculous to do so since the Maddog 2006 already comes with lots of system descriptions and operation pages, so why do it again? No, this manual is really an extension of the DVD.

It offers tips, where needed some system overviews, lots of panel overviews with quick reference information about switches, knobs, instruments or indicators. The fact that it’s directly related to the DVD is great. You don’t need to search in the study guide to find where something belongs. Just look at the header where the reference is shown. Ok, just one example: Ice & Rain Protection (LTMD Section 6). LTMD=Learn The Mad Dog.

Table of Contents

Panel Introduction
LTMD Section 1 – FO panel

Hydraulic System
LTMD Section 7

Fuel Systems
LTMD Section 9

Flight Instruments
LTMD Section 12 PFD/ND

Auto Flight Systems
LTMD Section 14 FMA

Find here a small collection of of screenshots from the Study Guide and Reference Manual. You want to see more …. great, then it’s time to order the manual separately but a better idea is to order the DVD + study guide bundle.

The quality of the manual is good, while some pictures are directly shot in the Maddog 2006 and are of an average quality but that’s because the Maddog 2006 2D bitmaps are not always that sharp, especially panel text. As long as I can see what it is and I'm able to read the panel text it’s ok for me. Some pictures are, however, taken from a manual or are pure graphics. Those are unbelievably sharp and a pleasure to see.

Almost at the end of the manual you can check your skills/knowledge with 75 multiple choice questions. As indicated, the questions are only based on the Learn the Mad Dog DVD and study guide, so it's not related to the Maddog 2006 AOM.

My conclusion is that it is a good, nice looking and educational manual, which is worth the price. Due to the relation with the DVD and reference notes, it helps while looking/listening to the DVD. And don’t forget, when you order the study guide directly with the DVD, you only pay an extra US$ 6.00 (€3.50) for this, which is really nothing.

What else?

There’s not much more to add to this. You either chose the DVD and/or study guide. I could add some more information about the “Learn the Mad Dog” website, but the website is not that big but is straightforward. Ok then, just a few screenshots with additional information.

Home page. You’re not only surprised by the introduction movie, there’s also a link to a second movie “Take a peek!”

Info page. This page is fully dedicated to the DVD package. It explains in detail the contents of the DVD as well as who the narrators are and what to expect.

Links page. One nice and informative external website.

Here is an impression of the Learn the Mad Dog website. Although the website doesn’t offer too many pages, what you need to know is there. More importantly, the necessary information about the offered products should tell you enough about what to expect. There are two additional web pages – shop and forum- but I think those are more than self explanitory.

In other words, this is what you can buy. No more and no less, however, a great tool to get a “visual” grip on the McDonnell Douglas MD80.

Summary / Closing Remarks

In one word … awesome! For this review I received the Training Bundle. That means the DVD package (Learning DVD with LTMD Checklist) send by post. (keep in mind, shipping cost is not included) and a download link for the Study Guide and Reference Manual.

This will cost you in total 38.00US$ or about €22.00. Looking at the contents of the DVD and manual, including my real life DC-9-82 Series experience with Martinair Holland (the good old days), I can only conclude that it’s well worth the investment. Ok, you need to relax to watch the DVD and probably not once but twice.

Above all, you have to like the simulated model. That means you either like the MD80 aircraft or you don’t. Further more, part 2 of the DVD offers a total flight profile including all the necessary cockpit handlings. This is probably a very interesting visual chapter for most simmers. The offered flight scenario is from KATL (Atlanta Hartsfield) to KMCO (Orlando International) and takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes. It’s flown at a cruising altitude of 35.000 feet (FL350) and follows the following route -> KATL.SOONE.OTK.LEESE1.KMCO.

Are you lost? Don’t worry. The narrators will help you with every detail and guide right up to the landing and parking at KMCO. Remember, although the Maddog 2006 is not a 100% replica of the MD80 (it's about 99%), it’s so realistic and an in-depth program that this visual guide is really great and improves your learning curve.

It’s over. I’ve got no additional information for you regarding this product. If you like the MD80 Series and you want to bring your knowledge and skills to a higher level, then this is the right choice.

Useful DC-9-80/MD80 Series links

Find here a small collection of MD80 related links.

- MD-80 International Forum
- Boeing commercial Airplanes MD80 Series
- Eaglesoft Development Group Flight Deck MD80 Series for FS2004
- Airfleets Production Summery MD80/MD90


What I Like About Learn The Mad Dog

  • 100% worth your money, no doubt about this product!
  • The DVD content is based on the Maddog 2006 2D cockpit panels because at that time there was no VC available. It’s much better since this prevents shifting through the cockpit from left to right and up to down.
  • No installation needed. Just insert the DVD and you’re ready to go!
  • Playback of the DVD is either done on a NTSC VCR or on any computer with the help of a media player program like the InterVideo WinDVD or the basic one from Microsoft.
  • Part 2 of the DVD – flight profile from KATL-KMCO - seems that you’re looking at one of the JustPlanes real cockpit movies. It’s really awesome since the Maddog 2006 cockpit itself is based on photorealistic graphics but it’s still MSFS!
  • The whole flight profile shows only the important cockpit operations, procedures and instrument behavior. There’s no sign of external views and this is good news. External impressions … you can do that by yourself. Remember, it’s an instruction DVD and that means … following, seeing, learning and doing all the cockpit operations!
  • Colorful study guide and good references to the DVD. Very handy when listening to the DVD while looking at the related manual page at the same time.


What I Don't Like About Learn The Mad Dog

  • I couldn’t find anything!



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Learn The Mad Dog

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