AVSIM Commercial FSX Aircraft Review

MD 81/82 Jetliner

Product Information

Publisher: Commercial Level Simulations

Description: Twin Engine Commercial Aircraft.

Download Size:
172 MB

Simulation Type:
Reviewed by: Aidan Sandri AVSIM Staff Reviewer - August 15, 2010


The MD-80 series is a mid-size, medium-range airliner that was introduced in the 1980's. The design was a second generation of the DC-9 with two rear fuselage-mounted turbofan engines, small, highly efficient wings, and a T-tail. The aircraft has a distinctive 5-abreast seating in coach class. The aircraft series was designed for frequent, short-haul flights for 130 to 172 passengers depending on plane version and seating arrangement.

The development of MD-80 series began in the 1970's as a growth version of the DC-9 Series 50. Availability of new Pratt & Whitney JT8D higher bypass engines drove early studies including designs known as Series 55, Series 50 (Re-fanned Super Stretch), and Series 60. The design effort focused on the Series 55 in August 1977. With the projected entry into service in 1980, the design was marketed as the "DC-9 Series 80". Swissair launched the Series 80 in October 1977 with an order for 15 plus an option for five. The initial Series 80 first flew October 19, 1979.It entered service in 1980. Originally it was certified as a version of the DC-9, but was changed to MD-80 in July 1983, as a marketing move. The MD-80's production ended in 1999.

Commercial Level Simulations have included the following into their MD-80 series:

  • Extensive manual and Flight Tutorial
  • Highly detailed exterior model
  • High quality interactive 3D Virtual cockpit (VC)
  • 2D panel with custom gauges.
  • Special WIDESCREEN version included
  • Virtual Cabin
  • Pushback truck (can be switched on/off)
  • Dynamic wing-flex.
  • Detailed flight deck when seen from the exterior.
  • High-fidelity Sound-set recorded from the actual aircraft during multiple sessions.
  • Full flyable photo realistic virtual cockpit.
  • Touchdown tire smoke effects
  • Engine start smoke

Installation and Documentation

For those who haven't installed aircraft from CLS before, it's very straightforward. A quick note before you install is that you need FSUIPC installed for the TCAS to work properly - the installer will give you a link to the correct location to download this file. You will have to agree to the terms & conditions, now you will be asked for your Operating System and select the FSX Version, select where you want it installed and click next and it will take a few minutes to install. Like I said, very straightforward.

A 157 page manual has also been included in this package, and what I had found was that it is very detailed. Included in the manual are 5 sections:

  • A user's manual
  • A panel description
  • Operations Manual
  • Flight tutorial KATL-KMIA
  • Appendix

From reading this manual I found it to be very helpful, but there were some items that could have been cut out, such as the pictures and blank pages. I would also have liked for the writing to be spread out a bit more and not as bunched together as it is, so it is easier to read.

Exterior Model

CLS have spared very little with regards to the detail of this MD-80 aircraft, I have their DC-10 and A330/A340 aircraft and both of them  have fantastic models, but I truly have to say that they are improving every time with their models. Many exterior parts of the aircraft are also animated. I will name a few like the gear, flaps, spoilers, rudders, and elevators etc. They all seem to be animated correctly and make the model look even better. I will agree with CLS in saying this is a highly detailed exterior model.

There are many paint jobs available for the MD-81/82 Jetliner, a few of them are Delta, Finnair, Iberia, JetsGo and Martinair, an American Airlines repaint is also available using the livery manager included with the aircraft. At the time of writing this review CLS had added some new repaints, all of high quality made by either CLS Staff or repainters who have purchased the product. There is also a white paint scheme for repainters.


This aircraft package sounds do sound like the real thing. From start up to shut down the sounds are excellent. While I cannot vouch for the sounds from inside the cockpit, from what some videos have shown and what people have told me the sounds are indeed very good.

In terms of "clickable sounds" in the Virtual Cockpit from the overhead panel and center pedestal, a large majority have sounds when you click them, including the seatbelt and smoking signs.

The GPWS is also working, with callouts from 2000 feet to 10 feet, also including over speed, stall and TCAS alerts.

Virtual Cockpit & Cabin:

The Virtual Cockpit is fantastic, there are a lot of 3D knobs and switches, and almost everything is clickable and does something, which I think a lot of simmers would be concerned about if they didn't have an actual function. There is room for improvement by making the gauges looks more accurate but everything is crisp and very easy to read. I had no trouble reading or clicking anything in the Virtual Cockpit.

Flying at night should now be very easy as CLS has done a fantastic job with the interior lighting. Simmers that do not normally fly at night may find themselves now doing so in the MD-81/82 as it is bright, fantastic and looks spectacular.

Many developers do not include Virtual Cabins these days. CLS has included a Virtual Cabin which is very nice and it has 5 seats per row which are very nicely modeled. This is probably one of the best Virtual Cabins I have seen, if not the best! Simmers that still use the 2D Panel will be happy to hear CLS still includes this into their packages and the MD-81/82 is no different.

Flying Dynamics:

Generally, first impressions will tell you if the aircraft will fly like the real thing and I believe that this aircraft does. CLS has done a good job in making sure that the aircraft does fly the like the actual aircraft and not like a jet fighter. Jetliners should fly 'heavy' and not 'light' like a Tomahawk would, they shouldn't respond and turn quickly, but turn slowly.

The aircraft will not spin when in a stall like it should and does stall at around 90 knots, which I believe is incorrect as if I took off at 150knots, the aircraft should stall at 140-150knots.

Test System

Computer Specs

Intel i5 750 2.66GHz
Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Nvidia 9800GT 1024Mb
Logitech 3D Extreme Joystick

Flying Time:
35 hours


There were no major drops in FPS when I was using this aircraft. In the VC with FPS locked at 32 at EGLL (Heathrow) I was getting an easy 28-32FPS and on the exterior I got a solid 32FPS.

This is a VERY frame rate friendly aircraft. In terms of systems and modeling and from past experience with CLS, I had gotten bad FPS, but they seem to have improved on that.

Summary / Closing Remarks

Commercial Level Simulations have done a fantastic job in recreating the MD81/82 Jetliner for Flight Simulator X. While it is not 100% like the real thing in terms of systems (FMS etc), it will be enough for beginners to learn quickly and advanced simmers to fly. At just under 30 Euros, it is a good price for what this aircraft has and what it doesn't.


What I Like About The MD81/82 Jetliner

  • This is some really clever and subtle work which has a lot more to it than is at first apparent
  • A vast array of choices are on offer


What I Don't Like About The MD81/82 Jetliner

  • The help screen needs improving and a ‘Read Me’ should point out possible pitfalls
  • The GUI could do with some tidying



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CLS MD81/82 Jetliner

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The review above is a subjective assessment of the product by the author. There is no connection between the producer and the reviewer, and we feel this review is unbiased and truly reflects the performance of the product in the simming environment. This disclaimer is posted here in order to provide you with background information on the reviewer and any connections that may exist between him/her and the contributing party.

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