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Panel Reviews (Cont'd)

This Page was last updated: Monday, May 3, 1999

Managing Editor - Reviews: Maury Pratt
Panel Reviewer: Bill Dailey
Panel Reviewer: Pardave Lehry
Panel Reviewer: Michael Toussaint

3rd 12 Panel Reviews

Boeing 737-300 Panel: Reviewer Mike Toussiant fondly remembers his first time on the flight deck of a B737-300 and how proud the pilots were of the digital displays that mocked their analog counterparts mixed in with the older analog instruments. Sure, the newer 300 series come with full EFIS flight decks, but what fun is that? The 300, for Mike, represented the last of its class before the full EFIS deck became the norm more than the exception. But for one brief moment in the sun, the analog/digital flight deck of the 300 series was "state-of-the-art".
WC-1 Sundancer Pylon Racer Panel: Alexander Lawrence has crafted a unique freeware panel for a one-of-a-kind Sundancer aircraft. AVSIM Reviewer Bill Dailey has taken the aircraft and panel out for a spin using the Reno racecourse, and walks away especially impressed with Alex's extremely accurate rendition of the Sundancer panel and the User's Manual written by Sundance pilot (and four-time national champion) Logan Hines.
DeHavilland Dash 8 Commuter Panel: Reviewer Maury Pratt says Ralph Tofflemire strikes an agreeable balance between the utter realism of the photo realistic approach and the unavoidable tradeoff in instrument clarity. He got it right with this one. The principal instruments, the attitude indicator/flight director together with the ground-breaking HSI, are not only legible but replete with color cues. Where button labels are necessarily small, as on the autopilot (flight controller), their legends "pop-up" when you move your mouse over them.
MD-83 Panel Review and Author Interview: AVSIM reviewer Mike Toussaint is awestruck by the high quality and realism of Ralph Tofflemire's payware MD-83 panel, and you will be too when you look over this superb panel. Tofflemire's panel is stunningly photorealistic in 3D mode, and is replete with fully-functioning switches, instruments and features. It even offers a stable, fully-functional autoland system. Mike is so awestruck by the quality and realism of this panel that he concludes the panel "has effectively turned FS98 into a whole new simulator." Tofflemire's panel "raises the bar" by which all other panels will henceforth be judged, and richly deserves the AVSIM Gold Medal for Excellence in Flight Sim Design.
DeHavilland DHC-5 Panel: Reviewer Bill Dailey finds that David Durst has produced a very nice panel for the DHC-5. As befits a 60's era design the gauges on this panel are all analog. The look and feel of the panel is strictly utilitarian - just like the airplane - designed for rough useage. The overall appearance of the instruments is very crisp and clean with large easily seen readouts, but the photorealistic panel unfortunately offers many non-functional gauges and switches. Designed for use in 800x600 or higher resolution, Bill found the panel to be useable at 640x480 as well, and works with in both 2D and 3D modes.
Boeing 747 Panel: AVSIM reviewer Mike Toussaint takes a close look at Adam & Zeev Kovalsky's freeware Boeing 747 Panel and finds the panel to be well done and more realistic than its competitors. Mike likes how the authors have effectively captured the look and feel of the 747-100/200 flight deck. The 70's-era analog gauges are crisp and readable in 1024x768 mode and are accurately-placed.
Boeing 737-200 Analog Panel: Reviewer Bill Dailey is a fan of those older 60s- and 70s-era Boeing aircraft that feature the round, analog "steam" gauges in the cockpit. In his quest to find the right analog panel to go with his "Flying Football," Bill discovered that there is no lack of entries. However, Armando Weinberger's very accurate panel is the best of the bunch, effectively capturing the Boeing "look" while being easy to read and use.
Douglas DC-3 Panel: Only occasionally do we review a commercial aircraft or panel product on these pages, but this one's so unusual Maury Pratt, our Panel reviewer, couldn't resist. Just listening to Trev Morson describe and demonstrate his Flight Essentials DC-3 at the MicroWINGS 98 Flight Simulation convention -- especially the pains-taking research that went into bringing this plane to life -- did the trick. In fact, this review isn't just about his panels, or even the ten variations of DC-3s you can fly with them. The package's standout feature is the documentation that comes with it. It's so complete and so interesting that, in Maury's opinion, that in itself justifies the package's modest $25 cost -- about what you'd pay for a good book on the plane's history.
A-340 Panel: Panel reviewer Maury Pratt takes a look at Fred Carter's new A340 panel and finds a lot to like about it, with ample glass cockpit instrumentation which is crisp and legible, effective use of Eric Ernst's PFD and ND displays, and autobrake.
Embraer 120 Panel: Reviewer Bill Dailey has used most of the work of prolific panel designer Sergio Reblin Portela, and the number of downloads for Portela's various panels attests to the fact that Bill isn't alone. In his review, Bill looks at Portela's Embraer 120 Panel and concludes that this is a good, solid rendition which, with a bit of tweaking by the author, could well become a great panel.
MD-11 Panel: AVSIM Panel Reviewer Maury Pratt takes a look at Chris Alevritis' MD-11 photo realistic panel in his latest review. Maury tells it like it is with both the pluses (strong, clean appearance) and the minuses (weak instrumentation).
Hawker Sidely 748 Panel: In this review, Bill Dailey takes a look at Mattias Lieberecht's great turboprop panel for this aircraft. As Bill points out, this panel can be used for other twin turbos, just as easily. Take a look at Bill's review and you might want to add this one to your collection.

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