CaptainSim have a business model they’ve followed a couple of times now where custom
ers are invited to buy pre release versions to fund the completion of the project. Essentially you receive a visual model with panels and systems that flesh out over subsequent releases and have bugs hopefully ironed out over time as the final release approaches.
I bought into the program for the 777 and although it has a lovely external model and what looked like a decent cockpit it wasn’t without its issues, even after the initial v1.0 release.
I’ve personally experienced ridiculous cockpit panel behaviours/responses, start-up sequences that were just random, climb-outs that were comical, LNAV and VNAV tracking that was diabolical, FMC/CDU and MCP weirdness and a whole bunch of other highly irritating stuff. This was despite following published procedures for de-installing/re-installing between releases and initialising the aircraft by placing at CS recommended starting airports and states otherwise the damned thing would lose the plot.
So you could say I wasn’t holding out much hope for this latest v1.4 release. Imagine my delight when after a cold-n-dark start-up and IFR leg from Hamilton to Wellington (yes I know, hardly typical) the ruddy thing behaved FLAWLESSLY !!!
Well… close enough…
- pre-flight, FMC setup etc all went fine (although this was ok for me previously too)
- start-up sequence went well, I dig the panel, it’s nicely done, good level of detail, interactions seem to be subtlety improved
- taxi and handling are great, the thing looks good and feels big but seems to move accordingly on the tarmac
- take-off roll and climb-out were fine, I was running a light load so was pretty sporty but not stupidly supersonic like previous releases have been for me
- LNAV and VNAV tracking were bang on, this has been weak in the past in my experience
- on approach to Wellington the TOD and general descent profile behaviour was bang on, really pleased with that
- LOC capture was smooth without any wild redirection to align and GS capture and tracking went well all the way to finals
- AP and AT off and hand flying to touch-down felt very good, responsive but still felt like a heavy aircraft as I guess it should
- touch-down, reverser’s, spoilers, auto-brake, roll-out, and taxi-to-gate all went swimmingly
The few niggles I had weren’t show stoppers…
- at start-up Cranking right starter resulting in left-engine start
- C-N-D default is still to have all controls hydraulic valves isolated, you have to use the pesky guarded switches right at the back of the overhead to enable Yoke/Pedals (is this realistic? does PMDG do the same?)
- De-selected one of the Generator drive switches and no combination of selections would re-enable it, the whole flight was fed from the other generator
Overall I’m a happy camper. After a few more legs I’m sure I’d be at the point where I could recommended this for the budget concious amongst us