PMDG Boeing 777-300ER is Amazing

But of course, we knew it would be right?   The wait is over…PMDG finally released their very highly anticipated Boeing 777-300ER on schedule just a few days ago.  Due to my traveling schedule, I was actually down in Texas at the DFW Airport when it released so I didn’t get to take part in all the fuss in trying to get my download codes like so many did.  I’ve heard dozens of reports from fellow simmers who tried to purchase the new PMDG 777 on release day and heard horror stories of the long wait.  Hopefully PMDG will invest in a better e-commerce platform as it’s very clear what they are using now is not capable of holding up to the demand.  But I digress…

As I type this, it is Thursday, 27 June and I’ve had time to get a few flights in the new Triple 7 and she flies wonderfully.  While I’ll admit that I favor the shorter Boeing 777-200 over the -300, she’s still an amazing aircraft and after getting a few more shorter flights under my belt, I will be embarking on some serious long-hauls which this aircraft is designed to handle.

Missing GoFlight Functionality

Of course, as the PMDG 777-300ER has only been recently released, it’s currently not yet working with my GoFlight hardware.  But I know in time the folks over at PollyPot will update the GoFlight Interface Tool and I will be able to control much of the MCP, EFIS and Radios via my external hardware just as I can with the PMDG 737.

Some Screenshots

If you already own the new PMDG 777, then you already know what she looks like.  If not, here are a few screenshots I’ve captured in the past few flights.

Not sure what’s going on with those ULD’s appearing at the top of the fuselage. I’m sure this will be resolved when GSX Pro gets updated for the new PMDG 777 functionality.  Speaking of GSX Pro, if you experience an issue with a tail strike on pushback, then make sure you disable the “lift aircraft” option, at least until a GSX update appears that may or may not correct this issue.

Final Thoughts

As I said above, I really much prefer the shorter 777-200 model….but until that is released it’s just a really great thing that we finally have a solid, long-haul aircraft in our virtual hangars.  We now have much better options in the longer range category and I’m looking forward to the release of the 777-200.  Of course, we also believe at some point during the release stages of the 777 that we may get the 737 Max from PMDG.  I also suspect the wait before Fenix releases their A319 and A321 shouldn’t be too awfully long from now.  I believe the expectation is that we’ll have those before MSFS 2024 releases later this year.  Fingers crossed anyway….

Well…until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Are Virtual Airlines Still Relevant Today?

I became first acquainted with a virtual airline or VA for short in the 1999 or early 2000 timeframe.  During these past 24-25 years, with exception for a year to two when life was so busy that I didn’t spend much time at all with flight sim,  I’ve belonged to one or more VA’s.  Today I fly exclusively for a popular VA that mirrors the day-to-day operations of American Airlines.  More about this in a minute.

The Competition

But the question at hand is are VA’s still relevant today?  Without any hesitation I say, absolutely YES!  But in recent years the virtual airline concept has been met with some strong competition from various 3rd party add-on products which simulate your own airline career.  One of the more popular of these add-ons is called “A Pilot’s Life” by SimBitWorld.  I actually wrote a review back in 2019 which you can read here.  Since that time, Simbitworld has released an even more popular “A Pilot’s Life – Chapter 2” which I’ve also used from time to time.  There are a few others that have come onto the scene since MSFS2020 was released.  I’ve used a few and in time I’ll probably write up a review of these standalone applications for your consideration.

It’s Fun until the loneliness sets in

A Pilot’s Life and other standalone products are great until the loneliness sets in and what I mean by this is a good virtual airline will also have a vibrant community of virtual pilots to interact with within their forums or Discord channels.  They may also regularly schedule VA group flights, but generally there’s almost always someone willing to fly with you if that is what you like.

Like I stated previously, over the past 24+ years I’ve been involved with virtual airlines in the capacity of just a pilot all the way to operating my own fictional virtual airline for a number of years.  For the past three years I’ve belonged to American Virtual Airline.  At this VA I’ve served as pilot, Hub Manager, VP of Operations and Chief Operating Officer (COO).  Today, I serve as the Chief Training Development Officer.  I oversee our new hire training academy where new applicants will spend their first 15 days or so.  Our training academy is brand new and allows new hire candidates to receive training on not only our VA systems/tools including our website, ACARs system and an all important overview of our policies and procedures followed by an overview of the Boeing 737.  Additionally, all new pilot candidates will submit a Boeing 737 check-ride flight before graduating into the mainline airline operations.

In Summary

Yes, I still believe all these years later that joining a good virtual airline is a great way to enhance your virtual aviation experience.  Keep in mind that most VA’s will require a minimum level of participation.  This is generally 1-2 flights per month to remain active.  At American Virtual Airlines we require just one flight every 30 days to remain in active status.  Many of our pilots fly daily as we’re a very airline.  If you’re interested in joining American Virtual Airlines, just go here and submit an application.  Upon submitting your application, it will be reviewed and approved in a timely manner.

If you have never experienced a virtual airline, I encourage you to join one. Regardless if it’s American Virtual (which I mentioned above) or any which represent your prefer airline…try it.  I think you’ll like it.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

The 777 Is Coming….The 777 Is Coming!

Well….blow me down and shiver me timbers.  Yes, PMDG broke radio silence on Sunday to announce a tentative release date for their Boeing 777-300ER.  This anticipated release date is Tuesday, 25 June.  PMDG also mentioned in that same announcement that should a delay be needed (for whatever reason) then provisional backup days extending out to 30 June might be necessary.  So with any luck, we’ll finally have what I’m sure will be an awesome version of the Boeing 777W before the end of the month.  Unfortunately, there was no pricing info provided in this announcement.

An Absolute First

As they say, there is a first time for everything and this is no exception.  PMDG broke a life-long policy which has been in place for years where they never provided a product release date.  Today, that policy has been changed and as I said above, we should have the PMDG 777-300ER this month.

In Streamers Hands Soon

The PMDG announcement also mentioned that within a few days we should start seeing the PMDG 777-300ER in the hands of those carefully selected and just downright lucky streamers and content creators.  Of course the only problem with this is many of the big names in the flight simulation content creation space will be attending FSExpo which takes place this coming weekend.  But hopefully there will be plenty not attending and will stay home and tease us with some great video and streaming content.

I Can’t Wait

Like you, I just can’t wait to have my hands on the PMDG 777-300ER.  I haven’t decided just what will be my first flight.  As I do much of my airliner flying for an American Airlines based VA, I may just do one of the shorter flights such as MIA – LAX or I may just bite the bullet and head across the Atlantic towards London Heathrow. What are your plans for the PMDG 777-300ER?  I’d love to hear them.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

MSFS 2024 Thoughts

Hello and welcome back to my blog site.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably already watched the brand new release trailer which Microsoft released over the weekend regarding their brand new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024.  The announced release date is 19 November 2024.  I’ve watched this trailer now about a half dozen times and very much like what I see.  Of course, I liked what I saw from the very first teaser from last year.

Backing up the Truck

Before I dive into a few things that I’m thinking about after watching the new trailer several times, let me just point you all to a blog article I wrote earlier this year on the subject of MSFS 2024.  This article covers the why behind Microsoft’s decision to release a brand new sim only four years after MSFS2020.  Of course I also talk about a few other things and if you missed it, now would be a good time to go read it.

Thoughts and Concerns

Over the past few days I’ve watched many videos from other flight sim content creators breaking down the new trailer video.  From what I’ve seen across many videos, the concerns of these content creators can be broken down into these following categories.  #1 Flight Model, #2 Old add-on compatibility and #3 new projects slated for MSFS 2020. Let me break these down and provide my thoughts for each.

Flight Model

I’m not a real world pilot of any sort.  Over the past 4 years I’ve heard many complain about the poor flight modeling in MSFS.  Many state that this is the primary reason they do not use MSFS 2020.  Microsoft have stated that there will be an advanced flight model in MSFS 2024.  As for how advanced it will be compared to MSFS 2020, well….we’ll just have to wait and see.  But I believe Microsoft and Asobo have listened to us and will deliver a better flight model in the new sim.

Old/Existing MSFS2020 Add-on Compatibility

Microsoft have stated multiple times that old/existing add-ons for MSFS2020 should work in the new sim.  Of course, what we don’t know is whether this is day one compatibility or whether it will take the 3rd party developers some time to work on.  I think with scenery, it should only consist of minor tweaks to make it compatible.  However, for 3rd party aircraft….this could take some additional time especially if the flight model changes between MSFS 2020 and MSFS 2024.  It is worthy to note that 3rd party developers are just as much in the dark as we are when it comes to MSFS 2024.  At the present time, Microsoft have not released any details which could be used to help speed up the process of getting 3rd party add-ons into MSFS 2024.

New Projects

As the sun is starting to quickly set on MSFS 2020, there are concerns by many that un-released 3rd party add-ons (specifically aircraft) which were slated to be released in MSFS 2020 will be bumped to MSFS 2024.  Many are pointing towards the news that Aerosoft’s long awaited Airbus A330 which was supposed to come out for MSFS 2020 is now being delayed and will only release for MSFS 2024.

To be perfectly honest, the example of the Aerosoft A330 is the only project I’ve heard about that is being delayed to MSFS 2024.  Bluebird Simulations still plans to release their Boeing 757 for MSFS 2020 with a free update to MSFS 2024.  The PMDG Boeing 777 is on short-final and should release sometime this summer for MSFS 2020.  Considering for me personally….I’m not planning on buying the Aerosoft so their decision doesn’t impact me at all.

Final Thoughts

As I’ve stated before, MSFS 2024 most likely will be a day one purchase for me.  However, I have low expectations that my favorite 3rd party aircraft (specifically the PMDG 737 and Fenix A320) will be ready to install in the new sim on day one.  No one knows at this point in time the level of effort needed for the 3rd party developers to make existing add-ons ready for MSFS 2024, nor do we know with any level of accuracy how much these updates/upgrades will cost us.  For me personally, I’m willing to pay a small update price for existing add-ons for MSFS 2024.  But I’m not willing at this point in time to re-purchase at full price.  My investment in MSFS 2020 at the present time is in the thousands of dollars.  But it’s waaaaayyyy too early to get the cart ahead of the horse at this point in time.  So I invite you to join me in just sitting back and taking a wait and see attitude with this.  Because that’s really all we can do at this time.

One more thought

One more thought came to my mind as I was wrapping this all up.  It truly is in Microsoft’s best interest to have developed MSFS 2024 in such a way that requires minimal 3rd party development work to make add-ons compatible in the new sim.  The reason I say this, is many will wait before purchasing MSFS 2024 until some time has passed to see how 3rd party developers react to the new sim and what level of effort is required AND what, if any upgrade cost might need to be passed along to consumers.  If the level of effort is high enough for developers to have to charge full-price for add-on upgrades then I think most will just stay on MSFS 2020.

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I’ve discussed here today.  Leave a comment and let me know.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

PMDG 777 and MSFS 2024 Release Rumors

I hope everyone is having a great start to the summer season.  While it’s still a few weeks before summer officially arrives, the weather is warming up across the country and in most places school is out.

PMDG Boeing 777

In recent days PMDG have broken their silence and informed everyone via their forums that they are busy undertaking a few web enhancements to their e-commerce platform to better handle the upcoming release of the much anticipated Boeing 777.  Specifically the Boeing 777-300ER.  This is great news, but still leaves us wondering just how much longer it will be before we can all get our hands on this awesome aircraft.  We’ve been reminded that PMDG will provide a two week notice before the 777 will be available and at the time of this writing, this 2 week notice has not been made public.  So until then, we wait and wait and wait some more.

We are about 3 weeks away from the 2024 FSExpo, so many are speculating that the availability might coincide with this event.  But who really knows.

MSFS 2024 Release Rumors

In addition to the PMDG 777, the flight sim community is working overtime to try to second guess when Microsoft will release the new version of the sim which we know as MSFS 2024.  The big Microsoft XBox Summer Showcase on 9 June.  This is where Microsoft unveils many of their new projects expected to release throughout 2024 and early 2025.  We have had confirmation that a new trailer will be for MSFS 2024 during the event.  There have also been rumors of leaked information that a date for release will be mentioned in this new trailer video and the rumors are this date will be sometime in November, just in time for the holidays.

I know many were thinking, hoping, dreaming etc. that MSFS 2024 might release in August as that was the month MSFS2020 released.  But I’m actually OK with a later release.  While I have plans to purchase and move to the new platform, I’m also not in any big hurry.  I believe it will take some time (perhaps a few weeks or even a few months) for MSFS 2020 add-ons to be ready for MSFS 2024.  So other than using MSFS 2024 for GA flying, my expectation is that it will be some time before we can do any serious airliner operations.

Well…that’s about all I have for now.  Naturally I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open to any news coming from the XBox Summer Showcase and of course anything from PMDG.  So we must just all stay tuned.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

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