It’s been an absolutely fantastic summer for those of us waiting for study-level aircraft to arrive for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 (MSFS). First, PMDG released their Boeing 737-700 which was quickly followed by the absolutely amazing Fenix Airbus A320 both in May. A lot of folks were a bit disappointed in PMDG’s decision to first release the –700 (May), followed by the –600 (July). But from a business perspective and especially since PMDG modified the way they normally package and sell the 737 this makes a lot of sense. After all, the vast majority of flight sim enthusiasts really wanted the 737-800 and bringing the –700 out first made a lot of individuals purchase that aircraft (myself included) just to have some variety in the new sim.
I had planned on not purchasing the –700 or –600 and waiting for the –800. But as I became more familiar with MSFS, going back to P3D just to fly the 737-800 just wasn’t as enjoyable. So I did purchase the 737-700 about a month after release and used it, along with the Fenix A320. I have not, nor do I plan to purchase the –600, even though it was offered at a much lower price. I just don’t have the need for that airframe. But I digress….
Within my own virtual hangar, I typically fly the 737-800 about 75% of the time followed by the Airbus coming in at 25%. After all, the PMDG 737-800 has always been my favorite narrow-body aircraft and it’s just an absolute pleasure to fly. So I was really pleased to learn the wait was over and I’ve truly enjoyed the last few days of simming with this awesome aircraft.
Is the 737-800 Right For You?
Well, really only you can answer that question. While some were hoping for some sort of discount (especially if they had previously purchased the –700 and –600 variants, this was never something I expected PMDG to offer. After all, the 737-800 is the most popular variant in the Boeing 737 series. However, if you purchase the PMDG 737-800 now, it is being offered at an introductory price of $69.99 with the expectation that it will go up to $74.99 later.
What I can tell you is the PMDG 737-800 is worth every penny at either price point. Regardless if you’ve previously owned the aircraft in FSX, P3D or both….the PMDG 737-800 is a dream to fly in MSFS. Additionally, if you are new to the world of flight simulation, the PMDG 737-800 (or any of the other variants) is super easy to learn to fly. New aviators should check YouTube as you’ll find hours and hours of videos which demonstrate how to fly this aircraft and fly it well.
-700 or –600 Owners, should you also purchase the –800?
Again, not a question I can really answer for you. What I can say, is comparing the –800 to the –700…while they are basically the same aircraft with the –800 being almost 20 feet longer, the PMDG 737-800 does include more variants including the standard 737-800 passenger model, a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) model and two converted freighter versions including the BDSF (Bedek Special Freighter) and BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter). Along with all the different ground and passenger servicing equipment you’ll need for total immersion regardless of the variant you choose to fly.
What’s Next From PMDG?
PMDG will release their 737-900 which will complete the 737 series. While no exact release date is known at this time. I believe we should expect that in the late September or more realistically in the early October timeframe. After all, PMDG’s original plan was to release the 737 series in 6 week gaps.
Once the –900 is out, we can expect the following aircraft types (in this order), Boeing 777, Boeing 747 and then the Boeing 737 Max. As for expected timeframes, well that’s any one’s guess at this point. I believe I once read some time ago that the expectation from PMDG would have the 777 available this year. But I would be very surprised to see that under our Christmas tree this year. I think the more realistic expectation would be sometime in 2023 (perhaps by summer if we’re lucky).
Why does it take so long?
For the most part, I believe legacy flight simulation enthusiasts who have been around for a decade or more and evolved through the various sim versions do fully understand that it takes time to bring an airliner of the level of quality we expect from PMDG to a new sim platform. However, MSFS has attracted a large number of new flight sim aviators to the hobby and these guys and gals are experiencing all this for the first time.
On some of the forums and Discord servers I participate on, the question is often asked “Why does it take so long for updates?” Or “Why does it take so long just to add a sharklet or new engine model to an existing aircraft?” Seasoned veterans of the hobby fully understand that there is more to all this then just slapping a sharklet onto a wing or adding a different engine variant under the wing. In other words, when looking at these study-level versions of popular modern day aircraft, there is a lot more that goes in under the hood than just a simple visual. Developers like PMDG, Fenix etc. need the time to properly code the differences in flight dynamics, performance and yes the visual representation into the aircraft and of course fully test before they bring them to market. So be patient….enjoy what you have available now and be thankful when something new comes along. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I certainly hope you enjoy the new PMDG 737-800 (or any variant) and I hope it brings as much joy to your virtual experience as it does to mine.
Until next time…