PMDG 737-800 Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

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. 

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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…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Microsoft Flight Simulator–Two Year Anniversary

In just a few days, 18 August 2022, Microsoft will celebrate the two year anniversary since the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator.  During the summer of 2019 and somewhat out of the blue, Microsoft announced they were working on the new version of their extremely popular Microsoft Flight Simulator.  I use the words “Out of the Blue” because most in the flight sim community were not aware of this news and it came to us with excitement and even some speculation.  Many of the blog postings I wrote here on my blog were very much mixed with my own personal excitement but also with guarded concerns.  After all, Microsoft had abandoned Flight Simulator and as a result many of the long-time fans of the sim had moved over to Prepar3D or X-Plane.  For the most part, I was certainly happy with the direction Prepar3D was moving in and was having a lot of fun in the sim. 

As we approach the two year anniversary of the release of the new Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) I can happily say that much of the concern or speculation I once held towards the title have been dismissed.  After all, earlier this summer when the Fenix A320 and PMDG 737-700 released for MSFS, I began flying MSFS almost exclusively.  I still occasionally fly P3D when I have a need to fly the PMDG 777 or the QualityWings 787.  But I would say this is perhaps only 1 out of 100 or so flights that I do this.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the time I spend in MSFS and the experience gets better and better.  As a matter of fact, I changed my mind on the decision not to purchase the PMDG 737-700 (I initially said I would hold out until the 737-800 released) as the few times I tried flying the 737-800 in P3D, I just didn’t enjoy the experience.  While MSFS may have some limitations, the overall beauty of the sim makes up it.  Plus the addition of the Fenix A320 and the PMDG 737-700 (and soon to be released 737-800) have been instrumental in keeping me flying MSFS and essentially letting P3D gather dust. 

About those concerns…

The concerns and speculation many of us long-time flight simulation enthusiasts once had for Microsoft and Microsoft Flight Simulator have (in my opinion) to be null and void at this point.  In all honesty, while it did take me about a year and a half to fully embrace MSFS for my jetliner use, I was convinced that the efforts of both Microsoft and Asobo would truly turn MSFS into the future of flight simulation we have been longing for.  It just took some time for some of the more advanced airliners to make it into the sim and of course it took some time for Microsoft to work out a few bugs.  But as I’ve mentioned a few times, I’ve been enjoying the hobby of flight simulation since the early 1980’s.  The advancement of flight simulation over these past 35+ years is truly amazing.  The dedication I see from Microsoft, Asobo and all the many 3rd party developers certainly have me convinced that Microsoft Flight Simulator earns the right to say “As Real As It Gets” and will only continue to get better as time goes by.

August Expectations

While August is about half way done, I believe we’ll see some amazing things happen this month.  First and foremost, Microsoft/Asobo have been working hard on the sim update 10 release.  While I haven’t participated in the beta, I’ve heard from many simmers who say that SU10 addresses many of the bugs we’ve been plagued with and moves the sim one step further ahead with better performance and features which many 3rd party developers can take advantage of.  While I’m not a fan of Microsoft’s “Must Update Features”, I am anxiously awaiting SU10 and hope the update/upgrade process works as smoothly as all the previous updates have. 

In addition to SU10, I believe we will see the PMDG 737-800 release this month or early September.  The 737-800 is my all-time favorite aircraft to fly in the sim and I’ve missed having it.   Yes, the 737-700 is just a bit smaller,  but I want my 738 and I want it as soon as possible.  I know many of you do as well. 

Finally, I also believe we will soon have FSDreamTeam’s GSX available to us during the month of August.  For those that don’t know, GSX is the ground services component to flight simulation.  GSX controls all aspects of cargo and passenger loading, including the visuals for baggage/cargo being loaded onto the aircraft along with fueling, catering and that much important de-icing during the winter months.  In addition, GSX also does a really good job with aircraft pushback services which are truly lacking in MSFS at the present time. 

The Future Remains Bright

I believe we’ll continue to see some truly amazing things come to MSFS in the later half of 2022 and early 2023.  I’m hopeful SU10 paves the way for Chaseplane to finally come to MSFS and of course we might….just maybe see the PMDG 777 before end of year or perhaps very early 2023. Time will certainly tell.  It’s certainly a great time to be alive and a great time to be a flight simulation enthusiast. 

As always, thank you for taking the time to read and I look forward to returning with a blog post in a few weeks to document my experiences with SU10, PMDG 737-800 and hopefully GSX.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

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