The Reality of Eggnog

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and are preparing to ring out the old 2023 and ring in the new 2024.  Here in Colorful Colorado, we had a semi-white Christmas with about a 1/2 inch of snow on Christmas Eve and an even whiter boxing day.  We woke up this morning to about 2 inches of fresh snow and it’s beautiful outside.  But that’s not what this blog post is about. 

A couple of weeks ago, Robert Randazzo teased us all with an update on a few of the PMDG projects and mentioned that he was looking forward to welcoming everyone into the hangar with a glass of eggnog. In that update he revealed the first screenshot of a Boeing 777 landing gear. Many in our community immediately add 2+2 and got 5 and anticipated that this was some sort of clue that we would see a new release from PMDG on or before Christmas.  I blogged about this back on the 9th of December. I will admit that while I thought it might be possible, I still held out on taking my credit card out of my wallet. 

Yesterday, on Christmas Day RSR once again posted an update on the progress of the PMDG Boeing 777 and provided several never before seen screenshots which I’ve posted below. 

PMDG_777_nose3

PMDG_777_tail3

Of course there was no mention of any upcoming 737 MAX in this PMDG update.  I still believe we won’t see anything until it’s actually been released as RSR has stated this many times.  But the bottom line with the PMDG 777, which I’m looking forward to having as much as anyone else, is that this aircraft has only been in testing for one week and the likelihood of it being available for purchase in the next few weeks or even in the next few months is most likely just not going to happen. 

My best guess at this point in time is that we’ll see the PMDG Boeing 777 sometime in the first quarter of 2024.  A date to keep in mind is the annual VATSIM CTP or Cross the Pond event.  The westbound event typically takes place toward the end of March or first part of April.  PMDG would make  a lot of simmers happy if they were able to release the 777 before this event. 

In closing, If you’re of a certain age you might remember the TV commercials featuring Orson Welles on behalf of Paul Masson Wine.  The similarities with PMDG are the same. 

Orson_Welles_Paul_Masson_Park

I hope the remaining days of 2023 are good to you and all the best in the new year!

Until next time….

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

PMDG 777 and 737 MAX News

In the past 24-48 hours we’ve had more teasers from PMDG regarding the current projects under development.  As we’ve known for sometime, the next expected release from PMDG AFTER the 737 series was to be the Boeing 777.  Earlier this month PMDG teased us with a customary landing gear screenshot from the 777 which I discussed in my article “PMDG Egg Nog”.  Since then, many have assumed (and you know what it means to assume right?) that Robert’s comment about “looking forward to welcoming you into the hangar with a glass of egg-nog in hand” meant that we might see something new from PMDG before the end of the year.  Is this still possible? 

Then on the 17th, Robert provided an additional update on the various projects along with another screenshot from the forward cabin of the Boeing 777.

PMDG_777_cabin-1024x576

In this update from the 17th, Robert mentions that the PMDG 777 has officially entered the beta testing stage.  If memory serves, the 737 spent a couple of months in beta testing.  So would the 777 beta testing period be similar?  Could be, but Robert mentioned in this recent update that his PMDG team have learned a lot about the development process from the 737 series and that could mean the amount of time needed to thoroughly test the 777 could be shorter. 

Even more speculation

There’s been some recent details about a PMDG tester being spotted flying a B38M.  These details came from a screenshot of the testers Discord profile which showed him flying the type in MSFS around Seattle Paine Field.  See below.

Discord MAX

Once again Robert teases with how he closes out the update from the 17th by the following:  “(Only 6 more shopping days until Christmas)”.  Of course many are speculating that PMDG will release something new to us before or on Christmas. 

My Own Opinions

As the 777 only went into beta testing on the 17th, I really doubt we’ll see that aircraft released in 2023.  While I certainly believe the amount of time PMDG spent testing the 737 before release could certainly be due to the fact that MSFS was a brand new sim for them to develop for.  The fact that they’ve had more than a year to come to terms with how MSFS works and what they have to do to develop add-on aircraft could certainly mean a short testing cycle for the 777.  But I don’t think they will rush this just to try to get it to us before Christmas or even before the end of the year.  In all likelihood, we’ll see the 777 release sometime in early Q1 of 2024. 

As for the 737 MAX.  Well…..I go back to what I’ve said before where we’ve heard Robert mention that PMDG has no plans to communicate a release date for the 737 MAX.  That one day we’ll wake up and find it’s available to purchase.  Could we actually wake up on Christmas morning and find the 737 MAX available?  I suppose time will tell.

Until next time…

Only 5 more shopping days until Christmas!!

Jerry

PMDG Egg Nog

If you routinely visit the PMDG forums to catch up on all the development news regarding the 737 and other projects, then yesterday (Friday, 8 December) you may have noticed the tease which Robert Randazzo gave us in the “Other Stuff” section of his update.  Here’s that comment….

RSR

What does this mean?  Well…if we think back to some of the communications which PMDG released some time ago, we know that the first order of business regarding PMDG and MSFS was the release of the 737 product line.  This of course included first the 737-700 followed by the 737-600, 737-800 and finally the 737-900.  PMDG had stated that sometime after the 737 series the next order of business would be the Boeing 777, the Boeing 747 Queen of the Skies and finally the long awaited Boeing 737 MAX.

With regards to the Boeing 737 MAX, Robert Randazzo  has also stated several times that PMDG had no plans of communicating any such release date for the 737 MAX.  Meaning, that more or less one day we would all wake up to find the 737 MAX had been stealthily released with no pre-release hype.  So back to Robert’s forum post from Friday, what could it possibly mean?

Within the Virtual Airline I belong to, some are speculating that PMDG could release BOTH the Boeing 777 and the Boeing 737 MAX on Christmas Day.  I personally don’t believe this and here’s why.  First, while PMDG might feel a bit of pressure since iFly recently teased their 737 MAX for MSFS.  But PMDG has been in business for a very long time and I don’t believe they really pay much attention to those things.  I really don’t think the iFly news would cause PMDG to rush the MAX, especially if the MAX just isn’t ready yet.  Plus, I personally believe that we won’t see the iFly version of the Boeing 737 MAX anytime in the very near future.  Plus, I don’t think PMDG would want to release two brand new aircraft into the market at the same time and especially do it on Christmas day.

So what do I think?  Well….remember, you can’t take my opinions to the bank as they really don’t account for much.  I think we’ll see the PMDG Boeing 777 before Christmas.  It won’t release on Christmas Day as I don’t believe Robert would expect any of his employees to work and provide support on a major holiday such as Christmas. In addition, the time period between Christmas and New Year is often a time when people take time off from work to travel and visit family.  So actually releasing the 777 a week or so before Christmas is almost ideal.

Finally, PMDG released the following teaser image today showcasing the aircraft’s recognizable six-wheel main landing gear.  I’m sure over the next few days we’ll see even more preview images.

IMG_0040

So, could we see the PMDG Boeing 777 sometime before Christmas?  Could we see it before the New Year?  Either way, I certainly don’t think we very far away from having this incredibly awesome aircraft in our virtual hangars.

As for the 737 MAX.  I still believe we’ll just wake up one morning to find that it’s been released
and is available for all of us to enjoy.

Until next time….

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

What’s in store for us in the new year?

We’re in the final weeks of 2023 and it has me wondering that we have to look forward to in the new year.  Of course the biggest possible thing could be the next iteration of Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, I’m sure you know that a brand new version of Microsoft Flight Simulator is being released sometime in 2024.  While many do not see this as a good thing, I certainly do.  I believe Microsoft/Asobo have hit certainly roadblocks in MSFS 2020 and the only way to carry it forward is to release a brand new sim which hopefully will have everything we love about MSFS 2020, will have fixed everything we dislike about it and lay the ground work for an even better simulator for decades to come.  While MSFS 2024 is certainly something to look forward to, many of us are still very much in love with 2020 and looking forward to a few new goodies.

PMDG 777

Yes, one of my favorite simulator aircraft should be available to us in the first half of 2024.  While there is no date and it is only my speculation, but I think we will see this in the first quarter of 2024.  But don’t hate on me if that doesn’t work out.  Thankfully we’ve had a really good Boeing 787 Dreamliner to keep us busy the past few months.  But the void created by not having the 777 is a really big one.  Let’s hope I’m right and we’ll see it sooner rather than later in the new year.

Fenix Airbus A319 and A321

In a very much unexpected announcement a few months ago, the devs at Fenix announced that we would soon have their version of the Airbus A319 and A321 before the end of 2023.  I don’t believe they’ll make that deadline since they also had to delay the block 2 of their Airbus A320 which was originally planned to be released at the end of October.  With the delay for the A320 block 2, I would expect the A319/A321 to be delayed until sometime in the first half of the year.  While I would like to be as optimistic about the A319/A321 as I am with the PMDG 777, we’ll just have to see when block 2 comes out and how successful that is to then determine just how much longer it will be before the A319/A321 arrives.

Bluebird Simulations Boeing 757

Bluebird have been teasing us with status updates on their Boeing 757 throughout the last quarter of this year.  While it was originally believed that the 757 would release before the end of the year, Bluebird announced several months ago that would not be possible and they would not rush the product just to get it out to us.  I also believe we’ll see the 757 release in the first half of the year. 

PMDG 737 MAX

Could we have the PMDG 737 MAX before Microsoft 2024 arrives?  Of course we don’t know when MSFS 2024 will drop.  If history repeats itself, then it might happen in the late summer timeframe.  But who really knows.  Robert Randazzo, the CEO of PMDG has stated several times that PMDG have no plans to announce any release date for the MAX.  We’ll just wake up one day and there it will be.  But could this happen in the first or second half of 2024? 

iFly 737 MAX

In the past 24 hours, iFly have teased a few screenshots of their Boeing 737 MAX for MSFS 2020.  To be honest, I haven’t really paid a lot of attention to this product and don’t know just how far along they are in the process.  From what I’ve heard the iFly 737 MAX was successful in P3D and I would imagine we can expect nothing less for MSFS.  I did own the iFly 737 when it released for FSX many, many years ago.  iFly managed to release their 737 before PMDG by just a month or so (if memory serves).  But just as soon as PMDG released their 737, I bought it and never looked back.  So with this said, regardless of what iFly does, I believe I’m going to hold out for the PMDG MAX. 

Bottom Line

We must all practice patience and understand that these are all highly detailed and complex add-on aircraft.  None of these above mentioned developers are known to rush a product out the door just for the sake of releasing it.  They will release when they are ready and as a consumer, this truly is the very best policy. 

I truly believe 2024 will be another really great year for flight simulation.  What a great time to be involved. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

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