PMDG 777-300ER Long Hauls

Hello ladies, gentlemen and boys and girls….the past few days I’ve really been giving the new PMDG 777-300ER a good workout traversing across the North Atlantic a few times.  While I spent the first few days of ownership of this awesome aircraft flying some of the shorter domestic routes which American Airlines still operates such as DFW – ORD I felt the need to see how she handles on a much longer route.  After all, this is exactly what this aircraft was designed for.

My first long-haul flight in the brand new PMDG 77W was DFW to LHR, simulating American Airlines Flight 50.  AAL50 holds a very special place in my heart as it was the first time flying on an American Airlines 777.  Back in early 2001 this flight was operated in the Boeing 777-200, but today it uses the 777-300ER.  This business trip was also responsible for allowing me to meet my wife and was also the first of many transatlantic flights I’ve made in the real world to London.

Anyway, I loaded up the B77W in DFW.  It was a full load of passengers and plenty of freight to make the flight profitable.  A mere 8 1/2 hours later I touched down on runway 27L.  The following day I debated picking up a British Airways flight towards the Middle East and just continue eastward around the globe, but instead decided to fly back to the US in time for the US Independence Day holiday and what better place to be than in Philadelphia.


AAL50 PMDG Boeing 777-300ER Catching the sunrise over the North Atlantic.


Descending along the eastern coast of the US headed for Philadelphia (PHL).


PMDG 77W on approach to KPHL RWY 09L and passing the Commodore Barry Bridge along the Delaware River.

I honestly couldn’t be any happier with this new aircraft from PMDG.  Yes, I truly can’t wait for the 777-200, but for now I’m going to be doing all my long-haul flying in this beast.

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

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

Microsoft Flight Simulator SU15 Update Postponed Yet Again

Yes, the news broke yesterday that due to some issues found during the latest beta build for SU15 (1.37.15.0) which was supposed to originally release back in March, then postponed to 7 May has once again been postponed.  At the time of this writing, there is no new date available.

The issues found have to do with WASM “Missing Content” errors and stuttering/freezing on the Xbox platform.  A new beta update (1.37.17.0) which addresses the WASM “Missing Content” errors as well as a handful of other issues.  As for the Xbox issues, this continues to be under investigation with the hope of a fix being issued sometime next week.

PMDG 777-300ER

Of course, one has to wonder if the highly anticipated release of the PMDG 777-300ER isn’t caught up in these SU15 delays.  While PMDG have stated multiple times that their release strategy for the 777-300ER isn’t dependent on SU15, one still ponders this possibility.  If I’m honest with myself, and if I were responsible for the release of the most anticipated payware aircraft add-on in the past two years….I think I would delay it as well just to be 100% sure there were no undiscovered issues.  Especially considering the number of beta build releases that have been part of the SU15 cycle.

Bottom Line

Someday….perhaps later this month…perhaps early June SU15 will get released and someday after that…perhaps June, perhaps July, perhaps ???? the PMDG 777-300ER will release.  We all just have to wait and see.

Until Next Time….

Wait and See and Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

I was wrong, but we move on…

Well, the 2024 VATSIM Westbound Cross the Pond event is history.  By now all those VATSIM servers will have cooled down from the vast amount of traffic they were handling on Saturday during the event and of course PMDG didn’t release their Boeing 777-300ER just before hand.  While this is disappointing, I know from being a PMDG Customer for over 20 years that PMDG only releases when the aircraft is ready to be released.

Looking Forward

There are plenty of things to look forward to in the coming weeks and months.  Immediately on the horizon is the SU15 update from Microsoft.  While SU15 will bring us the new iniBuilds A320neo, what I’m most looking forward to are the expected performance enhancements we’ve been hearing about in SU15.  While SU15 has been delayed from the original target date of 26 March 2024, the new release date is expected to be on 30 April.

Fenix A319/A321

If you already own the awesome Fenix A320, then you also most likely know that the Fenix team have been hard at work to develop both the A319 and the A321 for MSFS.  As mentioned in this press release dated 14 April 2024, Fenix states that their A319 and A321 coming along swimmingly and should be entering beta testing very soon.  While I don’t want to speculate any possible release date…hopefully we could have these two new Airbus aircraft sometime later this summer.

BlueBird Simulations 757

This is a project I’ve mentioned a few times on my blog.  I’m really looking forward to having a quality 757 in MSFS.  While we don’t really have any new news on this aircraft or the release date, BlueBird Simulations have recently confirmed they will be at the FSExpo taking place on the weekend of 21 – 23 June and will be showcasing a preview of their new Boeing 757.  I’m hopeful we’ll see this release before the end of the year.

iniBuilds A350 and A380

The team at iniBuilds are hard at work creating not only awesome airport scenery, they are also working on two very much needed aircraft for MSFS.  While I believe they have every intention on these releasing this calendar year, I believe these would appear somewhat in the later part of 2024 if it happens, or sometime early 2025.  Time will tell….

PMDG 777-300ER

Once again…I was wrong with my anticipated release time for this aircraft.  Honestly, based on where we thought (or at least I had thought) this aircraft was back in early March…the timing just shouted it would be available in time for the VATSIM CTP.  Now I’m honestly scared to speculate.  Especially considering we haven’t heard from Robert Randazzo since the 6th of April.  OK…I’m game.  I’m going to predict we’ll have the PMDG 777-300ER before 1 June.  That’s over a month away.  But I could still be wrong.

Final Thoughts

As we all know, Microsoft and Asobo are hard at work with the development of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024.  While it should be safe to think we’ll have the PMDG 777-300ER and even perhaps other variants of the 777 and possibly even the PMDG 737Max before MSFS 2024 is released, I have a feeling the BlueBird Simulations 757 and the iniBuilds A350 and A380 won’t come out before MSFS 2024.

While MSFS 20204 will be a day one purchase for me, my expectations on when purchased add-ons for MSFS 2020 will be compatible with 2024 may not be a day one thing.  What I mean by this is while I’m very much looking forward to MSFS 2024, I am comfortable in knowing that it may take several weeks or perhaps even months before some of our favorite add-on aircraft and scenery will be made available for the new sim.  But then again, we really don’t know exactly when MSFS 2024 is expected to be available.  Hopefully we’ll all learn more about this after the FSExpo taking place 21-23 June.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

JustFlight PA-28R Arrow III

I guess I’m truly bored with waiting for PMDG to release their Boeing 777-300ER. Since I last published my “T-Minus 8 Days and Counting” post, the days are rapidly passing by and I fear my gutsy prediction that we would have the 77W before the VATSIM CTP event on 20 April is going to be a bust.  While I could still be right, I just fear with no progress update over this past weekend from PMDG that the chances are rapidly evaporating before our very eyes. But hey, it can’t be too far away.  So hopefully we’ll have it before the end of May????

In recent weeks I’ve flown the heck out of the PMDG 737, Fenix A320 and both the Horizon B789 and Kuro B788 and have just wanted to do something a little bit different in the sim.  To be perfectly honest, in the past year or so the vast majority of flying that I’ve done in the sim (and I would estimate this to be hundreds of hours) has been flying tubeliners.  By tubeliner I mean the likes of the PMDG 737, Fenix A320 etc.  As some may know I fly for an American Airlines virtual airline and also currently serve as the Dallas/Ft. Worth Hub Manager.  The VA keeps me busy and this year we’re doing another contest to see which hub can score the most points to be crowned HubOps Champion.  Under my watch, the DFW hub has won this title in 2021 and last year in 2023.  We’re looking good to also reclaim the title this year.  But as we have a substantial lead in points, I have a few days to do a few other things in the sim and I’ve chosen to dust off my VFR flying skills.

Other than all the default GA style aircraft that comes with MSFS 2020, the only payware model I had was the Carenado Mooney.  It’s a super easy aircraft to fly and I’ve spent a few hundred hours just cruising around the sim world.  Which by the way, I used the Carenado Mooney Bravo for an around the world adventure back in the days of P3D and I need to complete my journey in MSFS when time permits.  But I digress….

I’ve read some really good reviews on the JustFlight PA-28R Arrow III and decided to make the purchase.  I purchased the bundled deal where I got three different versions of the PA-28 including the Arrow III, Turbo Arrow III/IV.  Just as you might expect from JustFlight, these are really superb models.

Anyway, like I said…I’ve been wanting to brush up my VFR flying and decided to spend a few days doing just that.  For my inaugural flight in the PA-28R Arrow III I decided to head over to England where I started out at Southampton EGHI.  I plotted a course from Southampton flying north towards the Compton VOR.  From there I headed east towards High Wycombe and the Wycombe Air Park/Booker Airport EGTB.  If you are interested, I wrote a review of the Wycombe Air Park back in 2020 which you can read here.


Route plotted in SkyVector (EGHI CPT EGTB)


Southampton, England EGHI (MSFS default scenery)

I really couldn’t be more happy with the purchase of the JustFlight PA-28R.  While I do love the Carenado Mooney, I think this Cherokee is going to become my new GA favorite.  After a few minutes I quickly familiarized myself with the controls and had her purring in no time.  After a quick check of the weather, I taxied to runway 20 and within seconds I was airborne and making my way towards the Compton VOR.

When I fly VFR, low and slow type flights I do enjoy flying in the UK.  I have a real special affinity to the Wycombe Air Park as before my wife moved to the US, she lived in High Wycombe and just a few miles from the airport.  When I would visit we would often go and watch the planes on the weekends.


Before landing at the Wycombe Air Park (EGTB), I take a brief scenic flight down towards Stokenchurch.  


Parked up at the Wycombe Air Park.

Well, as previously stated the new Piper Cherokee has truly been a joy to fly and I’m proud to own this add-on in my virtual hangar.  You too can own the Piper PA-28R Arrow III or the Piper PA-28R Turbo Arrow III/IV or get the entire bundle which includes all three aircraft for a discounted price.

Until next time….

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

T-Minus 8 Days and Counting….

Today I’m having a relaxing semi long-haul flight out of the new iniBuilds OMDB Dubai International Airport enroute to London Heathrow in the Boeing 787-9 by Horizon Simulations and flying as British Airways.  While in the real world BA operates this flight in a Boeing 788 or in a Boeing 777-200.  Well….I had been doing some flying in previous days in the 789 and I wasn’t sure if the 788 was updated to the latest and greatest version and of course we still don’t have a Boeing 777 available from PMDG and that sort of brings me to the main topic of this blog post.

As the title reads, we are just 8 days away from the VATSIM Cross The Pond event and the last update we’ve received from PMDG regarding progress of their Boeing 777-300ER was a week ago.  To the best of my knowledge and after scouring various Twitch and YouTube channels, I see no one streaming any pre-release content regarding the PMDG 77W.  While I generally “never say never”, it’s becoming increasingly less likely that we’ll see the PMDG 777-300ER before the VATSIM CTP event on 20 April.  So…I’m afraid the prediction I made way back in early March is just not going to happen.

On Thursday, Microsoft announced a new tentative release date for Sim Update 15 (SU15) to be 30 April.  While PMDG have publicly stated that the release of their Boeing 777-300ER is not dependent on SU15, they may still decide that a “wait and see” release is in their overall best interest.  After all, if I were in charge of one of the most highly anticipated aircraft releases of this year, I believe I would make this same decision to wait until SU15 was publicly available, test thoroughly in that release and schedule a release date sometime afterwards in very early May.

Of course, (and this is just an effort to keep the dream alive) a lot can happen in eight days.  PMDG may be tying up the last of the loose ends with a plan to release the 77W to a few select content creators this weekend and if all goes well could still release it mid week just ahead of the CPT event.  But I believe it is safe to say that if this hasn’t happened by Wednesday, 17 April or Thursday, 18 April at the very latest that it just won’t happen before CTP.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!  (Just not in the PMDG 77W YET)

Jerry

Reader Question – PMDG 777 Delay?

We have another reader question which I feel is fitting to turn into a blog post.  Let’s go!

Hi Jerry, I read your recent blog post “Where Are Thou PMDG 777” and had the same opinion that we would surely see the release of the PMDG 777 before CTP on April 20.  With the announced delay of the MSFS SU15 package, do you think this will cause the release of the 777 to be pushed back?  Looking forward to your opinions on the matter.  Thanks for keeping us all in the loop.  Jon

Hello Jon, and Hello to all my wonderful readers.  Jon brings up a very valid question and a concern we all need to be aware of.  When I wrote that blog piece almost a month ago, the release of the SU15 update did play a major part in my overall prediction that we could see the PMDG 777 release before the annual VATSIM Cross The Pond event which takes place on 20 April.  However, I have read in the past few days where PMDG has stated that the release of the Boeing 777 will not be reliant on the SU15 update.

Again, when I wrote that above mentioned article PMDG had not stated which 777 variant would be the first out of the hangar.  We now know that the first PMDG 777 variant we’ll have access to purchase is the Boeing 777-300ER or 77W.  While I actually prefer the 777-200 as it’s the only version of the 777 that I’ve flown on in real life, the 77W will be a day one purchase for me and I’ll happily fly it until and even after I purchase the 772.

Finally, also way back in early March….we also didn’t know what PMDG’s release strategy was regarding the also highly anticipated Boeing 737MAX.  PMDG have stated that the 737MAX will release in between the other 777 variants.  So it’s highly probable that not only will we have a brand new 777-300ER for MSFS in the very near future, sometime soon after that we’ll also see the first 737MAX.  But let’s not jump too far ahead of things.  After all, the question at hand is whether or not we’ll have the PMDG Boeing 777-300ER before CTP on 20 April.

PMDG did provide an update yesterday on 1 April which you can read here.  This update from Robert says “The end of the wait is nearly upon us- I promise.”  So yes, I still believe it’s possible we’ll see the PMDG 777-300ER before 20 April.

In a perfect world, PMDG would release the 77W a few days or even more before the CTP event.  This would give everyone time to get familiar with the 777 in MSFS before this major event.  This is especially important considering the large number of new VATSIM members since the release of MSFS 2020 and many of these would not have flown this aircraft in P3D or FSX.

In closing, again….I believe we’ll have the PMDG 777-300ER very soon and certainly before the VATSIM CTP event.

Thanks for reading!

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Where Art Thou PMDG 777?

With the arrival of the recent Fenix V2B2 update, the next question on everyone’s mind (including my own) is when will we finally see the PMDG Boeing 777 for MSFS?  Of course I know only what you all know. If you’ve been following along with the development process you know that Robert Randazzo has provided us a few sneak peeks into the process.  His most recent update, dated 24 February he states “Things are coming together nicely” and “It won’t be long now”.  He further comments about how some bugs users have been seeing in the 737 are also appearing in the 777 and testing is underway with a fix package and if that resolves the issues, then we should see an “emergency update” headed our way for the 737. 

Naturally, PMDG is remaining very tight lipped regarding any possible release date for the Boeing 777.  This is 100% natural for PMDG and is directly from their playbook.  While some developers might stick their neck out a little and suggest a future release date for their add-ons, PMDG just doesn’t play this game. 

So when do you think we’ll see the PMDG Boeing 777?  Well….I believe it is safe to say that we will have the PMDG Boeing 777 in our virtual hangers sometime this year.  But I’m going to go a step further and make a prediction.

Of course, my prediction takes a few assumptions.  First and foremost, PMDG will absolutely NOT release the 777 if there are major issues.  Second, PMDG isn’t going to rush to get the 777 into our hands just for the sake of selling an add-on. 

We now know that Microsoft/Asobo are shooting for a mid March release of sim update (SU) 15.  So it is safe to say that PMDG will not release the 777 between now and the release of SU15.  Even if PMDG is currently testing the 777 on the public beta of SU15, I believe they will wait until SU15 is released out of beta and they can spend the necessary time testing the aircraft in the same release of MSFS as we all have on our PC’s. 

There is another key date which is part of my overall assumption.  20 April 2024.  On 20 April 2024, the annual VATSIM Cross the Pond Westbound event will take place.  This is a major online VATSIM event where hundreds of virtual pilots will depart the UK and Europe for destinations in North, Central and South America destinations. 

My prediction, if PMDG believes their Boeing 777 is ready for release, they’ll release it sometime after SU15 releases and 20 April 2024.  Of course if 20 April comes and goes and we still don’t have the PMDG 777, then obviously my prediction was wrong.  But I think if my assumptions are correct, I do truly believe we’ll have the awesome PMDG Boeing 777 sometime in early to mid April. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

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

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