ActiveSky for MSFS

Well blow me down…a few days ago HiFi Simulation Technologies have announced, and somewhat out of the blue I must add, that ActiveSky FS is coming for Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Actually by the time I got around to writing this it is already out.  ActiveSky FS is officially available for MSFS as of 18 April and many of the Twitch and YouTube content creators have already begun showcasing the new weather engine.  Before I provide my opinion, let me say the following.

In the olden days…

Back in my FSX and P3D days, ActiveSky was an absolute must have in the sim.  It was truly a game changing 3rd party product.  When MSFS first came out and because Asobo/Microsoft didn’t open up the API for 3rd party weather systems, HiFi Simulations made the announcement that at that time there would be no way for them to bring live weather into the sim.  I discussed this in greater detail in this blog post titled “Confused in Cleveland – Weather Addon for MSFS“.  According to what I’ve heard, Microsoft has made no changes to the sim as we know it to allow any 3rd party weather systems to function.  So essentially ActiveSky FS must have found a way for it to finally work.  But it appears all ActiveSky FS is doing is reading the METAR and using default MSFS clouds and other weather elements to depict what is going on around you.

After the initial release of Microsoft Flight Simulator almost four years ago, the built-in weather engine wasn’t very solid.  But over the years and especially the last 2+ years that I’ve been using MSFS exclusively, there have been vast improvements made to the weather engine and I personally have been very pleased with what I experience in the sim.  I’ve actually been so pleased with it that I really haven’t felt a need to think about any sort of 3rd party weather add-on.  Which is why the announcement from HiFi Simulation Technologies comes as such a surprise to myself and many others.

My Impressions

First, let me state up front that I do not own ActiveSky FS for MSFS.  Some could argue and question why I would even write a blog post about something that I don’t have any first hand experience with.  While this could be a good argument, I’m stubborn and this is my blog site and I can write about what I want to write about and you can read what you want to read.  LOL  I have plenty of loyal readers of this blog site that look to me for honest reviews and opinions and while I haven’t purchased and used ActiveSky FS, the information I do have is certainly worthy to share.

Like I said, I have viewed several hours of content from both YouTube and Twitch in the past 24 hours and have come to the conclusion that in the grand scheme of things, at this immediate point in time  there is no discernable difference between what I saw with my own eyes when showing MSFS with built in weather active versus with using ActiveSky FS.  If anything….one of the content creators who I watch often, discovered a couple of bugs in ActiveSky FS which are worthy enough to take  a more wait and see approach to this add-on.

I do believe in time, ActiveSky FS would be something I would purchase if and when 3rd party developers such as PMDG, Fenix etc. are able to connect into the ActiveSky FS API for possible weather radar depiction functions which obviously still are missing in MSFS.  However, I just can’t see a reason to spend my money on something that at this time doesn’t offer anything better than the default MSFS weather.  Of course, one other big advantage of ActiveSky FS at this time is the historical weather options which have been sadly missed in the default system.  But this isn’t something I use very often and honestly haven’t missed it that much over these past few years.

The other slightly disappointing fact in my observations with regards to the new ActiveSky FS is their UI or User Interface.  It’s basically the same UI from years ago.  Of course one could say if that works, why change it?  If felt clunky way back in the days of FSX/P3D and still looks the same way today.  Perhaps this is something they’ll change in time.  But who knows.

Like I said, I’ll keep an eye on ActiveSky FS and hopefully in time the product will offer a lot more than what is available in the default MSFS weather systems.  While ActiveSky FS is reasonably priced at $24.99, it’s just not something I’m ready to commit to at this time.  But I would encourage anyone reading this to do their own research.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Reader Question – Bredok3D A380

I realize this is the third “Reader Question” post I’ve made in recent weeks.  Yes, that’s true!  I’ve obviously been holding out waiting for the release of the PMDG 777-300ER as that will be a day-one purchase for me and within a few days I’m sure I would write about it.  So until that happens, and I’m still holding out we’ll have it before CTP on 20 April, (but that is looking less likely) here is another email question/comment from one of our blog readers.

Hello, I’m new to your blog site and have already discovered a wealth of information that has helped me tremendously in my flight sim hobby.  I’m considering purchasing the Bredok3D A380 from the MSFS in-game MarketPlace.  Do you have any experience with this aircraft?  I’ve read that FlyByWire is developing an A380, but as the A380 is my favorite aircraft I’m wondering if the newly released Bredok3D version is worth the money.  I have experience with the Fenix A320 and PMDG 737, is the Bedok3D A380 similar in quality?  Can you help?

Well….to answer your question, No….I do not have any experience with the Bredok3D A380 and I don’t plan to purchase it.  In my opinion it is a waste of money.  To take this one step further, I doubt I would even install this aircraft into my system if it were free or if I were given a copy of it.  I just dislike these Frankenstein type of aircraft that mostly utilize the default aircraft systems (in this case the default A320).  There are just too many developers that have taken this course with releasing add-on aircraft that may look from the outside to be what is advertised, only to find out they utilize the default aircraft.  Another example of this is CaptainSim’s Boeing 777 that when released used the default Boeing 747 systems.

I suppose you could consider me a bit of an add-on aircraft snob.  I don’t mind spending my hard earned money towards something like the Fenix A320 or the PMDG 737 (or hopefully soon to be released B777-300ER), but I’m just not going to waste my money on this trash.  It’s just not worth it in my opinion, especially considering that a freeware version of the A380 will release soon from a reputable developer (FlyByWire) who has a proven track record with their A32NX.

While I can appreciate that the A380 is your favorite aircraft, likewise the Boeing 777 is mine.  I’ve never been tempted to purchase anything other than the PMDG version once it releases and it’s been a really, really long wait as I completely uninstalled P3D about 2 years ago once the Fenix A320 and PMDG 737 released.  So it’s been more than two years since I’ve flown a 777 in the sim.  But the wait will certainly be worth it.

Bottom line and my complete open and honest opinion for you.  WAIT!!!!  Don’t spend your money on the Bredok3D A380 as in the long run I think feel you’ll be disappointed.  Especially when you state that you have experience with the Fenix A320 and PMDG 737.  Trust me, even without flying the Bredok3D A380, I can tell you the level of detail, level of quality and level of immersion in the Bredok3D A380 will be absolutely NOTHING like the Fenix or PMDG and I’m more than certain that the FBW team will blow everyone out of the water with their A380 once released.

If you’re just craving some larger, long-haul type aircraft until the FBW A380 releases, then have a look at the Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9 or the Kuro Boeing 787-8.  Both of these are fine freeware representations of the Boeing Dreamliner.

There are far too many other quality aircraft which you can fly until the FBW A380 releases.  Have you tried the Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9 or the Kuro Boeing 787-8?  Likewise, the Headwindsims Airbus A330-900Neo is likewise a fairly descent aircraft which I also have in my virtual hangar.

Scammers/Scamware

Final thoughts on this subject.  Some in the community refer to Bredok3D, CaptainSim etc. as scammers and call their products scamware.  While I’ll stop just short of calling them scammers and development of scamware, I will just say that buyers must beware of what they are getting from these types of developers and this is part of the problem.  Since the release of MSFS 2020, a very large number of newcomers have entered the hobby.  This is a very good thing for the hobby, but these individuals haven’t been around to witness the behavior of developers like this in the past and don’t understand the questions to ask.  They just see a shiny, new Airbus A380 and think that will be a quality aircraft.  Unfortunately, developers like Bredok3D, CaptainSim and many others like them are not going to stop doing what they are doing until such a time that their Frankenstein projects no longer sell.

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

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

My Top MSFS Add-ons for 2023

It’s hard to believe the end of year is just days away.  The year really went fast, but I guess that is also part of getting older.  Anyway, I’ve been thinking about some of the MSFS add-ons which released this year and also wondering how it compares with 2022.  During 2022 we had some really amazing and much needed add-ons appear on the scene.  Most notably the Fenix A320, PMDG 737-800 and GSX Pro.  To be brutally honest, 2023 hasn’t really been as exciting as 2022 and much of that has to do with developer delays. 

Most of us speculated that PMDG might be able to get their Boeing 777 out before the end of the year and Fenix had also hoped to release their Airbus A319 and A321 airliners.  But unless something changes in the next few days, we’ll have to wait until 2024 for these.  I recently wrote about “What’s in store for us in the new year”?  Have a peek at that article and see if you agree on some of my non-scientific speculation. 

I’ve come up with a short list of the add-ons that I added to the sim in 2023 that truly impressed me. 

Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9

Anyone who publishes their top add-ons for 2023 and does not list this one at the very top or very near the top needs their head examined.  In my opinion, prior to the release of the Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9 we were absolutely starving for a truly capable long-haul, widebody aircraft.  Naturally, the Horizon Sim 787-9 wouldn’t have been possible without the AAU2 Aircraft & Avionics Update released back in June.  This revolutionized both the default Dreamliner and 747 in MSFS and of course the developers at Horizon Simulations capitalized on that and released their aircraft.  The truly awesome thing about the Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9 is it’s freeware.  Pending you own the Premium Deluxe version of MSFS, this aircraft is 100% free.  In addition to the bit about it being free, in my opinion it is just as good as the QualityWings 787 from P3D which we most likely will never see in MSFS. 

Kuro Boeing 787-8

Directly behind the above mentioned Horizon Simulations 787-9 is the Kuro 787-8.  These two could be interchangeable as for what might go into the #1 spot or the #2 spot.  I’m ranking the Kuro behind the Horizon simply because the Horizon Sim 787-9 was released about a month before the Kuro.  But they are both grade A representations of the Boeing Dreamliner and both (again in my opinion) exceed the QW Dreamliner which again, I must say we’ll never see in MSFS. 

Headwind Simulations Airbus A330-900

While I believe this aircraft may have actually released back in 2021, it really didn’t catch my attention until earlier this year after it had had plenty of time to get all the kinks worked out.  This was my first Airbus widebody to ever fly and I’ve had pretty good luck with it.  While I’m mostly a Boeing sim guy, this has been a fun aircraft to fly and I highly recommend checking out the Headwind Simulations Airbus A339X.

Various Airport Sceneries

I’ve added some really awesome airport to MSFS over the past year.  While I can’t be 100% certain that every one of these are new to 2023, they are new to me in the past year.  FlyTampa EHAM, iniBuilds KPSP, Flightbeam KMSP, MKStudios EIDW, Dominic Design KPHL and KIND (along with a few others that I am pretty sure were released in late 2022) all are excellent representations of their real world counterparts. 

Looking ahead to 2024

With regards to all the aircraft I mentioned in this recently blog post titled “What’s in store for us in the new year?” I failed to mention the FBW A380X.  Based on some of the screenshots and updated information which was released around the middle of December, the project is coming along and hopefully we may see this aircraft sometime in the new year.  Also, iniBuilds also just announced their plans to release an Airbus A350.  I’m not sure if we’ll see that in 2024, so time will tell.

I’m also really hopeful that someone will someday, someday really soon release a quality Dallas/Ft. Worth KDFW airport.  The Asobo version is ok, but it really doesn’t do this awesome airport justice.  FSDreamTeam has always been the developer to make DFW, so hopefully it is on their list for the new year. 

Of course, I’m really excited to see what Microsoft/Asobo releases with MSFS 2024.  I know this is a sore subject among the flight simulation community.  I provided some of my thoughts and opinions way back in June which you can read about if you so desire.  But I’m really excited about MSFS 2024 as I believe this new sim will be a truly amazing upgrade to what we have now. 

Well….that’s about all I can think of at the moment.  Yes, I do believe perhaps 2022 was a much bigger year for add-ons….but while 2023 might have been a bit of a sleeper, I think 2024 will really blow our socks off. 

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  I look forward to all that the new year has in store for us.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

P.S. I started writing this blog post in very early December.  The teasers from PMDG regarding their 777 and the assumed 737 MAX began gaining serious traction around the middle of the month.  As I’ve always released my “Top Add-ons” blog post just before Christmas, I did have hopes that I might need to edit it and slot in a new PMDG release.  After all, if PMDG had released either the 777 or the 737 MAX in the calendar year 2023, that release would have been my #1 add-on of the year.  However, as the 777 only went into beta testing around the 17th, I don’t anticipate it releasing until sometime in the first quarter of 2024. 

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

MSFS Dreamliner Fulfilled

I’ve written a lot about my thoughts on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner for MSFS over the past year or so.  I’ve speculated on whether QualityWings would be bringing their Dreamliner to MSFS and I’ve shared my own thoughts and comments about the wild rumor that perhaps PMDG was working with QualityWings in some capacity to finally bring the product to MSFS. I’m happy to say that none of that no longer matters to me.  The wait is finally over, the almost near perfect replacement for the QualityWings 787 Dreamliner is here, and it’s available right now!

Before I ramble on.  From what I’ve heard around the flight sim community. QualityWings is all but dead.  A few months ago the word was that most of the developers have left and not only were their customers left in the dark about any future plans, so were the beta testers.  While I suppose QualityWings could at some point get their act together and finally bring their products to MSFS, I’m sorry to say that they are a day late and many dollars short.  Let’s face it.  QualityWings only has three products in their current portfolio for FSX/P3D.  That being the British Aerospace 146, the Boeing 757 and the Boeing 787.  JustFlight has their 146 Professional, BlueBird Simulations is doing a fantastic job with the Boeing 757 and hopefully will release in early 2024.  As for the Dreamliner….again, what is available right now as 100% complete freeware rivals anything QW could bring to market. 

Yes, if you own the Premium Deluxe version of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 you too could be flying in an almost near perfect version of the awesome Boeing 787 Dreamliner is available today in the 787-9 variant via the Flightsim.to website.  I’ve been enjoying the 787-9 developed by Horizon Simulations since it released just over a week ago.  While I describe this add-on as “almost near perfect”, there are a few small issues that I’m sure will be addressed over the next few weeks that will bring it to absolute perfection.  The biggest issue that most flight sim enthusiasts have with this aircraft has to do with the rotation.  The aircraft seems to be very nose heavy and is somewhat slow to respond when pulling back on the yoke.  But as I said, this is being addressed and I expect to be fully resolved in the next few weeks. 

FlightSimulator_OGeyXAQoTp

Of course, the Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9 has only been made possible by the AAU2 or Aircraft & Avionics Update which released back in June and the addition of the more recent changes allowing Simbrief integration into the CDU as it fully capitalizes on these now default systems into the base Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. 

In addition to the Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9 which is available today, the Kuro 787-8 is also expected to be updated with the same Simbrief integration and hopefully will be available soon. 

So if you’ve been longing for a quality long-haul Boeing aircraft, then look no further than the Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9.  Make sure you grab the livery pack which also includes dozens of high quality liveries for both the 787-9 GE and the 787-9 RR engine variants.  I truly don’t believe you’ll be disappointed.

If you do not own the Premium Deluxe version of Microsoft Flight Simulator, I believe you can upgrade via the Microsoft Store (not sure how it works if you purchased via Steam).  But the cost to upgrade, in my opinion is well worth it to gain access to this awesome aircraft. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

New Gaming PC

In my last blog post where I discussed the upcoming MSFS AAU2 (Aircraft & Avionics Update) which is due to release on 23 June, I briefly mentioned some issues I had been having with my gaming PC.  The PC in question, I called GBS Beast Mark V (which was the 5th gaming machine I had built in recent years).  I built the machine in May of 2018 (5 years ago) and at the time it was pretty much top of the line with an Intel i7 8700K CPU, Nvidia 1080Ti GPU and 32GB of RAM.  It performed well with the games of that time period including American Truck Simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2 and Prepar3D Flight Simulator.  It performed OK with the new Microsoft Flight Simulator.  However, sacrifices had to be made with some graphic settings in an effort to keep the FPS above the 30 FPS mark.

However, over the past month or so I had been experiencing several issues which caused concern for the overall health and longevity of the machine. I’m pretty good about keeping backups, so about two weeks ago I made a backup of everything I needed and a few days later the machine finally rolled over and said no more.  I quickly put a plan in place to start looking at the costs of building a new machine which would obviously be more powerful and hopefully future proof for at least another 5 years.

GBS Beast Mark VI

Obviously technology has taken a huge leap forward over the past several years and certainly so since 2018.  As previously stated, I wanted to try to future proof any new build everywhere possible.  As with previous builds, the most intensive gaming I play is flight sim.  To truly maximize the total immersion possible, any new build would need to have the very best CPU and GPU available and that’s what I’ve done with this new build.

GBS Beast Mark VI features an Intel i9 13900KF CPU on a Z790 motherboard and cooled with a liquid CPU cooler.  In addition, I’m going with  the top of the line Nvidia 4090 24GB GPU.  In addition, I’m adding three Samsung 990 Pro NVME SSD’s and reusing three Samsung 870 Evo SSD’s from the old machine.  Total storage capacity will be 8 TB.  In addition, I’m adding 32 GB RAM (DDR5) which is more than enough for the games I play and all this will be housed in a massive (largest case I’ve ever used due to the massive Nvidia 4090 GPU) Corsair 5000D Airflow ATX Case.

Testing Benchmarks

As I have stated many, many times over the years.  I tweak my system for smoothness and typically don’t concern myself too much with how many FPS I can get from the hardware.  As stated above, my old gaming machine was still capable of giving me a fairly smooth experience around the 30 FPS mark in Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Of course, I had to dialed down some of the graphics settings in order to achieve this, but nonetheless I was able to enjoy the sim just the same.

Of course, the beauty of having this extremely beefy system now with the i9 13900 KF CPU and the truly awesome Nvidia 4090 GPU, I’m pretty much able to run my graphics settings to the full extreme and still enjoy a smooth, buttery visual experience at 60+ FPS with both the Fenix Airbus A320 and the PMDG Boeing 737-800.

The WOW Factor

I’m literally blown away at the huge leap forward I’m experiencing with this new PC and it very much reminds me of how I felt 5 years ago when GBS Beast Mark V came to life.  But of course MSFS wasn’t around at that time and has completely changed the flight simulation landscape.  Over the next few weeks I’ll continue tweaking the new machine and will post my settings once they are all dialed in the way I want them.  While I’m not saying one cannot enjoy MSFS without a 4090 GPU, I will just say that it is absolute joy to see the virtual skies in all their glory without sacrificing performance.

It’s great to have a gaming machine once again and I look forward to many years of what I believe will be truly awesome experiences in all the simulation games I enjoy.  Obviously, Farming Simulator and American Truck/Euro Truck will certainly enjoy the benefits of the updated hardware, but of course not to the same level as MSFS since that is both a CPU and GPU extensive simulation.

Until next time…

Happy Gaming!

Jerry

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