[jhb_airlines] Re: PMDG 747

  • From: "Bones" <bones@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2005 15:44:12 +0100

I'll let you know.

One thing is worth mentioning. The 747 has been built using a different
technique by PMDG. In order to get something like 1200 different animations
working plus all the fine detail whilst keeping the frame rates up at a
decent level they have build a separate operating system for the aircraft.
This also allows them to do many things that would have been impossible
using the basic FS2004 code. To quote:

"The PMDG 747-400 has 1200 animated parts. With the exception of a few basic
functions, all
1200 parts are controlled by PMDG?s internal simulation operation and are
not controlled by
Microsoft Flight Simulator."

With only a 45 minute trial I can't say just how this works but the prime
difference I noticed was that switches are controlled, not by + and - click
spots but by a single click spot using left and right mouse buttons. This is
actually quite good as you don't have to start hunting for the (usually
small) click areas.

There is a separate section for setting up the 747 and this is rather
complex. Quite a few menu sections dealing with everything from weight and
balance to system failures. Somewhere amongst that lot is a menu for device
configuration and I'm guessing I have to set up the GF units again separate
to the settings in FS2004 itself. It is true to say that having started
FS2004 you then load the 747 and set it up as if it were a separate
simulation. In fact they warn you not to add fuel or set system failures
through anything other than the PMDG interface and NEVER touch the
aircraft.cfg file!

The documentation is exhaustive and describes in fine detail how the 747
systems work - probably a very close copy to the real 747 operating manual.
These, plus the inevitable checklists, provide the main bulk of the PDF file
- but there is a problem. These manuals tell you how the systems work, not
how you operate them. In real life pilots go into the classroom and are
taught how to use the systems whilst reading up for the technical exam on
the layout and operation of the systems.

With PMDG you are getting the system manuals but not much on how to operate
them. It was similar with the 737TNG and many users of this had to get a
tutorial from AVSIM showing you how the machinery was operated to supplement
the PMDG docs on how they worked. An example is my attempt to set up an ILS
in the 747 last night. It was eventually obvious that it could only be done
through the FMS and the docs confirmed that navaids can be tuned using the
NAV/RAD page but all the manual says on this is:

"The NAV RAD page is allows the crew to
monitor auto-tuning activity, or to manually
tune a desired frequency for VOR1/VOR2,
ADF1/ADF2 or the ILS."

Not much clue here on how you actually do it and my attempts failed in the
time I had left. Obviously any FMC experts out there will know exactly how
to do this but they would have got this knowledge elsewhere. 737TNG drivers
will definitely have an advantage here as they are used to FMC operation.
It's rather some time since I played with one now so I need a refresher
course. <g>

Now I am not criticising the way PMDG have gone about this. Rather than give
you a simple picture of the cockpit showing all the panel buttons and what
they do PMDG have gone the correct route and given proper system manuals. In
other words you have to read up on how the systems work to operate them
properly. This is really important with such a complex aircraft - and if you
don't like the complexity it's not a product you should buy.

I was rather pleased to find that this aircraft is much easier on FS than
the 737TNG. Obviously PMDG have learnt from the earlier design and improved
their coding quite a bit. As they say in their docs it isn't sensible to
have a complex aircraft that reduces the outside scenery to a slide show -
and it doesn't. On the 737TNG on my old P4 1.8 things were so bad that
sometimes even the aircraft textures wouldn't load and frame rates were
dire. On the 747 last night the FPS stayed up at 24 and that was with 100%
Ultimate Traffic running. On landing at Honolulu I had to stop on the main
runway to allow three other aircraft to cross and there were a lot more
moving around in the background.

I have no doubt things will get a bit slower in the UK with the extra
complexity of scenery most of us have. This is why I use Hawaii as my test
area - it has no add-on scenery so only the AI traffic is providing extra

I won't have time to touch it today but if I do it will be just sitting on
an apron somewhere and getting to know the systems rather than belting
around the skies. Somehow I don't think this will be any great hardship
though - it is a delightful aircraft that you really just want to play with.


-----Original Message-----
From: jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Gerry Winskill
Sent: 03 August 2005 08:41
To: jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [jhb_airlines] Re: PMDG 747

The screenshot is impressive. So is the fact that you're impressed. The
$64,000 question, before I order, is whether you get it to interact with
your GF kit....

Gerry Winskill

Bones wrote:

>You can guess that this will stop my gauge design for a few hours...
>I promise I'll only put one picture up on my web site..

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