I’m the first to admit this, but I’ve been rooting for this file for a while. I love the IXEG 733 but I’m just not a fan of flying with an FMS. I learned to fly with VOR/DME, and the first 722s I worked in were all steam. No CIVA, either, and the only RNAV out there was a King unit, and it had nothing to do with GPS. In the late 1960s, RNAV meant Area-Nav, but all those first units did was some fancy trigonometry to help cut corners when flying between three VORs, maybe cutting off a few miles – maybe saving a little fuel here and there. Anyway, VOR is what I know, where my comfort level is, and the only heavy metal out there that lives and breathes steam-gauges has been Jack’s 732. And, despite a few gremlins that emerged in Xp11, I’ve enjoyed the hell out of the file, and yes, even in Xp11.
Well, now the file has been updated to full v11 compliance (as of v11.11), so let’s take a quick look at the aircraft and see what we can see. We’ll not be conducting a full review tonight, however. The file JUST released, and this will serve as a get-acquainted session – for now. Only after we have finished several hours in-Sim will we draw any conclusions.
Okay, let’s take a look.
The Front Office
The last version’s panel was a little washed out looking, and the night panel was simply too dark.
That era is now officially over.
This new v3 panel is sharply textured and with HDR at MAX the cockpit is 99% as good as the IXEGs. That may sound like a mild criticism – but it’s not. The IXEG file is the class of X-plane, and was made by a team heavy with the most talented designers we have. That Jack has been able, working solo, to get this kind of quality in this cockpit is one helluva an accomplishment. You look this cockpit over for yourself and you tell me…is it as good? Is this the best out there? It’s damn close, and when you get this close to virtual perfection you know you are doing better than good. A few people have picked on Jack over the years, but I think the work you’ll find here ought to simply shut up his detractors – for good.
This cockpit is that well executed.
And yes, you might gripe about all our images being dark, and usually at night, but that’s when, for the most part, we flew. Night is my comfort zone, and it’s also where the biggest flaws in a cockpit’s textures show up. And an .acf with useless night textures is simply a useless file…okay…so that’s why it’s always dark here!
You’ll see a little improvement in this panel with HDR and textures at full MAX. Above, this is full MAX, below, one level down. With FOV at 70º I had no trouble reading any of these instruments. Lighting is 737 standard, so setting the right conditions for you ought to be easy. Manipulators were perfect, by the way. No hard to find zones, no dodgy action – just perfectly executed, easy to use knobs and switches.
The six-pack area is, once again, just about perfect. Panel lighting is perfect in HDR MAX, too. Note the specular highlights?
The textures and lighting on the throttle quadrant are simply classic, and with HDR at MAX you’ll pick up all kinds of specular highlights.
And…it’s brilliantly modeled.
And…you will note an FMS on the captain’s side.
And you will further note its easy to get rid of the damn thing, too!
Slat and flap annunciators are bright and clear; the Flaps gauge now seems much sharper, easier to read, as well.
A Quick Walkaround
Leaving the cockpit you’ll find the forward galley area, and this area looks about as good as any I’ve ever seen in Xp.
Ditto the 2-class passenger cabin. It’s a slice of pure 1970s Americana. Below, the sequence of operation with the built-in air-stairs.
Nacelles in earlier versions were a letdown. They had a sharp leading edge and very little attention to detail. That era is now over, too.
From the leading edge to the reverser clam-shell, this engine is extremely well modeled.
You’ll note the multiple surface textures on the top of the wing, and also, the correctly modeled triple-slotted Fowler flaps. Oh, look at the emergency egress area, with an appropriate non-skid textured. I didn’t check the emergency exit door for proper operation, however,
No issues observed with night lighting – seen here with HDR at MAX minus one.
Here are the paints on release date, 12 Jan 2018 (Air France seen above):
A Quick Jog Around the Pattern
Access plug-in driven systems information and ground settings is accessed on the left margin. Read the manual before you start mucking about with weights and balances. Most everything else is self-explanatory.
What I can’t convey to you now is the sound quality in this file. I use an M-Audio DAC and studio monitor headphones, and the sounds were almost overwhelming on takeoff. The P&W turbojet whine howls – perfectly. Very immersive…
Can you see the circuit breakers on the aft bulkhead in the image below? And the sunset?
All I can say is the flight model is solid. No surprises. I made a few stupid errors, however – because I was gobsmacked at the quality of the panel and lost concentration.
It’s just gorgeous. And everything – so far – works.
Again, handling was benign, as good as any 737 out there, when I walked around the pattern at LFLL.
I came in hot after making a quick transition from downwind to final – a short, tight base, in other words. This is a tough landing for the first time in any file, but Jack’s 732 handled the action with grace. Again, no surprises. Very confidence inspiring.
This is Jack’s best work to date, and his 722 is a humdinger so you know we’re impressed. I can see no reason to wait for any reviews to post…if you’ve been waiting for this file, jump all over it and start flying…NOW!
Us? We’ll work on more complex flight maneuvers over the weekend and post more impressions late Sunday. Thanks for dropping by. We’ll see you then. – A