Above, the IXEG 733 at UKHH. Just a reminder…this is the reigning champ of aircraft in X-plane. But Fly-J-Sim is mounting a challenge with their new version of the 727 series, and it came out earlier today…so we’d better take a look…
The much-anticipated upgrade to the Fly-J-Sim 727 is out, and the file is visually drop-dead gorgeous and technically a more refined product than before. If you’re a previous purchaser of this file from the Org Store, the upgrade price is half the new purchase price. Simply head to your account page and find your original invoice, and you’ll find your redemption code there. The Org also e-mailed update codes to purchasers so check your mailboxes, including junk mail, for an email with your redemption code.
That said, the first and most obvious question is: should you?
Well, if you’re still running Xp v10, no, you shouldn’t. If you’ve been using this acf in v11, all I can say is the cockpit was really, really nice before – and now it’s gobsmacking-gonzo-wetyurbritches purdy, and at night there’s simply nothing else in X-plane that beats the combination of adjustability and clarity you’ll find in this cockpit.
With a FOV of 100º and with HDR, textures and AA all at MAX I had no problem using the FOs instruments – from the captain’s seat. Texture clarity is astonishing. Lighting is hyper-immersive, with ambient glow spilling over onto adjacent panels, especially on the overhead. The flight engineer’s panel is operational, and it’s so well executed it brings back memories I thought long forgotten. In daylight? Well, the clarity is still there, and everything works better than before.
Let’s take a look…
I’ll still say the IXEG 733 is the reigning champ of 3D panels, but Jack’s latest work has shaved the margin down to razor thin. You can add a CIVA inertial system (not recommended as very few were so equipped) or leave this as a pure steam-gauge panel with VORs and NDBs (if gunning for max realism this is the way to go).
Funny story. Back before the 757/767 program got the go-ahead, Bob Crandall, the CEO of American, wanted to re-engine all their 727s instead of commit to the new series, and get rid of the FE’s station. Then a few more carriers started complaining about the prices for the new, larger aircraft…and about that time Boeing let it be known that without the 757/767 program they would quite possibly cease to be. There was a lot of behind the scenes arm-twisting to get American onboard, and Crandall still wasn’t happy. His anger in large part was why AAL kept flying their 727s for many more years than most carriers, and the aircraft are so well built they’re soldiering on in the air cargo world with nary a complaint from owners and pilots.
The 727 was hailed as a pilot’s airplane from the beginning, in no small part because the axis of thrust for all three engines is so close to the prismatic centerline it’s often difficult to tell you’re in an engine out situation, and control with one engine out is simply easy. I managed to get my dad into a Braniff simulator and he had zero jet time (though lots of GA twin time) and he had no problem landing the aircraft with one engine out – with zero previous training or any sort of briefing. Even with two engines out control was still quite manageable, though rates of climb could become an issue depending on OAT and elevation. The NASA developed super-critical wing remains the most efficient Boeing ever put on a commercial aircraft, and this was the first ever use of triple-slotted Fowler flaps. Low speed handling was, as a result, superb, even in nasty crosswinds.
Avionics were simple in the earliest aircraft, with -100 series models delivered with top of the line Bendix flight directors at the captains position, yet often very basic instruments at the FOs chair – and by basic I mean instruments you’d find in an IFR equipped GA single from that era! By the time the -200 series came along panels were bilaterally equal, yet APs were modest affairs. Why? Because pilots were expected to fly the aircraft in almost all regimes except cruise…
Now let’s look at some exterior shots…first at the new PAKT Ketchikan, Alaska file. You’ll see tell-tale signs of HDR compatible PBR materials on most exterior surfaces, too. The aircraft is simply beautiful to look at, and on approach the leading edges really pick up interesting light.
The Better Pushback plugin is integrated in this file – a first if not mistaken. Look on the overhead (near the center) and you’ll find the call button. Easy, and this points the way to the future, as Laminar’s balky pushback needs to go away.
Taxiing up the inclined ramps to the active at PAKT proved easy, with directional control and power easy to modulate, and there’s plenty of room for this modest wingspan here. Turning around at the end of the runway was easy and predictable, with good brake response noted. Exterior lighting made the experience pleasant.
Directional control on the take-off run was predictable and rock-solid, and elevator trim was very responsive on climb out. Flap retraction times are brisk, as was gear retraction. Sounds are exceptionally good for stock.
Flying a 727 on a normal approach is about as taxing as flying a light twin, and Jack’s acf has this aspect nailed. If you’ve been flying GA singles and twins for a while and have been reluctant to try a commercial jet – well – this is your baby. Don’t argue…just do it. You won’t regret it.
Below, some shots at RJTT Haneda, Tokyo, Japan, with the -200F freighter.
In the imagery below, more of the Tokyo skyline is visible; what’s not apparent is the depth in this city file. The built up area exceeds 150 degrees, with skyscrapers, bridges, amusement attractions, wharves, docklands, and ships spanning a huge swath of real estate.
Sadly, this new RJTT was pulled from the Org database just before publication this evening. RJTT_TOKYO_HANEDA_v1.01 came out this morning but was soon pulled; you might try the highlighted title in a Google search to see if it becomes available again. It is quite good
The Tokyo 4XP file is located here: https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/46395-tokyo-city-scenery-tokyo4xp/
Jack’s 727 is currently out at the Org Store, price just under 60 buckeroos if you don’t have a discount code. You’ll get three variants, the -100, the more common -200 ADV, and the -200F freighter.
Fly-J-Sim’s previous 727s have been very good files. This version 3 file is a worthwhile upgrade, with a cockpit – and new cockpit lighting – that is the class of X-plane. The big drawback? No interior cabin, no working doors, so any ground handling equipment will look kind of weird. You save framerates, so you win some, you lose some.
If you want to know what flying one of these classic birds was really like, load up at PAKT with the simple panel variant (no CIVA, no default FMS) and hand fly this puppy down to SeaTac, only using the AP on cruise (use the VOR mode, simplicity itself). After you do, flying an Airbus just won’t be the same again.
And then…do it at night. There’s nothing better than this to get into the whole heavy metal thing, BTW.
Below, the -100 in the first third party paint for the v3, a classic TWA “StarStream” livery from the late 60s-early 70s, departing KBOS.
Thanks, Jack. You done good – A&C