Commercial Aircraft X-Plane Review



Boeing 777 Worldliner Extended




Publisher / Developer: X-Plane.Org
Description: Realistic X-plane Boeing 777-200LR and 777F, version 1.4
Software Source / Size: Download / 775.3MB (basic package with freighter)
Flight Simulator: X-Plane 9+ and 10.11+
Reviewed by: Angelique van Campen
Published: February 22nd, 2013


Computer / Software Specifications
Computer System: - iMac 27" 3.4Ghz Mid 2011
- Intel i7 3.4/3.8Ghz / 3.8Ghz during Boost Mode
- ATI/AMD Radeon HD6970 2GB
- 16GB DDR3 RAM
- Internal 256Gb Intel SSD and 2Tb 7200RPM HDD
- External Thunderbolt Samsung 840 500GB SSD
- Saitek Pro Flight X52 Pro
Software: - Windows 7 x64 Ultimate (BootCamp) / Mac OS X 10.8.2
- Flight Simulator X Acceleration
- X-Plane 10.11 (32) and 10.20 (32/64)
























Due to the length of this review, I decided to add a Table of Contents. It will give you a good idea what this review offers.

Table of contents

   - Introduction
   - The Real Thing
   - Installation, Documentation and Configuration
       - Installation
       - Documentation
       - Configuration
   - Air France External Inspection
   - And what about a Freighter?
   - The Flight Deck
   - Preparations
       - AIRAC Cycles
       - FMS CDU Preparations
       - Instructional Movies
       - Using the built-in 777 tutorial
   - How does it Fly? – Part I
   - A moment for myself … the Virtual Cabin
   - How does it Fly? – Part II
   - Summary






Introduction

It’s always fun reviewing a large commercial jet aircraft. On the other hand, it can be a complicated task because of its complexity and modeled systems.
That's what happens with this 777 Worldliner Professional and Extended package. The flight deck and then in particular the Auto Flight system as well as the FMS (Flight Management System) CDU are programmed in quite impressive details.

All together a great challenge to review this X-Plane 10 (and also available for XP9) aircraft. But before that, let me first highlight where you can get this aircraft.
You can buy the 777 Worldliner Professional at the X-Plane.Org store - and at Aerosoft.

Before I continue, let’s have a look what X-Plane.Org store has to say about this X-Plane 9 and 10 aircraft:

The most advanced and complex simulation of an aircraft for X-Plane. Built with technical input from engineers, pilots and the Boeing Corporation, this Boeing 777 is as close as you can get to the real one.

Professional systems - Fly the 777 like a pro!
- Systems designed to work like the real thing
- Accurate flight model tuned by pilots
- Comprehensive Manuals

Fully Functional FMS - Plan your routes like a real pilot
- Custom designed Flight Management Computer
- Custom programmed LNAV logic for terminal procedures
- Custom designed Navigation Display
- Terminal procedure database with RNAV approaches and transitions
- VNAV managed climbs and descents
- Takeoff and approach speed calculation
- Custom autopilot modes for autoland
- Optimum cruise performance and step climb calculation
- True-to-life radio navigation with procedural-, route- etc.
- Custom programmed FMC NAV using GPS, radio or inertial NAV
- Magnetic, true and polar grid course reference
- Alternate airports, diversion and arrival management
- Ground proximity warning system using real sounds
- FMC can be used on external touchscreen or tablet.

Incredible 3D modeling - the best eye-candy
- Amazing virtual cockpit with crisp details - Dynamic reflections
- Custom 3D sounds and Announcements
- Several add-ons like pushback truck, fuel truck, passenger bus etc.
- On-Screen Menus for configuration and loading menu etc.


Of course there’s even more to explore at the dedicated X-Plane.Org store web page, but these features are the most important ones.

But more important, this review should not go about all the features presented at the X-Plane.Org website or even on the Aerosoft website. No, this review should go in-depth and tell you all about the modeled 777-200LR, as far as I can of course. So these X-Plane.Org or Aerosoft features listing is all nice, but now it’s up to me to find out if it's really as beautiful as said. No doubt it’s a huge jump forward, but how far?

I’m looking forward and with full confidence reviewing this 777 Worldliner, as designed by Philipp Münzel, Roman Berezin and produced by VMAX.


The Real Thing

Lets have a look what Boeing has to say about the 777 Series.

The Boeing 777 family is a complete family of jetliners that is preferred by passengers and airlines around the world. The market leading 777 family consists of five passenger models and a freighter model. They all have the ability to fly point-to-point, nonstop, in order to bypass crowded and busy hub airports. The 777 seats from 301 to 386 passengers in a three-class configuration with a range capability of 5,240 nautical miles (9,705 kilometers) to 9,395 nautical miles (17,400 kilometers).

The 777 is available in six models:
- 777-200
- 777-200ER (Extended Range)
- 777-300
- 777-300ER
- 777-200LR Worldliner (the world's longest range commercial aircraft)
- 777 Freighter

The market-driven design of the 777 ensures the aircraft responds to market needs and customer preferences. The result is a family of airplanes distinguished by its fuel efficiency, spacious cabin interior, range capability, commonality and reliability. The 777 provides the most payload and range capability and growth potential in the medium-sized aircraft category -- all with lower operating costs.

Courtesy Airliners.Net


Twin-Engine Design
Three engine manufacturers developed more efficient and quieter turbofan engines to power the 777. General Electric offers its GE90 series, Rolls Royce offers the Trent 800 series and Pratt & Whitney offers the PW4000 series. For the longer range 777 models and the Freighter, GE is the exclusive engine supplier with its GE90-115B and GE90-110B. All three engine types offer excellent fuel efficiency.

Key factors in this performance are new, larger-diameter fans with wide chord fan blade designs and bypass ratios ranging from six to one and up to nine to one. This compares to the typical five to one ratio for the engines of previous twin-aisle jets.

Lighter By Design
The 777 makes extensive use of lightweight, cost effective structural materials that lessen the overall weight of the airplane and contribute to the fuel efficiency of the 777. For example, an improved aluminum alloy is used in the upper wing skin and stringers. Known as 7055, this alloy offers greater compression strength than previous alloys, enabling designers to save weight and also improve corrosion and fatigue resistance. Progress in the development and fabrication of weight-saving advanced composite materials is evident in the 777. Carbon fibers embedded in recently available toughened resins are found in the vertical and horizontal tails. The floor beams of the passenger cabin also are made of these advanced composite materials. Other composite applications include those on secondary structures such as aerodynamic fairings. Composites, including resins and adhesives, account for nine percent of the 777's structural weight. This is the same type of composite material used on Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

Flight Deck and Aircraft Systems
In response to individual airline preference, the layout of the 777 flight deck is in a horizontal format similar to that of the 747-400. Features include the following:
Six large display screens, incorporating advanced liquid-crystal display technology, provide principal flight, navigation and engine information. These flat panel displays remain clearly visible in all conditions, even direct sunlight.

Three multipurpose control display units (CDU) provide data display and entry capabilities for flight management functions. These units are the primary interface with an integrated Airplane Information Management System (AIMS). The CDUs have color displays, again in response to market preferences. Adding color allows pilots to understand the information more quickly.

A three-axis "fly-by-wire" flight control system saves weight, simplifies factory assembly compared to conventional mechanical systems relying on steel cables, and requires fewer spares and less maintenance in airline service.

Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) is standard equipment.

A Boeing-patented two-way digital data bus, ARINC 629, has been adopted as a new industry standard. In-depth ARINC information can be found at WikiPedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARINC).

A feature unique to the 777-300ER and 777-300 flight deck is the Ground Maneuver Camera System (GMCS), designed to assist the pilot in ground maneuvering of the 777-300 with camera views of the nose gear and main gear areas.

777-200LR Worldliner
The 777-200LR Worldliner and 777-300ER (Extended Range) are two new long-range airplanes that Boeing developed to offer airlines additional flexibility in serving the nonstop routes that passengers demand. The 777-300ER entered service in May 2004 and the 777-200LR followed in March 2006. The newest member of the 777 family, the 777-200LR Worldliner, has the capability to connect virtually any two cities in the world nonstop. It will carry more passengers and more revenue cargo farther than any other jetliner.

Courtesy Airliners.Net and Photographer Royal S. King


The 777-200LR can also carry a full cargo load on routes where other airplanes are payload limited. This gives airlines the capability to carry the same number of passengers farther and with additional revenue generating cargo. Provisions for up to three optional fuel tanks have been added in the aft cargo area of the 777-200LR to be able to fly a range of 9,395 nautical miles (17,400 kilometers) with a full passenger payload of 301 passengers. The 777-200LR adds value to the 777 family, and particularly complements the popular 777-200ER. On long-range routes served by the 777-200ER, the 777-200LR provides an additional 47,250 pounds (21,432 kilograms) of revenue cargo capability. (Source Boeing)

This is only a tip of the iceberg. There’s much more to tell about the 777 Family. For more information visit the dedicated Boeing 777 web pages.

And now … time to check the X-Plane 777 Worldliner Professional.


Installation, Documentation and Configuration

Installation
I’m in the lucky position to have both 777 packages; one from X-Plane.Org and the other from Aerosoft. The only difference is that the Aerosoft is packed together with an installer, while the X-Plane.Org should be installed manually in the Aircraft folder. Either you install it directly in the aircraft root, in the Heavy Metal directory or a newly created sub-directory like Commercial Aviation. Whichever method you chose is up to you and has no influence on the operation and function of the 777. By the way, if you decide to go for the Aerosoft installer, the 777 package will be installed in the Aircraft/Heavy Metal directory. The new 777 version 1.4 package comes standard with seven passenger liveries:
- Air France
- Boeing
- Delta
- Malaysia Airlines
- Star Alliance (X-plane logo added)
- Virgin Atlantic
- American Airlines 2013

The American Airlines 2013 new livery was not integrated in my package, but can be downloaded from the dedicated X-Plane.Org download section via this link. (http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?app=downloads&showfile=18369)

Furthermore, the complete version 1.4 package also contains the following four freighter liveries:
- AeroLogic
- Cargolux
- Emirates
- UPS

This review is based on version 1.4, released on February 16th, and comes with the following improvements:
- 64bit support with X-Plane 10.20+
- 4096 pixels high resolution textures for the 3d cockpit (X-Plane 10.20)
- improved exterior lighting (X-Plane 10.20+)
- color corrections on primary EICAS and ENG MFD page
- corrected auto brake disarm behavior for toe brake pedals
- corrected auto brake RTO for subsequent takeoff attempts
- corrected speed brake warnings
- corrected COM frequency range for 12.5kHz spaced radios
- improved ADIRU (Air Data and Inertial Reference Unit) alignment behavior
- corrected ALIGNMENT REINITIATED message
- corrected several inaccuracies on the FIX page
- fixed a bug that could lead to crashes when using the FIX page
- fixed place-bearing-distance and place-bearing-waypoints
- fixed lat/lon way point naming
- corrected ND drawing of active runway at destination airport
- corrected ND drawing of fix bearing lines
- corrected abeam fix function
- corrected copying of place-bearing-distance way points for duplicate fixes
- improved display of climb restrictions on CLB and CRZ pages
- improved VNAV climb behavior for at or below restrictions in a departure
- fixed FMC Mach intervention on CRZ page
- improved AFDS (Autopilot Flight Director System) behavior in LOC/APP mode
- improved AFDS in go-around and implemented more go-around logic
- improved AFDS roll behavior
- corrected auto throttle manual disconnect warning
- corrected auto throttle idle in manual landing
- added a separate command for auto throttle disconnect
- improved timing for go around thrust limits
- implemented automatic runway HDG alignment in LOC and APP mode
- improved various LNAV leg combinations
- theta value and DME distance are now also working
- corrected DIR to and other flight plan edits
- corrected sequencing of "missed" TF (Track to Fix) legs
- removed incorrectly displayed airports from LEGS page
- fixed crash that occurred when trying to insert an alternate airport

Now you’re up-to-date with these improvements and/or corrections, so let’s move on to the next section.

Documentation
You can find the necessary 777 documents in the DOCs directory, located in the root of the 777 Worldliner directory. The package comes with the following Adobe Acrobat manuals:
- 777 NNL
- 777 Operations Manual
- 777 Pilot’s Handbook
- livery catalogue
- manual
- Performance Charts
- Remote-CDU-Howto

Wherever applicable, let me highlight some of the manuals.
The “777 NNL” or Non-Normal Checklist seems to me an extraction from the real 777 Operation Manual. When checklist items are not relevant to the X-Plane model, it’s indicated.
The “777 Operations Manual” and “777 Pilot’s Handbook” are, as well, extractions or perhaps the complete manual from the real Boeing 777. The Operations Manual explains everything that has to do with system description and operation. The Pilot’s Handbook basically deals with all kind of procedures, flight patterns, standard callouts and cockpit/cabin reports and signals.

Since the basic 777-2000LR only comes with a few liveries, the “livery catalogue” document helps you out with all other liveries that can be bought at the X-plane.Org store. You’ve got the following livery packages: US01R (North America), AF01R (Africa), OC01R (Oceania), EU01M and EU02M (Europe), FE01R and FE02R (Far East) and A01R (Arabian). This large collection of liveries has been made by external painters, but under the developer’s quality control and license. They are available to you for a symbolic fee of $1.00 USD/0.75 Euro cent per livery. That said, you can find the link here and there you'll find all of the 777 packages together.

The so-called “manual” document is a basic manual about the 777 Worldliner. It gives some tips and tricks and installation issues.

The “Performance Charts” is a complete or limited extraction from the original 777 Flight Crew Operations Manual. It deals with performance tables for takeoff, enroute, landing and tables related to GEAR DOWN operations. All are based on the 777-200LR with General Electric GE90-115 engines.

And finally, the “Remote-CDU-Howto” manual.
It explains the steps to follow when you want to use your 777 CDU on a remote tablet. The manual is written for both Windows and Mac OS X users and although the software is optimized for the latest Retina display of the iPad, it works well with other tablets.

I think this is the right moment to add something to this Remote CDU manual. Since I do own a Retina iPad, I would like to add some personal experiences. When your X-Plane PC is connected to a Wifi point, then most likely the iPad is connected to the same source and belongs to the same group. In that case, it is an easy job when you follow the manual, but once you have the FMS CDU on your iPad, it could be, like me, that the bottom part of the FMS CDU is missing. Philipp Münzel explained on the X-Plane.Org how to tackle this problem.

Just follow Philipp’s steps:
With the remote FMS CDU being active (logically via your Safari browser) on your iPad, press the "Share" (a square with an arrow) button directly on the left of the URL bar.
Select from the pop-up window "Add to Home Screen". If needed, you can change the name (the default name is CDU for Ramzz). Finally, confirm by clicking the Add button.
This action resulted in a Safari shortcut icon, named CDU for Ramzz.

Now, start X-Plane on your PC or Mac and load the 777 Worldliner Professional aircraft, if not loaded automatically. Activate the iPad and click the Safari “CDU for Ramzz” icon on the iPad screen. This will open the remote CDU. The status of the remote CDU depends on the aircraft status; cold & dark cockpit or fully electrical powered.

Configuration
There’s no specific configuration needed when it comes to Rendering Settings. The only configuration is for example the remote CDU procedure for tablets. The only thing I could highlight is registration process when you first open the 777. From either X-Plane.Org or Aerosoft, you will have received a serial number. This should be entered when you first launch the 777. After this, you give X-Plane a complete shutdown. Then restart and you’re ready to fly the 777.

Ready for your first external inspection?


Air France External Inspection

Wow! I had completely forgotten how big this aircraft is. No, it’s not the same as my previous reviewed JARDesign A320neo or JRollon’s Jetstream 32. No, this one is MUCH bigger. Anyway, I’ll try to give you a complete inspection report.

Starting at the NLG (Nose Landing Gear), via the left hand side of the fuselage to the wing and the huge GE90 engine inlet. From there, I make a jump to inspect the MLG (Main Landing Gear). Then, it’s time for the aft fuselage and tail inspection and honestly, inspecting the vertical fin with rudder isn’t really possible. For that, I should have a very high stair. And finally, via the right hand side of the fuselage back to the NLG, although this is not really different then during a real 777 walk-around inspection.

Ready?
Starting at the radome, which is far too high for a close inspection, I move downwards to the NLG. Not much to say about this … well modeled and it looks like that nothing is forgotten. The NLG steering cylinders are easily visible, as are the torque links, the fixed landing gear at the backside of the strut, the wiring and hydraulic lines. But there’s more. The small landing gear doors linkage is modeled, as well as the main forward landing gear struts which extend into the main landing gear bay, the hinge bolts of the main landing gear itself, the NLG taxi and takeoff light and many more tiny components. Then you’ve got the wheels with tires, of which the left hand tire text is wrong. The text on that tire is a “mirror image”, meaning the letters are in reverse. Not really a big deal to be honest!

Before moving to the GE90 engine inlet, I’ve given a quick look at the bottom of the fuselage to check for the presence of the antennas and while looking aft, I can see the large shape of the right hand GE90 engine. Compared to the previous General Electric CF6-80 Series, these are HUGE!

While walking to the engine inlet, I’m happy to see that even small text near static ports, on the passenger doors etc. is clearly visible and sharp. Anyway, about the GE90 engine. It’s big and it seems that every tiny detail is modeled including the placards on the engine cowling. In this case on an Air France livery. You’ll find enough dirty spots on the engine cowling, but no weathered look or scratches, dents etc. That’s one thing I prefer, but I’m aware that this is a personal taste and not necessarily applicable for others. The overall shape of the engine looks OK to me, which is the same for the turbine cowling and engine tail cone. However, both are a nicely colored grey but shouldn’t they be black or a little bit rusty?

Remember, along the tail cone all the core engine exhaust gases pass and this is not clear air. One last issue and perhaps this can or will be changed in the future and that in my opinion is that the engine pylon misses depth. The way the engine exhaust looks like, is not realistic.

I continue my inspection via the leading edge of the wing, wing-tip back to the main landing gear. What was applicable for the nose landing gear is the same here. It’s full of details and even tiny ones are there. Since the main landing gear has more components, you’ll see much more, but I couldn’t find the brake wear pin. Instead, brake torque links, brake hydraulic lines, supporting arms for these hydraulic lines, forward torque links and much more are modeled. What’s interesting to see are the retracting landing gear linkages. Even the bolts are well modeled. Overall, a lot of time must have been spent in creating these landing gears.

From the gear we move via the aft fuselage to the tail and lucky for me, it’s almost dark. That means, I can’t see much, but wait a minute. I can clearly see the switched ON LOGO light. The real LOGO lights are mounted in the horizontal stabilizers and shine upwards to illuminate the complete vertical fin. Together with some photo’s found at Airliners.Net, I think the modeled LOGO lights don't represent the real ones. In real life, as far as I can see on those photos, the whole tail is illuminated, while in modeled 777-200LR, only a part of the vertical vin is illuminated. Thus the light beam is too small. See for this the screenshots below.



As far as I’ve found in the user manual, you can control only four passenger doors namely 2L/2R and 3L/3R. Thus the other doors including the cargo doors are not controllable. By the way, I forgot to mention that when I left the left wing tip behind me, there’s an issue with the wing tip navigation lights. According to the official Boeing manual (I don’t think there are many different versions) “The navigation lights are the standard red (left forward wingtip), green (right forward wingtip), and white (aft tip of both wings and tailcone) position lights. On the modeled 777, I don't see any forward navigation lights. I can only see, at the aft side of the wing tip, the green/red navigation light and no white light. But there's good news; during a Skype chat with Ramzzess we talked about the wing tip navigation lights and the LOGO light beam. He will review my comments and depending on the outcome, one or more issues will be packed together in a Service Pack.

Real night 777 screenshots with the wingtip navigation lights and LOGO light location/LOGO light beam


The 777 comes with a few additional features when it comes to external equipment. You can request and sometimes you must (more about that later), passenger boarding stairs, fuel truck, GPU 1 and 2 (Ground Power Unit), a passenger bus and wheel chocks. To get an idea of these ground features, see the screenshots below.

Example screenshots with ground equipment like a passenger bus, stair, GPUs, fuel truck and wheel chocks


Overall, a well modeled 777-200LR Worldliner. There’s no need to mention the few issues again. Before I forget it, first tick the 777 pop-up menu “Doors MAN” before opening passenger door(s) 2L, 2R. 3L or 3R. If you forget to tick Doors MAN, and you open one of the 4 doors, the emergency escape slide automatically deploys. When Doors MAN is not selected, the 4 doors are all in AUTO mode meaning, when you open the door, the slide will deploy! Interesting and realistic detail!


And what about a Freighter?

Basically the freighter version of the 777 isn’t much different. Of course, it’s a freighter and therefore there are no passenger doors except for the doors 1L/1R, but those can’t be controlled. This is the same as on the passenger model. Instead, you can open/close the left hand aft cargo door. Because it’s a freighter, some options of the 777 pop-up menu like fuel truck and stairs are no longer available. Personally, I had hoped that they would have provided a cargo hi-loader. It’s a pity that no passenger 1L/1R can’t be opened, especially when it comes to a freighter. It's not possible because if it’s not modeled in the original passenger 3D model it can't be done in another variant such as a freighter without creating an entirely new model.

Although this section has nothing to do with the flight deck, just some quick notes when it comes to “what is different in a freighter flight deck as compared to a passenger configuration”. The EICAS DOOR synoptic page is different and as far as I can see, that’s it. What I personally miss, keeping the Airbus A310F and A330F freighters in mind, is a MAIN DECK CARGO FIRE system and the corresponding flight deck overhead panels. I checked one of the FCOMs, and there found out that at the overhead panel there should be a SUPRNMRY signs panel and a SUPRMRY oxygen switch. It could be that tis panel is mounted instead of the PASSENGER sign and oxygen system. Then, I also think instead of the CARGO FIRE panel, there should be a CARGO FIRE panel. It’s different since it has warning lights for MAIN, FWD and AFT. The MAIN in this case is for the main upper deck. Furthermore, the AIR CONDITIONING panel should also be different because you should have some flow control and temperature control for the MAIN DECK.



In addition to these items, the external model offers the same look and feel as the passenger model. Everything I highlighted during my passenger inspection is also applicable for the freighter model. I still think that the additional freighter package is worth it to make your 777 Worldliner Professional package complete.


The Flight Deck

A first look in the 3D flight deck leaves me with one thought. Well done! Although I personally prefer little more used/weathered look for all panels, I must admit that the overall flight deck is very nicely modeled and realistic.

I almost forgot something, which has nothing to do with the flight deck. Take care when you select the 777 from the list that you select 777_v10.acf (intended for X-Plane 10) instead of 777_acf (intended for X-Plane 9.70).

Back to the 3D flight deck.
With a quite heavily modeled flight deck, I’m still impressed by the frame rates and yes, you can easily get them down with too high settings. Of course, the way your rendering options are, the results will give you more or less frame rates. During this review I initially could only test the 777 in combination with XP 10.11., but just before closing this review, the 777 was updated to version 1.4, which offer also the 64 bit support for XP10.20RC1.

Irrespective where you are with your 777, there’s always a lot of background noise. You hear voices, trucks passing by, ground crew calling passengers and regular announcements etc. Of course all fake, but it gives something extra to your 777.

So that first flight deck look was perfect, but lets have a more thorough look. After having a look in every corner, up and down, left and right, I’m still impressed by the way this 3D flight deck is made. It seems that everything is modeled such as a pilots cap, the aircraft flight manuals, the first-aid kit and an extinguisher. The two fixed seats are there too and their shape is quite good. But there’s more. The sliding window mechanism, a handset and the complete front seat ground track system. Probably not a favorite place to look but, it tells me something about those tiny details that are modeled too. I observe that the flight deck offers an EFB (Electronic Flight Bag) but only on the left hand side . The right hand EFB is covered with a brown cover. How you can add your own ground maps and other charts is explained in detail in the manual.



Looking in a upward direction, toward the ceiling and overhead panel, it’s just like we saw before. Every tiny detail is modeled. Of course, the overhead panel is completely created but also the Captains and Co-Pilots hand grips and their reading light. Even further upward, you’ll find the circuit breaker panel and some additional panels on the right hand side such as the CARGO TEMP SELECT, ECC MAINT, APU MAINT etc. The reason I mention these a bit out of the way panels, is because most of the selectors, guarded switches etc. are working. Not a place where you expect this. On the left hand upper overhead you’ll find the BACK UP WINDOW HEAT, STANDBY POWER, and POWER FLT CONTROL guarded switches. Even these guarded switches are all operative. Operative by the way doesn’t mean that they have a function. That’s something I haven’t checked yet. I can operate the guard and the switch below, but with a cold & dark cockpit, I haven’t got a clue what happens when I operate one of these switches, but that’s not my intention yet.

After this overall flight deck look, let’s have a close-up look at several panels. I’ll start with the MCP (Mode Control Panel). One word is enough … amazingly sharp and accurately modeled. Even the small VOR, A/T and F/D switches are modeled with the greatest accuracy. Although the panel screws have no function, they are sharp and realistic too. These tiny details are more or less representative for all panels and sub-panels and surprisingly to me, even the text near a switch, knob, selector, instrument etc., is sharp. As far as I can see, all knobs, rheostats, handles etc. have a great 3D look and make the it a well modeled 3D flight deck complete.

Overall, a high quality modeled 3D flight deck, which is created with a lot of fun, qualified modeling skills and with a lot of accuracy. A personal note is, I had hoped that this model could come with used/weathered panels. Aside from that, great 3D art!



After this first impression, it’s time to start the APU and see what happens. You could also go for the GPU1 and/or GPU2 (Ground Power Unit), which can be connected to the aircraft using the pop-up menu. There’s no need to tell you every detail when you switch ON an electrical system, but for once, let me tell you what happens when you switch on the aircraft BATTERY, EXT PWR switches etc. The moment the BAT switch is ON, besides many switch lights illuminating, nothing happens. It starts when you select the PRIMARY EXT PWR switch ON. Not only the aircraft becomes powered, but also the cockpit fan(s) start operation. You can’t miss them! Switching on the SECONDARY EXT PWR, won’t change anything visible in the flight deck.

But the moment you decide to switch OFF the PRIMARY EXT PWR switch, what is unusual, a typical 777 sound is heard that something has changed in the AC/DC electrical system. When I close my eyes, and do this, it sounds real. Last, but not least, I switch ON the L BUS TIE and R BUS TIE connectors. Leaving the 777 in this electrical situation, the EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System), EICAS (Engine Indication and Crew Alerting System) and FMS CDUs (Flight Management System Control Display Units) are powered. In other words, the aircraft is completely powered and ready for the necessary checks. It gives me the chance to check out the different EICAS synoptic pages.

On the right hand side of the MCP, in-between the Auto flight and EFIS control panels, you’ll find the EICAS control panel. For example, when I select the ELEC button, I can see the aircraft electrical system on one of the DU’s (Display Units); left hand inboard EFIS DU, lower EICAS DU or the right hand inboard EFIS DU.

What about the night flight deck lighting?
It won’t be difficult to find the right words … awesome. There’s so much to adjust with so many lighting outputs. Let give you some screen shots of the different knobs I used. From left to right, I used the following light switch or rheostats - MASTER BRIGHT, DOME, GLARESHIELD PNL FLOOD, STORM. FWD PANEL BRIGHTNESS “PANEL” (integral light clocks and BRAKE ACCU indicator), DSPL (EFIS, EICAS DU’s and FMS CDUs) and FLOOD.

Those screen shots show you the gorgeous night flight deck lighting


Some final words about the Quick zoom open in the 777 pop-up menu. Use this! It’s unbelievable handy since it allows you to move with one single click to different flight deck locations. When you ticked this Quick zoom option, a magnifier glass on the left hand side of the screen appears. When you click on the magnifier glass, a synoptic of the flight deck appears and specific sections of the flight deck can be selected. Easy, quick and looking nice!


Preparations

AIRAC Cycles
I could start directly with my test or tutorial flight, which is integrated in the 777 pop-up MENU, but let me first introduce Aerosoft’s NavDataPro to update the AIRAC to the latest version. After that, let me help you with some interesting movies I found on YouTube. Movies …. why, do I need them, can I live without them? All kind of questions and difficult to answer them for me since I don’t know if you’re familiar with the 777 aircraft, its navigation and Auto Flight systems. It’s worth having a look at these movies.

But first, updating AIRAC with the help of Aerosoft’s NavDataPro. A quick and easy job! When the path to the Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional is correct, updating is a matter of seconds. Right now, I’ve updated my 777 to AIRAC version 1302. The 777 comes, standard with a much older AIRAC cycle and although there’s not always a need to update, if you use RouteFinder, for example, then you could get into trouble. So always try to update your 777 to the latest AIRAC cycle. In case you don’t have Aerosoft’s NavDataPro, you can also use the Navigraph AIRAC cycles.

FMS CDU Preparations
You know now, then you own a tablet or, in my case, a Retina iPad, how to get the FMS CDU on this external device. Although the 777 comes in real with three CDU’s, this 777 comes with only two CDU’s that are functional, but linked to each other. This means, the left hand is the master and the right hand CDU is the slave. This means, it shows all the data of the left hand CDU and the LSK (Line Select Keys) are not operative.

When you’re not familiar with a complex simulated CDU, I can advice you to check the movies mentioned below. They are really a great help and the movies from Philipp go even deeper, but that’s when you’re ready for it. Further on, I would like to advice you to read (actually study) the Flight Management section of the supplied 777 Operations Manual. The FMS description and operation section starts at page 285 and runs till page 336. From page 337 and up till 465, the individual CDU pages are discussed in great detail. Logically, since these pages are based on the official 777 FCOM, but there’s a reason I bring this up.

These FCOM pages offer all the ins and outs of the real FMS CDU and of the simulated 777 CDU. And, when not simulated or applicable, then it is stated as “not simulated” or other red text indicates that something is different. I can tell you, what’s left is an almost complete simulated FMS CDU with the finest details you can imagine. The only remark I could bring up is that only one CDU is simulated and not both front CDU’s. That said, it must have been a lot of work and digging into the system, not only to simulate the CDU, but also to connect this to the Auto Flight system. And for those who are used to work with the default X-Plane CDU, sorry about that, this 777 only offers the highest standard when it comes to Flight Management!

Instructional Movies
As I noted in the beginning, the 777 package doesn’t come with a written Acrobat tutorial. Instead, the 777 pop-up menu comes with a built in tutorial. And, there’s much more available on YouTube.

Let me give you the five most important movies I found of which two are very informative and handy in order to master the 777. These two movies from Ccacrisian are well made and offer all the information you need. The tutorial flight from KSEA (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, USA) to KSAN (San Diego International Airport, USA) is divided in two parts. These two movies are absolutely worth downloading and then for you to follow while you’re running XP10. In other words, what you see (on the YouTube movie) is what you do in your XP10 777.
B777 tutorial 1 by Ccacrisian
B777 tutorial2 by Ccacrisian

Then I found two movies, created by Philipp. He offers part 2 and 5. According to Philipp “Part 1, 3 and 4 are not available as movies but as written documents and therefore you won’t find these parts on YouTube.
Ok, what's left then?
Part 2 – FMS takeoff calculation.
This movie deals only with the takeoff calculations. It’s an in-depth look into the different takeoff setting’s.
Part 5 – FMS LNAV.
This movie explains the programming of the FMS CDU based on a flight preparation from LIMC (Malpensa Airport, Italy) to EDFF (Frankfurt Main International Airport, Germany). It’s not only the programming that makes this movie interesting, it also offers a lot of more information.

And finally the Start-up tutorial or you can use the built in tutorial. And finally, I found a movie made by ramzzess. This tutorial can be accessed inside the 777 X-Plane too.

Using the built in 777 tutorial
I used the built in tutorial as a test case, but personally I prefer one of the YouTube movies, which I've highlighted before. Once you start the built in tutorial, there’s no STOP button to pause the tutorial, except for the XP simulator PAUSE button. While the tutorial is running, background music can be heard and there's a text window, which will inform you what the tutorial will do for you. Yes, you’re right … will do for you! This means that this tutorial does all the necessary steps for you. You don’t have to do anything. While the tutorial is busy, the tutorial camera moves to the designated direction where it switches ON (or OFF) a system and suppose it goes to fast for you, just use the X-Plane simulator PAUSE keyboard button.

Once you’ve started the tutorial, you can’t end it the tutorial, but you can pause it momentarily. According to Philipp “Wait for the tutorial to fully finish. That will take approximately 6:30 minutes. After that, you have the menu back again. We do this to ensure people have an unobstructed view of what the tutorial is doing.” That said, the tutorial guides you thru many initial steps and how to start the engines. Also, the FMS CDU is briefly highlighted – IRU/GPS position insertion – but remember, the built in tutorial is not a replacement for the checklist!


How does it Fly? – Part I

I’ve decided to go for the KSEA - KSAN test flight. Any other departure/destination was possible too, but making a test flight with an aircraft like this, with no real practical flying skills, is always difficult. I own a PPL for Cessna C152 and Cessna C172 endorsements, but that’s something totally different then this 777! Anyway, I'll find my way.

With a printed checklist next to me, I’ll follow each step. Whenever something is not modeled, the checklist tells me. An interesting item is, this is not a handmade checklist, but the original from Boeing. But it's been marked whenever something is not applicable for this 777. With RouteFinder, I make my own flight plan from KSEA to KSAN and enter this step-by-step in the CDU. For certain CDU items like the TO SPEEDS you don’t need to be a nerd to calculate that by yourself. This is calculated for you and presented to you. The only thing you need to do is to click the LSK (Line Select Key). Then the values change into large figures and these values are then transferred to the PFD (Primary Flight Display).

As far as I could figure out, it seems to me that many CDU pages, if not all, are simulated. It always is, and stays difficult, to check if there’s a complete “simulated and modeled” link (programming) between the Auto Flight system and the FMS. On the other hand, as long as you can use the supplied semi-official checklist, it must be OK.

The 777 pop-up menu comes with a push back truck too, which makes it all complete. The moment the push back is completed, it’s time to start the engines. There’s nothing complicated about starting these hi-bypass engines, but more important is the authentic GE90 engine sound and how that sounds on the flight deck. Answer? You hardly hear anything in the flight deck and that’s correct. The engines are mounted very far away from the flight deck and under normal conditions you shouldn’t hear them like during an engine start, but during the takeoff you will hear them.

Taxiing to the assigned runway is a weird experience. First of all, when you’re not used to sitting high above the ground, your eyesight is more or less limited towards the taxiway. Then, sitting at this high position above the ground, you also need to keep in mind the size of the aircraft when making turns … nose gear location versus flight deck. And finally, it taxis, as far as I can tell, just like the real aircraft. It’s very difficult to describe this feeling, but believe me, it’s totally different then any other small or middle size commercial jet add-on.



Oh, let’s give you an even better comparison … the default 744 versus the 777 Worldliner Professional.
They are, more or less, the same kind of aircraft, but the default 744 taxies, climbs, cruises far too easily, in my opinion, while this add-on 777 gives you body and gives you the feeling that you’re controlling a heavy aircraft.

That said, after my push back, the taxi was an interesting experience. You need enough power to get the 777 off of her place and once rolling, it keeps on rolling. It feels good, but I can’t compare it with the real 777. The same holds true for the takeoff run, initial climb, and further climbing to your cruise altitude. It’s really a pleasure to see how real the EFIS displays work including the weather radar. It depends on the weather selected for you to see echoes on the ND (Navigation Display), but that makes sense. It’s also worth it to play around with the EICAS displays and use the EICAS control panel by selecting one of the aircraft synoptic. Do compare what you see on the aircraft synoptic display with the switches on the overhead panel. That said, the EFIS, EICAS and CDU offer you a real 777 behavior. Well done!



It’s not really a long intercontinental flight, but there’s still a lot to explore and we have time to play around with the FMS CDU. Compared to other add-on models, I must admit that this 777 Worldliner Professional offers a completely modeled CDU with all the possible pages. As I mentioned before, I haven’t checked every CDU page versus one of the available official Boeing 777 manuals, but I got the idea that a lot is simulated. As long as you can use official FCOMs (Flight Crew Operating Manual) it looks OK to me. If you select the MENU button on the CDU, all right hand LSKs don’t work, but you could ask yourself if they are needed? There’s a MEMORY and MAINT INFO line. It has nothing to do with the FMS itself. Furthermore, the CDU FMC COMM (SATCOM – Satellite Communication) is operative, but again, no issue! Just to confirm my thoughts, I contacted Philipp Münzel, programmer of the 777, with some questions regarding the CDU and why, after you’ve updated the AIRAC cycle, you get an “OUT OF DATE” scratchpad message. According to Philipp “CDU display control is not modeled. This function is rarely used in real life – only, if for some reason, the EFIS panel fails. The AIRAC date is compared to the date in X-Plane, not to the date in your computer. So if your time of year in X-Plane is not synced to the computer day/month, you'll get the "OUT OF DATE" message.”


A moment for myself … the virtual Cabin

I’ve good news for those who like to have a virtual cabin, or in case of a freighter, a cargo main deck included. This 777 offers, in detail for a passenger aircraft, a 3-class lay-out. This means the virtual cabin comes with everything you’ll find in a real 777. You’ll find galleys, a bar for first class, economy, business and first class seats, modeled passenger door lining, sidewall and ceiling lining including the lighting and much more. There’s also a stewardess standing next to, I believe, door 2R looking to the door lining or checking something else. After consulting Ramzzess via Skype, he promised me that this will be solved with the next Service Pack. Then the friendly stewardess is no longer in this freighter deck.



On the ground floor, the main cargo deck offers roller bars, clamps, special for cargo airplanes sidewall and ceiling linings. Of course, all the baggage bins are removed and, to my surprise, the same stewardess standing at the same position. That’s not correct or did I miss something? Overall, the modeled 777 comes with a Virtual passenger or cargo Cabin and that’s it. Don’t expect a high detailed and high quality Virtual Cabin. Instead, you get a gorgeous flight deck with complex modeled aircraft systems and that’s already worth a lot.


How does it Fly? – Part II

I’ll continue with my flight experience. While the 777 did her best to bring me safely to my cruising altitude of FL370, I decided to switch OFF the Auto Pilot and tried to fly, with the help of the Flight Directors (FD), the 777 by hand. I can tell you there was no problem at all. To prevent any distraction, I zoomed in on the PFD and with the Auto Throttle still engaged, it wasn’t really difficult to fly this 777 with the help of the FD bars. Then suddenly you know why the AP is so accurate. Overall the 777 flies easily, but as I previously mentioned, a certain body.
Since the FMS CDU is simulated in high detail, it’s worth it to play around on your flight and see what happens when you change something in the flight plan. Go ahead and don’t be afraid, just give it a try. It’s fun playing around with the CDU. When you're really new to these big jets and not so confident with complex Flight Management Systems, then I suggest that you use the previously mentioned YouTube 777 Tutorial 1 and 2 movies. They are really a great help on understanding how to control this 777 and that's on a relatively short flight from Seattle to San Diego. Once you feel more confident, you can try other destinations, but use these movies as a general guideline.

Anyway, my test flight and finding out the 777 simulated behaviors are a success. I can’t answer the question if it flies as the real 777. My Cessna 152/172 PPL doesn’t help me with this, but I tried to feel how this add-on model flies and it feels good. Ok, there’s at least one thing I missed and that was the characteristic sound you hear when you taxi or takeoff on the centerline and the landing gear tires constantly pass over the built in lights. Is that a problem? It was OK that it was included, but it’s absolutely no issue.



Then, there’s also the moment where this test flight ends with an ILS (Instrument Landing System) approach. You can leave the Auto Pilot ON or you can try it yourself. Believe me, it’s not as easy as you think, but it’s not a problem either. The modeled 777 allows the making of small adjustments and because of this modeled behavior, it isn’t difficult to make the final approach and landing yourself. It’s even more fun to try it.

I can only conclude, after a safe landing and taxi to my gate, that this 777 is FUN, but not only fun since there’s also a lot to study. I’ve grown up in the aviation world and worked as a licensed ground engineer and I've been a technical instructor on the several Airbus models and the 747-400. But even with that experience, I had to look in the books for certain issues. Together with the provided manuals and the many YouTube movies available, this 777 will give you a lot of pleasure.


Summary

What can I say?
First of all that it has become a much longer review then initially planned. But that’s the problem with me, when I enjoy an add-on aircraft like this 777 Worldliner professional, I forget almost everything and want to go further then perhaps is needed. Overall, it was worth a 100% review for this add-on XP10 777. I almost forgot to mention that the model is also available for XP9.7, but sorry that I didn’t check the model in combination with the previous XP.

I hope you like big jets, otherwise, this review was the wrong choice. But if you like the Boeing 744, 777, Airbus A380, McDonnell Douglas DC10, MD11 etc. then this 777 Worldliner Professional is an awesome choice.

The overall 3D model is well made although I picked up a few glitches, but these are not a big deal. The basic package, either from X-10Plane.Org or Aerosoft comes with a few liveries and recently X-Plane.Org released the latest American Airlines new livery for free. Other liveries are available at X-Plane.Org, packaged together into regions like Europe, Africa, Middle East, etc. Each livery cost you around $1.00 USD/0.75 Euro cent, which is almost for free!

The 3D flight deck is great. Great in frame rates, and keep in mind the complexity of the programmed EFIS, EICAS and FSM CDU. I also have a small comment about the 3D look. I personally would prefer it when there’s also a 3D look lay-out that offers a more used/weathered look with scratches, dents, weathered panels and areas around knobs and selectors. Anyway, that's more of a personal wish! More important are the way the aircraft, navigation and Auto Flight systems are simulated. Most likely not every detail of every aircraft system is simulated, but what you see is a well-developed, high quality 777. Is there a way to compare this with another 777? No way! For Microsoft Flight Simulator X we have the old PSS 777, the Wilco Publishing 777 and recent released Captain Sim 777.

Then, somewhere in the future, the PMDG 777 will see daylight too. But for now, for X-Plane 10, there’s no other 777 to compare with. Is there a need? Honestly, competitors are always welcome, but the way the aircraft systems of this 777 are simulated tells me already enough. And don’t forget, with a few exceptions, you can use the whole official checklist. Together with a reliable AIRAC cycle from either Aerosoft or Navigraph, you’re officially always up-to-date and as real as it should be.

During the many flights I made with this 777 and the one that is described, I can only say that it flies totally different then a default X-Plane 10 aircraft. That’s very good news, but more then that I can’t say, since I don’t have the real experience how a 777 behaves and I’ve never been in a Level-D 777 FFS (Full Flight Simulator). I think Ramzzess and Philipp did a good job keeping in mind that we’re dealing with a Fly-by-Wire (FBW) aircraft although compared to the Airbus, the 777 doesn’t have a sidestick but an ordinary control column. During my business days at KLM Engineering and Maintenance, this was always a discussion between Boeing and Airbus instructors why Boeing didn’t introduce a side stick too. I’ve heard different stories and which one is true, is right now not important.

The fact is that Airbus decided to introduce the side stick while Boeing decided to stick to the control column, while both vendors have, more or less, the same FBW techniques.

Philipp came up with some additional information “That may be true on the deeper technical level from a mechanics point of view, it is different from a pilot's point of view. The simplest example is stall protection: Under normal law, the Airbus will never let you stall the plane, because even with full aft side stick, the FBW will always obey the limits of the flight envelope. In the Boeing, you will get a stick shaker, the control column will desperately try to make you release backpressure, but the plane will totally go into stall if you ignore all the warnings and just keep the control column pulled back. In other words; the 777 is a more a pilot airplane than the ones from Airbus.”

The review was initially based on the XP 32bit 777, installed under X-Plane 10.11. With the release of version 1.4, I had the opportunity to test it also with XP10.20RC1 and then of course the 64bit X-plane version. Not that the 64 bit version brings much more news except for the 4K high resolution textures for the 3D cockpit and improved exterior lighting, OOM (Out Of Memory) issues under Mac OS X are, under normal conditions, history. The problem with XP 32bit running under Mac OS X, was the limitation of the memory that stopped at 3GB, even if you had more memory installed.

Did I cover everything or could it be that I’ve forgotten something? I think the review covers an in-depth 777 story with a lot of information. I tried to cover all of it, with the end result a comprehensive 777 review. Hopefully this review is detailed enough for you to decide if you want go for it. It’s always possible that I missed a part. The simulated 777-200LR is a comprehensive model when it comes to Auto Flight systems and the FMS CDU is not just a simulated CDU, but also links to the Auto Flight system.

Flying the 3D cockpit is fun and although it will cost some frames, clicking the 3D CDU, a 2D CDU pops-up and if you have a tablet, in my case the Apple Retina iPad, you can even transfer it to this device and that's another nice feature of the CDU. This 2D CDU is really a handy option built in.

Overall an add-on aircraft worth every penny or is it Euro cents? Whatever currency you prefer, the 777 is well-modeled and interesting. Add to this the 64 bit support and the freighter package, and you’ve got enough XP hours to fly all over the world.

You can buy the Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional at the X-Plane.Org store as well as the additional livery packages. For your convenience, here are the direct links to the X-Plane.Org:
Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional
Livery packages:
- African pack
- Cargo Paint Pack
- European pack I
- European pack II
- Far East pack II
- Far East pack I
- Oceania pack
- Arabian pack
- North American pack


Freighter add-on package


And what does it all cost at X-plane.Org?
The base 777 package cost you $59.95 USD or approximately 45.00 Euros, but with this, you get a bonus. You get KLAX (Los Angeles International Airport) and KLGA (New York LaGuardia International Airport) with your purchase. That means a $60.00 USD or approximately 45.00 Euros value for free! Or you decide, when you don’t own the 777 yet, to buy the complete passenger and cargo version for just $79.95 USD or approximately 59.00 Euros. In case you own the 777 Worldliner Professional, then the freighter (cargo) 777 will cost $20.00 USD or approximately 15.00 Euros. And finally, each livery pack cost $10.00 USD or approximately 8.00 Euro’s.

If you prefer, you can also buy the 777 at the Aerosoft dedicated eShop web page. At Aerosoft, the 777 will cost you $63.00 USD/47.17€. All currency conversions as of February 18, 2013.

Finally, I'd like to thank Nicolas from X-Plane.Org for his assistance, time and the fact that he offered me the necessary download packs to test and write this comprehensive review. I'd also like to thank Philipp Münzel, who answered some issues I found or items I didn’t understand. I also would like to thank Ramzzess for this great X-Plane add-on aircraft. There's one last interesting item regarding other 777 models. The only one who can answer this is Philipp, so lets ask him. According to him, “About the 200ER and 300ER we have not decided yet. If they come, they will come very late this year.”

And now it's time to stop. Feel free to leave a comment or message. You can reach me at Aerosoft.Sim.News@gmail.com.

Thanks you for reading this comprehensive review.

With Greetings,
Angelique van Campen


This review is written for Aerosoft Sim News and published via the Aerosoft website. While the reviewer has complete journalistic freedom, we ask the reader to keep in mind where the review is posted.