Commercial FSX Aircraft Review
Quality Wings 757 Collection
|Description:||Real presentation of a Boeing 757 from QualityWings|
|Reviewed by:||Aaron Graham|
Computer / Software Specifications
|Computer System:||- Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400
- 8 GB RAM
- NVIDIA GeForce 330GT
- 1TB HDD
|Software:||- Windows 7 Premium x64
- Flight Simulator X
Ah, the 757 in real life is well, the ‘other’ Boeing! It never got the sales success of the 737 nor captured the public attention like the 747 and is almost ancient compared to the 777. The 757 was developed in tandem with her sister the 767.
The Boeing 767 took the sales lead and became popular. The 757 is the poor old workhorse when compared to other Boeing aircraft. The aircraft went on to become popular with budget European carriers such as Monarch, Air Berlin, Thomas Cook and Thomson Fly.
Quality Wings has taken on the challenge of creating this aircraft. This was the debut release for Quality Wings so the stakes were high. The team at Quality Wings chose to model every single Boeing 757 variant that would come off the production line. I counted 14 in total.
The Quality Wings’ package includes variants of the 757 with winglets and without, along with different engine types. They included two different freighter models and the C-32A Air Force model as well! An impressive feat by anyone’s standard. I guess it’s enough with the product description and onto the business of reviewing.
Control Panel or “For whom is it?”
The Quality Wings 757 has varying levels of system simulation depth. You can choose to fly it by using it with default systems and following a default GPS flight plan or you can choose to use more complex systems and program most of the FMS. This aircraft can be a ‘lite’ aircraft or it can be a more serious aircraft. The choice is up to you as to how you fly it. It is by no means a hard-core simulation but it will suffice most people’s needs.
Installation, Documentation and the Livery Manager
The installation of this product is straight forward with no unexpected surprises. You open the .zip file you downloaded and extract it. We will then open the .exe file which contains the installer. Next we click the welcome screen and will be asked if we accept the EULA. Simply click yes and next it will confirm that it has found the correct FSX location and if all is well, click next again and installation begins. The product installs in a matter of minutes.
The first time you launch FSX you will be asked to run some gauges and finally you will get a prompt asking you if you want to activate the product now. Click yes and you will connect to a website which will approve your product key and you will be free to select the aircraft in FSX and begin using it.
The documentation that is supplied with the aircraft is suburb. You can find it in the Quality Wings folder in the Start Menu. The manual tells you about each 757 variant included in the package. It gives you a product package overview, includes a quick start guide and information on the aircraft itself and how to use its systems.
Overall it is an excellent manual that all flight simulation developers should try to achieve.
The aircraft comes with a livery manager which can be used for installing liveries downloaded from the Quality Wings website. It is simple and easy to use. You can also select different cockpit options for each livery such as the ‘retro fitted’ cockpit.
In one word – fantastic! I will need to elaborate on this as it is a review after all. I will start with my external walk around. The proportions of the model are correct and it is a very accurate virtual model of the real aircraft variants. The external model however does not live up to 2012 standards set by some other companies, but this can be more than forgiving as it will provide a silky smooth passage through the virtual wind tunnel.
We will start with the gear which has been modelled to perfection with just about everything in 3D. As we move up to the nose of the aircraft it is perfectly rounded and is the correct shape. The nose of the aircraft is something difficult to model and Quality Wings has managed to pull it off. We will move along the fuselage and as we come to the wings which are modelled to perfection. The wing itself is made very accurately with all the correct parts there. The flaps have been done very well with the correct curves on them along with the speed brakes.
The wing textures are awesome and when combined with the UHDT liveries which can be downloaded from the Quality Wings website, you can see every rivet and scratch mark on the wings! I continue my journey to the tail which is excellently shaped and there are some nice dirt stains on it. The model does make for very visually impressive experience. There are some small things that I would like done to the model such as having cut-out windows instead of textured ones. I believe cut-out windows add a degree of realism and many developers are doing it so it was a shame to see that Quality Wings didn’t follow the trend. However overall they didn’t detract too much from the experience.
Also included are different models for different engine types. This was a nice feature to have as it added greatly to the realism of the product.
The virtual cockpit will be a haven for those of us who are virtual cockpit flyers. It is a suburb recreation of the real life 757 cockpit and has lush textures to go along with it. The virtual cockpit is no “bar riser” for the FS community but it is one of the better ones out there. Most of the knobs and switches are all modelled nicely in 3D and have nice photo realistic textures overlaid on them. The textures have an old worn look to them, however they don’t look too dirty. I personally feel they have hit the sweet spot for wear and tear marks.
They make you feel as if you are in a real frequently used cockpit. The gauges themselves are very well done with the correct colours. I do feel they could increase the resolution of the gauges. When changing your view angle, you do sometimes have to squint to see them. I had an unexpected disappointment where you can’t use the FMS from the virtual cockpit. When you click the FMS while in the virtual cockpit, it will bring up a 2D pop up. I am hugely disappointed with this. I would expect new FSX products to have parallel functional in the 2D and 3D views.
Some may argue that it makes it quicker and easier to program, but I do think there should be an option to do it in the virtual cockpit. I do hope they add this feature in an upcoming service pack for the product. I do think some more items on the overhead panel could have been modelled in 3D instead of being an image. Also included in this product is an option to use the retro fitted virtual cockpit which has 777 like displays. I feel this was a great inclusion as it means you can fly the aircraft the way airlines would with different options. Overall, I really enjoyed the experience the virtual cockpit gave me as it was done very well apart from a few minor bugs.
This product features a 2D panel for users who systems aren’t up to the task of running the VC or for users who prefer 2D. The panels are done to a suburb standard and it is nice to see Quality Wings include them as they are a dying breed.
The Quality Wings 757 features hundreds of animations. There seems to be a never ending list of things which are animated from jump seats, manual enclosures in the cockpit and all the standard elements on the external model along with other goodies!
The night lighting provided with the aircraft is decent. It isn’t the best I have seen in FSX but nor is it the worst. The virtual cockpit lighting was good but when I went out to the external model things began to get bad. The landing lights are based on the default FSX lights which are unrealistic and I found the take-off lights to be bitmap images on the outside of the model that don’t always stay in line from certain view angles. I can live with the lighting but I do think they could have done better.
I believe sounds can add a great amount of realism to a product since who wants to fly a 747 which sounds like a Cessna 150? I am glad Quality Wings realized the importance of this and the sound set included is nothing short of fabulous! The roar of the engines on the outside is music to my ears. You can hear the engines roar and whine at varying thrust levels. The movement of the flaps and the deployment of the speed brakes all affect the sounds on the external model. When you deploy reverse thrust you can hear a powerful roar as in real life.
The Quality Wings’ team have even gone as far as including different sound sets for different engine types. As I enter the cockpit I can hear the hum of the APU and other electrical systems and when the engines begin to start you can hear this whine as they groan to life. The take-off really is suburb as you can hear all the creaks and bumps as you hurtle down the runway. I personally loved the Rolls Royce sound set. The team even included a talking first officer who calls out ‘V1’, ‘Rotate’ and ‘V2’ along with ‘Flaps Up’. But the developers didn’t stop there.
They added a talking cabin crew who did a safety briefing along with informing our virtual passengers that the seat belt sign is on/off and we have reached our cruise altitude or we have begun our decent. The First Officer even informs the crew to be seated for take-off/landing. Each sound for the First Officer or crew is triggered by an action such as deploying Flaps to a certain setting or beginning a decent or slowing down. It really is amazing what they managed to do. The sound set is on a level with elite add-ons!
A Test Flight
I can hear some of you say that all these visual treats don’t matter unless it flies like a real 757. Quality Wings claim it is tested by a real world 757 pilot. I myself knew a real world 757 Captain and I got his opinion on the flight dynamics and he said they match as closely as a simulation can get to replicate a real aircraft. In other words they are suburb. I decided that there was no better way to test the systems and flight dynamics than doing a flight. I chose to fly from East Midland Airport, UK to the island of Corfu, Greece. Jet2, which is a budget European airline, flies this route with their 757-200 winglet variant.
I loaded the FMC with the flight plan and set up VNAV. I requested push back and so far, all is going well. I then heard the cabin crew doing the safety briefing while I was deploying flaps to 15 as requested by the FMC. I taxied to the runway and got permission to take-off. I pushed the thrust to TOGA power and I heard the engines rumble and whine! My First Officer called out 80 KNOTS, V1, Rotate, V2 and I was powering into the sky. I was then instructed to put the flaps up. I engaged LNAV and VNAV and before I knew it I was at FL350.
I turned off the fasten seatbelt sign and heard the cabin crew. My climb out and cruise was smooth. Around 4 hours later I began descending into Corfu. The FMS didn’t slow the aircraft down before the decent so we had to descend and slow down at the same time. I was descending with a vertical speed of -2800ft/pm and my angle of attack was -2 degrees so all was normal. When I reached 10,000ft the FMC slowed me down to 250KNOTS. Twenty minutes later I began preparing for approach landing and lowered my gear. The aircraft began slowing down so the engines had to spool up, I had flaps at 30 and my landing speed would be 148KNOTS. I was quite heavy. Before I knew it I was landing on the runway! I deployed reverse thrust and the auto brakes activated. I taxied into the gate.
I’m very pleased with the systems and the flight dynamics. I personally believe this add-on is underrated due to the ‘Quality Wings’ slogan. This aircraft will provide many hours of enjoyment for a new simmer or an experienced one. My only slight annoyance is that the VNAV may not slow down the aircraft meaning you have to do it manually. I have yet to find a reason for this. The aircraft responded realistically during stalls. The aircraft feels right when hand flying and flying approaches was a real treat!
No simmer wants to purchase an add-on which they can’t run. I am happy to report that the frame rates are similar to that of the default Boeing 737-800. This is quite an achievement by the developers since it features a very nice model with good system simulation.
I managed a smooth 25FPS with the UK2000 East Midlands scenery.
This add-on provides such a degree of immersion you would think you were in the real aircraft. The aircraft does simulate what systems it does have to an excellent degree. I would have no problem recommending this add-on to a flight simulation veteran or a newbie as it will have something to suite both. It features a great visual model with outstanding sounds and a great flight dynamics package for a very affordable price. A must have for any Boeing fan!
This review is written for Aerosoft News Service 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.