For those flight simmers who missed part I of our exclusive interview with Espen Øijordsbakken from Coolsky, here’s a short introduction.
Who doesn’t know Coolsky, or the person behind … Espen Øijordsbakken?
In case you don’t know, Coolsky is responsible for the famous Microsoft Flight Simulator Super 80, Super 80 Professional models with their integrated Training system and the POAB Fokker 50, where he integrated his Fokker panel, but now also for FSX. For your convenience, find here the direct link to Coolsky.
Anyway, this part II interview deals with Coolsky, Espen himself but above all, his upcoming Douglas DC-9 Classic Series. Enjoy!
Can we expect a “system deterioration” included?
System deterioration in the sense that a system will become more unreliable over time has not been implemented. The failure simulation system will however give you the same or a similar feature. The DC-9 Classic actually comes with several predefined failure scenario where all the failures are active, but set at a very low probability of actually triggering.
This way you will most likely have only one or two failures during a flight, possibly even none. This gives you a more precise control over how unreliable you want your aircraft to be and the chance of actually having a system fail during any one flight.
If you want to fly with a very unreliable aircraft on one flight and an aircraft in perfect condition on the next, you can.
Which engine(s) is/are simulated and can you tell something about them?
We are simulating the JT8D-7 engine. This is an axial flow low-pass dual-spool turbofan engine, which has been used in many aircraft designs, both civilian and military. On the DC-9-31 this engine provides 14,000 lbf (62kN) thrust.
The JT8D is generally regarded as a very solid and reliable engine. The astronomically high total hours accumulated by these engines, from the first engine off the production line, to all of those still flying today says it all; 450 million flight hours.
Of course today, compared to modern engines, the JT8D would be considered noisy, fuel thirsty, oil leaking, and generally uneconomical. Times and technology are changing.
What is the expected FPS?
There is a distinct difference between the FPS in the virtual cockpit and the FPS in the 2D panel of the DC-9 Classic, at least on my computer. You can expect the FPS in the VC to be on par with other add-ons of similar complexity.
Compared to the Super 80 and Super 80 Pro, which are both known for being very frame rate friendly both in the 2D panel and the VC, the DC-9 is a step up in graphics complexity and resource usage and will naturally require a bit more of your computer and graphics card. FPS in the 2D panel on the other hand, should be comparable to the Super 80 and Super 80 Pro; excellent!
Does the DC-9 Classic comes with a FMC or …..
The DC-9 Classic does not come with any type of modern navigation equipment like an FMS or a GPS or even an INS or Loran unit. It’s all about radio navigation in this aircraft. It comes with a VOR and an ADF. You add a few maps and your own radio navigation skills, and that’s all you need to go just about anywhere! Radio navigation is how pilots found their way from A to B back when the DC-9 was brand new.
This is the experience I want to give pilots flying the DC-9 Classic. I do realize that for many new and some old flight simulator pilots, radio navigation can be a bit difficult to understand and ultimately master. This is why I have created a radio navigation simulator within the DC-9 Classic. This radio navigation simulator is specifically built to help pilots master the art of radio navigation.
It’s basically a window in the simulator that shows you a VOR compass rose or an ADF card overlaid on a moving map style display of radio navigation stations such as VOR, TACAN and NDB stations, as well as airports. The focus of the display is on showing you your position relative to the radio stations around you. Because of this, the display does not show you terrain, water, roads, airspace or anything like that. It’s about you, the radio station you are tuned to, where you are in relation to that station and how to navigate to your destination.
While radio navigation might be difficult to master, it certainly is a very rewarding way of flying and navigating once you get the hang of it.
For which MSFS version is this DC-9 Classic intended?
The DC-9 Classic is being designed for FSX (SP2) only. The DC-9 Classic makes extensive use of the SimConnect interface in FSX which simply isn’t available in FS9. I know a lot of people still enjoy FS9 and would rather fly in that simulator.
What about Prepar3D and Coolsky or perhaps X-Plane?
Prepar3D is targeted at and designed for commercial use applications. The DC-9 Classic, although being a technically very advanced product, has been designed for home entertainment use. As such it fits much better on the FSX platform than on Prepar3D, even if Prepar3D is backward compatible with FSX.
Also, FSX has a much higher market share than Prepar3D, which is important for commercial developers. X-Plane on the other hand, is definitely an interesting platform we are keeping an eye on. With Microsoft having stopped development of FSX and MS Flight not being quite the replacement we had hoped for, X-Plane just might develop into the definitive flight simulator for the future. Right now though, FSX is still it.
Which present and/or retro liveries are included?
The final list of liveries to be included with the DC-9 Classic at release has not yet been finalized. McPhat Studios, who are making all the liveries, will of course release texture packages for the DC-9 in their award winning World Airliners series.
I expect these add-on livery packages will be available shortly after release, and they will of course include most current and former operators of the DC-9.
Does the DC-9 Classic include a tutorial manual?
The DC-9 Classic does not include the traditional written tutorial manual. Instead, you will find a complete tutorial flight in the in-cockpit training system. You will be guided step-by-step through a complete flight with on-screen text, arrows indicating where you need to click and boxes highlighting major systems for you.
The whole product has really been designed with the goal of maximizing the in-cockpit time and minimizing the “reading documents” time. The in-cockpit training system will have you up and flying in no time at all.
Is, for example, the engine start sequence for the fully 100% simulated including all the P & W JT9D habits?
The startup sequence for the Pratt & Whitney JT8D-7 engines has been fully simulated. When it comes to the habits, in particular the more undesirable habits and even some of the nastier ones, well you can set the “moodiness” of the engines yourself using the failure simulation system. The failure simulation system provides over 20 abnormal situations and four emergency situations for each engine.
The abnormal startup situations you may face range from simple inoperative probe issues like no N1 or EGT indication on startup, or failure of the N1 stage to accelerate properly (hung start) to more serious issues like rapidly increasing EGT (hot start). There is plenty to keep you busy and alert.
Is the elevator simulated as fitted in the real DC-9 Classic (individual aerodynamic elevator control)?
I guess you are referring to the slightly odd sight of a DC-9 sitting on the tarmac with the elevators in different positions, one up and one down. This phenomenon is due to the fact that the elevators on the DC-9 are free moving.
They are, not directly controlled by the pilots. On the takeoff roll, as the airspeed increases, the free moving elevators aerodynamically align with the airstream. The way the pilots control the elevators is by moving a control tab attached on the trailing edge of the elevator.
When the pilot pulls back on the yoke, the control tab goes down, which aerodynamically moves the elevator up, which in turn moves the nose of the aircraft up. It’s a simple system, which doesn’t require any hydraulic power to assist the pilots. The only time you actually see the elevators split is on the ground, or in an emergency I guess, but we have not simulated this feature.
Will a blocked Rudder Limiting pitot tube influence rudder travel and what can you see about this?
The pitot tube located on the front of the vertical stabilizer reports the airspeed to the rudder limiter which limits rudder movement above a given speed and allows full movement below a certain speed.
When this system fails you either have too little effect from the rudder when you need it at low speeds or too much effect from the rudder at high speeds. None of which is good. Rudder failures, which fall under the abnormal situation category, are actually simulated with several different scenarios.
You’ve got abnormal rudder control, power rudder INOP, rudder stop INOP, and a few more. For example, you will see the rudder frozen in a deflected position in the abnormal rudder control scenario.
Which doors and/or stairs are simulated and how to control them?
On the external model we have simulated the forward main exit and air stair, the forward right service door, the aft fuselage ventral air stair, the forward and aft cargo doors, and the engine cowlings. You can open and close all these doors, stairs and cowlings using the standard FSX keyboard shortcuts.
To further assist you with all the doors, stairs and cowlings, The DC-9 Classic comes with a Ground Operations panel with a graphical representation of the aircraft which you can click on to open/close the doors, stairs and cowlings.
The Ground Operations panel also handles pushback and startup.
What about a simulated cabin, lavatory, galleys etc.?
We have focused the product on the pilot experience. You will find a full cabin with a galley in the DC-9 Classic, but it is not as detailed as the virtual cockpit.
There are only so many vertices you can add to the 3D model and so many pixels you can add to the textures.
Most of the available resources went into making a highly detailed virtual cockpit and external aircraft model. The lavatory has not been simulated.
What other DC-9 Classic variants will Coolsky release … like the DC-9-32CF or C-9A Nightingale?
We do not currently have any firm plans to release any specific additional models of the DC-9. We have discussed the possibilities. I know I would certainly like to see the cargo and military versions you mention. I guess we will have to see how the product is received by the market, and then make a decision about possibly making additional models.
There are several interesting models that could be done. There are even some interesting models that were proposed but not actually built, like for example the Advanced Tactical Electronic Warfare System model, the Hughes Aircraft missile testing platform with pylon mounted air-to-air missiles, or even the carrier deck landing C-9 COD (Carrier On-board Delivery) model.
It does sound slightly crazy but the C-9 COD, with arrestor hook and folding wings, was an actually proposal from Douglas to the US Navy. I know I’d like to try to land a C-9 on a carrier deck. That would be cool!
I would like to thank Angelique van Campen and Aerosoft Sim News for this opportunity to talk about the upcoming DC-9 Classic aircraft to all your readers.
The DC-9 Classic has been in development for a long time now, but it is really coming together nicely and is actually looking better than the product I envisioned at the start of the development.
The failure simulation system is definitely what takes this aircraft to the next level compared to my earlier products.
It has been a very fun and challenging aircraft to develop, and I hope you will think the same when you get into the cockpit of the DC-9 Classic and fly away.