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26JUL12 - PMDG 777 for FSX: Let the previews begin!
Posted 26 July 2012 - 01:09 PM
The PMDG 777 for FSX is taking a decidedly different development path than any previous PMDG product because it is the first product to be built out of a simulation engine that we created during development of the PMDG 737NGX. In the past, every PMDG product was essentially a "start from line one" code project because we were always trying to improve upon what we had, or take advantage of features in the latest version of Flight Simulator. Now that we have a stable FSX platform and a stable NGX platform- the 777 is being built in a manner that completely changes our approach to getting work completed within the project scope.
(Wow... that sounded boring... )
This of course has thrown me off a bit on the preview process- as we have some pieces of the puzzle that are already finished and ready for show-time, but they work in conjunction with other pieces that are still being implemented, or they are contained in 3D geometry that hasn't been built yet- so we have a mash-up of things that are finished and others that are not- and I have a bias against showing you screenshots that are messy- so instead we haven't been showing you much at all.
If you have been hanging around the PMDG forum for a long time, you know that we do not publish release dates, nor do we discuss expected release dates until we have a solid product that is actually ready for release. We do this in order to keep our options open and allow us the freedom to hold a product off the market in order to be certain it is ready to support you on release day!
Since we do not publish ETAs... a junior science has grown up around predicting how far out we are based upon what we show you here in the forum. We often tell people: "It will be obvious when we are close- you'll be able to tell by watching the forum...."
With all of that in mind- LET THE PREVIEWS BEGIN!
NOTE: These previews are of an in development product that is still be adapted, tweaked and adjusted...
We aren't quite ready to start showing the flight deck yet- so today we will stick with the exterior of the airplane with some global and some detail images....
We'll start with this image because it gives you the impression of size. The 777 is a BIG airplane. When we first started taking delivery of these airplanes at UAL back in 1995, one of my co-workers commented that the 777 looked like a dirigible with wings... I think this image shows that aspect very well.
You will note here also how smooth the skin-form is on this airplane. We have put a significant amount of work into replicating how smooth the airplane's surface is, even with the lap joints between skin surfaces. Boeing put a significant amount of effort into drag reduction in the design of the 777 and you can really see it here.
This image will give you an idea how hard Jason has worked with our photo survey resources to replicate the "subtle wear and tear" that in service 777s begin to show once the "showroom clean" wears off. You can see subtle sooting details around the doors, the leading edge of flight control devices and you can certainly see where the flap-jacks shed their grease...
The paint kit for this airplane will give livery artists some flexibility on how dirty to make the airplane. (I like clean airplanes... have I mentioned that lately? Dirt is for under-funded airlines.... )
Some of you might have been hanging around the AVSim forums long enough to remember when I was positing photographs of UAL's first 777s while we were doing initial certification flights for the FAA and helping Boeing to build time for the initial ETOPS certification. (Yes- it was a long time ago... scary, huh?) I have had the good fortune to spend a big chunk of my career on/in/around these airplanes- and even when I was flying out of IAD- I was mesmerized to watch them takeoff and land at our hub at KIAD. (The world's largest 777 operation for many years... I don't think that is still true today, tho...) This image is one that reminds me of those days because the 777 looks "all business" from the front. Sleek, powerful and incredibly solid in appearance.
Jason has done a wonderful job of capturing that essence in this model with a significant amount of input from our friend's at Boeing.
This image gives you a really nice detail view of the landing gear trucks, the gear itself, the hinges and folding units, the gear bays and the underside of the flaps. The detail gets even better as you get in close to the airplane, giving a very lifelike and detailed impression so those who like to walk around the airplane on the ground using one of the available tools to do so- you will have plenty to look at and inspect...
The landing gear on the 777 have some interesting behavior with steerable axles and unique truck pivot behaviors during retraction and extension. They are all present in the PMDG 777 as you'd expect- along with some other details that you will get to see in the simulator that come from our extensive work with Boeing and the industry. (I'm not going to tell you what they are- but I guarantee there will be a few "i noticed that..." posts- and it will be fun to see if you can figure out what they are. )
This is another great shot that gives you some fantastic detail of the detail within the mechanical workings. Some things you cannot see well in this image are the inner workings of the flap actuators and jacks- they are all there (as they are in the NGX) and they all work according to spec. It is fun to watch how the system Boeing engineered the system to adjust leverage in order to maximize strength and minimize weight.
The 777 generally, but the LR in particular is incredibly high powered and capable of some truly obscene deck angles when climbing out lightly loaded... Here, our test flight crew is having a bit of fun.... (Jason- you mind stopping by the office on your way out today, please? )
The first time I saw a 777 in person, my main observation was to say that "if this airplane every grows into it's feet- it is going to be one big S.O.B." The airplane's stance on the ground gives it a truly powerful presence- and Jason has captured this very well in the model.
In this image you can also see again the work that has gone into providing a smooth skin surface- just as Boein intended- but the areas that take significant strain (such as around the cargo door) aren't quite as smooth- as strength is far more important.
As with the NGX, Jason has put a significant amount of detail into the "innards" of the engine core, so that they look correct when viewing into the large open spaces around the engine core. This lends itself to very realistic ramp images when parked at your favorite airport...
More detail around the landing gear and flap merchanisms... Some of this area is still being updated and tweaked, but this gives you an idea how carefully we are working to make certain that the airplane you fly matches precisely the airplane created by Boeing!
We are beginning to put together some additional previews with some of the nitpicky details around moving parts, the apu inlet, outflow valves, the RAT and that sort of thing... We didn't want to overload this thread today- so we'll save those for a future preview- and then we'll begin moving on to the flight deck so you can see what we have in store for you there!
We are looking forward to giving you the option to fly a large twin along with the small twin we've already delivered!
Have a nice weekend, everyone!
Robert S. Randazzo
Precision Manuals Development Group
*Please note that I am unable to read/respond to forum private messages from non-admins. If you are a user/customer and require my attention, please reach out via http://support.precisionmanuals.com and one of the tech will get back to you, or forward your item along to me as appropriate. Thank you for your understanding!
Posted 26 July 2012 - 01:24 PM
(The world's largest 777 operation for many years... I don't think that is still true today, tho...)
*Looks out window*
Upon further review, my vote is no. I do remember the days you're talking about, though. The main terminal was still getting stretched back then, wasn't it?