• Boeing B737NG Deluxe Panel by NPSimPanel

    Boeing B737NG Deluxe Panel by NPSimPanel

    By Bill Stack (19 October 2009)


    Screen Shots by NPSimPanels


    The Boeing 737 needs little introduction to aviators and flight simmers because it is the world's most commonly flown jet airliner. In production since the late 1960s, the 737 is the most produced airliner in history with more than 6,000 having been built in nine models, and another 2,000 are on order.

    An instrument panel with subpanels for this venerable aircraft has been released by NPSimPanels. One panel and several subpanels are offered in eight 737s in five airline liveries. This developer also offers instrument panels for other Boeing airliners, several Airbuses, and Bombardier regional jets.


    PURCHASE FEATURES

    Instant download from the Pilot Shop

    YES

    Installation program

    YES

    License key required

    NO

    End user license agreement (EULA) required

    YES

    Uninstall program included

    YES

    Manual included

    YES




    Major Features

    These are just a few of many features of this instrument panel:

    • The Primary Flight Display (PFD), Navigation Display (ND), and Engine Indication and Crew Alerting System (EICAS) are glass instruments that enlarge with popup windows that use keyboard commands as well as mouse clicks.

    • A Flight Management Computer (FMC), also called Control Display Unit (CDU) is contained within the center instrument console.

    • The Overhead Panel has numerous switches, knobs, and gauges.

    • A heads-up display opens through a popup window.

    • The package includes eight flyable Boeing 737s in various liveries: There is one 737-600, three 737-700s, and four 737-800s. The liveries are Air France, British Airways, Lauda Air, Lufthansa, and NPSimPanel. Thus, buyers get eight flyable aircraft and five liveries in addition to the comprehensive instrument panels and manual.

    • A 47-page manual in Adobe Acrobat format describes the main panel and its major components with annotated color screen shots and textual explanations.



    From Left Seat From Behind Seats From Right Seat

    NPSimPanel's 737 3D Panels
    Screen shots by Bill Stack




    Technical Features

    The installation program contains an instruction page that tells where to install the program files.

    The four 737-800 models have virtual cockpits.

    All eight aircraft use the FSX default Boeing 737 for their flight modeling and sounds, so their performances and sounds are the same.

    Checklists and reference sheets for the four 800 models are included.

    Popup windows for subpanels and some instruments open and close with keyboard commands, and most open and close with mouse clicks.

    The various instrument panels contain more controls and provide more information than available in the default FSX 737 panels. As examples, the EICAS provides information about air supply and position of flight controls, and the Overhead Panel contains controls for cabin climate control, passenger signs, and exit doors.

    Like the default FSX 737 panel, the NPSimPanel panel presents information in pages. As examples: The Navigation Display has ARC Mode, ARC APR/VOR, Plan Mode, Rose, VOR Approach Rose, and ILS Mode. The Arc and Plan modes/pages include black backgrounds and terrain backgrounds. The CDU (control display unit, a.k.a. flight-management computer) contains several modes such as Take-off, Waypoints, and Approach, among others.


    From Left Seat From Behind Seats From Right Seat

    NPSimPanel's 737 3D Panels at Night
    Screen shots by Bill Stack

    Visual Features

    The glass instruments are very high quality when viewed in the popup windows.

    The virtual cockpits for the four 800 models are very well done and readable.

    The airline liveries are true to the real-world 737s.

    Night lighting inside and outside the aircraft is realistic.

    Readability of instruments, digital readouts, and controls (switches, knobs, buttons, etc.) ranges from difficult to impossible in the 2D and 3D main panels, however. Although we can zoom in on these items in the 3D panel, the control switches aren't clickable in the 3D panel.


    Air France British Airways Lauda Airways Lufthansa NPSimPanels

    NPSimPanels' 737 Liveries
    Screen shots by Bill Stack




    Exterior Night Effects
    Screen captures by Bill Stack




    Nice Features

    The 47-page manual with its numerous screen shots and explanatory annotations is better than the aircraft and panels! It's detailed enough for serious jet flying but not overwhelming for home flight simmers. Its pages contain the following:

    • Many annotated screen shots of the main panel and subpanels,
    • Detailed images and descriptions of gauges and controls,
    • Instructions for flight management computer, and
    • Table of contents.

    Unless I missed something, however, I saw nothing telling us about the existence of a manual. I found it by examining the folders that the installation program created and dropped files into. If I hadn't done that, I would have had no idea this wonderful manual was included.

    The inclusion of eight flyable 737s is a pleasant surprise. I expected to receive four instrument panels, one for each of the aircraft identified in the product title, and I expected to use the NPSimPanels panels for the FSX 737. There's no need for changing the default panel for the FSX 737 when we have these eight aircraft.


    Pages from NPSimPanel's 737 Manual
    Screen captures by Bill Stack




    Summary

    The depth of information available in each of these basic panels and their subpanels is impressive. Real-world airliner pilots have much more information than is available from the default FSX panels, and these panels are useful for flight simmers who want to learn more about simulating jetliner flight and for seasoned flight simmers who want to maximize their enjoyment. The poor readability of some controls and gauges is a disappointment for otherwise excellent products, however. The price is very reasonable for what we get: a detailed instrument panel with popup subpanels, a heads-up display, eight flyable aircraft in five liveries, and a comprehensive manual with images and text.


    Bill Stack

    Learn More About NPSimPanels 737 Panel


    Bill Stack is author of several books about flight simulation, a regular author in flight-sim magazines, and a contributor to Flight Sim Com. His website is www.topskills.com