• Review: Captain Of The Ship

    Captain Of The Ship

    Publisher: A2A Simulations

    Review Author:
    Meng Yu

    Suggested Price:
    $29.95

    Buy Here

    Before I Begin

    The Boeing 377 is actually a really old airplane, and was built in the late 1940's. As such, do not expect me to talk about setting FMCs, planning advanced GPS routes, etc. but more on toggling manifold pressure, how to not overstress the engines. With that out of the way, let's begin!

    Background Information On The Aircraft

    The Boeing 377, or "Stratocruiser", was a large long-range airliner built after just World War II. It was developed from the C-97 "Stratofreighter", a military derivative of the B-29 "Superfortress" used for troop transport. The Stratocruiser's first flight was July 8, 1947.

    Released in the late 1940s, the aircraft was powered by four piston engines, driving tractor propellers. It had a pressurized cabin, a feature relatively new to transport aircraft at that time, and two decks. Airlines were able to make transoceanic flights faster and easier with the new aircraft, which enabled easier international travel.

    However, the Stratocruiser was considerably more expensive to purchase and run than the competition. Moreover, they had mediocre reliability, said to be chiefly due to problems with the four 28-cylinder Pratt & Whitney Wasp Major radial engines and their associated four-blade propellers. As a result, only 55 Stratocruisers were built...

    Manufacturer Boeing
    Engines Four Pratt & Whitney R-4360
    Fuselage Length 110 feet (33.6 m)
    Max Speed 375 mph
    Cruising Speed 301 mph
    Range 3650 nm

    Review

    The Boeing 377 "Stratocruiser" was a civilian version of the C-97 military transport plane. There are several versions of the Boeing 377 in this amazing package released by A2A, mainly the 377 passenger version and the "Pregnant Guppy".

    First Impressions

    Usually, when I talk about first impressions, I would go on and write about the installer, speed and ease of unlocking the product, etc. However, this time, I would just like to talk about how the aircraft feels when you just load up a simple flight, to say, fill in the last five minutes of your coffee break...

    This aircraft is not really for you if you do not have rather large parcels of time to study the Boeing 377's FCOM, as well as its limitations. I actually set the engines alight on my first flight -- how embarrassing! However, I would like to think of this as the realism put in by the guys at A2A. Now, I shall proceed onto the individual parts of the review.

    Exterior

    Moving into the detailed review, we shall talk about the exterior modelling first. I am truly impressed with A2A's modelling skills, even though this product was released originally in the summer or 2008. There are several accurate animations of doors, as well as carefully created windows, and the general aircraft is just stunning.

    However, many simmers do not look for a nice aircraft, but a realistic one. I do believe that this aircraft is realistic, in terms of size, proportion and dimension. Here are a few screen shots:

       

    I do feel that the camera on this aircraft is weird. I am specifically talking about the spot and locked spot cameras. It seems to be zoomed out too much initially, and I find that there is a need to zoom in to 1.5 times to get a better view of the aircraft. I do not imagine that this would hinder realism, or anything for that matter, but I do find it a little irritating. There is also a flight attendant model right outside of the door, as well as air-stairs outside of the main passenger door.

    The windows on the aircraft are also finely modelled, and so are the Pratt and Whitney R-4360 piston engines. The wings, control surfaces, as well as the tail and horizontal stabilizers are also modelled down to the last nut and bolt. I give you some close-ups to show what I mean:

       


    4 Comments
    1. jcomm's Avatar
      jcomm -
      Very nice review os another A2A great add-on.

      I am now looking fwd to get Accu-Feel v2. Never bought the original version. Just don't know how it will work with P3D (I am not using FSX)...
    1. 7hepro's Avatar
      7hepro -
      Quote Originally Posted by jcomm View Post
      Very nice review os another A2A great add-on.

      I am now looking fwd to get Accu-Feel v2. Never bought the original version. Just don't know how it will work with P3D (I am not using FSX)...
      There must be some compatibility. I am not sure since I don't touch Perpar3D at all.
    1. HarryCYUL's Avatar
      HarryCYUL -
      It works great in Prepar3D
    1. hawkeyepilot's Avatar
      hawkeyepilot -
      A nice review. After several days with the WOS-COS B377 full package, I am quite impressed. The aircraft will give you a workout until you become familiarized with the essential details of operating and learn to let the crew take on the background tasks of setting and maintaining the various support settings. The first thing I observed was how low and slow this bird goes in relation to more modern aircraft. Even the Boeing 707, old by today's standards, is practically twice as fast as the Stratocruiser! It is certain that high costs were a factor in the demise of this luxury liner, but it is probably just as true that the bottom came out of the demand bubble when passengers could get their destinations twice as fast via jets. Once I got the basics down, such as adjusting rich mixture for taxi and takeoff and adding water injection (which by the way, is automatic, once manifold pressure exceeds 45 -- if you remember to set the pump switch on) I could "get on with the show". The view on the flight deck is tremendous! Couple with this with slow speeds (yet fast for the day) and slow climbs, you are in for what may be called "some real flying"! The action is busy enough such that you take everything in gradually. Once you get down to a practiced procedure, adjusting flaps, throttle, manifold pressure and propeller pitch is all sort of natural. From what I have read, these planes were "the top drawer" for several years following WWII. All the while, though, it is hard to keep from getting that feeling that this is what flying the B-29 must have been like. COS makes all of this come together very, very nicely. Experiencing the ship being loaded is very much exactly what I have felt over the years sitting in a Boeing 727 or MD-80 while the baggage was loaded. The sounds of chatter from flight attendant or passengers may be overheard as well as the rough and tumble of large packages being tossed in. The engine start sequence, if you have seen film on YouTube, is quite a process, reminds me of starting the mower on a hard to start day! If you really read the manual, you learn that there is a check list which exactly lists the steps to start the engines. And even at that, you will feel like that is quite a job. After all is said and done, airline flying is all about the economy of the product. You have to get there at the least cost. So set the throttles to leanest possible mixtures, use less gas, fly heavy and long and as high as you can. Baby the engines as much as possible. Cruise is 340 mph, which is not that fast but it will leave you with breathtaking views! I think the A2A team hit this one out of the park. Now, if they would consider doing a 124 Globemaster next???? This one's well worthy of a try, especially if you've amped up the scenery in FSX. This is what you have been waiting for to enjoy all of that precision mesh detail.