Dream Wings Embraer EMB-170
By Brian Smith (27 October 2003)
Back In The Real Worldmbraer, the Brazilian aircraft company is taking huge strides towards domination of the regional jet and turboprop market. Their strategy gives them a large market for their product line without forcing them to compete against government subsidized conglomerates like Airbus or corporate giants like Boeing.
The EMB-170 is the next volley in the on-going war. According to the Embraer website, "The Embraer 170 is the first of a new family of twin engine jet airliners launched in June of 1999 to meet the needs of the commercial aviation industry. The first flight of the Embraer 170 took place on February 19, 2002. The new family, which also includes the Embraer 175, Embraer 190 and Embraer 195, is being developed under a multinational program of venture capital partnerships. The program, headed by Embraer, will invest around US $850 million, and includes partnerships with 16 globally recognized aerospace firms."
Expect to see the EMB-170 at a VA near you. This beauty just hit the market and it is already being snatched up. Firm offers for production include U.S. Airways, Altalia, Air Caraibes, Lot Polish, Crossair, and Gecas, with U.S. Air having the lion's share of the orders with 85.
This plane has enough room for 70 passengers, and the double bubble design allows passengers to sit without having to lean away from the sides as is required for many passengers in the CRJ line. These little details in airplane design all go to the bottom line. Keep the customer happy, but move as many of them as you can at one time without having empty seats. This plane accomplishes those goals.
On With The ReviewDreamwings has released it latest aircraft. It is designed entirely in Gmax and is therefore compatible with FS2002 and FS2004. I flew the EMB-170 from Anchorage to Kodiak as that route provides some beautiful scenery to enjoy as I test the plane and usually some difficult weather conditions.
One of the first things I notice when I first start using a new plane is attention to detail. And on that check list I simply ask for the plane to have operating doors, and the more there are, the happier I am. I like to open the cargo doors or luggage bays in addition to the main exits. It allows me to live out the fantasy that I am actually flying people and their luggage around, and not truly wasting my time in front of a monitor as my wife contends. Dreamwings gets a passing grade on doors from me. However, only the main exit opens; there are no cargo doors to open. The other problem is with the retractable stairs. You may notice though that you can close the main exit with the stairs extended and retract them magically through the door. However, the stairs are well animated and are nice to have when you land at an airport without the extending jetways. I needed them at Kodiak as I pulled up to the terminal to unload.
Panel? We Don't Need No Stinking Panels!The EMB-170 comes with a great set of sounds but is missing a panel. You will need to scour the web for a good panel for this plane. I was unable to locate a suitable panel and opted for the Learjet default panel. Although the panel is missing, the authors did include a magnificent cabin view that serves as the rear view from the cockpit.
I have tried my hand at Gmax and I must say this just blew me away. The cabin view is not a screen shot/photo. That's right. Dreamwings actually took the time to model the cabin in Gmax and then texture it. Want proof, look at the end of the overhead rack. See that it is oddly angular? This is not a criticism, it is just that I wasn't sure you would believe me when you saw this. You are looking at seats that are individually all there. I was amazed by this. However, I was also disappointed when I realized that the windows are not transparent and you cannot view this amazing work from the exterior of the plane. The exterior view of the windows reveals that you only have the ability to actually peer into the cockpit. Upon examining the cockpit you will also notice that the plane does not have a virtual cockpit either. I never really miss the VC, so I don't care that it is missing, but I can't fairly review this plane without mentioning it.
TexturesIf you look at the first screen shot in this review, you will notice that this plane ships with the Embraer colors. If you visit www.embraer.com you can examine the screen shots of the real plane all day and you will not see a difference between the two. Even the warning labels on the engine nacelles have been reproduced.
The night textures are equally impressive. The texture artist included nice touches like reflections of the window lights on the wing and light coming through the little portal in each of the doors. The plane also has logo lighting, a plus for most freeware planes don't bother with it anymore.
More AnimationThe quality I next look for in a plane is the existence of animations of the control surfaces. Things like control rods and pistons mean a lot in the detail side of things, but I feel all planes should include the basics: flaps, speed brakes and reversers. The EMB-170 has all of these animations as well. Again, there are some details I would like to see. I miss the control rods and pistons on these surfaces. I also felt the landing gear struts were in need of a little more detail. Unfortunately I am afraid this may have not been possible due to a lack of photographs of these items. Additionally, I am not sure this plane is actually in wide service yet and in deference to the creators I assume they were forced to make concessions for these reasons.
SpecificationsThis little plane will be a great addition to any fleet. As mentioned before it seat 70 passengers, a respectable load. It also has a service ceiling of 35,000 feet, a maximum speed of 470 kts (mach .80) and a range of 2100 nm (3889 km). That's enough range to fly out of Dallas to Los Angeles or Seattle. This means that a flight out of the Midwest can reach anywhere within the continental United States and Mexico. For Europeans that means flights from Paris to Iceland or Moscow. In the Asian market that is Bangkok to Tokyo.
Final ThoughtsHave I piqued your interest at all? I had to be incredibly picky to find the few faults I did with this aircraft. Are you ready for some good news. This plane is free. That's right, this Gmax FS2002/FS2004 compatible model is free. After seeing a slew of articles bemoaning the death of freeware for flightsim fans, I should hope this fact would give everyone cause to rejoice. I have purchased add-ons for flightsim that total more than I care to calculate, and I like to get what I pay for. This plane is a return to the good old days of flightsimming. My final quality test of any plane is whether or not I feel it is a waste of space in my fleet. Would I miss it if it was gone? I would definitely miss the EMB-170 if it were removed from my fleet. This is a high quality airplane made available to the public. You are getting a great work of love from the creators. I recommend that all virtual pilots and virtual airlines snatch up a copy of this fine aircraft. I believe that you will also keep this plane in your fleet. See you in the air.