• Review: FS2Crew PMDG 737 NGX Voice Control Edition

    Review: FS2Crew PMDG 737 NGX Voice Control Edition

    By Gustavo Mercado.

    Intro

    I have had my fair share of reviewing FS2Crew products. From the very first time I tried out an FS2Crew product with the Level D 767 all the way down to the PMDG 747, PMDG J41, and iFly 737NG versions now I got the honor of getting a first row glimpse at their latest offering, the PMDG 737 NGX version. I think it is safe to say this is arguably the best product Bryan York has designed so far.

    The product that this software is designed to supplement (the PMDG 737NGX) is without a doubt at least to my opinion the greatest add on ever designed for the MSFS platform, hence the challenge of creating a program in that level of quality was great indeed, but the FS2Crew team lived up to that challenge and although hard to believe made the NGX even better.

    Technical Stuff

    The download version of the software comes in a 235mb ZIP file that gets quickly downloaded after the usual credit card swipe. Installation is about as easy as it gets for a payware. There is no online activation, just your straight download get your code through email and install. All in all the installation process should not take more than 15 minutes.

    The guys at FS2Crew have a new start center software to help you get going quickly and painlessly once installed. Getting ready to go with this particular FS2Crew product is surprisingly simple, you just run the start center, assign the FS2Crew to the NGX panel, choose which version you are going to be using (voice or button) and you are ready to go next time FSX runs.

    The start center has access to various online manuals that cover pretty much everything you are going to need to use this product effectively. It is important to cover the manuals and have them handy since the way this works is like a choreography which you need to follow to the dot to get the most out of it. Keep in mind this review is limited to the voice control version, is there anybody out there that still uses the buttons, that's like still flying with 2D panels.

    For old FS2Crew voice version users you should be up and going in no time with minimum manual review time. For the newcomers who have never used an FS2Crew product (if there are any out there) go over the manuals to understand important concepts such as terminologies, key words, flows, and what actions are done by the FO and which ones are done by the Captain. By the way I am including here a wonderful PERFECT guide to take you through the choreography flawlessly; it was created by a member of the FS2Crew 737 forum named andalusi.

    FS2Crew In Action

    Once in FSX with the PMDG up and running the software behaves pretty much in the same fashion as the other voice offerings. You need to load FSX on 2D panel, once the PMDG loads you can switch to virtual cockpit views and click on the secondary artificial horizon for FS2Crew to start.

    Once the software loads it looks quite similar to the Wilco 737 version. A dialogue appears on the upper left side of the screen which has all the buttons to access all the features that the program offers. You can either go straight to the preflight checklist (which is where the cheat sheet I included here begins) or do all the events prior to preflight.

    I have the PMDG programmed to start in a setting that goes with starting the software on the preflight checklist phase. Engines off, APU running, FMC not programmed, AC on, packs on, IRS initialized and aligned, fuel pumps off, hydraulics off. If you choose to do all the preflight preparations you will have to set the PMDG to load on a cold and dark state. Be mindful this takes about 30 minutes just to get to the preflight checklist so this is not a setting I chose.

    Except for selecting pushback distances, playing pre departure and arrival briefings, and selecting other non critical voice actions you will be using your voice for everything while using FS2Crew. You will use your voice to go over checklists and flows, give the FO instructions such as setting the heading in the AP or altitude, and communicating with ground personnel. The cheat sheet I included here has two pages that go over every single voice command included with the FS2Crew so review it.


    NGX Commands 1 (download as PDF)

    NGX Commands 2 (download as PDF)

    The checklists and flows are professional. I have never actually flown a real life 737, but I do take a B737 captain's word for it, since it was a real life pilot who developed the checklist and flows for FS2Crew. It includes ETOPS procedures for those long hauls over the Atlantic, de-icing procedures, accurate missed approach procedures, and even a free version or video marshaller.


    1 Comment
    1. levada's Avatar
      levada -
      "LOWS - Very few bugs which got fixed with version 1.3."

      What's that supposed to mean? Do you base this on bugs that you're still seeing or the fact that 1.3 doesn't show lots of bug fixes in its change log (which can also been seen as a good thing!).
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