• Review: Majestic MJC8 Q400

    MJC Dash 8 Q400

    Publisher: Majestic

    Review Author:
    Stuart Outram

    Suggested Price:
    $60.00

    Buy Here

    The Developer

    The Majestic MJC8 Q400 add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator X is a highly realistic rendition, built after the Bombardier (tm) Dash8 Q400 aircraft.

    The Reviewer - And Personal Opinions

    Am I a typical flight simmer? I started in 1980, with Bruce Artwick and subLogic, moving on to and onward with Microsoft Flight Simulator, across all of its platforms, through to FSX - the much feared suggested 'ending,' but on reflection, arguably only a pause in the genre...?

           

    Since the demise of the ACES Game Studio, we have not only seen many add-ons 'added' but some significant developments in improving and delivering some very impressive and convincing products. I have to specifically raise one well above the average, with the recent addition of the ground breaking (literally!) ORBX FTX Global product. Hats off to them and to those who have stayed faithful to FSX, by developing and releasing many extremely dynamic and convincing improvements to an already fulfilling experience.

    I have personally enjoyed the continued development of aircraft with excellent systems and internally more sophisticated flight decks. I can go no further than suggesting that PMDG, the Aerosoft Airbus Extended range of Aircraft, Blackbox, and a number of others.

    I have mainly been steadfast and faithful to PMDG, with the odd straying away affair with the Airbus, and recently I have been looking for another more diverse challenge. I know that there are others not mentioned. I just haven't flown them!

    In the last couple of years, I have almost exclusively remained devoted to the Boeing 737 range, as it fits in well with my short haul mentality. Although the larger commercial craft have an appeal, I have remained a two to four hour, up and down before dinnertime pilot, and have found the 737 to be perfect for my needs.

    Recently, and through hearing many colleagues in my VA going into raptures over it, I have had my attention drawn to the new release from Majestic, in the shape of their Dash (MJC8) Q400.

    The adjectives being applied range from very nice, to beyond awesome! I have tended to look, listen and then walk away. Purely as this is a turboprop, and my experience with 'things propeller,' have not been overly tested for many a year. I have definitely been a 'suck, squeeze, bang, blow' pilot, and 'whirr, whizz and windmill' has therefore featured not much at all. The absence of a real contender may also have been an influencing factor.

    For the long time Dash experts out there, my review can therefore can be accurately titled 'Flight of the Novice,' and an opinion only based review, rather than a professional's observation.

           

    The Download

    As always the critical path to a trouble free download, is a good broadband connection, and lightning download speed.

    Do we simmers like a challenge? I guess many of us do, and with that in mind, down the 'download' pipe from the FlightSim Pilot Shop, came the Majestic Q400, landing in a very neat pile on my hard disk. With a not insubstantial hit on space of over 720 Mb.

    Unpacking was the usual easy experience, and the installation was precise, easy to manage, and quickly achieved. For those of you for whom the installation has often left you needing remedial medical treatment, my own experience was trouble free - on this occasion!

    Installation

    There is an offline and online option, allowing you to unzip into a temporary folder, and then choose your own .exe file to install. If you are looking, but not finding PDF information files, after the unpacking, then do not be alarmed not to immediately see them.

    Wherever your FSX Folder has been placed - for me:

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Microsoft Flight Simulator X\SimObjects\Airplanes\mjc8q400\doc
    

    You will find the documentation here:

    There are a number featured, including:

    Cockpit Preparation Card

    Normal Procedures/APU Start Up Procedures

    Control Panel Guide

    The aircraft comes with a separate control panel which you can access either as a first installation 'new program' item on the Windows Start Menu (in Windows 7 for me), or through the folder 'Majestic Software' in:

    C:\Users\user\AppData\roaming\Microsoft\Windows\StartMenu
    

    (Always ensure that you have 'Hidden Files and Folders' visible to locate this program function. For ease I copied it to my desktop, as it was obviously going to be a useful regular load-out function.)

    This 'guide' does exactly that - leads you through procedures for systems, flight controls, engine controls, and weights plus balance information.


    9 Comments
    1. nicksnook's Avatar
      nicksnook -
      An excellent review!

      I have been flying the Q-400 for a couple of weeks now and have to say, I am totally immersed in it!

      As you have said it is not a 'get in and go plane', which to me adds to its charm! I have plenty in my hanger that are for when I feel like a quick lazy flight!!

      With Opus, Rex, Accu feel and FTX scenery added I am getting amazing frame rates that my now aging machine struggles to achieve with lesser offerings!

      So for me, Majestic represent the way forward in flight simulation for those of us that cannot replace our hardware every year to accommodate ever more complex and computer slowing offerings!

      Whatever Majestic have done (outside the simulator programme), works. I don't know how but it works very well!

      I hope other developers take note!

      I posted a few shots in the screenshot forum here: http://is.gd/afjsFK
    1. leestubblefield's Avatar
      leestubblefield -
      If you can't import a flight plan to the FMS, I don't want it
    1. Relayer91's Avatar
      Relayer91 -
      Quote Originally Posted by leestubblefield View Post
      If you can't import a flight plan to the FMS, I don't want it
      A pretty stubborn and stupid way to miss out on a frankly incredible simulation. Bear in mind that a lot of real aircraft do not have that ability, and it takes all of 2 minutes to quickly input the relevant airways manually.
    1. mangoes's Avatar
      mangoes -
      I have owned this product since day one of release, it is up there with the best. I have yet to master the descent and approach in the FMS but as more tutorial videos are released on youtube I know it's only a matter of time before I will crack it. Potential buyers don't be put of by the different logic in the way the FMS is setup. There is no other twin turboprop airliner of this quality available.
    1. vflight2's Avatar
      vflight2 -
      Sounds fantastic, kind of a dream machine. Alas it's way out of my addons budget. For that amount I can by a new copy of FSX and another addon as well.
    1. andy190325's Avatar
      andy190325 -
      I did not like this product on it's initial release. However, now that they have all the kinks worked out in v 1.007 it's an awesome plane to fly. Good frames, amazing graphics, this plane sets the bar for what all developers should strive for. I still don't think it's worth $60.00. I find that I don't use it very much because it turns a 1 hour flight session into a 90 minute flight session setting everything up on the ground. I understand realism yada yada, but some of us don't have time. If other companies give us the option, why not be able to start engines running?
    1. flightman's Avatar
      flightman -
      Nice detailed review of an excellent product. One thing I think which was missed was the EGPWS terrain display which is included in this sim. Handy for flying around in the mountains! One very good side effect of the custom flight and engine modelling being outside FSX is that framerates are very good, even on a very modest system like mine. So you get a super smooth flying experience with a lot of additional realism. Yes it's a little complex if you aren't used to that, but if you only have an hour spare for flying you can complete the pre-flight very quickly so it really doesn't have to take up too much time if you don't want it to. It's a modern flightdeck so it's very user friendly and much is automated.

      Kevin
    1. StanleySteamer's Avatar
      StanleySteamer -
      Quote Originally Posted by vflight2 View Post
      Sounds fantastic, kind of a dream machine. Alas it's way out of my addons budget. For that amount I can by a new copy of FSX and another addon as well.
      And for the price of a house, I can buy ten automobiles and a ham. Your pricing comparison is meaningless. It's like the commenters on auto websites that comment on how many Mustangs they can buy for the cost of a Ferrari.

      FSX is a base cost. You've spent it, and it's gone. All further add ons have their own separate value, with no connection to the cost of FSX. Nearly any aircraft addon under $100 (I.E. any available) easily amortizes to pennies per hour divided into the thousands of hours that flight sim enthusiasts consume with their entertainment.

      This addon takes dozens of hours just to become familiar with the systems; Then you can easily spend hundreds of hours in finding out all the hidden features and functions, optimizing your flights, exploring new areas that other aircraft are too slow/fast/high to see, and using your new knowledge with other high quality add ons.

      Seriously, take your monthly budget for donuts, coffee, snacks, eating out, whatever; Collect pop cans, or give plasma. You're getting the virtual equivalent of a TWENTY SEVEN MILLION DOLLAR AIRCRAFT in your home, for $50-150 dollars. To complain about the price, is simply ridiculous.
    1. jdonner's Avatar
      jdonner -
      Quote Originally Posted by StanleySteamer View Post
      You're getting the virtual equivalent of a TWENTY SEVEN MILLION DOLLAR AIRCRAFT in your home, for $50-150 dollars. To complain about the price, is simply ridiculous.
      No, what's ridiculous is your comparison, with that kind of foolish logic even $10,000 of this plane would be an acceptable price...sigh
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