• Review: Just Flight - 737 Professional

    737 Professional

    Publisher: Just Flight

    Review Author:
    Meng Yu

    Suggested Price:
    $29.99

    Buy Here

    This time, we take a look at a classic airplane: the Boeing 737 original series. Captain Sim has also made a version of the 737 original series, and has received lots of commendation for it. I personally think that they have done a great job. The 737 original model that is the subject of this review is perhaps less well known, compared the other product. That is, the Just Flight 737 Professional and the 737-100 expansion series.

    These titles have been developed by BlackBox Simulations, famous for their A320 series and the upcoming A330. The model, however, is marketed under the name "Just Flight 737 Professional".

    Before I jump in, I'd like to give a brief introduction of the aircraft concerned:

    History

    Today, the 737 is perhaps the most commonly seen aircraft roaming the skies and parking at airports, along with its competition, the A320. This was about the same back in the day, but just that the competition was different. Back then, Boeing was competing with Douglas, which had produced the famous DC-9/MD-80 series.

    The initial production variant, the -100, was largely successful, and this prompted Boeing to improve upon it. Hence, its brother, the 737-200 rolled off the production lines at Boeing. Additional seating was achieved with an extended fuselage, and before you knew it, the 737-200ADV (advanced) became the main production variant.

    On the Advanced version, the aerodynamics for the wing have been refined, and the engine nacelles carrying the reverse thrusters improved. The original one tended to lift the aircraft up upon deployment, reducing the down force on the wheels, and the effectiveness of the brakes.

    With numerous options, such as the 737-200C (convertible) and a gravel kit for the 737-200 that enables it to land on unpaved runways, the 737-200 began to gain attention.

    Documentation

    Well, before you fly any aircraft in real life, you need to get a type rating (in addition to your basic license). Well, we don't have that in flight simulator, so there's documentation to help you navigate along the vast amount of systems, switches and knobs in the aircraft. This can be found in:

    (Directory of your installation\Microsoft Flight Simulator X\JustFlight\737200_Professional)

    Sadly, Just Flight has only provided documentation for the 737-200Adv base package, and not the -100 model. However, the similarity between the models means that you should be able to fly the -100 model quite easily as well, plus or minus a few features, such as the PDCS (Performance Data Computer System) that we will cover later.

    Exterior

    As many of you probably know by now, this add-on is quite old, actually, from May 2012. As such, I would be going about this review in a "hey, you may want to consider this product" kind of way, instead of "hey, check this out, it's just released" way. Now that we got that out of the way, let's begin.

    We'll take a look at the 737-200 ADV model first. I'll cover the -100 later. Here are some screen shots to start the whole process off:

           

    I've also noticed a weird glitch with the aircraft, and that is that if you select it at the FSX lobby before you launch the actual simulator, and leave the program to do something else. When you return, the textures on the plane will be gone, and the engines would be weirdly see-through from the front. However, if you click the Fly Now button, and launch the simulator, all returns to normal.

    This issue could be related to the product itself, but at the time of experiencing the problem, I also had several Orbx add-ons installed, so they may be causing conflict as well.

    Here are some pictures to compare with the real 737-200 ADV:

    http://img.planespotters.net/photo/228000/original/D-ABFU-Lufthansa-Boeing-737-200_PlanespottersNet_228983.jpg
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Icaro_Boeing_737-200%[email protected]%3B23.06.2008_515bi_(4310571270).jpg
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7f/AirCal_Boeing_737-200_Silagi-1.jpg


    9 Comments
    1. dbauder's Avatar
      dbauder -
      My experience was as Flight Engineer on the 727, but the technology you describe here sounds the same. The PDCS could indeed set the EPR bugs on the instruments up front. That feature was handy, compared to having to consult a chart to get the proper power settings. No autothrottles, of course. You manually set the throttles to the power setting you want. The autopilot can be used in the climb but you are only controlling the pitch (and roll) to achieve the speed and heading you want. And yes, ILS was standard in the '60s. In fact, check out the end of the movie "The High and the Mighty", made in 1954. John Wayne's the Copilot when the Captain is flying the ILS into SFO!
    1. 7hepro's Avatar
      7hepro -
      Quote Originally Posted by dbauder View Post
      My experience was as Flight Engineer on the 727, but the technology you describe here sounds the same. The PDCS could indeed set the EPR bugs on the instruments up front. That feature was handy, compared to having to consult a chart to get the proper power settings. No autothrottles, of course. You manually set the throttles to the power setting you want. The autopilot can be used in the climb but you are only controlling the pitch (and roll) to achieve the speed and heading you want. And yes, ILS was standard in the '60s. In fact, check out the end of the movie "The High and the Mighty", made in 1954. John Wayne's the Copilot when the Captain is flying the ILS into SFO!
      The 727 was definitely one of my all time favorites, being both a vintage airliner and a tri-jet, with remarkable stories behind it, it definitely gained my respect. Seeing the thick black smoke (probably not environmentally friendly) just makes me feel so good. Definitely a pity I didn't get to review any of the Captain Sim 727 models, but I definitely enjoy vintage aircraft, apart from programming the computers on modern day jets.

      Getting back onto the 737 professional, what you described is basically what I saw and experienced aboard. Just wondering, did the 727 have a similar layout? Did you guys use Radio ranges to navigate, or was there more advanced technology? When did your flying take place?

      I guess ILS did make its mark earlier than what I thought! I was thinking early 80s for ILS, but oh well, technology does advance faster than you think! Its amazing to see how far we've come, from the simple autopilot and PDCS to the LCD screens today, isn't it? Sometimes, you do forget that early jetliners had a 3-man crew.... Thank you very much for sharing your experiences!
    1. Al Logan's Avatar
      Al Logan -
      This looks like a nice add-on. Thank you for the review.
    1. flightman's Avatar
      flightman -
      737 technology was pretty much as the 727 set up described by dbauder. The 737-200adv often had an autothrottle, though not with the older type of autopilot Just Flight have modelled. No Radio Ranges in either 737 or 727, that was pre-war technology. VOR and NDB made that kind of navaid obsolete.

      A very good review, but I would like to comment on a couple of things you didn't mention. I don't have this addon but I did have the free trial version Just Flight used to offer. The VC glareshield doesn't look the right shape. It should generally look like the shape shown in the screenshot of the 2D panel. It doesn't look right that the slope of the glareshield levels off towards the sides as it appears to do in the VC images. More importantly (to me at least) the electrical generator switches on the overhead are modelled as 2 position (on/off). These should be 3 position, sprung loaded to centre. Down to connect, up to trip. These two defects are enough to put me off buying this addon as there are better ones to choose from. You have to look at that glareshield the whole flight, and the electrical panel layout is characteristic of all models of 737.

      Kevin
    1. dbauder's Avatar
      dbauder -
      Quote Originally Posted by 7hepro View Post
      Getting back onto the 737 professional, what you described is basically what I saw and experienced aboard. Just wondering, did the 727 have a similar layout? Did you guys use Radio ranges to navigate, or was there more advanced technology? When did your flying take place?
      I learned to fly in 1972 when VORs and ILSs were the standard fare. We also used NDBs but I rarely had to use them except in recurrent training, even on the MD80 later on in my career. Some of our planes also had a system called "Omega". I sort of looked like a primitive GPS display but wasn't satellite based.

      As for the radio ranges (listening to the dashes and the dots...) they started going by the wayside in the '50s, I think. However, I have a navigation chart of the Los Angeles area dated 1962 that has radio ranges printed on it. I've only flown the "ranges" in flight sim, not a fun experience! The navigation and autopilot systems in the 727 and 737 classic were pretty much identical, nothing like the 767 I retired on.

      Another thing about the PDCS; I don't think they were available until the late '70s or so.
    1. 7hepro's Avatar
      7hepro -
      Quote Originally Posted by Al Logan View Post
      This looks like a nice add-on. Thank you for the review.
      Well, and thank you for the comment.
    1. 7hepro's Avatar
      7hepro -
      Quote Originally Posted by flightman View Post
      737 technology was pretty much as the 727 set up described by dbauder. The 737-200adv often had an autothrottle, though not with the older type of autopilot Just Flight have modelled. No Radio Ranges in either 737 or 727, that was pre-war technology. VOR and NDB made that kind of navaid obsolete.

      A very good review, but I would like to comment on a couple of things you didn't mention. I don't have this addon but I did have the free trial version Just Flight used to offer. The VC glareshield doesn't look the right shape. It should generally look like the shape shown in the screenshot of the 2D panel. It doesn't look right that the slope of the glareshield levels off towards the sides as it appears to do in the VC images. More importantly (to me at least) the electrical generator switches on the overhead are modelled as 2 position (on/off). These should be 3 position, sprung loaded to centre. Down to connect, up to trip. These two defects are enough to put me off buying this addon as there are better ones to choose from. You have to look at that glareshield the whole flight, and the electrical panel layout is characteristic of all models of 737.

      Kevin
      Well thank you for sharing this information! Well, the 2D panel does look different from the vc in terms of shape, so thank you for pointing that out.
    1. VFRman's Avatar
      VFRman -
      I recently downloaded this product because the B737-200 Adv was an aircraft I was involved with in its early introduction into service. I haven't flown the model much. except for a few circuits around the Seattle, Everett and Boeing Field area. However I have found it to be an enjoyable and reasonably realistic version of classic airliner when it comes to flying, particularly if you like 1970's flightdecks. While not disappointed, I am finding that the aircraft I thought I knew as the -200 adv are not being modelled correctly for simulation. This version has a hybrid of -200 cockpit with, at least some, airline liveries that are definately not correct to my understanding of what constituted, certainly, the late 1970/early 1980's model -200 adv AFCS.
      I was involved in a Boeing team that worked with Lufthansa (launch customer), Hapag Lloyd, Ansett, BA and South African Airways initially, and later other airlines Air France, Delta and Piedmont (US Air), to resolve a number of early in service issues. I flew jumpseat with some of these airlines on a number of occasions and can be absolutely positive that the aircraft in this product, with any of the preceding initial customer liveries, had an, essentially, hybrid digital/analogue AFCS that was predecessor to the later FMCS version fitted to the B737-300/400/500.
      The AFCS consisted of a Sperry Flight Systems SP177 digital autopilot, a Lear Siegler PDCS, a Honeywell DADC and a Smiths Aerospace Full Flight Regime Digital Autothrottle. This AFCS was certified to FAA Cat 3B Autoland capability. How often this was used in revenue service, I wouldn't know but I did fly a jumpseat landing into Zurich with winds gusting up to the crosswind limits for the aircraft where the captain demonstrated a fully automatic landing (just for my benefit!) which was excecuted perfectly. The control column, trim and thrust lever movements had to be seen to be believed.
      If anyone was to produce an update to a B737-200 adv product that fully reflected this version of the B737-200 adv, I would be the first in line to buy, just for old times sake.
    1. 7hepro's Avatar
      7hepro -
      Quote Originally Posted by VFRman View Post
      I recently downloaded this product because the B737-200 Adv was an aircraft I was involved with in its early introduction into service. I haven't flown the model much. except for a few circuits around the Seattle, Everett and Boeing Field area. However I have found it to be an enjoyable and reasonably realistic version of classic airliner when it comes to flying, particularly if you like 1970's flightdecks. While not disappointed, I am finding that the aircraft I thought I knew as the -200 adv are not being modelled correctly for simulation. This version has a hybrid of -200 cockpit with, at least some, airline liveries that are definately not correct to my understanding of what constituted, certainly, the late 1970/early 1980's model -200 adv AFCS.
      I was involved in a Boeing team that worked with Lufthansa (launch customer), Hapag Lloyd, Ansett, BA and South African Airways initially, and later other airlines Air France, Delta and Piedmont (US Air), to resolve a number of early in service issues. I flew jumpseat with some of these airlines on a number of occasions and can be absolutely positive that the aircraft in this product, with any of the preceding initial customer liveries, had an, essentially, hybrid digital/analogue AFCS that was predecessor to the later FMCS version fitted to the B737-300/400/500.
      The AFCS consisted of a Sperry Flight Systems SP177 digital autopilot, a Lear Siegler PDCS, a Honeywell DADC and a Smiths Aerospace Full Flight Regime Digital Autothrottle. This AFCS was certified to FAA Cat 3B Autoland capability. How often this was used in revenue service, I wouldn't know but I did fly a jumpseat landing into Zurich with winds gusting up to the crosswind limits for the aircraft where the captain demonstrated a fully automatic landing (just for my benefit!) which was excecuted perfectly. The control column, trim and thrust lever movements had to be seen to be believed.
      If anyone was to produce an update to a B737-200 adv product that fully reflected this version of the B737-200 adv, I would be the first in line to buy, just for old times sake.
      This is definitely an interesting story to read, thank you for sharing it!
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