• Review: Sky Simulations - McDonnell Douglas MD-11

    McDonnell Douglas MD-11

    Publisher: Sky Simulations

    Review Author:
    Meng Yu

    Suggested Price:
    $48.00

    Buy Here

    Conceived as a refinement to the popular DC-10, the MD-11 boasted several improvements over its older brother, including longer range, greater capacity and fewer flight crew. These improvements were intended to allow the DC-10 design to become more competitive, though the MD-11 faced several significant problems during career.

    Safety issues included the design and position of the flaps lever, which made it prone to accidental deployment during flight, and long fuselage, which was attributed in the incidents of FedEx flights 14 and 80. Additionally, due to the design of the aircraft, the MD-11 required a much higher approach speed (Boeing lists the approach speed of the MD-11F to be 155 knots, compared to 158 knots of the 747-400F) for an aircraft of its size.

    Combined with the introduction of new Extended Twin Operations (ETOPS) regulations and appearance of efficient twin-jets like the Boeing 777 shortly thereafter, the MD-11 never really "took-off", with production ending after just 200 aircraft were built, far short of the 300 predicted planes. Even the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, an aircraft frequently considered to fall far short of its product goal, had 250 units produced. Nonetheless, around 120 aircraft remain in service as of July 2018, mostly as cargo aircraft for FedEx and UPS.

    Thankfully, most of the MD-11's issues with its flight characteristics in real life become fun challenges when the aircraft is recreated in flight simulator.

    Exterior Visuals

    The Sky Simulations MD-11 V2 is a faithful recreation of the real aircraft for use with flight simulator, compatible with FSX, FSX:SE and Prepar3D v3 and 4. At first glance, this add-on is certainly a stunning representation of the real thing.

    Sky Simulations MD-11     Sky Simulations MD-11

    Sky Simulations MD-11     Sky Simulations MD-11

    Included in the package are two models (for GE and PW engines) spanning eight liveries, of which five are passenger variants and three are that of cargo airlines. Key operators of the type, including FedEx, UPS and KLM, are included. However, should you wish for more liveries, there is a free livery pack for the aircraft, available on the Sky Simulations web site, which adds six more passenger and one more cargo livery.

    Sky Simulations MD-11     Sky Simulations MD-11

    Sky Simulations MD-11     Sky Simulations MD-11

    Sky Simulations MD-11     Sky Simulations MD-11

    Sky Simulations MD-11     Sky Simulations MD-11

    Animations on the aircraft are also very plentiful, with all doors being openable, including the engine cowlings (in "maintenance mode"). Unlike older payware, the animations on this aircraft are very fluid, something that certainly adds to the realism of the product. Moreover, several ground services are also modelled for the aircraft, including a ground power unit and air stairs for when you find yourself parked on a ramp with no jetway in sight, as you will frequently do when flying the cargo variants.

    Sky Simulations MD-11     Sky Simulations MD-11

    Frame rates are another huge plus on this aircraft, with very few (if any) frame rate decreases compared to even freeware aircraft.

    One complaint I have for the model is the ostensible omission of dedicated cargo models of the aircraft. Despite accounting for over a quarter of MD-11s built, all the aircraft included in this package are either passenger aircraft or converted freighters with filled out windows. Although the registrations of the included liveries are in fact of converted MD-11 freighters, it would've been nice to be given the option of freighters that weren't passenger conversions.


    2 Comments
    1. sharpie69's Avatar
      sharpie69 -
      I have this Md11 and love it. Beautifully modelled inside and out. A lack of systems does not bother me as that is what I want. I'm not a real world pilot and I don't pretend to be one and I don't have time to spend hours reading manuals so for me this MD11 is perfect. I hope a lack of systems does not kill sales of this MD11 because I want developers like Sky Simulations to stay in our hobby and keep developing mid level aircraft like this.
      In my sim world the mighty MD11 will fly forever!
    1. idix's Avatar
      idix -
      A complete waste of $50 US. This is a Just Flight quality simulator at PMDG prices. And, it does not operate correctly. Having dozens of hours in another MD-11, now dozens in the systems-similar B717 / MD-95 from TFDI (what a great plane), I should have been able to fly this plane without any reading. Instead, I got a plane that engages the autothrottle when you engage the Auto Flight (incorrect, you set the Auto Flight and it's in standby until the throttle engages), and it does not follow any profile. It's just a VS and airspeed basic flight simulator. SO disappointed.
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