• Review: Just Flight DC-8 Jetliner Series 50 To 70

    DC-8 Super 70 FMC

    The DC-8 Series 70 features no additional aerodynamic improvements over the Series 60 planes, but are instead upgraded versions of the Series 60 aircraft. Prominent upgrades included the replacement of the Pratt and Whitney JT3D turbofans with more fuel-efficient CFM56 turbofans and general modernization of the cockpit.

    Just Flight - DC-8 Series 50 To 70 - FMC

    Such changes are reflected in the Just Flight model, with the DC-8 Series 70s featuring a brand new exterior model, several glass gauges in the cockpit and, most importantly, an FMC to aid you in flying.

    Whilst the actual DC-8-70s mostly had a Honeywell Trimble HT9100, Just Flight's FMC is, shall we say, a custom variant of that. Nevertheless, I'm rather surprised to find that the included FMC is capable of creating and executing flight plans independently of the default FSX flight planner. Flying holds about a waypoint is also possible with this FMC. In fact, Navigraph provides a customized AIRAC cycle update for the Just Flight DC-8! The default AIRAC cycle included is cycle 1405, which was current about five years ago. Nonetheless, as previously mentioned, a Navigraph subscription will easily solve this.

    Whilst Just Flight's FMC is a huge upgrade over the navigation systems in their previous products, there are nevertheless still some features that I'd like to see in the FMC. Do note that I'm not familiar with the capabilities of the Honeywell HT9100, so treat these as more of observations rather than judgements or complaints about the inadequacies of Just Flight's FMC. That being said though, the FMC is unable to calculate V-speeds, and the "VNAV" button directs me to the performance calculation page. When clicking the buttons on the FMC, they flicker up and down several times before registering the click, which some users may find highly disruptive, especially when entering extended amounts of data. Several buttons, such as "ATC" and "BRT DIM", don't appear to have any effect on the operation of the FMC either.

    All things considered though, I feel that the FMC is quite the step forward for Just Flight in creating a more comprehensive aircraft. Ultimately, as this is a "Jetliner" series product, systems simulations may be a little light, but I hope to see the FMC be further fleshed out perhaps in a future "Professional" DC-8 add-on. Until then, we'll just have to make do with the current one.

    Systems Simulation

    As a whole, I'm positively surprised by the systems simulation on this aircraft. Details such as the inability for pilots to utilize spoilers during flight and an engine start system that actually requires the correct switches to first be pressed before the starter kicks in are features that indicate a departure from default systems as with previous add-ons. The FMC for the Series 70 planes is also rather functional, unlike previous add-ons, which had a non-functioning FMC. I believe that these are indications that Just Flight is progressing towards increasingly complex add-ons that will be much more fun to fly in the future.

    Flight Dynamics

    After examining the looks of the aircraft, let's see how it flies. As previously mentioned, I'll be focusing on the performance of the DC-8-55, though I've checked if any issues noted are specific to the Series 55, or are present on all variants.

    Weight And Balance: By default, the DC-8s carry full fuel and are seated to capacity, though I'm sure a full load of fuel and passengers isn't what you'd carry for a short regional trip. This is where a payload utility would normally come in handy, as there are several confusing payload stations on the DC-8. For the series 55, there exists a station titled "Potable Water", with no explanation given as to the capacity or the water tank nor its location. Nevertheless, I made do and managed to empty some stations to obtain a payload configuration that came in under the MTOW.

    Taxi: During taxi, this aircraft certainly feels heavy, and significant throttle is required before the aircraft can get moving. Nonetheless, once it gets moving, the aircraft does not feel too different from any other mid-sized jetliner that I've flown before.

    Takeoff: It is reported that early DC-8s had engines that were rather underpowered and losing an engine on take-off spelt almost certain doom. Though the Series 70 has no such issue, the Series 55 did accelerate rather slowly with a full load and took up a significant portion of the runway before I was able to lift the plane into the air.

    Climb: With the DC-8 series 50, there is no IAS/Mach hold mode for the autopilot, so I had to resort to the V/S mode for my climb-out. Otherwise, the aircraft performs rather decently once it gets off the ground and I had no issues climbing at a reasonable V/S to my cruising altitude.

    Just Flight - DC-8 Series 50 To 70     Just Flight - DC-8 Series 50 To 70

    Just Flight - DC-8 Series 50 To 70     Just Flight - DC-8 Series 50 To 70

    Just Flight - DC-8 Series 50 To 70     Just Flight - DC-8 Series 50 To 70


    1 Comment
    1. oldcrusty's Avatar
      oldcrusty -
      I think it is excellent value for money and a very good sim model now. I got this when it first came out and it was riddled with bugs and problems but and I say but - they appear to have all been fixed with several service packs. You get a great selection of types and good graphics and performance. I think the night lighting is amazingly well done. As for flying it well it was a DC-8 and it had its idiosyncrasies like the reversers, start etc and the hydraulics but it was not a Boeing and for simmer who like Douglas aircraft well it is actually a logical progression and step up from the pistons. I like it a lot, just do not do much flying with it now - not enough hours in the day alas.
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