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Meet the Oldies … Boeing 727

Introduction

Let’s go back to the oldies, back to the good old days, back to the Boeing 727 Series.

For some, the 727 was and still is a nightmare. For others, it’s the ultimate tri-jet. Whatever, it was, in those days, a special aircraft. Meet the Boeing 727 Series. Although I never worked in this aircraft, it is indeed a beautiful model, at least, that’s my personal opinion. Beautiful or not, it’s more important to find out if this FlyJSim 727 is the ultimate X-Plane aircraft.

First, let’s see what FlyJSim – X-Plane.Org has to say about it.

Relive the glory days of the 70s!
The FlyJSim B727 brings you back to the age of turbojets with three 727 simulations in one. This package is complete with study simulations of the B727-100, B727-200ADV and B727F aircraft. The B727 was built to allow for Jet aircraft in smaller airports that were formally exclusively for propellor aircraft. Intended for Short to medium flights, the B727 is perfect for a transcontinental flight or even a short hop down to the next airport. The B727 was the only Tri-Jet built by Boeing and it was built for speed. For over a decade, more B727s were built than any other aircraft on earth. Now is your time to join the ranks by becoming a 727 Captain.

In this 727 v2 Study package you have the choice between three different navigation systems: (There is an easy option in the menu to select your system of choice):

  • 3D X-FMC – For modern FMC Navigation
  • 3D CIVA – The original inertial Navigation system installed on many 727 and early airliners (optional)
  • Standard VOR-NDB Navigation

Three variants of the 727 are included:

  • 727-100 – Airliner short version,
  • 727-200Adv – Airliner Long version,
  • 727-200F – Freighter

 

Features:

  • Detailed exterior model which comes with details textures and a full set of animated surfaces
  • Detailed 3D cockpit with hundreds of animations, high-res textures, and the best night lighting in any cockpit currently in X-Plane
  • Simulation of all major systems including:
  • Detailed Electric system: Electrical, Bleed air, Air conditioning,  Pressurization
  • Fuel Pumps and fuel heating/icing
  • Hydraulic systems, including A and B adn the standby (C) System
  • Functioning WX radar with built-in TCAS
  • Sperry SP-150 Block V autopilot and a full flight director system
  • Engine fire suppression system
  • Anti Ice System
  • Radio stack including Com 1/2 Nav 1/2 and ADF 1/2 and a complete Audio Selection Panel

 

Comprehensive Menu system:

  • Weight and Balance Manager
    Allows you to change the weights for PAX, Cargo and fuel, with dynamic effect on CG
  • Vcard popup showing dynamic Vspeeds for landing and takeoff
  • Options menu popup
    Allows you to select the navigation system that works for you and other display options
  • Pushback manager
    Comprehensive pushback system with both manual and automatic modes. A ghost of the 727 now shows where your aircraft will be after pushback. you and other display options
  • Maintenance Menu
    Optional persistent maintenance and failure system. No more will you be flying a brand new aircraft each flight. Instead each flight will wear out your engine, apu, or airframe. Your flying technique will now have a direct bearing on failures and maintenance.
  • Checklist and notes
    A 32-page fully customizable window that includes checklists and an overview of the aircraft. Have something you need to reference in the flight? Add it into the notes page!
  • Study sim Flight Model:
    With over 500 hours of internal testing, you can be sure that the 727 series has a quality flight model. You can operate the 727 from startup to shutdown just like a real 727 captain, making this model the only study sim of a 727 in X-Plane.

 

Professional Sound System:

  • Professional sounds recorded by Turbine Sound Studios
  • DreamEngine Sounds with proper Doppler and sound position effects
  • Includes switches and knobs sounds

The Good Old 727

It’s always interesting to have some knowledge about a famous aircraft like the Boeing 727 Series. The best way to find out more is to visit the one and only source. The Boeing Commercial Airplanes website.

The versatility and reliability of the Boeing 727 — the first trijet introduced into commercial service — made it the best selling airliner in the world during the first 30 years of jet transport service. The jet age essentially began in 1952 with the introduction of the British-designed de Havilland Comet. Several jetliners, including the Boeing 707, were developed before the 727, but none came close to its sales record.

Production of the 727 extended from the early 1960s to August 1984, which is a remarkable length of time, considering the original market forecast was for 250 airplanes. As it turned out, 1,831 were delivered. Twenty years later, when the last 727 was delivered, this versatile fleet was carrying 13 million passengers each month. As of January 2001, nearly 1,300 of the reliable aircraft were still in service.

Introduced into service in February 1964, the 727 trijet became an immediate hit with flight crews and passengers alike. With a fuselage width the same as the 707 (and the later 737 and 757), it provided jet luxury on shorter routes. With sophisticated, triple-slotted trailing edge flaps and new leading-edge slats, the 727 had unprecedented low-speed landing and takeoff performance for a commercial jet and could be accommodated by smaller airports than the 707 required.

The 727, like all Boeing jetliners, was continually modified to fit the changing market.
It began with the -100 series, of which 407 were sold. This was followed by the -100C convertible, that featured a main-deck side cargo door, allowing it to carry either cargo pallets or passengers, or a combination of both on the main deck. Boeing built 164 of these.

The 727-200, introduced in December 1967, had increased gross weight and a 20 foot longer fuselage that could accommodate as many as 189 passengers in an all-tourist configuration. In all its variations, 1,245 of the -200s were sold.

The last version, the 727-200F, had a 58,000-pound, 11-pallet cargo capability. Fifteen of these were sold to Federal Express.

On December 5, 1977, the worldwide 727 fleet carried its one billionth (1,000,000,000) passenger. That was a mark never attained before by a commercial aircraft. Today, the number has reached well over 4 billion.
One hundred and one customers purchased new 727s from Boeing, although dozens more have placed this airplane type into service as “second tier” operators. More than 300 727s built as passenger airplanes have been converted to freighters, a process that continues today.

For more information, I encourage you to visit the dedicated Boeing Commercial Airplanes 727 Series web pages. But there’s so much more. For example, here’s a link to YouTube that shows you the “Boeing 727 Prototype-“First Flights”-1963/64”.

Installation, Documentation and Configuration

First, you need to unzip FJS_727_Series_V2.zip. It doesn’t come with an installer, thus after you’ve unzipped the package, copy and paste the FJS_727_Series_V2 folder in the folder Heavy Metal or you create an additional FJS folder within Heavy Metal. Each the FJS_727_Series_V2 package, the liveries are split up in 721, 722A and 722F. Logically, the 721 is the 727-100 Series, the 722A the 727-200 Series and the 722F for the freighter model. After starting X-Plane 10 – as of this writing January 15th 2017 – there’s not “yet” a sign that an update is on it’s way to make it compatible with X-plane 11 which will come for sure.

For now, this impression deals with the X-Plane 10 package! When you own the previous FJS 727 version 1.x, you had three different 727 packages and thus three different livery folders. With this study v2 version, all model variations are packed together and this means you have under liveries all paintings, but divided due to their name, as mentioned before, 721, 722A and 722F. In case you own liveries from the previous version, as far as I’ve seen and judged about these older liveries, they all work fine with the Study v2 model.

The only thing you need to do it to rename the individual painting packages. Let me give you an example; you have the following v1 painting Boeing House Livery 1965 – N7001U which was intended for the 727-200 Advanced. The only thing you need to do is to rename it to 722A – Boeing House Livery 1965 – N7001U. Thus you need to add before the old folder name “722A – “, or in case of the 727-100 it will be “721 – ” or for the freighter model “722F – “.

The FJS package comes with one Acrobat document namely FJS_727_Series_V2_Manual. The manual is 20 pages and highlights the installation, the support, updates, views, weight and balance manager, a VCard, notes to know, and miscellaneous.

Not sure when you read this impression, if you’re also the owner of the previous FJS 727. The reason to bring this up is that model v1 did come with many manuals of which the checklist and procedure was one of them and not to forget the systems manual.

First things First

Screen Icons
Before I can start with my “first of the day” inspection, I have the choice, as mentioned before, of the -100, -200 Advanced or -200F. I’m going to go for the –200 Advanced Series.

But I think it’s a good idea to highlight a few small icons on the mid left hand side of the screen. They are identified as “V card”, “WnB”, “Op”, “INS”, Maintenance and Checkmark thus Checklist.

V (speeds) card offers you the V1, VR and V2 speeds for the takeoff and landing based on the actual A/C parameters. For example, when you change the amount of fuel, the Takeoff speed card is automatically adjusted to the new values and accordingly to the new speeds.

WnB stands for Weight and Balance Manager and allows you to add or remove passengers and cargo. Whatever you do, the center of gravity indicator is automatically adjusted accordingly. Very handy and a must for the serious 727 flight simmer.

Then there’s the Options icon. It allows you to activate or deactivate a Cold & Dark or engines running situation. Additionally, you can change the FOV (Field of View), exterior and internal sound levels, hide the yokes and change the weight from lbs to kgs. With one click you can set the time to Zulu and have the default FMC in the 2D view available. Of course, it’s up to you, but the default 727 had only an INS CDU and no FMS.

Some additional words about which navigation equipment you’ll use to fly this FlyJSim 727. You can via the Options menu chose for no aid thus just the ordinary way flying with VOR/VORTAC and/or NDB beacons. Or you go for the CIVA INS (payware) and finally, you can decide to take the freeware X-FMC.

Depending on what’s selected, the designated place at the pedestal is either empty (no navigation equipment used), offers an image of the CIVA INS or an image if a FMS CDU. If X-FMC (X-FMC is just a plugin) isn’t installed, then it tells you that it isn’t installed yet. After you’ve installed the X-FMC via an auto installer, it shows you an actual and fully functional CDU. By default, the X-FMC popup window also appears, but I assume that one FMS CDU is enough, so you can decide to toggle the popup X-FMC via the plugins menu OFF-ON although during flight it could be handy to have a popup CDU available.

When you click on it, the INS icon gives you the CIVA INS CDU. Provided, of course, that you bought it and installed it in the correct folder according to the user manual. CIVA INS or Delco Carousel IV-A Inertial Navigation System Control Display Unit uses the term CIVA as just a nickname for the INS CDU. The CIVA can be found on Boeing 707, 727, some 737-100s and -200s, the mighty three-jet DC-10 and L-1011 Tristar, and on the early 747-100, -200 and -300 variants.
Unlike GPS or radio navigation, inertial navigation systems work fully autonomously and don’t require any equipment or installation outside the aircraft itself.

The Maintenance icon tells you everything about the technical status of the aircraft thus the condition. It’s divided into a tab for the airframe, the three engines and the APU. When for some reason you’ll get an engine fire, you need to follow the checklist items how to solve this, but the maintenance icon will turn red. After you restart the aircraft, it’s still red and it can only be reset when the engine is out and maintenance is performed. Keep that in mind!

And finally, the Checklist (checkmark icon); it must be said that this is a static checklist. That means all the checklist items are not interactive. When you perform a checklist item, nothing changes on the pilot’s notes checklist book.

Walk-Around Inspection

From a distance, the FlyJSim 727 looks gorgeous. I’ve chosen the Alaska Airlines livery and although for that time it wasn’t an inspiring painting, the livery comes with a weathered look and clearly you can see the aircraft ribs and Aluminum skin sections. Because of the NLG (Nose Landing Gear) position, it’s quite difficult to get a good view of the tiny details. But with the right daylight and sun position, I can see the many tiny details that are included to make it a good-looking NLG. I’ve got the idea that some photo real material is used.

For example, the NLG taxi light. Perhaps this is also the case with the wheel assembly, but I’m not 100% sure about that. The torque links at the back of the NLG look not only good, they look great. The only thing I miss, although not a big deal, is some wiring. Overall, nice NLG modeling!

Along the left-hand side of the fuselage, you’ll pass the necessary antennas and drain masts. At the inboard section, the wing leading edge has Kruger flaps and at the outboard section, slats. Furthermore, the characteristic leading edge wing shape is clearly visible, which makes it an interestingly modeled masterpiece.

While walking to the wingtip or actually it’s the fuel vent tank, I’m impressed by the simulated plastic cover that houses the strobe and navigation lights. The rear part of the wingtip offers a few static dischargers, the white aft navigation light and a fuel jettison tube. Following the trailing edge, you’ll see the inboard and outboard flaps, but also well modeled are the outboard aileron with balance tab and the small inboard aileron with control tab.

Although difficult to see from the ground, I can spot the speed brake and roll spoilers too.

But our view will be much better when I extend the inboard leading edge flaps (Kruger flaps), slats (outboard) and trailing edge flaps and the speed brakes are also extended. This gives me a total overview of the well-modeled 727 high lift devices. They look impressive!

Even the landing light in the outboard part of the Kruger flaps is nicely modeled. And for those who want to have a look at the inboard side of the Kruger flaps, this is completely covered with photo-real material and completes the real look of these Kruger flaps.

After I’ve seen most of every part of the trailing edge, I need to have a quick look at the modeling of the MLG (Main Landing Gear). Wow, that can be expressed in one word. Awesome!

The many details on the NLG, are also applicable to the MLGs. Of course, additionally, the MLG has two wheel brake units and naturally some hydraulic lines and a skid plate at the back with a link assembly for the hydraulic lines. I’m surprised at one thing. It looks to me as if there’s no profile visible on the main landing wheels. Anyway, overall, a well made MLG.

The last part of my walk-around inspection deals with the fuselage tail section with the three engines. The Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines are, for those days, quite reliable. Later, the DC-9 Series and the early Boeing 737 Series will all have these Pratt & Whitney engines installed too. Although slightly different in performance, as well as the position of the thrust reverser buckets and their wing or fuselage mounting, these JT8D’s are basically the same.

Although there’s one big difference between the 737 Classic, DC-9 Classic and even the MD80 thrust reverser bucket doors versus the Boeing 727. The 727 bucket doors are mounted internally while the other aircraft have externally mounted bucket doors. When reverse thrust is selected on a 737 Classic and DC-9, you can actually see the bucket doors moving, while here, you can only see them if you look through the exhaust screens and those bucket doors are actually modeled and simulated as well.

Anyway, from the ground I need to look up to see something more of the engines and the way the fuselage tail section is modeled. There’s no need for me to have my doubts about the dimensions and shape of the FlyJSim 727. The FlyJSim looks great. More than that, it looks realistic and the overall model fits with what I know about what a 727 should look like.

OK, my walk-around inspection is almost finished. I only have to inspect the other half of the aircraft before I’m back at the NLG. My overall impression is awesome. I’m really impressed about the overall quality and that means the modeling, the liveries and the many tiny details. The FlyJSim comes with external NORMAL MAP files to give it a slightly 3D effect, but, correct me if I’m wrong, that’s mainly for the cabin windows. I haven’t seen any other lines that could mark the ribs, stringers etc. of the fuselage.

Since the 727 lies close to the ground, it’s not easy to get a good view of the NLG and MLG, but at sunset I’ve got a good chance to make some nice screenshots, as you can see!

Before closing my walk-around inspection, some final words about the external aircraft lighting during evening, night and early morning hours. As far as I can see, all lights are operative including their reflection on the ground such as the taxi and landing lights. I couldn’t find any misaligned bulbs that are positioned outside the lamp housing. The rotational anti collision lights at the fuselage bottom and top are splendid. I think they’re made with the help of photo real material since they look very realistic.

So, in total, on each wingtip, you’ve got three navigation lights; two green/red at the front and one white at the back. Further on, you’ll also find a strobe light in each wingtip. Then, you’ll find, built into the fuselage near the leading edge of the wing, the WING light that illuminates the front of the wings.

And near the leading edge of the wing to fuselage joint, are the RUNWAY TURNOFF lights as well as 1 landing light. The other landing light is built in the outer leading slat section. And finally, there’s the tail light or logo light. What else? It must be said in case you’re going to look for …. the FlyJSim 727 has no animated doors (passenger- and service doors as well as no cargo hold doors), at least, I haven’t figured out how to control them.

It was the same as with version 1.x, so I can imagine that this version doesn’t have them either. A disappointment? Not to me although it would have been nice, but it’s for me that a big issue.

Overall, a well modeled 727, but I had hoped that with Study v2 more animations where included like the possibility to open/close doors. I had also hoped that with this version some of the textures where upgraded or that decals on the external aircraft where of a higher quality. I am aware that the developers priority is more to systems modeling and flight dynamics then adding door or panel animations or going for a higher texture quality.

That said, you won’t find with this aircraft other external ground equipment as can be found with other developers. One last word about the pushback option.

As highlighted in the provided manual on page 16, the aircraft comes with a pushback function. This works fine for both the AUTO and MANUAL function, but it doesn’t offer an external pushback truck as you see with other developers. A matter of acceptation! By the way, for the AUTO pushback function you can tick “Show Ghost”.

No no, this is not a ghost truck, it is according to the manual “this will show a ghost of your aircraft in its approximate position after auto pushback is complete allowing you to set the values just right for your gate.”

The Cockpit

Let me start straight away with the 3D cockpit of the 727-100. Over the years, I’ve seen many 3D cockpits of high quality for X-Plane, but the FlyJSim 3D cockpit is and stays impressive. I should watch out that I’m not going to use the word awesome too many times, but perhaps it’s the best word that fits looking to this 3D cockpit. As mentioned before, I’ve never worked on a Boeing 727 nor a Boeing 737 although once I instructed local Italian KLM staff in Rome on the Classic model and then in particular on the old fashioned JT8D engine. But still, this FlyJSim 727 cockpit feels familiar since all aircraft of those days had the same look and feel.

As expected, the 727 never had EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System), and of course also no EICAS (Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System) and you can completely forget any FMS (Flight Management System) related systems. Instead, the 727 Classic had old-fashioned instruments, gyros, synchro’s and much more of those old-fashioned electrical instruments.

But they had their own charm! The radar screen, in the middle forward part of the center console, was in a common location in these aircraft. The location of the fire handles is unusual and for sure not common. Either the fire handles were mounted at the overhead panel or on the center instrument panel MID section. In that respect, the 727 was odd, but at the same time beloved by many pilots. Although old-fashioned, it just flies and flies and flies many more hours then you can imagine.

The way this cockpit is made, shows that the developer has a sense of high quality and who wants to extend the possibilities of 3D modeling. It’s not only the modeling of the 3D look with basic own textures, it’s the mix of photo real material mixed with handmade paintings. Honestly, I don’t know where to look first, but I think I’ve made up my mind.

I’m starting at the Captain’s side console near the sliding window, which is, I mean the sliding window, not modeled for opening. The side panels with components, screws, decals, air outlets are all made with detail. Some decals are readable and some are not so clear, like the decal near the NWS (Nose Wheel Steering) handle. The black glare shield topside is not just a plate. The same as with the real 727, at certain positions, it’s fixed to the aircraft structure by screws and yes, you’ll also find those screws in this FlyJSim 727.

Most of the center instrument, overhead and center console panels are screwed together and therefore, you will find many of those “modeled” screws. It seems that the developer has nothing forgotten. But then, how is the quality of the instruments?

The 3D effect of each instrument/indicator is clearly visible, as well as is the needle or needles, the indicator plate itself with markings and when applicable, the knob or switch to make a certain setting. The instruments, even on the FE panel (Flight Engineer), are sharp from a distance, but it stays sharp even when you zoom in, but it doesn’t stop here. The switches, lamp units, knobs, annunciators, it all look so real. The only thing that is missing, is the typical cockpit smell!
And yes, it sounds boring, but FlyJSim made a realistic 3D cockpit with weathered panels and/or components e.g. the landing gear handle.

But, I think there’s also a need to highlight the FE (Flight Engineer) area.
The FE table is covered with different performance tables like those needed for aircraft speeds and engine performances. Although you can’t read them, the idea is great and it gives this FE cockpit position a realistic look.

All the sub panels together give this FE panel an “as real as it gets” look. From a certain distance, it looks good, but even in a close-up situation, it still looks awesome. If you zoom in, you can read every word or value written on the sub-panels. Likewise, the switches are nicely modeled as well as the round indicator lights. These lamp units allow you, by rotating them, to dim the light intensity. This was a very common lamp unit for those days.

While sitting in the FE seat, and turning yourself 90 degrees to the right, in the direction of the cabin, you’ll find another small AUX POWER UNIT panel on the side panel, just above the position of the leading and trailing edge light devices. And above that, there’s a fuel panel with blue lights and switches.

Last, but not least, is the overhead panel. Compared to today’s modern jets, the overhead panel looks empty. But those panels that are simulated look OK to me and come with the same quality as seen before. Some 727 sub-panels are, on today’s jets, no longer situated at the overhead panel like the ATC and the AUTO-BRAKES panel. Most of the time these panels are installed on the pedestal. Anyway, the overhead panel follows the same quality as all other pilot panels as well as the FE panel.

Although not simulated and not of much interest, the C/B (Circuit Breaker) panel right of the FE isn’t modeled at all. The wall is covered with photo real C/B image texture, but it’s not readable at all. Knowing the developer a little bit from previous discussions, his focus is meanly on the quality of the cockpit, the real functioning and operation of the instruments and the flight dynamics.

Overall, this is a well designed, nicely modeled 3D cockpit with an eye for all the tiny details. It’s obviously been created with a lot of passion! In the next section it’s time to check out how all systems work and to find out the flight characteristics. As far as I can see, and not confirmed in the Systems manual, all cockpits and systems of the -200 Advanced and -200F are the same, but remember that each of the aircraft versions will have different performance values.

Same as I did with my walk-around inspection, how’s the 727-cockpit night lighting? Together with HDR switched ON, the night lighting system is gorgeous. You’ve got so many light selectors that you hardly know which gives what and where. Just to give you an idea what’s possible, you have MAP, LEFT FWD & SIDE panel, CENTER FWD panel, FWD panel background, FWD panel fluor, overhead panel, control stand (pedestal) RED, WHITE, RIGHT FWD & SIDE panel, DOME WHITE and a LIGHT OVERRIDE switch.

I think there’s enough choice for you to find the most convenient lighting condition for you during your night flights.

Oops, almost forgotten .. the Virtual Cabin.
I can be short with that. The 727 doesn’t come with a virtual cabin. A pity or not? The final decision lies with the developer to add a cabin or not. Reasons “not” to add a virtual cabin could be reduced frame rates, too many polygons used for something that’s probably not too often used by simmers and too much time to spend in creating a cabin while work on the cockpit has a much higher priority. So, no virtual cabin. We must life with this!

First Flight Impression

Without too many preparations, except for the checklist items, I decided to see how this 727-100 taxies and flies. The digital takeoff data-card shows the speeds and later, I need to find out if this 727 flies as realistically as possible. Although I’m a holder of an FAA PPL (Private Pilot License), that’s still no Boeing 727. Therefore, it’s very difficult for me to find out if this commercial jets flies as realistically as possible. Taxiing isn’t a complicated issue, since I’ve taxied as a ground engineer in the third seat, so I can recognize if something feels OK or not!

I decided to take a long taxi route to a runway that gives me enough time to feel, hear and to control the 727 along the centerline of the taxi way. The result was surprising. Steering works perfectly using my Saitek X52 Pro, but the 727 doesn’t respond immediately, so low taxi speeds are mandatory otherwise you can’t make a nice turn.

Once aligned with the runway, I perform the last checklist items and there I go, throttles full forward. The 727 accelerates slowly and honestly, it feels good. It feels realistic. And then there’s also no need to worry about at which speeds you need to do something, since the digital data-card calls for 80 knots, V1 and VR. In other words, everything is covered for a successful takeoff.

Once airborne, I’ll try to keep a certain pitch, retract the gear and slowly, the flaps. At 4,000 feet, I decide to connect the Auto Pilot (AP) via the ENGAGE lever. With the MODE selector in PITCH HOLD, the current A/C pitch is maintained. A little while later, I change to a certain Vertical Speed and to achieve this, I set the MODE selector to V/S and adjust my actual aircraft V/S with the thumbwheel. If needed, you can use the TURN button to adjust your heading. This is what I call a basic AP. No pre-setting’s at all. Difficult? It’s very easy and is high technology for those days. I disengage the SERVO lever which disconnects the AP and fly further by hand. It’s an easy aircraft to fly, I must say.

Keeping the aircraft with pitch and roll trim at 4,000 feet, I decide to return to the airport and for the moment it doesn’t matter which airport it is if I can land with the 727-200 Advanced. After base leg, I turn to final, descent to 2,000 feet and make the necessary preparations for my final approach. And don’t forget to check the landing data-card information.

The 727-200 Advanced isn’t the size of a 777, 747-400, A380 and it almost flies like a large GA aircraft. It’s an easy aircraft to control. The pitch, roll and yaw movements feel OK and whenever you decide to change your roll, the aircraft moves slowly from it’s current stable flight to a new flight position in a way a real 727 should do. That said, making a manual approach is rather easy and realistic although the 727 is still a medium size aircraft. I was at least, impressed about the flight dynamics.

Test Flight LFBO – LFMN

My short test flight will be from LFBO (Toulouse – Blagnac Airport) to LFMN (Nice Côte d’Azur Airport), both located in France. Since I’m going to use the 3D cockpit for this flight and because there’s no FMC CDU in this cockpit, I must fly with the help of VOR stations, whatever is available or applicable and this means I need to enter each new frequency of the next station. I could also use instead of VOR, NDB stations, but if I can find VOR/DME, I prefer those navigation aids. Yes, it’s a completely different way of navigation than in today’s aircraft with company routes and using FMS (Flight Management Systems).

OK, I made my flight plan myself. That said, I’m not using, for this typical flight RouteFinder (http://rfinder.asalink.net/free/). Instead, I’ll fly following these VOR stations:
LFBO runway 32L – TOU (117.70) – GAI (115.80) – FJR (114.45) – MTG (117.30) – STP (116.50) – CGS (109.20) – LFMN ILS 04R (110.70 / 042). Although not a real flight plan, the idea is to see how the 727 follows VOR stations and to see if I can make a good ILS landing.

With the help of the FlyJSim checklist and having a quick consider the start up from a “cold and dark situation” video, I think it’s quite easy to follow all the necessary steps. Since the systems are quite well simulated, you get a good idea what’s going on. My first VOR station is TOU, followed by GAI. I’ve already entered these in the active and standby windows of NAV set 1. I’ve decided to take 6,000 kilograms of fuel, which should be enough.

And sorry, there’s no fuel calculator or at least, not that I know of. I double-check the build in weight and balance panel as well as my V speeds. With my current aircraft configuration, I have a V1 of 115, VR of 115 and V2 of 127. Don’t worry … you’re warned, during the takeoff run, when you reach 80 knots, V1 and VR.

Since default X-plane 10 Toulouse/Blagnac isn’t really modeled, I’m somewhere at the old Airbus factory at the other side of the actual Blagnac airport. Therefore, taxiing to runway 32L is a short distance. After warming up my engines for at least 5 minutes, it’s time to taxi and make a rolling takeoff. A very interesting feature we also see with this FlyJSim 727 is that during the takeoff you will hear a rumbling noise, in this case of the runway. Most of the time this is caused by the runway center line with the integrated center lights.

My takeoff, the initial climb, followed by further climbing till and including the cruise works fine for me. After I retracted the GEAR and FLAPS, I decided to keep on flying by hand. No Auto Pilot engaged, just trimming the aircraft and flying by hand.

This gives me such a good feeling. An aircraft that’s big enough to fly by hand, trimming so it feels like a GA aircraft, easy on going, but at the same time it takes time before a trim change becomes visible.

Anyway, flying from VOR to VOR is nice, but unfortunately not every VOR station I had chosen had a DME. Not a problem, but then you need to check the HSI constantly and watch for the moment that the TO-FROM indication changes. Some stations along the chosen route did have DME, and that makes life much easier. Let say 5NM before you fly over the VOR/DME station, you switch to the other VOR station and move on.

This IFR flight is reaching the end. At VOR station STP I decided to start my decent just by trimming the aircraft. Using the AP is something I did in my previous flight, so I like it this way. The planned VOR station CGS is more a help and not a need. Somewhere between 10-20NM before CGS I decide to prepare myself for a lading on LFMN ILS runway 4R.

Frequency and runway heading are set, approaching at 4,000 feet per the papers and here we go. The ILS or LOC (localizer) is picked up as expected and at approximately 12NM the GS (Glide slope) is picked up too. The 727-200 Advanced is descending along the ILS GS path, and I have, lucky for me, the runway in sight. Once more a double-check on the landing data and I’m ready for it. Without Autothrottle it takes some more effort to get the correct speeds, but I manage it and the 727-200 Advanced does too. Before I know it, the 727 has landed although I have to admit that before the actual landing I decided to make my own flare and landing. Why not? It’s an easy and realistic aircraft to fly. To complete this short French flight, I need to taxi to a place at the apron.

What my overall impression?
It’s a great aircraft to fly!

According to FlyJSim, real licensed ATPL 727 pilots tested this 727 Series, and I think Jack did a great job. If the 727 behaves realistically is something I don’t know with only a frozen PPL in my hand, but looking at the aircraft’s ground and flight behavior, I think that it reacts as a real medium to large aircraft. During taxiing, you have to keep in mind that your taxi speed is not too high, otherwise making a left or right hand turn isn’t easy since it doesn’t respond that quickly. While flying manually, the pitch, roll and yaw changes take some moments.

No, not minutes to respond, but for sure some seconds. Same as with large aircraft! On the other hand, even though it’s a medium size aircraft, it flies almost like a GA jet. At least, I liked it when flying it by hand and completely trimmed. When you want to use the basic AP, go ahead. It will work flawlessly, but you won’t feel how it flies. And yes, I mentioned “basic AP”. A basic AP was common for those days. You don’t have complex digital Auto Pilot computer nor that the aircraft was fitted with an Auto Flight system.

No, this basic AP didn’t had/have a MCP (Mode Control Panel) or AFP (Auto Flight Panel) on the glareshield. The only panel elated to Auto Pilot functions is the Mode Selector panel on the left-hand side of the glareshield. Further on, at the pedestal behind the engine throttles, you’ll find the AP ENGAGE lever, PITCH- and NAV selectors, V/S (Vertical Speed) wheel and ROLL knob. That said, there’s no possibility to preselect speeds, altitude, heading, vertical speeds and so on.

Anything forgotten?

I think I haven’t forgotten anything, but once the review is online and comments pop-up, I suddenly face things I haven’t highlighted. Let’s remind ourselves that this review is a review of the product itself and not a tutorial of how to fly the FlyJSim 727-200 Advanced.

When it comes to frame rate values, it’s always a matter of your PC or Mac specifications and how high you’ve set your X-Plane 10 Rendering Options. In my case, they are set quite high for a realistic external look and giving me the possibility to make impressive screen shots. And then, still with these high Rendering Options, I’m still able to get 25-30 FPS (Frames Per Second). Is a higher FPS possible? Oh yes, by reducing the Rendering Options to more normal values and you easily get 35+ frames.

Looking at the Sound folder, a folder with 6MB of sound files gives me a good feeling although I know that version 1 had separate sound folder for each model which were in total approximately 10MB. Although I’m not familiar with the Boeing 727, I’m familiar with the JT8D sound and that tell me that I deal with a realistic engine sound. But checking the FlyJSim website for background information about these sound files, I’m guided directly to X-Plane.Org. It seems the FlyJSim site doesn’t offer anymore product information. Ok, in that case, what can X-Plane.Org tell me and you about the sound.

The FlyJSim version 2 comes with a Professional Sound System:
– Professional sounds recorded by Turbine Sound Studios
– DreamEngine Sounds with proper Doppler and sound position effects
– Includes switches and knobs sounds

That said, I found at the current FlyJSim forum an issue about “Sound is worse in v.2. People are wondering where the great engine sound is since a simmer found the version 1 sound files of a better quality then with version 2. I couldn’t complain too much about this, but what me wondered is that the issue seems to be still open at the FlyJSim forum!

Some “beta” words about X-Plane 11

X-Plane 11 is still beta, to be exactly public beta 8 (as of this writing on January 21st), but how does the FlyJSim behaves with this new X-Plane version. I’ll try to find that out, but it must be said that the developer nor at the dedicated X-Plane.Org web page there’s nothing that this aircraft is compatible with X-Plane 11.

In other words, this section isn’t supported by the FlyJSim developers, it’s only a section to see what you can do with the aircraft, if systems function and if you can fly with it. I tell you now already that I can’t check every tiny part of the aircraft, which means that I do forget things or miss certain important parts.

After all, we need to wait till the developer has announced that the 727 Series Study v2 is official compatible with X-Plane 11, but before that happens, even more important, Laminar Research need to release the official version of X-Plane 11.

Ok, now we know that, what do I see when I check and fly the FlyJSim with X-Plane 11 Public Beta 8. Parked at the holding point of runway 34R KSEA. I’ll just do a short test flight to see if the aircraft behaves normally, as far as I can see since it’s impossible for me to test every system for correct functionality.

When I follow the same procedure as I did with the aircraft using X-Plane 10.51, it looks to me that the aircraft functions quite well, BUT remember what I wrote before, it’s not confirmed by the developer that the aircraft is compatible with this new flight simulator version. So, all these tests are based on what I see and feel, thus not necessarily compatible with X-Plane 11 Public Beta 8.

And at the End

Before I begin, first some details like … what X-Plane version(s) I used, which OS I have and perhaps the add-on packages I have installed.

– iMac Late 2013 (see hardware specs below)
– macOS Sierra 10.12.2
– X-Plane 10.51 and X-Plane 11pb8 (build 110014 64-bit)
– Payware add-on SkyMAXX Pro 4.0.1
– Payware add-on. Used with X-Plane 10.51 “Aerosoft Toulouse/Blagnac (LFBO)”
– Payware add-on. Used with X-Plane 10.51 “JustSim Nice Cote D`Azure (LFMN)”

Should this FlyJSim 727 Series Study v2 be in your hangar? When you like old-fashioned aircraft and like to fly only with the help of VOR/VORTAC and NDB beacons, then this is your companion. But it’s even possible to add to this aircraft the “as real as it gets” Delco CIVA INS unit. Either combination is possible and for the price of the CIVA, only 10.00 USD, you can add it always to the aircraft and then it’s up to you if you decide to use it or not.

It’s a well modeled with an awesome 3D cockpit. I found no gaps between the individual panels, great looking instruments from a distance and when zoomed in. The switches, knobs, lights, handles etc. are well modeled, have a weathered look, when applicable and complete the overall old-fashioned cockpit. Even the FE panel is modeled in great detail, but above all, many aircraft systems are developed with the greatest accuracy.

It’s also worth to highlight the accuracy of the external 727 models. Although not always directly in the spotlight, the landing gears are made with great precision, as is the operation of the leading and trailing edge hi-light devices and the engines too.

Regarding the engines, it’s worth telling you about the great details in the modeling of the internal thrust reverser buckets. Although you hardly see those buckets, they are modeled and work too. External lighting comes to life in XP10 when you select HDR ON. The result is a stunning external lighting system and please, don’t forget to have a look to the old-fashioned rotating anti-collision lights. Overall, the FlyJSim offers a great external 727, but also a great aircraft to fly with.

What else?
The FlyJSim 727 manual – I only found one – is OK although I personally miss a hard copy of a tutorial. On the other hand, YouTube offers several videos. Let me give you these links and what each video offers, but remember, these movies are based on version 1.x although I don’t see the problem right now. One more comment; some movies are dedicated to the FSX Captain Sim 727. Indeed, that’s not the FlyJSim, but since both developers modeled their AP with great detail, this Captain Sim movie offers you a wealth of useful information for the FlyJSim:
Start up and Takeoff tutorial I
ILS Landing
Auto Pilot tutorial
Auto Pilot tutorial Part I KMCO ILS 19R CAT III
Auto Pilot tutorial Part II KMCO ILS 19R CAT III
727-200F Flight tutorial LFPO – LFMN

You can grab the FlyJSim 727 via X-Plane.Org via the following link. In case you’re also interested in the add-on CIVA Navigation System for 10.00 USD.

And if this isn’t enough, I’ll offer you a link to SmartCockpit. Smartcockpit.com offers a tremendous free online aviation library, where anyone can obtain specific information on virtually any topic. That said, this link (http://www.smartcockpit.com/plane/BOEING/B727.html) brings you directly to the 727 Series where you can download many 727 official Flight Crew manuals.

Finally, some words about “how does it fly and if it flies, does it fly like a real 727?” Although I’m the frozen owner of a FAA PPL on a Cessna 152 and 172, it’s still very difficult to me to judge if it flies realistically. Only real licensed ATPL pilots can judge if a modeled X-Plane aircraft flies close to the real aircraft.

The best would be when it is somebody who flies or flew the real 727, but even any other aircraft would help. Real pilots can judge and we as flight simmers can only hope that the flight dynamics are as close as possible to the real model. The reason for mentioning this at the end in this review is simple. It’s because too many rumors are found at the Internet about simulated X-Plane 10 aircraft models. I’ve got the feeling that this old-fashioned Boeing 727 Series flies as real as it is possible and worth being a member of your fleet!

Feel free to contact me if you’ve got additional questions related to this impression. You can reach me via email Angelique.van.Campen@gmail.com or to Angelique@X-Plained.com.

With Greetings,
Angelique van Campen

 

 

Add-on: Freeware / Payware FJS B727 Series Study v2
Publisher | Developer: X-Plane.Org | FlyJSim
Description: Realistic rendition of Boeing 727 Series
Software Source / Size: Download / Approximately 1GB (unzipped)
Reviewed by: Angelique van Campen
Published: January 22nd 2017
Hardware specifications: - iMac 27″ 3.5Ghz Late 2013
- Intel i7 3.5Ghz / 3.9Ghz during Boost Mode
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4096 MB
- 32 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
- 1 internal 1TB SSD (Sierra 10.12.2)
- 3 external 1TB SSDs
- Saitek Pro Flight System
Software specifications: - Sierra (10.12.2) | El Capitan (10.11.4)
- Windows 10 Professional
- X-Plane 10.51c | X-Plane 10.51m | X-Plane 11 pb6

2 Comments

  1. Speedbird

    Great review! As a side note, the real CIVA was only fitted to very few 727s.

    Reply
    • Angelique van Campen

      Hi Speedbird,

      Thanks from the compliment and CIVA feedback. Always nice to know. Much appreciated.

      Reply

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