Thursday, May 9, 2013

Black Box Simuations Unveils Their Airbuses (Airbii?)

Black Box Simulations is working on both an Airbus A320 and A330 series of Airbuses.  They have adopted the Captain Sim release model, where they release development versions to the public ahead of the final official release.  In essence, the public becomes paying beta testers of the product before it is released.  These are known as "Prologue" versions by Black Box Simulations.  These are interesting, and it will be worth watching to see how they turn out.  My only hesitation here is that 45.00 seems really steep for a prerelease product.  I think I will just wait until it reaches a released state before I jump on board.

Could they give FlightSimLabs a run for their money on the A320?  The FSL A320 seems to be the top tier, purporting to offer a PMDG-level experience of flying an Airbus.  But with the public clamoring for anything better than the old Wilco Airbus products, BBS might have a niche for themselves if they beat FSL to market.

It is worth noting that BBS is the successor company to Phoenix Simulation Software, which has a very bad reputation in the flight sim community due to the sudden way they closed up shop and left many customers out in the cold.  I was not personally affected by this at the time, but I know there are many lingering hard feelings toward PSS - and by extension, BBS.  Let's hope BBS has improved in this respect.

PMDG Showing Off The 777

PMDG has been very low key about their upcoming 777 for the most part, but there are signs that this is beginning to change.  Robert Randazzo has been giving a nice preview of the 777 model - with some very intricately modeled features - in a couple of threads over at AVSIM:

  PMDG 777 External Model Preview #1 of 2

  PMDG 777 External Model Preview #2 of 2

He has promised an in-depth look at the flight deck soon, too.

Usually, when we get to this point with a PMDG product in development, we are within a few months or so out from a release.  No timetable has been officially given by Robert yet, and for all we know, he might just unexpectedly spring it on us one day.  But we are getting very, very close.  This will no doubt be an exciting complement to the NGX for long-haul operations.

PMDG has also been showing off some 777 liveries over at their Facebook page lately, as well.

Elsewhere, at the recent FANCON gathering, Robert also had some interesting things to say about the future of flight simulation, among other topics.  Enjoy!

Majestic Dash-8 Q400 Released

Majestic Software recently released the Pilot edition of their highly-anticipated Bombardier Dash-8 Q400 turboprop for FSX, on sale from JustFlight or simMarket for around US $60.

I snagged this one right away, and let me just say that I really like it so far.  While the price is a bit on the high side, it is totally justified in this case.  Majestic has gone all out with a PMDG-like simulation of a Q400.  I am having a lot of fun with this one, as the Q400 is a regular feature in the skies here in the Pacific Northwest with Horizon Air (now branded as Alaska Airlines).  I will be doing a mini-review of the Q400 very soon, I promise!

L-1011s from Captain Sim and JustFlight

Captain Sim recently released the latest offering in its line of classic jetliners: the L-1011 external model.

While there is a part of me that is really intrigued by this - and I really love the idea of the L-1011 in FSX, I am still rather underwhelmed by their 737 and 727 products, among others.  The 737 still has a number of bugs in particular that I wish Captain Sim would hurry up and fix before moving on to other products.  I will be watching it with some interest, but I think I will be reticent to jump in until Captain Sim improves their reputation for quality first - or offers another 9.99 sale..

Elsewhere, JustFlight also has an L-1011 out.  Reviews on AVSIM indicate that it is not particularly realistic, much more like a CLS product.

Too bad in some ways - the TriStar was a grand old plane, and she deserves a top-notch simulation in FSX.  Hopefully Captain Sim will deliver.

Let's Spin This Thing Back Up!

All right, so I know the blog has been in the virtual equivalent of mothball storage in the desert for a while.  I just had too many RL things going on over the last several months to keep up with it.  However, there have been a number of exciting developments in the flight sim world recently, so let's pull this thing out of storage and see if she still flies!  :-)