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Aircraft Upgrade Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 by Rotate


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Aircraft Upgrade Review : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 by Rotate


With the handover from X-Plane 11 to X-Plane 12, as you adjusted to the new version simulator. You lose your aircraft. Well a few of the basic aircraft will translate to the new simulator with their core PlaneMaker tools, but for the in-depth aircraft you cherish, all of a sudden they are not available to fly anymore.

A lot of developers quickly did a patch, this allowed you to fly the aircraft in X-Plane 12, but any aircraft was not actually refined until X-Plane 12 went final in December 2022. Some developers withheld the upgrade until X-Plane 12 was completely worthy and stable. With X-Plane 12 it was a bit more complicated than that, as in reality the X-Plane 12 version was not actually stable until v12.04r3 or March 2023.


Rotate went both ways, you had a quick patch for their McDonnell Douglas MD-11, but not for the earlier McDonnell Douglas MD-88 (Series 80), so the aircraft disappeared from my routes and network. But after finalising the MD-11 for X-Plane 12, Rotate's attention then finally turned to the MD-88, and here it is and now available for X-Plane 12 in a beta release...  "Nice to have you back Mad Dog!".


The MD-80 Series is a advanced development of the iconic Douglas DC-9, or was known as the second generation of the DC-9 family. The MD-80 series is a mid-size, medium-range airliner, featuring a fuselage 14 ft 3 in (4.34 m) longer than the DC-9-50. The small, highly efficient wing design of the baseline aircraft was enlarged by adding sections at the wing root and tip for a 28% larger wing. The aircraft derivative retains the configuration of two rear fuselage-mounted turbofan engines, a T-tail, and has cockpit, avionics and aerodynamic upgrades. The airliner is designed for frequent, short-haul flights for up to 172 passengers depending on airplane version and seating arrangement.


This version here from Rotate has the MD-80 features an advanced avionics suite which includes two autonomous digital flight guidance computers, "advanced", is not really applicable to avionics of say the next generation of glass cockpits, you could say more in the transition of between the older "Clock" 1970's to the "Glass" 2000's in style and operation, as it still used Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) technology for the instrument displays. But it did come with Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and a Wind Shear Warning System, so advanced for it's time. First flight of the MD-88 was August 15, 1987.


Rotate released their MD-88 back in December 2015, yes 7 Years ago. But thoughout the X-Plane 11 version run, there have been numerous updates, to be honest Rotate are known as very frequent updaters, to keep the aircraft current. Let us clear something up...  on the various updates the aircraft has been only referred to as the "MD-80", but this is the MD-80 Series, the type is the MD-88.


McDonnell Douglas MD-88 X-Plane 12 by Rotate

On it's original release (and Rotate's first developed aircraft), one thing was instantly very noticeable. The detailing was insane, I even coined a name for it "Ultra Detail", because it set a new standard of quality detail in the X-Plane Simulator (for heavy aircraft). Being a visual texture nut, this aspect was one of the big attractions to the aircraft, plus the DC9/MD80 was also a very iconic aircraft and great to fly.


Rotate note the external textures and materials have been upgraded to X-Plane 12. What comes across is a shiny blur over the aircraft, it looks good... but you would be very hard pressed to tell the difference.


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The biggest fear when developers start messing around with textures, is that you could lose your old library, worse here because the MD-88 has quite a significant if iconic library available...   But friends fear not, all the old liveries work perfectly, and they come with that new if slightly X-Plane 12 sheen. In an odd paradox, I found the original liveries more realistic than the default, my beloved Austrian looks glorious in X-Plane 12


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The "Ultra Detail", is quite amazing, highlighted rivets, worn panels gaps, oil streaks, dirty, dirty...  "you gotta love it".


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It is all an eye feast for detail, it shows how far ahead the excellent texturing was back then, never bettered even now. Cockpit window detail is pure DC-9 architecture, perfectly realised here.


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Engines are the Pratt & Whitney JT8D-209 turbofan, noted as the Quieter engine! It produces 18,500 to 21,700 pound-force (82 to 97 kN) thrust range. Incredibly well modeled here, comes with clam-shell reversers


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The MD-80 Series wing has a span of 32.82 meters that is 4.4 meters longer than the initial DC-9s. Its wing area is 112.3 square meters, and clean with the high T-Tail configuration. Wings are superb here, all the different metals materials that make up the construction are highly visible.


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I love the leading edge metal design and look, push it out to the open position and the mechanism tracks are excellent.


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Tri-Cycle gear with two main landing gear and a forward small nose gear, dirty as hell, worked hard, tired, rusted...  love it, and perfect.


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I can bore you for ages in detail, but I love this aircraft for what it delivers, I still don't think a lot of aircraft in X-Plane and in this category still comes close to this sort of feel in a design.


External features

You can access the MD-80 Menu from the X-Plane/Plugin banner (the same menu is on the FMC)...


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There are seven menu options; GPU (Ground Power Unit) Toggle, GPS Toggle, Fwd Door Toggle, Fwd Stair Toggle, Aft Door Toggle, Cargo Doors (three ) Toggle and Weight Units (Lbs/Kgs) Toggle.


You get a nice GPU unit connected for power to the aircraft, Open the Front door before lowering the stairs, and unfurling the rear stairs is always a great moment, both created for the use of remote regional airport access, as are the three low (Throw the bags in) holds.


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The right service door isn't activated or animated, and there are no chocks here either? You wish for them both.



The cabin is from another era, thick seated seats, wall air vents, and being a T-Jet an opening door to the rear to the stairway.


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The one thing that is very apparent is the feel of this cabin, the textures and materials used. Totally foreign to today's passenger, but very endearing to anyone my age, very authentic, even if a few areas are just flat images, but the huge detail is here, like the service door, sad it doesn't work.



You would be amazed on how small the cockpit is on a DC9/MD80, it can just barely fit in two crew. Open the cockpit door via the up/down arrows...


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....   and your confronted by a sea of green, with a off cream (dirty) roof lining. Yes the cockpit colour is different, a more an Irish green than the darker green tone before. This cockpit like the external textures has been totally redone for X-Plane 12, but creates an even earlier era feel in the cockpit environment, detail is astounding, a perfect replica of the aircraft...


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Scrolling though my liveries I found the other two instrument panel variations...  the new "Sea of Green", with the Grey instrument panel, and the older Grey Instrument with the darker green textures, obviously the older textures were not configured for X-Plane 12, but they are there if you still wanted that original grey panel look and feel. Texture feel is now more highlighted in X-Plane 12 and it was very good before, you can almost feel the rough surfaces.


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Yokes are "filthy", "grubby"... or perfect, the Trim Switches don't work, neither does the ATC call button?


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Hiding one Yoke, hides both...  they are independent on the MD-11, but not yet here. You press the base to toggle.


DC-9's origins shows on the non-ergonomics at work here, want to add an instrument, then just put it where there is a space...  but it works, when you work out what everything on here is. Note the inter-generational Sperry CRT PFD (Primary Flight Display) top, and the NAVIGATION/MAP Display lower.


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The basic principles of flying an aircraft, like driving a car, are the same, it is the way the instruments are arranged that you have to adapt to, then the way the systems (engines, fuel, electrical hydraulic) are laid out and interacted with. Yes you will need to study in the MD-88 if you want to master it, and the aircraft does have a few odd foibles to consider, but master it, and the aircraft is very rewarding.


Glareshield holds "Flight Guidance Control Panel" FGCP, which is controlled by the two fully independent "Digital Flight Guidance Computers" (DFGC). FGCP has controls for selection of Flight Director/Autopilot operational modes and Autothrottle operational modes. Autopilot engage and DFGC 1/2 selector switches. External lighting switchgear is located each side of FGCP.


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I will note that mastering complicated systems like the FGCP is part of the experience of the aircraft. These are still basically analog system machines, the aircraft's controls (Ailerons, Elevators, Rudder) were all still cable controlled, if the last of the breed.


OHP (Overhead Panel) is also a uniform mess, but at least the system areas are (sort of) boxed and labeled, a print out of the systems was always a "GoTo" for finding switchgear.


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Rotate provide a lot of great information, Manual, Pilot Hand Book and a full Tutorial Flight. A comprehensive Checklist is also provided, which I again recommend to print out (I even made a lot of remarks in the printout to find the switchgear I needed), but it is all part of the learning curve.


Left side is top the Sperry EFIS Mode panel, Panel Lighting and Radio panel. On the left is the captain's huge Tiller Wheel, with the Park Brake knob in the center (and YES we finally have a Park Brake Toggle here), right side only has the F/O EFIS Panel and the Radio Panel.


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Rear pedestal are VHF and ADF Radio frequencies, TCAS/ATC Panel and centre console lighting knobs, rear are the huge Rudder and Aileron Trim Knobs. I'm not yet going into the forward Pedestal throttle quadrant area as we will cover that later.  


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As noted this is a very cramped cockpit, but there is a third folded crew jumpseat, shame it is not animated?


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MCDU (Multi Control and Display Unit)

For it's time period the Rotate MD-88's MCDU (Multi Control and Display Unit) was exceptional, still very good today, but FMC detail has maybe caught up with it and in areas surpassed the original detail...  that said it is miles better than the default MD-80 FMS on the X-Plane 12 Fleet.


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Notes, the System came with an old NAV DATA (2209r1 Sept 22) set (actually noted as updated?), and you will need to update the nav data to the current cycle via Navigraph or Aerosoft (NavDataPro). Important is the aircraft has it's own "Nav Data" folder (like the MD-11) in the Rotate aircraft folder to do the cycle changes. Ditto adding in a CO-ROUTE. The "Company" routes are held in a separate folder again in the Aircraft root folder "saved-routes", not in the usual X-Plane OUTPUT/FMS plans" folder. Also you only have connected MDCU units, not independent yet like on the MD-11, so it feels a little old fashioned.


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Installing the route is helped by the EFIS/PLN section, and you have to separately insert the Departure and Arrival Procedures...


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....  like I mentioned, it is a good system as it doesn't send you down any blind alleyways, you can't get out of. 7 Years of refinement has sorted out most of the bugs.


There is a two page MENU. It is positioned left side of the pedestal, click to open. Fill in your "Fuel & Load" Data (I use Simbrief).


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Once filled in, you can then set the same PERF INIT in the MCDU, most data will fill in automatically as you press the corresponding keys, the others data references are pretty straightforward. Same for TAKEOFF REF, fill in airport temp, the rest is automatic.


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MENU second page is the "Ground Operations". Here you can select the external GPU, GPS (external Pneumatic Source)...  Open the Doors (Fwd, Stair, Aft, Cargo), doors have to be open for passenger and fuel loading, which is done in the lower section. The built in "Pushback" is bottom. Never really liked the word "Expedite", but it mean doing the action.


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One of things that really threw people (or confused) was the setting of the "TakeOff Trim" or "Long Trim". Here you have what you would call a Trim Computer to help you, but it is confusing to use, worse, get it wrong and you will get those horrible takeoff alerts "flap, stabilizer" warnings that said you were a really crap pilot. Here is to do it right.


The MTOW CG (Centre of Gravity) % is situated under the GW (ZFW -Zero Fuel Weight and LW - Landing weights are also shown)


Here it is 20.6 % of MAC, which is entered by the wheel CG on the computer. Your selected Flap position (15º) is set on the other wheel. The Green pointer marker is the TakeOff Trim position. To set it correctly, you use the large handle (up or down) to set the trim indicator right, when aligned you have set the TakeOff Trim correctly.


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The Flap selection is just as well done, you don't have the wheel flap adjustment that is on the MD-11, but a large degree flap range from 0º to 40º. The whole throttle quadrant is excellent with those highly worn metal throttle levers at your service.


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There is a AviTab tablet on the left Pilot window, but not on the right F/O side (plugin required), click the window to make the tablet appear, to activate is the small button top left corner. Navigraph charts are available if you have an account. You can slightly adjust the tablet up/down-left/right.


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X-Plane 12 rain effects

With the intergration of the "Librain" effects into X-Plane 12, developers can now add the rain effects to their aircraft. But the results are a bit of a mixed bag, even from the best. Here on the MD-88 they are simply excellent. Every window, even the eyebrow windows and the cabin windows get the effects...  better are the wiper action in clearing the water, well executed and very realistic, well done. Wing and Window Ice effects are also now available with X-Plane 12, there is also improved Anti-Ice Systems.


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Flying the "Maddog"


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Starting the MD-88's engines is a long procedure. Again I stress to print out the starting instructions out of the tutorial, to make the process easier, or to make notes. Here are some tips...


Important to have HYD or Hydraulic pressure, AUX and TRANS both on (lower left F/O panel), it will show 30% Pressure in the "Hydraulic" readouts. Pneumatic pressure levers (rear pedestal), both to UP.


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On the APU panel put the AIR switch to centre ON (Bleed), EGN (Engine Panel), START PUMP to ON, and select SYS A or SYS B...


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Select a START switch for Engine No. 1, most start No 2 first as it is not near personnel, or the airbridge. Here I'm on a stand, so I start No 1 first. You will find the N2 % RPM start up, (noted in the Annunciator panel) and when you reach 21 % (N2), you then bring in the fuel on the pedestal.


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Then you get that familiar P&W JT8D-209 turbofan whine, sounds are quite brilliant, highly realistic on engine startup and idle speeds. But you won't hear much of the whine in the cockpit, those engines are set a long way back from your seat. When one engine started, then do the same start procedure for engine No 2 (Note the Start Switch for No 1 has to be OFF to start No 2), then clean up the ENG board by turning off the start switches, start pump, SYS to OFF, APU Bleed to OFF and then the APU itself, don't forget to move the Electrics to the engines....  and your ready to go.


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Important is to set the "Thrust Rating" on the panel F/O mid-left panel, it shows your setting on the EPR and limits the autothrottle, most Autothrust systems do this automatically, but this is back in the time you had to set the limit mode manually, which you do through the phases of the flight. Six modes cover TO (TakeOff), TO FLEX (FLEX Takeoff setting), GA (Go Around), MCT (Maximum Thrust), CL (Climb) and CR (Cruise).


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You will need a bit of thrust to get the MD-88 moving, you feel the weight (nice) but I'm heavy here at TOW 67,800 kgs. Taxiing can be slightly tricky as the steering is quite tetchy, if your not smooth, the aircraft will wander off the straight line, the rudder pedals can smooth-out the tighter tiller movements, but you have to get used to it...  it is the same feel on the TakeOff role and in the landing phase.


Setting the TakeOff PERF will also set the TakeOff Bugs...  Then brakes off and power set to the TakeOff limit markers. I hold the brakes to gain thrust as LIRF's RWY 25 is quite short (10,800ft), then you go, and GO you do...  these unrestricted old powerplants had a lot of thrust in them, dirty as hell as well....  NICE.


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You power down the runway, with the full focus of centering the white line, not as easy as it sounds....   it needs full concentration to get it right with the rudder pedals and slight twitches of the tiller....    156+10 knts and you pull back on the Yoke...


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If you let it, the MD-88 will climb like a banshee if you don't control the pitch, it takes a lot of focus to keep it within the respectable limits, and the FD (Flight Director) is also a big help... Gear lever up and the noisy retraction of the gear.


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These T-Tail - rear swept wing aircraft can be a bit of a chamaeleon, follow your procedures in one takeoff, then find the MD-80 won't do the same thing the next time around, it can be a bit unnerving, but you have to be adaptable to the idiosyncratic behaviour of the aircraft, certainly when going from the Manual to Automated flight, some areas will work, but other refuse to until you are with in it's required limits (note you have to switch the "Thrust Rating to CL before the AutoThrust will activate), so you have to manually fly the aircraft until ready... I found adjusting the trim early can upset the Autopilot's definition of where the trim should be, so it won't adapt, until you do.


Lets be honest here, this sounds all quite hard, but it is also the feedback of flying the MD80 Series, it is a fun aircraft to fly, because it IS so very realistic, and certainly highly rewarding when you get it right, but be aware, you won't get it perfectly right every time...  it is just that sort of machine, as it tests you and pushes your skills.


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For X-Plane 12 there are improvements to the weight and balance, aerodynamics have been upgraded and so has the engine performance to X-Plane 12 specifications, the aircraft DOES actually feel better all round in X-Plane 12


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Performance (MD88) is Normal Cruise - Mach 0.76 (448 kn; 830 km/h), High-speed cruise - Mach 0.8 (472 kn; 873 km/h), Range 2,550 nmi (4,720 km) @ 155 pax, with a ceiling of 37,000 feet (FL370), mostly it won't allow you above 31,000 ft with a full load.


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Another new options (or feature) for X-Plane 12 is the MD-88 has now added support for VR (Virtual Reality). So I expect that highly detailed cockpit to be a brilliant space to be in 3d.



Overall the lighting is excellent, good on the original, but refined here for X-Plane 12. Panel lighting is gorgeous...


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However you can't see the downlighting in the daylight like you could in X-Plane 11, shame, but it is lovely at night. There are two overhead spotlights (press to use), but they are also a bit on the dim side. OHP however is excellent, as is the pedestal.


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CKPT FLOOD has three dome settings OFF, ON, ALT THNDRSTRM...  or off, mid, and bright cockpit lighting, a secondary lighting switch is THUNDRSTRM, but be careful as it overrides a lot of the panel's lighting adjustments and the FGCP lighting. The cockpit is lit from behind and above, and I love the look and feel of the concept.  A note is that the FGCP lighting adjustment knobs are the hanging fangs central glareshield.


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Cabin lighting is fixed (very bright), but good, with a nice if "Welcome to the 80's" feel...


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Externally the lighting is very good (X-Plane 12 tuned). Wingtip Landing and front gear Taxi lights are excellent. There are two sets of "Wing" lights, one each for the wing, and another one for the engine inlets, and a middle set of lights (L&R) for "Ground" (FLOOD LTS). Navigation and Strobe are fine as are the ANTI-COLLISION beacons, and note the wing tip detail and the Tail (Logo) light of which are both very nice detail.


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The aircraft looks very nice in the air, cabin is a bit bright...  but otherwise very good.


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We are already very familiar with Rotate's MD-88, to most the aircraft is an old friend even....  familiar and different at the same time. Here the aircraft's the same one you have flown for years, but then it is not in the newer X-Plane 12 environment. As it looks and feels different. Once at altitude you can relax for a moment and to look, soak and feel in that difference.


The great thing about X-Plane 12... for what was very good before, it is now exceptional in the new version.


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MCDU detail is very good with two PROGRESS pages, the route data, and the Fuel calculations.


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Detailed is the FMA (Flight Mode Annunciator). It consistently changes with the FGCP commands, there is a lot to learn, and it is very authentic to the real system. You can't oddly however still not cancel the AutoThrust Alert, and sometimes the A/P disconnect Alert, both are still a really annoying anomaly. The Autothrust (throttles) hunts badly in flight, another distraction...  both never fixed.


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Sperry CRT PFD (Primary Flight Display) top, and the NAVIGATION/MAP Display lower are excellent, MAP will show NAID (Nav-Aid) ARPT (Airport), DATA and WPT (Waypoint) details. But with the small display size it feels very crammed in when you have a lot of close waypoints on an approach phase...  the Yoke can hide it as well, so you have to put it away in this vital part of the flight.


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LOWW - Vienna and we are here...  the Flight from LIRF (Rome) to LOWW (Vienna) is very short (421 nautical miles), or about 1h 40m flying time...  perfect for the MD-88.


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Tricky is the approach and landing phases. It is a skill to get the right speed to the set Flap position, to make a perfect approach, it's exhilarating as well if you get it right as you feel you are manhandling the aircraft through the air to a safe landing (can you say manhandling anymore, well you know what I mean)


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The biggest trick is in the low, low speeds (approach), you have to be seriously on your game to get it right...  hard is the transition from a middle Flap setting (11º-15º @ 250 knts) to 24, then worse is the cliff that is between 24º and 28º. Get the speed wrong and the MD-88 will balloon badly with overspeed. Setting the MCDU "APPROACH REF", will set the landing bugs, which can be a sort of flap position/speed guide.

A lot of users are very familiar with the aircraft, but it can still catch you out with being out of the Rotate MD80 cockpit for half a year. But the MD-88 is a thrill aircraft, not a count by the numbers procedural machine, that is why the rewards are great.


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Final approach is Flap 28º and 172 knts...  The "AutoLand" option here does not work, (VOR LOC and ILS are your APP selections, both separate), but most pilots fly manually in the last landing phase...


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Gusty winds are around me! 13 knts and the wrong direction for LOWW Rwy 16.


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Full (40º) Flap @ 142 Knts, and your holding your breath and "Dancin" on the rudder pedals to keep the MD88 straight for the centerline...


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This is a T-Tail and they have a tendency to drop out of the air at low speeds...  this is called "Deep Stall", or "Super-Stall". This is caused by the main stalled wing blanketing the upper T-Tail aerodynamic surfaces, the effect is in taking away your elevator control, worse next is getting the flare absolutely right...


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...   I found very early in my MD-80 flying that the nose comes right up (pitch) on you, and you can't aim too low either. So it is another trick to get the flare angle on landing the MD-80 Series perfectly right. Down on the hard stuff and you activate the Clam-Shell reversers with their hugely powerful noise, while then holding a straight line while running off the excess speed is (very) tricky as well.


Rotate-MD-80 - LOWW 16.jpgRotate-MD-80 - LOWW 17.jpg


But you did it, so you break out a big smile, a "Maddog", smile.


Rotate-MD-80 - LOWW 18.jpgRotate-MD-80 - LOWW 19.jpgRotate-MD-80 - LOWW 20.jpgRotate-MD-80 - LOWW 21.jpg


So the MD-88 can become easily very addictive, because it goes to your soul and consistently tests your skills in every area, in X-Plane 12 the elements are highlighted up another notch, but you are seriously happy to be back into this cockpit.



Rotate only provide two liveries, the Developer House, and a very old (DC-9 era) Delta.


Rotate-MD-80 - Livery Rotate.jpgRotate-MD-80 - Livery Old Delta.jpg


In reality there is a huge amount of paints to choose from, from the past era, modern, and even the downright quirky. Here a small choice from my collection.


Rotate-MD-80 - Livery AA.jpgRotate-MD-80 - Livery New Delta.jpgRotate-MD-80 - Livery Macca Alitalia.jpgRotate-MD-80 - Livery Finnair.jpgRotate-MD-80 - Livery Hawaiian.jpgRotate-MD-80 - Livery Qantalink.jpgRotate-MD-80 - Livery SAS.jpgRotate-MD-80 - Livery Volotea.jpg



The MD-88 was the first release from Rotate, now 7 years ago, late 2015. An aircraft also with very frequent updates to keep the aircraft current thoughout it's extensive X-Plane 11 run, it is widely regarded and a much loved X-Plane Simulation. With the transition to X-Plane 12, Rotate focused more on the later released MD-11, so in effect the MD-88 went out of X-Plane 12 service for six months. Here the MD-88 is now released in it's X-Plane 12 form, so the "Maddog" is back. Notable is that previous purchasers of the MD-80 XP11 can get this new Pro XP12 version for only $24.95.


A second generation of the original 60's classic McDonnell Douglas DC-9 Family, the MD-80 Series has the transitional analog Clock" 1970's to the "Glass" 2000's in style and operation, as it still used Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) technology for the instrument displays. But it did come with Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and a Wind Shear Warning System, so it was an advanced aircraft for it's time period in the late 80's. referred to as the "MD-80", but this is the MD-80 Series, the type here is the MD-88.


The Rotate MD-88 brought in quality "Ultra Detail", extremely graphic detailing of dirt and wear and tear, this suited and reflected the aircraft's era of service, but it also came on large 4K textures that in many cases was not very framerate friendly, certainly on mid-teen computer systems, myself I never had a problem with the aircraft, however with the more powerful Graphic Cards of today, this ultra detail is now easily absorbed and a passed issue.


The X-Plane 12 upgrade of the MD-88 has all the required compatibility X-Plane 12 features. Both External and Internal textures have been upgraded to X-Plane 12's sheen, the cockpit is a different Irish Green to the grey or earlier darker tone. Improved weight and balance, X-Plane 12 aerodynamics and upgraded engine performance, are all refined. Lighting internally and externally has also been covered, the cockpit is nice with 3d lighting, but you lose the X-Plane 11 downlighting in the daylight. Externally the lighting still needs a little refining, but the main Nav, Strobe and Wing/Ice/tail lighting is very good with a nicely lit, if static lighting in the cabin. Librain rain effects have added, and covers all windows, as is the better X-Plane 12 Icing effects. VR (Virtual Reality) access is also now available


But there is also the aspect of the aircraft being originally 7 years old, in features, and this is noticeable in the fact the MCDU is still a dual and not an independent set of units. Menu's are basic, and there is the missing chocks and the non-opening service door. So no EFB, or modern menus, with just the one basic AviTab. All of which are available on Rotate's MD-11. Honestly over the X-Plane 12 run I would expect the same updating to the MD-11 standard on this MD-88, the current function as noted by Rotate is to get the aircraft flying correctly in X-Plane 12, then later do the overhaul of the details.


The main features here are the unique handing and systems of the era, which are extremely good here, if complicated to use. But that is the attraction and why the Rotate MD-88 is so well loved and a respected Simulation, like all Rotate aircraft, highly addictive, lost Six Months ago in the transition, the "Maddog" is back and now flying in X-Plane 12!


Highly Recommended.



X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg


Yes! the McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12 by Rotate is currently available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

Rotate MD-88 Pro X-Plane 12

Price is US$59.95

Purchasers of the MD-80 XP11 can get this new XP12 version for only US$24.95. Use the coupon code included in your original MD-80 XP11 


X-Plane 12 Fully updated (not for XP11)
Windows 8 or  Mac OSX 10.12 or newer (using Rosetta for ARM Processors), Linux Ubuntu 64b 18.04 or newer.
8 GB VRAM Minimum
Current version: 1.50b10 for X-Plane 12 (May 3rd 2023)


Designed by Rotate
Support Forum at X-Plane.org or http://support.rotatesim.com/



There is excellent full coverage documentation and checklists for the MD-88 by Rotate, including;

  • Rotate-MD-80_Manual.pdf
  • Rotate-MD-80_Pilot Hand Book Checklist.pdf
  • Rotate-MD-80_Pilot Hand Book.pdf
  • Rotate-MD-80_Tutorial Flight.pdf



Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton

4th May 2023

Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews


Review System Specifications: 

Windows  - 12th Gen IS1700 Core i7 12700K 12 Core 3.60 GHz CPU - 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133PNY GeForce RTX 3080 10GB XLR8 - Samsung 970 EVO+ 2TB SSD

Software:   - Windows 11 Pro - X-Plane Version 12.04r3

Plugins: JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99

Scenery or Aircraft

- LIRF - Airport Rome XP  by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$25.99

- LOWW - Vienna International Airport by Orbx



(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved


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