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Aircraft Upgrade : Boeing 757 Pro Avionics FPDS by FlightFactor/SteptoSky

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757RR-200 FPDS_Header.jpg

 

Aircraft Upgrade : Boeing 757 Pro Avionics FPDS by FlightFactor/SteptoSky

 

Although nice in retrospect, the Boeing 757 by FlightFactor/SteptoSky has the older CRT/Clockwork dial cockpit, it does look excellent and it is also certainly a very authentic way to fly the original B757. But in reality most of the surviving Boeing 757's flying out out there on the cargo or passenger route airways have left this older analog world now far behind years ago.

 

Any late built Boeing 757 have usually now however a conversion of the avionics to the IS&S - Innovative Solutions & Support’s display units, this layout is very similar to the ProLine 21 system and the Boeing 737-800 but with four displays covering both pilots PFD and MAP/NAV, and this conversion is called the "FPDS" or "Flat Panel Display System" or commonly known as a glass cockpit conversion.

 

So X-Plane users have been asking,  well okay begging FlightFactor for this glass cockpit FPDS for a long time....  and now it is here, for another added on extra price. We will go into the (complex) pricing structure later, but for now this is a great addition to the Boeing 757 cockpit. At this point it is just the B757 Pro and the Extended version and currently not for FlightFactor's other significant aircraft the Boeing 767, but the avionics system in the B767 is almost exactly the same as this IS&S system, and so that conversion should be along not far behind.

 

So here is the original CRT/Analog panel, and below the new FPDS. 

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Analog.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Glass.jpg

 

In reality the original was also a semi-glass instrument system if part CRT (Cathode Ray Tube), but the latter two-display glass unit is far more cleaner and larger with more features.

 

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Both the PFD (Primary Flight Display) and the NAV/MAP (Navigation/Map) displays pop-out for ease of use and also for the cockpit builders, the pop-outs can also be scaled and moved around your screen.

 

To switch over the CRT/Analog to the FPDS you go to the iPad menu and select "OPTIONS" then "AVIONICS", the EFIS selection is to the left.

 

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A few users have had issues with the new EFIS Option not appearing in the iPad. The trick is to start the aircraft in Cold&Dark Mode and then the new avionics can be selected. Save the CONFIG file. Thereafter it should work when loading aircraft with engines running. This is for only users that are updating and not doing a complete new aircraft download.

 

Not only do the main display panels change on the FPDS selection, but also does the EFIS Control Panel on the pedestal..

 

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IS&S Avionics

The PFD is in reality not that much different than the twin unit it replaces, it is in the addition of the large NAV/MAP screen that gives the system it's more substantial and easier workflow. The one thing that really stands out is the sheer details and features we now have in these avionic displays, certainly gone now in X-Plane are the days of showing a sort of a moderated version or simplistic layout.

 

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Twin Display EADI and EHSI

The primary flight display is highly detailed. Obviously the main items are represented in the upper EADI (Electronic Attitude Direction Indicator) like the Artificial Horizon, Rate of Turn and Pitch guides, Speed and Altitude tapes are also represented...  The Flight Director (FD) is also of course represented but it is highly detailed here, and this a point to make, as you are not just getting the basics, but the very highly detailed version with all the finer details as well.

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Panel 2.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Panel 3.jpg

 

It is the lower EDSI (Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator) section (really the older NAV/MAP) that is the most interesting of the system. The detail is excellent and there is a lot to take in.  You can switch from the VOR/APP/MAP in the display which is between the ROSE (APP) and ARC (MAP) modes, but there are a few limitations in that the large secondary NAV/MAP can't be switched to the ROSE mode (I don't think the real version can either) it stays only in the ARC mode unless you use the PLAN mode, so to a point both the displays are not completely independent.

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Panel 4.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Panel 5.jpg

 

Both VOR 1 and ADF 1 frequencies and VOR 2 and ADF 2 Frequencies are shown in both displays, I love the stack version in the PFD, but the frequency layout in the NAV/MAP can also be mixed in with the lower part of the NAV/MAP details, and they can be then very hard to read. I checked that the frequency position is correct, but on the real display there is no layout overlap? PFD also shows the VOR 2 data (next waypoint) and in the NAV/MAP version on the top right. Left lower PFD is the Rate of Climb dial, again really well done

 

Both show GS (Ground Speed) and TAS (True Air Speed)/WindSpeed and Direction, TRK (Heading) Radio height and Baro. The Vrefs are worth looking at.

 

Even if you set the aircraft's Vrefs speeds in the "Takeoff" preferences in the FMC (Flight Management Computer) they don't select the same in the EHSI

 

So you still have to set the Vref Speeds yourself. The SPD REF knob is top centre on the EFIS Control Panel, slightly tricky to use at first but you soon get use to the insert system of adding in the Vref Speeds, if it is grey it can be set (note the yellow "No VSPD" notice)...

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Ref 1.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Ref 2.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Ref 3.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Ref 4.jpg

 

....   select the speed via the top part of the knob and lock it in with the "SET" button, it will turn green when set, all four settings can be set in V1/VR/V2/REF, You can switch between TO (Takeoff) and APP (Approach) Vspeeds, when set the No VSPD notice disappears. I like this action a lot.

 

VAV/MAP display details cover WXR (Weather), NAV AID, APRT (Airport), RTE DATA (Route Data) and WPT (Waypoint), set them all and you will get a very cluttered screen, certainly with the WPT range set long, personally I never use WPT unless in RNAV mode as they usually clog up to much of the screen.

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Panel 6.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Panel 7.jpg

 

RTE DATA is however very good in fine detail in showing all the complex data of your route.

 

WRX - Weather can be selected and you can adjust the brightness of the weather on the display. TERR - Terrain is also available and FlightFactor was one of the first and it is still the best of this TERR feature.

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Panel WRX.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Panel TERR.jpg

 

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Flying with the FPDS

What started out as a nice day in Barcelona, Spain quickly deteriorated later in the day towards departure to Porto - LPPR, Portugal.

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Flying A.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Flying B.jpg

 

FlightFactors/VMax Boeing 757 is still a magnificent aircraft, and as we have noted over a few update reviews it now comes with a much more nicer cabin and dynamic details, but you do notice the missing engines behind the blades and the cabin still has some work to be done on the overhead panels.

 

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You have to find the right WRX setting, if not it will overwhelm the display, or when it does refresh it can take a moment before resuming.

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 3.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 4.jpg

 

Vref Speeds are excellent and spot on if you have done your homework 159 knts + 10 is perfect at 15º flap...

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 5 LG.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 6.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 7.jpg

 

....  no denying that the FF B757 is a great aircraft to fly, but with this level of study flight, one you have to know your stuff and two have to fly the aircraft a lot in sequences over a lot of routes to get the full depth of simulation, get it right and the returns are impressive.

 

I am a big fan of "Range to Selected Altitude" markers, setting climb and descent targets can make or break a good flight, and in here they are excellent on both displays.

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 8.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 9.jpg

 

I find the PBR a bit to bright in certain lighting conditions and light in the B757 cockpit it is, and that shows on the displays as well...  but you can't doubt the excellent detail and data you get from this avionics system...

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 10.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 11.jpg

 

Select APP Vref and then fill in the "REF" (you can get this from the FMC/APPROACH REF) and the system will fill in the blank speeds, just okay to green or change them to your own preference.

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 12.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 13.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 14.jpg

 

Arriving at the EGI2T STAR into Porto the information provided is really good... and in many ways far better than the older CRT layout. But be aware that there are no backup analog instruments with this FPDS, as all instrumentaion is now all just in the glass displays.

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 18.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 19.jpg

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 22.jpg

 

Then down the chute into LPPR RWY 17. Note the ILS alignment diamonds, and yes you still set the ILS Freq on the rear of the console and not on the forward EFIS Control Panel, note the excellent VNAV Path Exceedance marker next to the Vertical Speed.

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 20.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 21.jpg

 

...  manual thrust control to the runway, and you have to really like this bird....  it is amazing to fly when you get into the groove.

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 23.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 24.jpg

 

131 knts on final, and you just let the power off to the flare, the B757 is quite hard to pitch with the nose, but a little nose high is perfect anyway..

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 25.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 27.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 26.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 28.jpg

 

...  a very sweet touch down, I am pretty happy with that one, now the reverse thrusters and airbrakes and your quickly down to taxi speed....

 

757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 29.jpg757RR-200 FPDS_Flying 30.jpg

 

....  so the flying experience with the more contemporary IS&S avionics is a certainly a great advance if you are wanting the Boeing 757 to be a current simulation and rather than a nostalgic one.  These B757 are mostly now running cargo freight, but many a unreplaceable -200 or -300 versions are still doing great work out there until the newer Airbus A321XLR starts to send them all out to Victorville, for you that is a great omen to keep flying this brilliant aircraft.

 

A last note that the FlightFactor Series in the Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 are both very high study grade machines, so they need a fair amount of devotion and time to learn all of their complex systems and flying habits, and like this B757 FPDS then the Boeing 767 version shouldn't be to far behind.

 

Pricing: FlightFactor have produced a 9.14 min video to explain their pricing structure,  which really says it all in that it is getting complex. But basically you can upgrade two ways.

 

One (which I will call the Avionics upgrade) is the Standard Single aircraft PRO that can be upgraded with this FPDS package to Modern Avionics

Two (Extended and Global) you can also update to first from the Standard Single Aircraft to the "Extended" version that includes three versions of the B757 in the -200, -300 and the Freighter, and then update again to the GLOBAL version of everything in the Extended and plus the FPDS package.

 

Pricing is best shown like this base B757 US$72.00, Upgrade to Extended US$20.00, Upgrade to Modern Avionics US$20

 

So all four upgrades can also be purchased as a pack..

 

Single basic B757 Pro Pack - US$72,00

Modern Avionics Pack - US$ 92.00

Extended Pack - US$92.00

Global Pack - US$112,00

 

Summary

Here is another extension to the FlightFactor/SteptoSky Boeing 757 Pro with the first being the " Extended" version with the optional variants of the -200, -300 and the Freighter.

This is the "Avionics" upgrade to the IS&S - Innovative Solutions & Support’s display units called FPDS or Flat Panel Display System. This brings the Boeing 757 into a more contemporary later aircraft currently still flying around the world, as the older version carried the nostalgic CRT semi-glass/analog systems.

 

As a reproduction of the IS&S FPDS it is about the best as you are going to get, but it is however a bit pricey for just an avionics upgrade, and the NAV/MAP display can also interfere with the VOR Frequencies in the lower part of the display, otherwise it is excellent with all the features you will ever need including great Takeoff and Landing Vref interaction. In reality it turns the B757 into the same PFD and NAV/MAP system as on the Boeing 737.

 

Obviously yes this Avionics upgrade is a brilliant addition to the aircraft and expect it to appear soon in the similar Boeing 767, personally I really like this avionic option on the FlightFactor's Boeing 757 Pro Series, and yes it was well worth the wait.

 

______________________

 

Other small version and fix updates of this aircraft include:

v2.2.13
- added showing plane position on navigraph charts that support such functional
- added some docking points for better compatibility with ground services
- fixed navigraph charts in VR
- fixed resetting navigraph charts page on switching efb mode (horizontal/vertical)
- fixed broken sound on some Linux distributions
- fixed the case when pop-up screens weren't visible in different multi-monitor setups
- returned an ability to toggle keyboard input mode for cdu, now by clicking on cdu screen on pop-up window
 

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X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! the Boeing 757-200ER Professional & Extended versions and the EPDS extension by FlightFactor Aero/SteptoSky...

...    is NOW! Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Boeing 757-200ER v2 Professional

 

Price is US$72.00

 

Boeing 757-200ER v2 Professional Extended

 

Price is US$92.00

 

Boeing 757-200ER v2 Professional Extended Upgrade

 

Price is US$72.00 + US$20

 

Boeing 757-200ER v2 Professional Modern Avionics

 

Price is US$72.00 + US$20

 

Boeing 757-200ER v2 Professional Global Upgrade

 

Price is US$92.00 + US$20

 

Boeing 757-200ER v2 Professional Global

 

Price is US$112.00

 

You must already have purchased and own the current Boeing 757-200 v2 version for any upgrades (Extended/Avionics) to the aircraft

 

Requirements

X-Plane 11.36 (X-Plane 10 is NOT supported!)
Windows 7+, Mac OS 10.10+ or Linux 14.04 LTS or compatible, 64 bit mode
8Gb RAM / 2Gb VRAM Minimum, 16Gb+ RAM / 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended
Current and Review Version: 2.3.6 Free auto-updates for the entire XP11 life-cycle

 

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Upgrade Review by Stephen Dutton
10th September 2019
Copyright©2019: X-PlaneReviews
 
(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)
 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.20

Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.11 US$69.90 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : BetterPushBack - Free : JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin

Scenery or Aircraft

- LEBL - Barcelona XP11 by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$21.00 (review of LEBL is here : Scenery Upgrade : LEBL - Barcelona XP11 by JustSim

- LPPR - Porto Airport UHD, Portugal by Area 77 (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$23.50 (review of LPPR is here : Scenery Review : LPPR - Porto Airport Portugal by Area77 Simulations

 

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Yep, love the look of this plane and what seems to be meticulous details in the panels. But, for an Australian, about AU$135  !!! Bloody ridiculous!  Though I do appreciate the work that was done on this, but at this price point, way, way too much for me (being on just a pension, *sigh*).

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We (Australia) get seriously hammered by the exchange rate, sometimes I think we are subsidising the low prices the Americans get, certainly on Apple iPhones, and as China is far closer than California... it hurts and I certainly feel your pain, but wait for the sales later in the year.

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