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Aircraft Update : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 v1.43 by Rotate


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Aircraft Update : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 v1.43 by Rotate


The Rotate McDonnell Douglas MD-88 has been flying in X-Plane for a fair while now, so as users we are not unfamiliar with the aircraft. The last significant update was in early in October 2018 (v1.42 with the WebFMC addition) and it is in the quality of the aircraft is that the MD-88 has been solid in that no more tweaking was required, in fact this new update is still quite small in fixes, that is until a new upgraded version comes along after the release of the long awaited Rotate MD-11 Tri-Jet.


First a note...  this aircraft version v1.43 came along at the start of X-Plane's 11.50 Vulkan beta, so it was actually my first test and transfer aircraft for the new API (see details here), so my notes say that the Rotate MD-88 is very good in the new API, even with a beta within a beta, so that shows the quality again of the aircraft in the depth of it's development... in other words the Rotate MD-88 is now already Vulkan ready.


Rotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Head 1.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Head 2.jpg


The breathtaking quality of those huge 4K textures is still present, and now more so in v11.50 of X-Plane as you can push the detail higher via the new API system, the MD-88 is still one of the most highly detailed aircraft in this category in X-Plane.


Rotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Head 3.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Head 4.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Head 5.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Head 6.jpg


McDonnell Douglas MD-88 is from another era, just the last of the few are actually flying, but that is not to say the legacy of the DC-9 was a short one, in fact these aircraft are one of the longest to have been in service in numbers all around the world, with many still flying the routes they pioneered decades ago, in fact half a century ago. So the cockpit is as they say comes from the steam era, it is just all dials and knobs and even the glass instrument conversions of the EADI (Electronic Attitude Director Indicator) and lower the EHSI (Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator) are as old fashioned in design...


Rotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Cockpit 1.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Cockpit 2.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Cockpit 3.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Cockpit 4.jpg


....   I will state though that because of the aircraft's era statement, it does require a lot of well...  love. And attention. The MD-88 is not the easiest aircraft to set up, start up and fly, but that is the attraction as well and a very good tutorial from Rotate helps a lot, in fact a real lot. But the MD-88 is like starting up a steam engine compared to say an Airbus A320, but very involving as well. I personally have a stack of noted noted (a lot of the notes are in red) to start the Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines. Ergonomics are not one of these old workhorses strong points either. I had to create a system to find switches on the startup procedure, just noting the "Yaw Damper" then means finding the actual switch, so Top OHP Left 3 down 2nd means looking at the Overhead panel top left, thrird panel down and second switch along allows you to find the switch, do that 20 or so times and you can see why my (red) notes are littered all over the printed out "Checklist".


Rotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Cockpit 5.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Cockpit 6.jpg


Deep down I would say the Rotate MD-88 is one of the most deepest simulations in X-Plane, and yes many a developer would counter that claim, if it is not then it is certainly at the top of the list. So the point is you are making a big investment in flying this McDonnell Douglas MD-88, in time, in study and in actually setting it up and also with the required skills of flying the machine... the rewards are high, even huge in what you get back in satisfaction and knowing your skills have conquered the era of the machine. In other words the aircraft delivers, in the deepest sense.


Rotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Cockpit 7.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Cockpit 8.jpg


Any downsides? The cabin is now starting to feel a little bit dated, although far better than many cabins out there, you do feel the detail could now be a step better and the many flat textures....


Rotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Cabin 1.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Cabin 2.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Cabin 3.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Cabin 4.jpg


McDonnell Douglas MD-88 v1.43

Like noted this is not by any standards a big update with v1.43, but more of a tweak and a new feature. The new feature is the AviTab, a popular plugin that shows information to the pilot, the added bonus is that if you nave a Navigraph account is that it can be used with the AviTab tool. The free AviTab plugin is inserted into your X-Plane Resources/Plugins folder:


AviTab features

  • PDF viewer
  • Airport info: See runway lengths, METAR info, ILS frequencies and more
  • Moving map that supports online maps and offline maps, you can even scan your own map image and calibrate it to use it as moving map
  • Navigraph integration: Link your Navigraph account and see the charts right in the cockpit
  • Aircraft integration: Some aircraft come with a 3D tablet model so that AviTab becomes a physical tablet for VR (Virtual Reality)


You can remove the tablet by pressing the suction cups on the side window....


Rotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_AviTab 1.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_AviTab 2.jpg


....  but the hardest item to find is the power switch (even had me scratching my head), It is on the top (small) and to the left side...


Rotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_AviTab 3.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_AviTab 4.jpg


...  yes I am a huge fan, especially with the Navigraph charts and position indicator to find your way around the multitude of taxiways and runways.


Rotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_AviTab 5.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_AviTab 6.jpg


This was also one Avitab installation that didn't get in the way, I find a lot of these tablets are too big, or badly positioned...  but this one is perfect.


Departing EDDL - Düsseldorf to LEBL - Barcelona you can see the benefits on the Avitab in following the SID MODRU6Z departure route...


Rotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_AviTab 7.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_AviTab 8.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_AviTab 9.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_AviTab 10.jpg


Most of the fixes and tweaks are quite small considering the year and a half period the aircraft was not updated, but the MD-88 felt it wasn't actually wanting anything anyway. The biggest one for me is not actually in the v1.43 update, being able to use the aircraft in v11.50 Vulkan, and it works fine in there.


So what is changed in v1.43, in the FMS it is the improved autopilot trajectory precision in allowing more RNAV procedures not available before, and fixing a bug in the CRZ page... both fixes are welcome.

There is improved compatibility with SmartCopilot plugin and better compatibility with hardware controllers.
The anti-ice system has been improved, and that would be in conjunction with the extra features in X-Plane from Laminar Research.
Rotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Fixes 1.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Fixes 2.jpg

The auto brakes behavior during rejected takeoff procedure has been improved, note the lovely design of the autobrake switch rear pedestal.


The MD-88 is quite the nosiest in a nice way sort of aircraft in X-Plane. Sounds are very loud and certainly in the external sounds, but there was a very noticeable sound loss in certain areas, these have been attended to and fixed.

Rotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Fixes 3.jpg
The Rotate MD-88 has a slightly unusual way of adjusting the various knobs and switches. Not in a bad way, but the manipulators can either be too slow or too fast. The addition of better mouse scrolling makes the twirling just a little better now.
Rotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Fixes 4.jpg

Finally there has been a few minor errors in some textures and animations that have been corrected, did you notice anything? Not me the MD-88 has always been perfect in my eyes.


Rotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Fixes 6.jpgRotate-MD-88_Update v1.43_Fixes 7.jpg

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Overall a small but worthy v1.43 update to Rotate's McDonnell Douglas MD-88 lovely workhorse. The addition of the AviTab tool is the biggest change, plus some bug and refinement fixes to the anti-ice, auto brakes, sounds and manipulators, and more RNAV procedures are now also available for your use.


Still the MD-88 is one of the really great simulations in X-Plane currently, a very deep simulation that requires a certain amount of study, attention and if I have to say it, work for your pilot's reward...  but those rewards are simply very high. A great aircraft and it also flies now very well in Vulkan as well.


Totally Absolutely recommended, and currently the McDonnell Douglas MD-88 is on sale for only US$45.00. (a saving of US$15 over the regular price)




X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg


Yes! the v1.43 McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro by Rotate is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store


here : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro


Price is US$59.95 - Currently on sale for US$45.00

If you already have purchased the McDonnell Douglas MD-88 by Rotate, then go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account and download the free v1.43 update.


Green Arc Studios WebFMC Pro plugin (US$19.95) is available here : WebFMC Pro v1.5.3

Dr Gluck's TerrainRadar Plugin (Free) is available here: Terrain radar + Vertical Situation Display 1.14


Developer Rotate - Rotate.Com

Developer Support - MD80 - X-Plane.Org




- Precise flight model and fine tuned engine performance.
- Virtually all the instruments and controls are interactive.
- Developed with the advice and counseling from MD-80 licensed pilots.
Custom Flight Management System (FMS) and Automatic Flight
  • Route, departures and arrivals procedures (SIDs and STARs).
  • Custom LNAV and VNAV. Climb, cruise and descend management with altitude and speed restrictions. ARINC424 instructions support.
  • Save and load route to/from text file.
  • Performance management, with complete VNAV profile calculation, including T/C, T/D, and time, fuel and altitude predictions.
  • Takeoff and approach speed management.
  • Custom Navigation Display with curved transitions and MAG/TRU operation.
  • DFGC, Thrust Rating management (EPR modes) and Flight Mode Annunciator.
  • Aerosoft NavDataPro (2016) included (for updated database third party subscription is needed).
  • DIRECT TO page.
  • LEGS page with RTE DATA extension page.
  • CLIMB page with CLB DIR function.
  • DESCENT page with SPEED/PATH, DES NOW and DES DIR modes.
  • Complete HOLD functionality with entry pattern calculation and Present POS.
  • PROGRESS pages with pilot selectable waypoint. More accurate time and fuel predictions.
  • PERF page with BURN SCHED, WIND/TEMP corrections and calculated remaining fuel.
  • FIX page.
Detailed simulation of systems
  • WX/TCAS with TA/RA advisories.
  • Power plant: accurate PW-JT8D-219 model, Fuel Distribution, Heat and Quantity Indication, Automatic Reserve Thrust.
  • Electrical: Power Generating and Distribution, APU, Battery Charger, Emergency Power Supply.
  • Hydraulics: Rudder and Elevator HYD/MAN operation, GPS, Reversers and Brakes accumulators.
  • Air: Pneumatics, Air Conditioning and Distribution, Pressurization.
  • Slat/Flap controls with Dial-a-Flap control.
  • Takeoff Condition Computer.
  • Complete Engine Fire Detection and Extinguishing simulation.
  • Simulated Tests: DFGC, Altitude, Engine Fire, APU Fire, GPWS, Windshear, Flight Recorder, Voice Recorder, TCAS, Brake Temp, Stall, Anti-Skid, LED/Annunciators.
  • Support for WebFMC
  • Support for TerrainRadar plugin
Pop-up Menu
  • Ground operations page, with GPU/GPS request, doors management, and fuel/cargo/passengers load functions.
  • Fuel & Load page, with load stations according to Weight & Balance manual.
  • Weight & Balance section, with accurate custom CG computing, and Weight/CG predictions for Takeoff and Landing.
Hyper-realistic visuals
  • Highly detailed 3D cockpit, passenger cabin and exterior model.
  • Normal and specular maps for enhanced detail.
  • Thorough HD day and night textures.
  • Accurate animations, including wing flex animation.
  • All external and internal lights.
  • A set of ten ultra-high resolution liveries, including a paintkit.
Custom sounds
  • 3D sound engine with stereo and doppler effects.
  • High quality multi-layered engine sounds.
  • Wind and control surfaces sounds.
  • Cockpit ambient and custom alerts.




X-Plane 11 (Fully updated, non beta version)
Windows , OSX 10.10+ , Linux Ubuntu 14.04 (or compatible) and up - 64 bit operating system
Graphics: 4Gb VRAM (8GB+ VRAM or more for best performance)
Current and Review version: 1.43r3 (April 16th 2020)
Tested in X-Plane 11.50b4  Vulkan and there are no current issues.
Changelog v1.43:



Update Review by Stephen Dutton
18th April 2020
Copyright©2020: 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)


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