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Aircraft Release: McDonnell Douglas MD-88 by Rotate


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Aircraft Release: McDonnell Douglas MD-88 by Rotate


Rotate has released their version of the McDonnell Douglas MD-88. This aircraft is available on the X-Plane.OrgStore NOW!. 


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This is not a review but a preview and my very first impressions of the aircraft to give you guide on what the MD-88 is actually like and what is available on the aircraft.


One thing I will make clear is that the MD80-88 series is my holy grail aircraft (only the Vickers VC10 is above this series in desirability). I have watched countless hours of YouTube in cockpit videos of the MD-Series that have sent my family against me and would put me in court if they could...  guilty as charged. So the release of an aircraft of this desirability could but won't make for a bias against the aircraft...  in other words the aircraft had a lot to live up to, with almost impossible standards of what I wanted in X-Plane from this machine. And from the moment the first images appeared on Rotate's site (Rotate.Com) they drove me more and more delirious but also more and more worried of the amount of expectation of the aircraft matching my actual orbital expectations.


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My biggest morbid fear was that the MD-88 would have everything I wanted, absolutely everything...  but I wouldn't be able to actually fly it?

The aircraft textures are huge, in size and quality. Average size is around 200mb and first reports were as the aircraft was a frameweight killer, that would be a sink hole of pain for me. So the first big relief is that the MD-88 is very good on framerate and about the same as most other similiar sized and featured aircraft in X-Plane, so as to using it and flying the MD-88 I have only the same usual routine things to deal with that is just normal simulation use...  a real phew! moment.


Yes it is a heavy aircraft on your frameweight, but usability is still easily possible, and there is a few tricks as well that can take a little more weight out of the aircraft if you are pushing the framerate boundaries, overall for what you get it is extremely good.

With that sort of quality large (I mean huge) livery texture files then the detailing here is off the planet, brilliant to excellent.


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So there is no doubt Rotate's MD-88 looks the job, it is very, very good.


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The cockpit is very highly detailed and has a sort of FlyJSim B727 feel about it, but that maybe because it is the same period design as the MD series was a follow on from the iconic 60's DC-9 aircraft.


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The cockpit is that sweet period between the old analogue world and the newfangled electronic glass panels design, which is mostly analogue with the PFD (Primary Flight Display) and MAP/NAV screen in glass panel instruments. but it is beautifully done. This is the MD-80 series cockpit you dreamed about, and here you are finally in the drivers seat...


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The overhead panel is a dream or a nightmare depending on which angle you to come to it on, Yes it is well laid out and functional, but boy there are so many switches and knobs that you will need a lot of time and focus to get the whole lot into your head, even now I am still feeling my way around the board, but the biggest advice I can give is that there is both a very good aircraft manual and excellent Tutorial Flight manual and I suggest you understand both well before doing any serious flying...  The aircraft is complex, it has a lot of settings and switches and parameters to set up and adhere to, and you won't fly the MD-80 like a complete pro for many, many flights. It is complex and huge fun and a brilliant simulation. A note that not every single switch works, most aircraft systems are reproduced here so you are wanting nothing in that department, but some of the minor switches are just dummies, hopefully they will be activated in future updates.

The MD-88 aircraft was called "Mad Dog" for a reason, yes the initials make up the name, but the reasoning behind the name is that if you press the "Go-Around" button the aircraft as quoted "The throttles go all the way to full power, the nose shoots up, the airplane rattles and roars like never before." it is known to scare the living daylights out of any seasoned pilot...  I haven't had the nerve to try that one yet.


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Flight instruments are excellent, but the yoke hides the lower MAP/NAV display. The Autopilot is wonderful, but it is nothing like your standard Airbus or even Boeing standard layout...  but in operation you will love its functionality.


Start up and shut down procedures are long, complex and hugely enjoyable if you are a procedure freak like me. I want realism, and you certainly get that here, but the lead up to flight times are long...


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The FMC (Flight Management Computer is thankfully rock solid and very detailed and versatile. There is the odd SID/STAR editing, but that is par of course in most cases anyway, but there is no popup display.


One thing you do notice is that it is a very noisy cockpit, not the actual sounds which are excellent, especially the engine start up which turns up hairs on your neck...  but the alerts and alarms, they are loud and they are frequent and even off putting when you are in critical stages of flight. But they note that the real MD-80 pilots got used to them and edited them out, but if any pilot would end up in the loony bin with strange loud noises in their heads it is these MD flyboys.


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Full cabin is modeled and is very well detailed, very realistic. For the window-huggers (yes I am one) the view out is excellent.


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For external features you get opening front and tail doors (beautifully animated and detailed) and three side cargo doors, and a GPU (Ground Power Unit) all controlled from the MCDU. but no pushback truck, chocks, visual checklist (there is a good printout checklist provided) or special effects like rain or misting which would have greatly enhanced the package.



As noted the quality of the liveries are outstanding. Rotate's own livery is default, with Alitalia, Air Liberte, Two Delta's in the "Wavy Gravy" or "Flowing Fabric" version which satisfy none one as the modern version is the "widget' version (odd choice), the old Delta "Classic", SAS, Iberia, American Airlines (metal classic), Allengiant, German Wings and an old BIA (British Island Airways)


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So did the Rotate MD-88 live up to my disproportionate even excessive exorbitant standards?  Yes it did, in the end I am a realist in what it actually delivered. It is tricky to fly, noisy, lots of set up, lots of detail to get through, but isn't that the reason we fly these complex aircraft in the first place...  I note it will take time to be totally immersed in this aircraft, but then again time is one thing that is free and let us note "it is the journey, not the destination" that makes it all worthwhile...  even if it changes you slowly into a raving "Mad Dog".


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


McDonnell Douglas MD-88

Price is US$59.95


Developer Rotate - Rotate.Com

Developer Support - MD80 - X-Plane.Org



Custom Flight Management System (FMS) and Automatic Flight
  • Route, departures and arrivals procedures (SIDs and STARs)
  • Save and load route to/from text file
  • Performance management, cost index and optimal altitude and speed calculation
  • Custom VNAV. Climb, cruise and descend management with altitude and speed restrictions
  • Takeoff and approach speed management
  • Custom Navigation Display
  • Improved autopilot with specific horizontal and vertical modes
  • All EPR performance modes
  • Flight Mode Annunciator
  • Aerosoft NavDataPro (2014) included (for updated database third party subscription is needed)
Detailed simulation of systems
  • Power plant 
  • Electrical
  • Pneumatic and pressurization
  • Slat/flap controls with dial-a-flap feature
  • Takeoff trim computer
  • Customized alert and failures
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
  • Cockpit ambient and custom alerts





64 bit operating system
Windows Vista/7/8/10, OSX 10.8 and up, Linux Ubuntu 14.04 (or compatible) and up
X-Plane 10.31+ (any edition) running in 64bit mode
Processor: Multi-core Processor 3.3GHz
8 GB RAM -Hard Disk: 3.3 GB
Graphics: 2GB VRAM (3 GB VRAM or more for best performance)
Preview by Stephen Dutton
8th December 2015
Copyright©2015: X-PlaneReviews


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