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Aircraft Review : Boeing 747-200 Classic by Felis Planes


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Aircraft Review : Boeing 747-200 Classic by Felis Planes

 

As active service is starting to come to a close, the venerable Boeing 747 is stacked in history, groundbreaking and it all comes with the sheer changes the airframe has brought to the world, if even in the process in also creating the modern international aviation system we have today...  the greatest aircraft ever built?

 

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As debatable as the title of GOAT (Greatest of all Time) is, and the sheer weight of the evidence that in the cases of the DC-3 Series, Lockheed Constellation, Boeing 367-80/720/707 and of course Concorde, could also be considered for the ultimate title, but except for the DC-3, most of the others were really for only the classes of the rich/elites of the world...   the Boeing 747 was for everyone.

 

I have personally flown on the Boeing 747 about 20 times, it changed my life (literally) in breaking up the huge distance barrier between living in Australia, and being born in the United Kingdom. That was the Boeing 747's ultimate contribution to the huge changes on the planet over the last 50 years or so. As the aircraft could and did create a population movement right around the world, like of which we have never seen before.

 

The aircraft broke so many barriers. It was the first twin-aisle aircraft or "Wide-Body" configuration aircraft, but remember also that the cargo loader or the Astroloader created for the 707, was then totally redefined as a complete super-sized cargo container to carry bulk cargo in the holds of aircraft for the 747 and it's compatriots for the huge numbers the 747 carried, again in totally changing the way we loaded and transported cargo in the air and in cargo movement on the ground...  remember from the very start the Boeing 747 was created to be a supersized cargo freighter for the military and actually not a passenger aircraft, hence the hump, it is there to create a full clear deck for cargo loading and for the ease of freight removal. But look at the silhouette, and it is a three deck perfection of transporting people and cargo to go pretty well anywhere that had a runway long enough to cater for it. The 747 also changed airports beyond recognition as well, to cater for the loading, unloading these huge passenger and cargo numbers it carried...  when a 747 lands, there is a lot to do, a lot to process to get the turnaround done and get the next huge load factor back into the air, just being around a Boeing 747 always creates excitement, watch one land after traveling thousands of miles, and it will still and always give you goosebumps.

 

So you just can't ignore the Boeing 747, and come to a simulator and all you would want to do is fly one. And that is the single most focused reason I am doing reviews in X-PlaneReviews right now, as all I wanted to do originally was fly the "Jumbo Jet", the "Queen of the Skies" or how does the "Aluminum Overcast" sound? 

Oddly Boeing 747's are actually not thick on the ground in the X-Plane Simulator, as we have had no FS based PMDG B747-400 to gloat over. The original best versions were the X-Plane9 2d panel X-Plane Freeware Project machines, that were incredible for their time. Dr Gary Hunter also created (early 3d cockpit) versions of the -100 and -200 that got a lot of nautical miles thrown at them, but from then on it went downhill... 

The early SSG Boeing 747-800's were (1) not the version I really wanted or a -400, (2) were very buggy in their early days, but certainly now a brilliant simulation of a modern B747 (but it took simply years to get there)...   the elephant in the room is the default Laminar (JRollon) Boeing 747-400...  to be honest..  it is dismal, okayish even back when it was released for X-Plane10, sadly it has not had much attention in the intermediate decade either (yes I know that sparky has done a Zibo on the default B747, but it is not really a full Zibo yet).

Add in finally a few FS crossovers, and so sadly there is not much more out there to get your ultimate Boeing 747 fix, so it is simply not the best airframe that X-Plane has delivered lately. Then out of the blue in typical X-Plane fashion there are two versions of the -200 Series, one is still in development by JustFlight, and this -200 Classic version by Felis.

 

Felis Planes aircraft have been usually very, very Russian in context, like his last release of the Tu-154M and also an AN-24 and Yak 40. So a big brash American aircraft originally felt a bit of a odd context of a fit for such an Eastern-European developer... but here it is after 3 years in the making and development...  Boeing 747-200 Classic

 

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The first question is "Why the -200?", why not the original -100 classic. For one the -200 Series was the real breakthrough aircraft of the early Jumbo's... to be honest the -100's were a bit of a disaster and only sold 205 aircraft. Boeing agreed to deliver the first 747 to Pan Am by the end of 1969. The short delivery date left only 28 months to design the aircraft, which was two-thirds of the normal development time. The schedule was so fast-paced that the people who worked on it were given the nickname "The Incredibles". Developing the aircraft was such a technical and financial challenge that management was said to have "bet the company" on the series when it started the 747 project.

 

The first 747 entered service on January 22, 1970, on Pan Am's New York–London route; the flight had been planned for the evening of January 21, but an engine overheated and made the original aircraft unusable. Finding a substitute aircraft delayed the flight by more than six hours to the following day when Clipper Victor was used...  and this was just the start of the no end of issues with these under-powered and difficult engines, add in that the wings also suffered oscillation under certain conditions.

The strengthening of the wings was the easy part, but those Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines, of which was the first high bypass ratio jet engine to power a wide-body airliner were quite simply a nightmare in blowing up in flight, or being shut-down consistently, it created the scenario of having engines available to be swapped over constantly at the ends of service flights and it all created timetable chaos, overall the early JT9D's were engines too small for the largest airframe then flying and they were causing ovalisation, in which the stresses during takeoff was causing the engine casings to deform into an oval shape, resulting in the rubbing of the high-pressure turbine blade tips. This was solved by strengthening the engine casing and adding in yoke-shaped thrust links. The upgraded JT9D-7, with 197145,500 lbf (202 kN) of extra thrust was then the right powered engine for the airframe, since then the JT9D power-plant has flown more than 169 million hours. Production ceased in 1990, when the JT9D Series was replaced by the newer PW4000 Series.

 

The -200 model followed in 1971, featured those more powerful -7 series engines and it had a higher (833,000 lb (377.8 t) MTOW. Passenger, freighter and combination passenger-freighter versions of the -200 were all produced. The shortened 747SP (special performance) with a longer range was also developed, and that variant entered service in 1976. In reality it was the -200 version that created the legend, the global warrior, the workhorse machine that moved millions around the world... and now here is that -200 version in the X-Plane Simulator.

 

External Details

To be honest, I was expecting something good from Felis, but on a first look of his latest creation... the jaw just dropped. We are used to another level of simulation, another level of quality in every new evolution of simulation, but "wow" this 747 is simply really something else.

 

The thing is, it was not just another new aircraft for X-Plane... it is the feel of the thing that gets you from the off, that 747 bulky feel and that heavy, heavy 747 vibe that you just didn't get before.

 

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You forget how really big this aircraft actually is...  This is the hump 10 window version, a significant sign of the -200 designation. Yes the -100 had the extension from the original 3 window pot-boiler, as did the -300 have the 10 windows, but only the -200 had the 10 window configuration across it's whole production run.

 

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And those magnificent Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7 engines, which are extremely well recreated here for your pleasure...

 

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Surprisingly they feel quite quaint, even small to the whale mouth mega Ultra-bypass fan engines of today, but the current monsters were once started and are still related to these orginal powerplants of over 50 years ago. There are notes that the General Electric CF6 is also coming to this Felis aircraft, but no notes on if the Rolls Royce RB211-524 that also powered the -200 is coming. Internal inlet cowling soundproofing and nicely burnt JT9D-7 exhausts cones are of really great detail and engine authenticity.

 

Excellent detail shows the animated reverser airflow panels (arrowed) in that they all blank outwards to push the airflow forward on the reverse thrust function. The detail in here quite exceptional.

 

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The best liveries are the ones that expose the aluminium hull, as they reflect and sparkle in the light, and look simply magnificent in the air.

 

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By today's standards they have that vintage feel and look, and in fact look very 60's... but you are also sort of seeing the beast in it's raw form.

 

Modeling is very good, as is the fuselage detail, in all areas the NML normal mapping, or Dot3 bump mapping is really very good, in highlighting the wing and fuselage surfaces, the best locals are around the tail (which is excellent detailing)... with great fuselage ribbing that shows off the construction detail perfectly...  the mapping has to be very good to be effective, too deep and it does not look at all realistic, bump it out too proud and it looks even worse (one of the major failings on the JRollon default B747)...  but here on the Felis design it is fantastic in realism.

 

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All wing access panels are noted as is the flying surfaces in their correct detail, I won't detail the Kruger flaps yet (not the usual Slat leading edge operation as on modern jet aircraft), but they are folded in nicely here. The Triple slotted flaps at the rear of the wing are again in the retracted (clean) position, but the flying surfaces are drooping nicely with no hydraulic pressure to power them.  The -200 has no winglets, so the wingtips are clean with a lovely aerodynamically modeled profile, the winglets eventually came as a visual signature on the -400 version. Modeling here is really really good on the detail...

 

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One noticeable aspect though is that the main fuselage is just one 4k 4096x4096 size texture, and this smaller size becomes apparent around the windows and with the many jaggies on the liveries... the problem is the real estate size of the B747, in that blow up huge twin 4K textures for the more extreme detail, and that puts huge pressure on the framerate, it is a compromise, unfortunately it shows...

 

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...  Felis has gotten around part of the issue with separate textures for all the finer details, like the cargo door instructions below, which are highly readable...  it is a compromise you have to live with.

 

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The towering cockpit windows always looked like a medieval helmet ready for battle, that thick green glass is really well represented here, but the metallic surrounds are a bit low-res and I have seen far better detailed metal window frames. Overall all the glass on the aircraft is excellent, the cabin windows are really nice up close with a slight frosted glaze and look very realistic.

 

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I have always loved the Boeing 747's stance... It says BIG, heavy, heavy aircraft...

 

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The extensive undercarriage assemblies are really good, fabulous even... 

 

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...  they scream outwards of thousands of flight cycles, takeoffs and landings....  grungy, weather beaten, sand blasted, worn... 

 

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Hydraulic piping lines are excellent, as are all the hydraulic struts/links and the individual hydraulic rams cylinders (with all the correct information panels)... so the full inner and outer gear assemblies are highly realistic and well animated... boy how far we have come in a decade of detail and realism...

 

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Nose gear is very good as well, I love the separate housing box of the runway turnoff lighting, and the small gear door notches to cater for a forward strut, great and 747 absolute detail...

 

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....  nicely raised and perfectly labeled "Goodyear" tyre logos, show off the excellent rubber on the aircraft, all small stuff, but it all counts in bringing too life a very and highly realistic Boeing 747...   even Joe Sutter would approve of all of this excellent work.

 

Static Elements

Felis has took an unusual approach to providing ground vehicles and static elements. The B747-200 comes with a pre-set (.set) to use with the JARDesign "Ground Handling Deluxe" tool (you have to install the .set in the GHD plugin. There are some basic settings built in like Chocks, GPU (Ground Power Unit), Crew Bus, Ambulance and Fire Truck. But if you want the whole service system then you would need the GHD plugin. Oddly I find it an odd choice? I rarely use an Ambulance or Fire Truck? And with no Fuel Tanker to load in the fuel? very odd indeed, but this aspect and other default GHD items we will cover later.

 

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The two lower main cargo hatches can be opened as well as the rear BULK door... but currently the main deck passenger doors don't open? But Felis has noted that they are just in needing to be finishing off and animated, so they will soon be all active as well in an early update.

 

Using the GHD however, works very well...   and effective.

 

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Cabin

We will board via the second left passenger door were the most of us in being mere mortals mostly entered the Economy class seating (first door left is for First Class/Business class)...  entrance is directly opposite is a galley...

 

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...  look left and there are the two upper classes, look right and the huge expanse of the Economy class seating greets you. No Economy Plus+ or Premium Economy was located in here back in the 70's. We will go to the rear and then make our way forward again...

 

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...   anyone of a certain age would recognise this cabin space immediately, it is nothing like the later -400 layout, of three or more classes. The rear toilets are certainly very recognisable! The 3+4+3 seating layout is complimented at points by just a twin seat arrangement... forward rear cabin and a few rows as the tail tapers inwards at the rear, this tapering in is excellent, and noticeable via the shaping of the overhead lockers to compensate.

 

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The seating material is also very recognisable, inlayered blue here but the same thick wool (and back then comfortable) material could have been in say the oranges and reds of Qantas (they threw in a bit of yellow as well), or the gaudy American 70's browns, mustards and greens of the period. A passenger safety card is placed in the rear pockets. Door and sidewall paneling is really very well done, but I don't remember grey? it was more an off cream, biege and lighter brighter colour, but the original wall panel patterns are very well represented here if you get in close. Overhead locker detail is again first rate.

 

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There is however this overwhelming feeling of greyness in all the cabins...  Mostly with the cabin divider partitions...  on a real 747-200, there would be a large screen here with those huge low-slung projectors hanging mid-cabin, or the airline logo or even a destination image...  so there is also the same factor as with the doors, or are these areas not yet completely or fully finished...   I would like to think the cabin needs a bit of something a bit more to break up the compounding grey.

 

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Mid-deck has those coveted door aisle seats with tons of leg space, but they were also positioned by the toilets? with everyone from Mums with kids to the older infirm people standing and hovering around you while waiting to squeeze into the tiny interior toiletry space, oh and the sucking noise, hurrendous noise every time someone finished their business...  I would rather be right up the back and away from the noisy congestion.

 

Business class is actually small in a four row 2+3+2 layout, again the seats are luxurious in an old fashioned way in a darker blue this time.

 

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The famous concave nose of the 747, was the prized zone for the rich...  spacious, all with twin abreast seating each side to the nose, the four rows of seats are the same as the ones behind in Business Class, but who cares...  again the overhead lockers are all individually created to fit into the curve of the ceiling, again so beautifully done.

 

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Go back to the rear of the First class cabin and to the first left entrance door, and there is another 747 icon, the spiral staircase, and in here it is all finished in shiny polished steel...

 

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...  the staircase is steeper and tighter than you think it is...  I have been privileged to have been seated up here only once, it is more like the tighter area of Concorde than being on a 747... two abreast/three row Business seating has been installed up here and not the early fancy cocktail bar and lounges that lasted only for a few months before airlines realised how much money they were losing on the prized space. Oddly you couldn't see out very well with the sloped angle of the upper windows, so you looked more up than downwards. Roof detail is again extremely good, and there is a basic toilet behind the rear curtain...  but you really expected a galley area, and it again that hidden area looks little uncompleted and open.

 

Cockpit

It is however through that cockpit door that we are interested in...  The tight cockpit door opens, but it won't open, if it is not unlocked from the cockpit Overhead Panel (OHP), but it also needs to be powered up as well to turn the handle, tricky if you are on the outside, and the power is off on the inside?

 

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Once inside it is certainly a huge "WOW" moment! Look left and there is a jump seat (with a folded spare (not animated) in front). Look right and there is the coat hangar space with two oxygen (masks) bottles. Note the excellent cockpit door aircraft Airworthiness and Registration labels.

 

Into the cockpit and the crew space is SIMPLY unbelievable...  There is the same feel of the FlyJSim Boeing 727 Series, but the completeness in here is just astounding. There isn't just the focus on the Main Instrument and Engineer's Station panel elements, but the full detail in every aspect of a real Boeing 747-200 cockpit, overhead, to the rear, to the side...  everything is noted and completed in high full on detail.

 

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The Engineer's chair also rotates forward ( a lot of the engineers would help the pilots by pushing up the throttles from the rear). Looking forward and the sheer complexity of the main panel, just bewilders your eyes, the Engineer's Station panel was complex, but looking forward it is just as bad...  it all gets very overwhelming.

 

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Certainly any simulator pilot would look at anything new to fly with a greedy eye, to master...  "I will control all of this all so very easily"...   not so this time sunshine?

 

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Seats are beautifully created with perfect materials and realistic period textures... 

 

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...  inner armrests are animated to drop down, and the under seat floor tracks are really nicely done. Note the nice folds on the seat back materials.

 

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We will put the power on early...  not on the OHP, but over at the Engineers Station (ES).

 

Statement: at this point as this is an early beta review I have no manual? that is still being assembled by Felis (on a recommendation that "you really, really, really need a manual for all of this!")...   so if I make the odd switch or system mistake, then I am working absolutely blind in here.

 

I am using the GPU (ground Power Unit), and not the on board APU (Auxiliary Power Unit), so as to not to use up the on board fuel. The GPU panel is roof upper left on the Engineer's Panel, and the DC main bus is mid-panel left, (Shielded) battery switch is on the DC Meters panel.

 

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Power on and with the instrument and panel lighting adjusted...  Glorious! 

 

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But by switching switches and touching things you easily reailse that almost EVERTHING works in here, as all the systems are actually working and active...  here by example are the switches for the Compass (Magnetic/Heading) and the Altitude (Artificial Horizon) selection, and note that all of the switches around you are also actually working...  multiply that by this clockwork complexity and your head and eyes are very soon swooning.

 

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Authentic yokes do look and feel very 747...  very nicely done, and with a working A/P (Autopilot Cancel) on the left arm button.

 

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But can you hide them?  I looked everywhere, in the menus, on the tablets, and clicky, clicked the bases of the yokes until I couldn't click anymore? The solution? The instrument panel behind has a click zone "SHOW/HIDE YOKES" set directly behind the Captain's Yoke...  Duh!

 

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Too easy, but I will say this, it is a great and very easy way to hide and unhide the yokes very quickly in flight, I used this panel switching plate a lot. The yokes are not set individually, but hide both together.

 

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The main flying instruments are actually quite simple, and replicated on both the Captain's and First Officers (F/O) sides of the panel, the only missing item is the Timer/Chrono set out on the far left.

The central Artificial Horizon is very authentic in detail...  known here as the Attitude Director Indicator (ADI), it provides a visual presentation of the pitch and roll attitude of the aircraft on a spherical display. The side scale shows glideslope, and localiser deviation is presented on the lower horizontal scale, and an inclinometer is mounted on the lower front face of the instrument. F-Fast and S-Slow indications are to the left...  and there is a slip indicator bottom...   you can test the ADI as well (arrowed below left). Left of the ADI is the Airspeed Indicator (IAS/Knots) with built in Mach counter top centre it is all very 60's/70's period in layout.

 

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Lower centre Instrument panel is the Horizontal situation indicator (HSI), with Heading bugs and a built in Course Indicator, Miles (to go) and GND Speed displays. Left of the ADI is the Airspeed Indicator with built in Mach markings and settable bugs, Right is the Altitude Indicator and far right is a Radar Altitude dial, again testable (arrowed below).

 

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Below is the TCAS VSI (Vertical Speed Instrument). This instrument is a dual digital instrument that combines the TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) display and the Vertical Speed Instrument. to the right is a backup Altitude Indicator...  and left of the HSI is the Distance Bearing Indicator (DBI) pointers for the VOR1/ADF1 (DME 1) and VOR2/ADF2 (DME 2). Like noted the F/O's main instrument layout is exactly the same. Top panel each side is an F/D - AP - A/T situation panel with warnings built-in, very similar again to the panel layout in the FJS Boeing 727...

 

Centre of the instrument panel is dominated by the clockwork engine dials...  4x4, for the four engines and their readout displays for (top to Bottom), EPR - Engine Pressure Ratio, N1 %RPM, EGT - Exhaust Gas Temperature and FF - Fuel Flow.

 

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Left of the dials is a back up Artificial Horizon (with working adjustable pitch line), below is the main and highly detailed Annunciator warning panel. Right of the dials top is a Total Air Temperature (TAT) and EPRL - Engine Pressure Ratio Limit.

 

Then the familiar 747 (each wing) Flap Indicators (0-1º-5º-10º-20º-25º-30º degree) flap positions, bottom is a SAT - Static Air Temperature gauge. Right-centre is the main Gear Lever (UP-OFF-DN). 

 

There are three gauges right panel for the F/O only...  Top is a TAS - True Airspeed (knots) counter, below is an excellent aerodynamic surfaces indicator (Elevators/Rudders/Ailerons/Spoilers) and bottom is the Hydraulic Brake Pressure gauge.

 

Built into the glareshield is an authentic Sperry Autopilot MCP (Mode Control Panel) unit.

 

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The Sperry is very much a unit of it's period, and in reality a very basic autopilot for an aircraft of this size...  we will look at it's operation in flight. Each end of the MCP is the VHF NAV selectors NAV1-Left and NAV2-Right... far right is the MCP brightness knob, and both ends have a RADIO-INS switch.

 

Overhead Panel (OHP)

If you love complexity in machines, then you will be in thrall of these early 747s. The OHP is complex, certainly there is no logic or ergonomics on the boards flows to aid in any speed and efficiency of the cockpit work load.

 

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There is actually a certain pattern to the layout, mostly the engine controls that go down the board, for Fire (Bottles/Handles), Starting/Ignition in two columns, with an auxiliary panel down the centre column for Emerg Lighting, Intercom and Windshield Wipers. Left panel column has Hydraulics, Yaw Damper, Auto Brake, Anti-Skid... Right Column has Radio Master (Avionics), Stall Warning, Anti-Ice, Probes and Window Heating switches. The Inertial Navigation System (INS) uses three Carousel systems operating in concert for reliability purposes, and they are spread across the upper centre of the OHP. Bottom or the chin of the OHP is the instrument and overhead lighting knobs, External Lighting for Landing, Turnoff - NAVigation, BEACON(s), STROBE, WING and LOGO.

 

Engineer's Station

Three man aircrews were normal throughout the 60's and 70's on international flights... Captain, First Officer and the Engineer. The one thing that overwhelms you is that the complexity of the aircraft is with these extensive layout of panels, that showed in it's very raw detail via the Engineer's Station, the unbelievable aspect is that they took all these systems and controls, and then remodeled (or automated) it all for a twin crew operation in the -400, most of what you see here was later hidden and revolutionised for basically the same aircraft with the same capabilities, astounding really when you think about it and the forward progress of automation on aircraft flight decks.

 

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Top roof angled Engineer's Panel, and you have a very nice fluorescent panel above the station under an authentic period cover...   Top right is the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) panel with Start/Bleed switches and "Fire" handle, and below the AUX POWER panel (GPU). Cabin Oxygen and Galley controls, lower is the DC Bus switches. Centre panel is the Air-Conditioning Panel and Packs (this goes on down into the centre section of the station). The four pointer gauges is the Engine Fire Detection Panel, with "Fire Tests" and "Squib Test". Wing LE Overheat (testable) and far right are the engine generators (Main and APU) Annunciator warning panels.

 

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First to note that all the four engine readout dials (1/2/3/4) also all go in line right down the left side of the station...  with the Electrical (generator) Bus Panel top, with the Engine Oil Temperatures set below, with the main engine readouts going lower. Moving right along the centre section is the DC/AC Electrical Panel (battery). Next centre is the continuation of the above noted Air-Conditioning Panel and Packs systems with cabin pressure settings...   Next is the N2 (Pressure & Quantity) Panel, with the Undercarriage Brake Temperatures, Anti-Skid and Landing Gear Indicators. Far right centre panel is the Expandable Flight Data Acquisition and Recording System or (EFDARS), and again a panel that can be inputted and tested.

 

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The base of the work station has to the left, the continuation of the four engine readout dials (1/2/3/4) in five rows...  N2, Oil Quantity, Oil Temperature, Oil Pressure and bottom the Engine Breather (PSIG). Center lower panel is dominated by the Fuel System, with Fuel Temperature, Fuel Pressure, Pumps, Boost Pumps and Fuel Quantity in four tanks and a centre (CTR) tank... Fuel Used counters are also available...  all the fuel readouts can be in either Pound (lbs) or Metric (Kg).

 

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To the right of the base, is a APU HOURMETER, Leading Edge Flap Indicator, Body Steering (Gear) indicators, a Timer/Chrono and bottom is another Total Air Temperature (TAT) gauge.

 

Far right is the FUEL JETTISON (red) panel...  the panel opens up to access the JETTISON PUMPS, JETTISON VALVES and JETTISON NOZZLE VALVES...  Laid out on the desk is a chart covering; Altitude, Cruise Weight, and Optimum (Speeds)

 

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Below the desk far left is a RADIO-Intercom panel and the LIGHTING controls for the Engineer's Station.

 

It is obvious that a study of all of the above and a learned  interaction is required before flight. Just switching switches and turning knobs will get you into trouble later (except for the lighting knobs)... as with everything, you have to break it down and understand how it all works. You wanted realistic complicated systems in the simulator...  well here they are.

 

Centre Console

In context the Boeing 747 Centre Console feels and is more stubby than you would expect.

 

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Throttle quadrant is set out up front and the Radio Panel is at the rear. Grungy, Dirty, Worn, Metallic...  the Throttle Quadrant is everything you would want it to be...

 

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The assembly is sensational, four throttle levers and four fuel flow switches to cover the four-engined aircraft. The detail and quality of the quadrant is highly realistic...  The Trim wheels (operated by the switch upper left) are also exceptional, with their lit green direction and position indicators. Left are the Stabiliser and Trim Levers, with the Airbrake lever set rearward. Right hand side is the "Click, Clacky" clunky Flaps lever... and towering above are those four double handled throttle levers with their ceramic feel handles, four rear reverse levers are also hidden behind the quadrant... the front engine Fuel Flow levers have three positions "IDLE-RICH-CUTOFF".... perfection!

 

Rear centre console is top, and each side are the two main VHF/HF Radio panels, with the Autopilot Pitch and Roll knobs centre (Manual PITCH and ROLL wheels are only used for controlling autopilot pitch in turbulence, and they only work when the autopilot is in MAN mode)... Then down each side is the VHF 1 COM, ADF 1 and VHF 2 COM on the left, on the right is the VHF 2 COM and ADF 2 Radio Tuners.

 

Centred between the tuners is the third INS - Delco Carousel IV-A Inertial Navigation System. Below is the Transponder Panel, A great feature is the full custom intergration of the use of Saso Kiselkov’s Libradio and OpenWXR plugins...   and bottom panel centre is the EPRL Mode (Engine Pressure Ratio Limit) and A/T Mode Selectors...  right lower is the Bendix Radar Radar panel.

 

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Rear of the centre console are the Aileron Trim Switches, large Rudder Trim knob (very nice), Warning Horn and Control Stand/Centre FWD Panel lighting knobs...  set into the rear of the console is a very realistic announcement phone.

 

Internal Lighting

As expected the internal cockpit lighting is sensational...

 

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Captain's, F/O main instruments, centre Engine Instruments, Instrument panel lighting, Centre Console and Overhead Panel all have separate adjustable knobs, the Engineer's Station has five adjustable knobs for gauges and dials, plus that huge fluorescent panel...  you can of course turn down the main under the glareshield lighting for the just perfect instrument approach feel.

 

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Storm or the adjustable Dome lighting will light up the cockpit via four roof lights, there are two (adjustable) Map lights above each pilot, and one (Arrowed above left) to light up the Engineers table...  at the rear there is a clickable spot light for the rear jumpseat (arrowed above right). Overall the lighting is simply excellent.

 

The Cabin lighting is not however as good, as it is far brighter than even a Stanley Kubrick space film... It is extremely bright back here and certainly does not match the comfortable cockpit, and simply way too bright for a 747 cabin...  and externally it does not look realistic either...    less is more here please.

 

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External lighting is very good, but there is not a lot of it compared to modern aircraft, for one there is actually no nosewheel taxilight?. There is however the boxed two turnoff lights, outboard and inboard landing lights, great wing lights, navigation (wing/tail) lights, upper and lower beacons and an illuminated tail light.

 

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Tablet and Menus

There are three tablets set on each side by the pilots, and one set on the Engineer's Station. The tablet is both an AviTab and the Aircraft's Menu system.

 

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The tablet has ten icon options; AviTab, Load Calculator, Refuel, Payload, INS, GND, Fast Load, Check-Lists, Perform Calc and Options.

 

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First icon is the standard AviTab, The AviTab has all the usual AviTab features including Navigraph intergration if you have a subscription, and the free AviTab plugin IS required for it to work.

 

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Tablets are static in that you can't rotate the Tablet to a Portrait position. That said they are all positioned well for ease of use.

 

Load Calculator : Second icon is the "Load Calculator". Here you can set up the Boeing 747-200's Passenger, Cargo and Fuel loads, by using the scroll wheel on your mouse...   Everything can be adjusted to your liking, then all the preset weights are shown lower right in the "Final Results" box...   A super option is that you can use the "Show Loadsheet" (arrowed below) of the aircraft, but better still you can save it as a "TXT" file, that is then saved in the aircraft's root "OUTPUT" folder, and that Loadsheet can then be printed out for in flight use...  "Love it!". 

 

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Refuel : Third icon is your refueling/Unload Fuel tab...  Here you can set the amount of fuel you want in the B742, or insert the amount directly from the Loadsheet...   Then you call the (GHD) Tanker to Load in or unload the Fuel, If you can't wait, then there is the option to do an "Instant Refuel".

 

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Payload : Fourth icon is your PAX (Passenger) and Cargo Loads...  Here you can BOARD, or DEPLANE your Passengers and Cargo in real time, or again do an Instant "Board - Unload" or "Instant Deplane and Unload". Again you can insert the Pax/Cargo numbers directly from the Loadsheet, but not the other way around (or changing the Payload sheet)?  Selecting BOARD or UNBOARD will bring the (GHD) Stairs to the aircraft.

 

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INS : Fifth icon is the INS or Inertial Navigation System details. It notes the current coordinate position, a "Quick Align" option, Clear all Waypoints" and Open Flight Plan (X-Plane Default Flightplan list).

 

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GND : Sixth icon is the GND (Ground Service) selection for the already noted GHD vehicles, and the place to open/close the two main and BULK cargo doors.

 

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Fast Load : Seventh icon is the "Fast Load" tab. A very quick and simply way to load the aircraft, but importantly here is the aircraft's ZFW (Zero Fuel Weight) and CG (Centre of Gravity) numbers. And you can set the numbers by pressing the "> Write Into

Sim" line.

 

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Check-Lists : Eighth icon is the "Checklist" tab. The Checklists are excellent, highly readable and can be ticked "Checked" off as you go along. Start - Reset - Skip - Check - Prev List  - Next List, controls the menus...  and thankfully both the Pilot and Flight Engineer areas are highlighted (Arrows).

 

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Perform Calc : Ninth icon is the Performance Calc (Calculation) tab. You can either load the data set information either by the "Loadsheet" or by the "SIM".  Airport and Weather conditions (or just the Weather), can also be read into the calculator There are two pages for "TAKEOFF PERF" and "LANDING PERF" including the required Stab Trim number for takeoff. Both the Takeoff and Landing Speed Bugs can also be set on the Airspeed Indicator. Notes include: "Stab Trim", "Init Pitch" (best Takeoff pitch in degrees) and Opt (Optimal Climb out Speed).

 

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Options : Seventh icon is the Options tab. These are the various options you can use on the Boeing 747-200. They include; Nosewheel Uses, Nav System, UNITS, INS align, INS Source, Sync CPT/FO Gauges, Cockpit sound Volume and External engines Volume

 

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Nosewheel Uses - Three options cover the way you steer the 747; TILLER/YAW/ROLL, I have become a huge fan of using the "Roll" function to steer aircraft, as yaw will move the rudder and the nosewheel as one, were as roll will split the rudder from the action, it makes it far easier to keep the aircraft straight on the runway...  it is more fun to use as well.

 

Nav System : In the Felis 747 you have the choice of two FMS - Inertial Navigation Systems or INS. The FMC or the X-Plane default system...  And both units pop out for use as well...

 

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...   Second INS option is the Delco Carousel IV-A Inertial Navigation System, called CIVA. It is an Inertial navigation system (INS) and a navigation aid that uses a computer, motion sensors  and gyroscopes to continuously calculate via dead reckoning the position, orientation, and velocity  of a the aircraft without the need for external references. CIVA does automatic navigation of up to 9 waypoints.

 

This CIVA is a custom version for the Boeing 747-200 by Felis, and not being the addon version by Philipp Ringler payware version. To date there is no actual documentation on how to use this custom CIVA, I will add in the details later when available or even do a separate "How to Use" review.

 

UNITS : Changes all volumes to either Imperial or Metric units

INS align : REAL or FAST - sets the world setting to align the Inertial navigation system in real time, or instantly.

INS Source : REAL or Sim GPS - sets the INS source to a Real world setting, or uses the X-Plane GPS settings.

Sync CPT/FO Gauges : This option synchronises both or all Barometer settings.

Crew Voices : OFF/ON - The Felis 747 has really great background cockpit voices and intercom sounds, well worth leaving switched on.

Cockpit sound Volume : Adjusts the cockpit sounds 1.00 to 0.00...  not the usual 100%, but adjusted via the mouse scroll.

External engines Volume : Adjusts the external engines sounds 1.00 to 0.00...  not the usual 100%, but again adjusted via the mouse scroll.

 

There is a secondary menu on the X-Plane Menu Bar...

 

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This covers two of the Tablet Menus in "Checklister" and "Performance" Calc (Calculator)...

 

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....  but also allows you to hide the Tablets (a very good idea, as they can be quite bright at night)

 

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____________________

 

Flying the Boeing 747-200

There are a few quirks to be aware of, the first is an odd one...  in that the first view (W key) is set from the view of the Flight Engineer's position, mid-way between the seats...   so you have to do a keypad view save to put yourself back into the driving seat, hit the "W" key by mistake and you are always placed in the wrong seat...  very odd.

 

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Startup this time is via the APU, Battery ON and start the APU for power. The only way to go quickly through the startup, is actually to go slower through using the Checklist(s)... 

 

B742_PW_Felis - Startup 3.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Startup 4.jpg

 

...   The first two checklist pages are however the wrong way around, so you need to start on the PE page, then move back to the earlier Pilot's page once the power is up and running.  The checklists show what needs to checked or switched, but not actually where the items are, hopefully the manual will explain more when it comes, but otherwise I found it actually easy to set the aircraft ready for engine start, and far easier than I thought it would be by running simply down the checklist.

There is however a huge amount of this "Checking off" to do... and there are loads of areas to test and to make sure everything is working as it should... the system detail in this Felis 747-200 can easily become overwhelming. To note even small things like the Engineer's Station Baro (both of them) has to be adjusted, miss that and the cabin (pressure) settings are wrong?

 

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Bleed is another tricky one...  you have to push the bleed air from the APU through to the engines before you start them, but what is the right bleed flow to the right areas? Basically if you set up your bleed valves like this (below, and mostly all closed)...  then you should be good to start the engines.

 

B742_PW_Felis - Startup 8.jpg

 

 Open the "Start Valve" clip and switch to ARM...   every action should now be acknowledged by a voice (if you have the Crew Voices option switched on) and very good they are...  Boeing 747 engine start sequence is 4-3-2-1, or 4---1 if you only want fewer engines to taxi or for pushback. Notable there are none of those no huge pull knobs like in the -400, as in the -200 it is just an "ENGINE IGNITION" switch that has to be held down until the "Valve" Open" light comes on...  over on the EP then the engines N2 output should start to rise...

 

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.... when N2 gets to 20% then you click up the pedestal Fuel Flow lever, and it clicks wonderfully down into place with a satisfiying click. Every action is spoken out as you go along "Start Valve Open", "Engine Four Start" and so on... it is all quite brilliant. It is easy to do the Engine start on the OHP, then move to the FE panel, then at 20% turn around and switch on the Fuel Flow, as you will need to see that N2 counter that is not present on the main instrument panel.

 

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As each engine powers up then the sounds come in...   it is quite quiet on the flight deck, but the startup and running sounds are excellent externally (engines sounds are by Turbine Sound Studios). Not as loud as the 60's vocal engines, these bypass engines are much more quieter than those old pure jet engines of a decade ago, and ushered in a new era of less noise around airports, but you might have to adust the % to get the right external sound feel.

 

Now with the engines running you have configure all the systems on the FE Panel, Electrical - left, Packs - Centre, Hydraulics - right and Air-Conditioning Panel - top. It is a bit like a "wack a mole", with any really brown lit warning "Press" light... it is then targeted and extinguished, Green is good.

 

B742_PW_Felis - Startup 15.jpg

 

Pressing some switches, makes other dials come alive, slowly but surely this massive B747 comes to life.  the detail is amazing...  drop the flaps (5º) and the FE board now comes to life, as you see the hydraulic pressure being diverted, and the flap extension is shown on the FE display...

 

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...   the 747 now feels so alive!

 

Notes include the Takeoff Trim and the green band shows you your safe zone for the T/OFF Trim to be correct...  here it is set to centre, and not to the correct takeoff setting...

 

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...  and there are the three  A/T MODES, of EPR - MACH - SPEED and selector EPRL (Engine Pressure Ratio Limit) and it all works with the thrust setting knob in TOD - CON - CLB - CRZ and GA modes, Also note the two Flight Directors on the glareshield for each pilot.

 

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The announcement and intercom system is excellent, press a button for an announcement, but with some you can't hear it in the cockpit, but very well in the cabin...  very authentic. The Crew will also call you in the cockpit and the "Call" light will come on... to interrupt any announcements (or kill it), just hit the FLT INT button, overall it is a really great and realistic system.

 

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_________

 

Engines running and your now gulping down A1 like no tomorrow, so you can't sit here messing around...  Flaps to takeoff 5º and those lovely Kruger leading edges unfurl...  sounds are brilliant as they whine out separately, very, very realistic...  the B742 is finally coming alive...

 

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It is very important to now to set the A/T EPR Mode to ON, rear pedestal... if not when you want to activate the Sperry Autothrust, it won't work unless you set the selection beforehand and the TOD first selection know as "Take Off Dry"... 

 

You forget on how high you actually sit in a 747 cockpit, it is at between 7.56 to 7.90m above the ground, so the view is commanding, but you have to adjust your thinking in the way you move the aircraft around on the ground, and remember the huge bulk of machine behind you as well.

 

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Tricky is using the Parking Brake...  you have to not only to release the Braking Brake switch, but also tip both rudder pedals together (or use the (Standard) brake to finally release the brakes, if not the big 747 will stay quite solid...  when release the voice will note that the "Park Brake" is off...

 

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...  this is also a good time to check the aerodynamic surfaces indicator (Elevators/Rudders/Ailerons/Spoilers) and via the Yoke and rudder movement, as the Hydraulic Brake Pressure gauge is set below. Three choice TILLER/YAW/ROLL actions are great, as noted I use the "Roll" function to steer aircraft as my preference, but the hands on Tiller option is also very good.

 

Take-Off Trim is set a 4.5º, and very nose down in the lower forward green zone (important), the "Stab Trim" unit is noted on the tablet Performance Calc page as noted, and then the speed bugs are now also set.

 

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Everything set, and it is time to push all four of those magnificent throttles slightly forward...  and the huge bulk of the 747 starts to move...  you certainly feel the size and weight with the amount of power on the throttle forward position required to move the aircraft.

 

B742_PW_Felis - Takeoff 12.jpg

 

"Hey... outta my way, I am so much bigger than you!" You trundle along and everything feels so right with this huge Boeing...

 

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It is important for takeoff that the (Three) Air-Conditioning Packs are now closed (for more power), but you have to switch them off slowly, or space the closing of each valve by one at a time. OHP requires the ANTI-SKID and BODY GR STRG switches to takeoff.

 

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....  the feel and everything is just SO right...  this is such a real 747 experience. Another Speedbird aircraft is lining up ready to go onto Barcelona's Rwy 07L, decades and 50 years apart, but both aircraft are doing the same route and service BCN-LHR.

 

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Onto Rwy 07L and you are partly nervous, okay a lot nervous...  this is a BIG aircraft, complex and unforgiving. 

 

Power up to move the giant forwards, and that familiar thunder powers away in the background...  747's have a very distinctive feel, certainly on takeoff and the initial climb out. Those Kruger leading edge flaps are like barn doors in the air. So you have to find a balance between the heavy Kruger drag (even at only a º5 Flap) and the power available...  On a -200 unlike the -400, you have far, far less thrust available, and the trick is to not rotate too high on rotation and slowly...  if at near TOW (812000 lbs) with a lot of fuel, then you can be eyeballing the fence before grabbing the air, here at a far less TOW (554514 lbs) weight, so it is not as much an issue.

 

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Once moving...  you switch on the EPR (TOD)...   this will automatically set the correct thrust and speed required for takeoff, the EPR mode light comes on the A/T display... Speed and Mach will not work as the TOD setting only holds the take-off power %. My takeoff speed is set a little higher at 189 knts, but most pilots set it at the rotate speed.

 

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V1, Vr then V2 +10 (164 knts) you feel the stick back and the huge 747 bites into the air. Once "Positive Climb" is called you make sure your speed is slowly climbing upwards, and you change your forward speed more to say around 235 knts.

 

B742_PW_Felis - Takeoff 26.jpg

 

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You are extremely aware of your pitch and speed on the sharp turn out of Barcelona, of which you watch both like an eagle, once in clear air you can retract the (Kruger) Flaps, and be careful of the extreme speed acceleration, as with the drag disappearing the B742 will accelerate quickly...  Rate of Climb can be 2,000 fpm, but that really depends on the weight...  if heavier then around 1,800 fpm is the best and 1,500 fpm if really very heavy... and clean the B742 is a very fast aircraft, around 250 knts is the usual lower altitude speed.

 

The EPR is now switched to CLB (Climb) mode and you can now adjust the V/S...  a note that in other EPR settings you can get a A/T disconnect when using the V/S (or non-movement of the V/S wheel), so it is VERY important you do have the correct EPRL selection selected, so a serious study has to be done to understand the array of A/T Modes and on what each EPRL mode does or what it can allow you to do on the Sperry A/T facia...  confusing?

 

Yes very and certainly in those very, very extreme high workload areas of takeoff and landing...  The system is known as the "Full Flight Regime Auto-Throttle System" (FFRATS), as the earlier B747's only had just a more basic IAS System and the FFRATS is very well modeled here by Felis.

 

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...  once in a level flight you can switch back on the AIR-CON PACKS (All three in sequence), and turn off the ANTI-SKID and BODY GR STRG switches on the OHP and the passenger "seat belt/smoking" signs. Now you need to control of the speed, so the A/T Mode is set to SPEED - CON (Continuous) and now the throttles will follow the set speed.

 

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Select your AUTO PILOT ENGAGE (Command) left or right, but not both) and set to either HDG (Heading) or VOR LOC (VOR-LOCK) if using a VOR radial. To connect into your flight plan (CIVA or FMS), you switch on the INS switch for both pilots, situated far left/right of the glaresheid (RADIO-INS switches between your RADIO frequency or FMS-INS system) and turn the lower selection switch to INS, in most cases you would have to do a DIR-TO edit on the FMS to get the current waypoint selection...  here you are to a point flying blind as these early 742s don't have a navigation display to show you your route? there is no helper pop-out panel either.

 

                   B742_PW_Felis - Takeoff 40.jpg  B742_PW_Felis - Takeoff 36.jpg

 

With the hard turns done on the BCN NATPI 1N Departure, it is time to climb to altitude...  again the decision is based on weight, a heavy TOW will mean a lower altitude, then a stepping up to your cruise altitude (after burning off some fuel/weight), or like here in going straight up to FL 360 (36,000ft) with that now set with ALT SEL (to hold the altitude when acquired). Back to EPR and and select IAS, this will climb the aircraft at the best vertical speed, and hold your current speed at the same time...  however I found the aircraft hunted badly between holding the speed and the vertical speed, but you can also use the V/S selection under CLB (Climb), but remember to adjust the climb power as you lose A/T control, and I found that far more smoother and I felt more in control with the V/S choice. (note this is a beta, and the IAS climb aspect may be refined in the release version)

 

B742_PW_Felis - Takeoff 37.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Takeoff 38.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Takeoff 39.jpg

 

There are a few considerations with Felis's Boeing 747-200...  as noted the cockpit workload is horrendous, and you can't hide that fact, as you are a single entity doing the work of three people in the cockpit, the checklists really help, and hand created flow charts really help as well...  but it is not easy?

 

Framerate is also quite high, with xEnviro switched on I was down in the middle/low 20's of framerate, and it is not a nice place to be, so if you have a weak computer you will certainly struggle, there is a lot of bulk and complex systems working here, and it shows on the Plugin Admin Performance charts (I as again will note this version is a beta I am flying... so the release version may be more refined, but I doubt it).

 

B742_PW_Felis - Route 1.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Route 2.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Route 3.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Route 4.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Route 5.jpg

 

The Boeing 747 is not called the "Queen of the Skies" for nothing...  it is a magnificent aircraft in the air. Sounds are very good, but the cockpit far removed form the engine sources and so it is generally quiet sitting up front...   The 747 is a long distance performer, and the aircraft is in it's total element in this aspect.

 

One area you don't want to get yourself into is when you get a nasty pitch, it is a nasty 747 trait. So if you see a severe nose up position, you pull the power back and get the nose down and quickly, as you can't power your way out of it, and as in most cases you will lose the aircraft... so use the eagle eye consistently on climbing to watch that speed above everything else, always keep the 747 level, smooth and fast with no sudden rises in the pitch.

 

B742_PW_Felis - Route 19.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Route 20.jpg

 

A total of 393 of the 747-200 versions had been built when production ended in 1991. Of these, 225 were -200B, 73 were -200F, 13 were -200C, 78 were -200M, and 4 were military. Remember the two VC-25As "Air Force One" aircraft are also based on the -200 version.

 

Performance: Max Speed is 939 km/h (507 kn), but Economy Speed is usually around 907 km/h (490 kn) or around M.85. Range is 6,560 nmi - 12,150 km[c], most will think the -200 can fly the distances like the -400, but the later aircraft's range was quite more substantial at 7,730 nmi - 14,320 km(c)...  The differences were shown in the earlier -200 flights to the later -400 flights from Australia to Europe, the -400 would stopover only in Singapore to refuel (I once did an epic Narita (Toyko) to Heathrow (London) service, but the average Australia to Europe -200 service was Australia - Singapore - Bahrain - Europe, so that extra fuel stop back then was always required.

 

This BCN to LHR is only 707.09 mi (1,137.96 km) so I am not really pushing the aircraft's performance envelope in this review...   notable is that there is no MACH conversion on the Sperry or the Speed Instrument, so it is quite hard to home in on the exact .M speed.

 

So once at altitude (make sure you "Hold" the altitude by selecting "ALT HOLD), you can then hold the .M (Mach) as well...  you can't actually select a mach speed, so you have to adjust the speed to the .M you want (.840) then select the A/T Mode "MACH" and the CRZ setting to "HOLD" it at that speed (only the IAS speed can be actually changed and selected in the SPEED mode).

 

B742_PW_Felis - Route 6.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Route 7.jpg

 

You feel the weight of the aircraft as you descend as well. You also have to make the decision to go down as well as there are no NAV MAP markers or TOD helpers, it all has to be done via your own maths heightxspeed to distance. As the immense Boeing falls the speed will rise considerably so you have to control that aspect also, mostly by using the airbrakes...  2,000 fpm is about right, descend any faster and you will struggle to control the speed...  after a few flights though and I was able to descend without using the airbrakes, while still keeping control of the descent speed.

 

B742_PW_Felis - Route 8.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Route 9.jpg

 

The Tablet supplies all the "Landing Perf" preferences for (F) Flap positions, landing distances and speeds... the speed bugs can also now be set ready for landing as well, no need to shut off the Air-Conditioning Packs on landing, but the ANTI-SKID and BODY GR STRG switches still need to reactivated.

 

B742_PW_Felis - Route 10.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Route 11.jpg

 

B742_PW_Felis - Route 12.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Route 13.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Route 14.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Route 15.jpg

 

Heading into the landing circuit for EGLL Rwy 25L, I reduce the speed (185 knts) and extend the flaps 10º, the buffeting starts and so does the drag again, but the B742 is very stable...  going back a decade and the differences to the earlier XPFW B747 is huge, but the same 747 feel still shines through over the age.

 

LHR is directly ahead, but then sitting over my right shoulder as I turn to BIG VOR (Biggin Hill) at OCK (Ockham)...

 

B742_PW_Felis - Route 16.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Route 17.jpg

 

...  I am using the ROXOG 1H chart, but the 25º approaches are always messy to avoid the built up areas of London.

 

B742_PW_Felis - Landing 1.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Route 18.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Landing 2.jpg

 

ON the final turn into 25L at NEKSA (waypoint) I drop the gear with a "thud, thud, thud, thud", I can't see the engineers panel, but I do get the three "Gear Down" okay lights on the panel... take a chance to marvel at the detail of the gear, with the outers hanging backwards ready for an early touch. Still tons of work to do...  as I turn into 25L I select the ILS and switch back the RADIO-INS switches (both sides) to connect into the glideslope. Coming quickly into the Glideslope my speed is perfect (as noted by the FAST-SLOW indicator) and so I switch on the auto- LAND.

 

B742_PW_Felis - Landing 5.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Landing 9.jpg

 

On finals the full triple slotted flap system is revealed...  triple slotted flaps extend downward and rearward away from the wing in three sections. The trailing edge of one section forms a duct with the leading edge of the section behind it to force air down and over the top of the flap, also known as "Fowler flaps", which increase the area of your wing by extending out on rails or tracks, and the 747 takes the extended Fowler flap idea to the extreme...

 

B742_PW_Felis - Landing 3.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Landing 4.jpg

 

B742_PW_Felis - Landing 7.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Landing 6.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Landing 8.jpg

 

...  the classic 747 "Bird of Prey" look with those huge talons hanging below as you are now slow at a 152 knts and swooping into the airport.

 

Initial Buffet Speed is around 100 knts, after that you stall and fall out of the air. I will admit to using the SPEED A/T on the final, I have landed with the A/T off and manually bringing the aircraft in, but using the SPEED does help with the workload, and if you get your manual thrust position wrong (even slightly), the 747 will easily float and not flare correctly, again it needs practise and skill to get the flare right.

 

"If you are not nervous at this critical point, then you will still get ending up with that frighting feeling soon"

 

B742_PW_Felis - Landing 10.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Landing 11.jpg

 

Over half a century this was a familiar image of a BOAC/British Airways 747 arriving at Heathrow...  sadly it will be so no more.

 

B742_PW_Felis - Landing 12.jpg

 

But in X-Plane and with Felis's marvel, you can keep the flag flying a bit longer...  the outers touch first, then the inners and the runway is now again holding the aircraft, the power comes down and so does the nose, quickly you pull the reverser handles to unleash the reverse thrust, and very effective the reverse power is as well, as is the AUTO-BRAKE OHP...  sitting this high, your down, but it still looks like you are still flying way above the runway!

 

B742_PW_Felis - Landing 13.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Landing 14.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Landing 15.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Landing 19.jpg

 

Reverse engine thrust noise is excellent, as are all the sounds here, the airbrakes also pop-up on touch, but I will admit, that setting the "Armed" position is very ambiguous, sometimes the airbrakes act, and sometimes they don't, the lever needs a more of a "thunk" and "chunk" feel to know they are armed correctly?

 

B742_PW_Felis - Landing 16.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Landing 18.jpg

 

B742_PW_Felis - Landing 17.jpg

 

Speed rubs off very effectively, and you only need a light touch of the brakes to slow down, the really slow landing speed of around 150 knts really helps in this aspect. Suddenly the 747 again feels as big as it is, as you taxi into the older Terminal Two complex...   it was home to BOAC after all, and a newer British Airways -400 crosses your path, that is how big a 747 is on the outside.

 

B742_PW_Felis - Landing 20.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Landing 21.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Landing 22.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Landing 23.jpg

 

My bay is 325, and the 747-200 is a (very) tight fit... external power via the EP, and engine shutdown...  and thankfully the thirsty fuel counters will finally stop revolving, Greta Thunberg will now be more happy with you...

 

B742_PW_Felis - Landing 24.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Landing 25.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Landing 26.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Landing 27.jpg

 

...  now you can watch (very slowly) as your aircraft deplanes, love that, but it takes a lot of time to do so in real time.

 

Complex, heavy workload, loads of checklists, powerful, demanding... Felis's magnificent Boeing 747-200 is everything and more!

 

B742_PW_Felis - Landing 28.jpg

 

Liveries

There is a HUGE selection of liveries for this Felis Boeing 747, as there is an army of painters creating pretty well every livery you could think of, with a smatter of the Classics and late 80's and even some modern liveries...   Download quality can be quite variable as some like the KLM (In three states of wear) are simply excellent, but I saw some with some very poor lines and very average texture detail...  but most presented are simply excellent.

These are the default liveries provided in the package; Aerolíneas Argentinas - LV-MLO, Avianca HK-200e, Japan Air Lines JA8113, KLM - PH-BUE, Korean Air Lines 80's, Pan Am Old - N728PA, Qantas - VH-EBL, SAA - ZS-SAM, TWA N304TW, United Airlines N160UA and Virgin Atlantic - G-VOYG...   there is a blank livery and a paintkit available.

 

B742_PW_Felis - Livery_Blank.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery OF_Aerolinas Argentina.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery OF_Avianca.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery OF_JAL.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery OF_KLM.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery OF_KAL.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery OF_PanAm.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery OF_Qantas.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery OF_S. African.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery OF_TWA.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery OF_United.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery OF_Virgin Atlantic.jpg

 

The selections available are really quite wide, and should really cover everyone's taste and requirements, a few are noted here are my personal favorites; Qantas 82 (Brilliant), Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), BOAC, British Airlines Landor, TAP, Aer Lingus, Cathay Pacific (Spirit) and City of Everett, notable is that the launch livery for the Boeing 747 was for the -100 model, but it looks brilliant on the -200!

 

B742_PW_Felis - Livery Per_Qantas 82.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery Per_SAS.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery Per_BOAC.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery Per_BA Landor.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery Per_TAP.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery Per_Aer Lingus.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery Per_Cathay Pacific.jpgB742_PW_Felis - Livery Per_Everett.jpg

___________________

 

Summary

If one aircraft is worthy of the title of "Classic" it is the Boeing 747-200 Series. Not only in the significance of the way the aircraft literally  changed aviation, but pretty much in every aspect of the modern world we fly in today, the significance of also being a GOAT or the "Greatest of all Time" is also a timely reminder of the changes in the world since the aircraft's debut in the early seventies, and more so after the debacle of the earlier Boeing 747-100's introduction.

 

Felis Planes aircraft have been usually very Russian in context, like his last release of the Tu-154M and also an AN-24 and Yak 40, so a big and significant aircraft such as this Boeing 747-200, is a very brash departure for him.

 

This is a project that can not to be taken lightly. These where the "on the cusp" aircraft between the older clockwork and valve style aircraft to the glass electronic/ECAM cockpits of today, and they are seriously complex machines...  probably the most complex airliners ever created with their three person crews and the myriad of exposed systems. You have to admire any developer who wants to take them on and deliver these labyrinthine monsters in code, and that is also all for you to work out and understand... the workload in these aircraft is simply staggering, as to note as you are only one person entity, doing the flying for three people.

 

What is delivered here is an outstanding simulation. Modeling wise it is complete and excellent, and even overwhelming in it's delivery of a fully functioning 70's aircraft cockpit with the classic JT9D-7 engines and excellent fully modeled quad landing gear bogies. Fully completed cabins of three classes also delivers that early classic 747 experience. Both AviTab and the JARDesign GHD (Ground Handling Deluxe) plugins are used, with excellent interactive tablet tools and those invaluable checklists, notable is both the standard X-Plane FMS system and a custom three place CIVA INS (Delco Carousel IV-A Inertial Navigation System) are also installed as is Saso Kiselkov’s Libradio and OpenWXR plugins. Overall brilliance can be seen everywhere you look, period systems, excellent lighting, active switchgear and most of all that classic 747 feel and quality.

 

Notable is that there is a lot going on here, so framerate on the size of the model and it's complexity can be hard on light computers. The cabins are a bit plain and very, very over-bright (so work is still needed there), and currently the main cabin doors don't open (the three cargo doors do), but Felis notes that updates will follow quickly and soon...  a save between flights would be a really nice option as there is a lot to reset every time before a new flight.

 

Certainly not an aircraft for the uninitiated, and even the pro's will need a lot of time to work through the complex procedures and the special distinctive 747 flying behaviors... certainly the Felis 747 delivers a massive reward for the ones that dedicate themselves to the machine, and you could even float the idea that the aircraft is a new era step up in complexity for not only the X-Plane Simulator, but for simulation as a whole... a big statement... but then this is a massive aircraft, a totally overwhelming aircraft, but an incredible amazing simulation...  Highly regarded and recommended.

___________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! the Boeing 747-200 Classic by Felis Planes is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Boeing 747-200 Classic

Price is US$70.00

 

Features
Accurate systems:
  • electric system with all its buses and current calculations
  • fuel system, that requires proper fuel management
  • fire detection system with dual loop sensors
  • 4 channel system
  • pneumatic system with actual pressure calculations
  • custom pressurization and air-conditioning system
  • fully custom autopilot with autoland function
  • autothrottle system separate from the autopilot with EPR limiting system
  • radios are powered by Totoriko's libradio and openWXR plugins, fully integrated into aircraft's systems
  • FMOD sounds (engines sounds by TSS)
  • crew voices
Detailed modeling:
  • fully modeled exterior with lots of accurate animations
  • passenger cabin
  • highly detailed cockpit with each button, switch and knob functional
  • historic liveries of the most known airlines, ever used 747-200
  • PBR textures
Electronic Flight Bag:
  • fuel and load calculators
  • refueling and load managers
  • ground service controls
  • INS helper to align and manage flightplans
  • performance calculator
  • automatic checklists
Fully custom Delco Carousel IV-A Inertial Navigation System (CIVA INS)
  • 3 CDU units works separately 
  • triple-mix mode
  • REMOTE function to populate waypoints and DME info
  • single and dual DME update function
  • fully integrated into aircraft system, no separate plugins required
Upcoming features:
  • VR support
  • Shared Flight and SmartCopilot profiles
  • LTN-92 nav system
  • custom failures
  • more details and animations in cabin

 

Requirements

X-Plane 11
Windows, Mac or Linux
4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 1.1 GB
Current and Review version : 1.0 (September 16th 2021)
 
The AviTab Plugin is required for this aircraft
Ground Handling Deluxe Plugin by JARDesign is highly recommended
 

Installation and documents:

Download is 1.06Gb. Installation size in your Aircraft folder is 1.78Gb. (with the set of custom twelve liveries installed)

 
Documents
  • Felis_747_Autopilot.pdf
  • Normal_Procedures.pdf
  • INS.pdf
  • 747_Cockpit.pdf

It is highly recommended to read all the documents before flying the B742 aircraft, it's systems are complicated and require study to understand the procedures before using

 

Most of the liveries in production or completed can be found and downloaded here...   742 Liveries (Google Drive)

_____________________

 

Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton

17th September 2021

Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews

 

Review System Specifications: 

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD - Sound : Yamaha Speakers YST-M200SP

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.55

Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99 : Ground Handling Deluxe Plugin by JARDesign US$14.95 (recommended)

Scenery or Aircraft

- LEBL - Barcelona XP by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$27.99

- EGLL - Airport London-Heathrow by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$29.99

 

(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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