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Aircraft Update : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro v1.31 by Rotate


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Aircraft Update : McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Pro v1.31 by Rotate


It is only a few months since the MD-88 from Rotate went X-Plane11 compatible. So here is another update v1.31 in covering more areas of the aircraft to make it fully X-Plane11 compliant. To a point the earlier v1.30 was just a transition phase to cover the Mad Dog to make it work correctly in the new X-Plane11 environment, it was very good in making the performance and physics work correctly, but it did not cover every aspect of the aircraft's systems and flying performance in X-Plane11. This update is really all about that, the small stuff, the boring stuff but the essential stuff.


It may be all about the small stuff here, but it is this aspect of aircraft development that is the most significant of all the areas that makes up the complete package. It is the hidden and not the showy items that fills in the areas of what makes something brilliant than just ordinary.


The history of this Rotate MD-88 is a big one, lauded for its outstanding external quality, most experts were also very cynical of its systems and performance. I myself was more less judgemental in my first observations of the design. The developer was brand new with only a few freeware releases behind them, my gut instinct was that if the developer was this good in so many areas already, then the rest should follow. To a point this approach has been right, but I will admit this MD-88 is not totally or will ever be a full study simulation, but it is certainly (far) better than some that do declare they are study simulations.


Update v1.31

As noted this update is on the small stuff the systems and behind the panel in detail. But first is the updating to PBR (Physical Based Rendering) rules. The PBR feature in X-Plane11 is one of its highlights, and textures have to be adjusted to take advantage of these effects. The MD-88 had a great advantage from the start with great textures (if not the best in X-Plane) so adding in the PBR effect was only going to be another step up again.


MD-80-XP11 1.31 PBR 1 lg_.jpg


The Rotate MD-88 cockpit was always a great place to fly. Now it is even more realistic with the PBR addition. The lighting is simply amazing, but with the new PBR effects it now really brings out the sheer detail of the textures...   the audio panels and heaters have also been redone.


With the power off then note the specks of dust and fingerprints on the glass of the instrument displays and FMC...  lovely isn't it


MD-80-XP11 1.31 PBR 2.jpgMD-80-XP11 1.31 PBR 3.jpg


With the updated PBR textures the aircraft comes alive like nothing else. Many users laud the MD-88 for its excellent feel and realism, but you need to experience it to really believe how good they really are in the X-Plane11 environment.


MD-80-XP11 1.31 PBR 5.jpgMD-80-XP11 1.31 PBR 4.jpg


The external textures are again brilliant and capture the lighting effects like none other, it was the best then and it is now even more better than before if that is actually possible. On the ground or...


MD-80-XP11 1.31 PBR 8.jpgMD-80-XP11 1.31 PBR 9.jpg


...      in the air.


MD-80-XP11 1.31 PBR 6.jpgMD-80-XP11 1.31 PBR 7.jpg


In v1.30 the engines were updated to JT8D-219's and in v1.31 the performance, thrust and predictions have all been refined even more to suit the new X-Plane11 thrust changes.


MD-80-XP11 1.31 Ped 2.jpgMD-80-XP11 1.31 Ped 1.jpg


There was a bug in the throttle hand movements that has been addressed, with the axis manipulators in the pedestal handles also needing attention. I didn't pick this one up as I use a twin-throttle system, but it was an annoying bug.


Working through the panels and certainly with a focus on the over head panel will reveal that most items will now be active, even the ones that are duplicated like the External Power supply panel that now works in both the top of the OHP and in the lower electrical section as well. A small hint. The "Flight Recorder' alert comes on when you are on the ground, to reset then go to the Flight Recorder switch under the red panel at the very very top or rear of the OHP.


MD-80-XP11 1.31 OHP 2.jpgMD-80-XP11 1.31 OHP 1.jpg


System corrections covered are Hyd Pressure LOW alerts will now shown when pumps are in LOW, GEAR hydraulic dependency is active, DFGC will self-test, fuel burn is now derived from Air Packs and there have been corrections in the Fuel Flow indicators. The IRS align timing has had an alteration to 5mins align time, I found that you have to switch to "Align" on the OHP to select the start of the align sequence with the correct Co-ordinates set on the FMC, then switch to NAV (OHP) to complete the sequence.


There is a few adjustments to the autopilot panel. Most of the manipulators have had some attention and if you now hold them they will continue to "repeat" rather than having to select them singularly, however the speed knob is still slow by dragging. Most autopilot sub-modes are now also functional. There is now also extra command modes available, but my request for a Speed to Mach direct switch over is still not implemented. The VNAV descent profile calculations have also been overhauled.


MD-80-XP11 1.31 Autopilot .jpg


The Yokes now move to the Autopilot's servo commands. I bet you don't notice that before, but the yokes now actually move under the AP control. The really noticeable thing is they slightly vibrate and move constantly to the adjustments which is highly realistic and you can be transfixed for ages watching them.


MD-80-XP11 1.31 Yoke 1.jpgMD-80-XP11 1.31 Yoke 2.jpg


Every update will always see more refinements to the FMC (Flight Management Computer) It is very comprehensive now and covers most functions. Including a very good "Progress" page and all ECON CLB (Climb), CRZ (Cruise) and DES (Descend) modes. 


MD-80-XP11 1.31 FMC 1.jpgMD-80-XP11 1.31 FMC 2.jpg


I found it pretty good, but I still rely on setting the vertical speed and aircraft speed to hit the numbers correctly, but the information and it is very comprehensive and is there if you need it. The CO ROUTE load routine now also accepts navaid ID collisions.


MD-80-XP11 1.31 FMC 3.jpgMD-80-XP11 1.31 FMC 4.jpg


Other items covered includes that the SmartCopilot plugin is now supported and there was a few text errors around a few places including the FMC that have been corrected.


But v1.31 is about in the end the flying.


Rotate-MD-80-XP11_Flight 3.jpgRotate-MD-80-XP11_Flight 4.jpg


Rotate-MD-80-XP11_Flight 1.jpgRotate-MD-80-XP11_Flight 2.jpg


I have done a few (no a lot) of services between LEBL (Barcelona) to LIRF (Roma) as it is a regular usual routine route for me.


Rotate-MD-80-XP11_Flight 5.jpgRotate-MD-80-XP11_Flight 6.jpg


And I am now running with the new XPRealistic plugin as well in this version. Now the MD-88 as in Mad, and with the XPRealistic in its sheer realism is a great combination of simulation...  it works as if it is just too real.


Rotate-MD-80-XP11_Flight 7lg.jpg



This v1.31 update is another fine tune basically, but focused on the X-Plane11 compatibility in PBR and systems. But combined with the earlier 1.30 update, then the MD-88 is feeling now all round very well rounded and if I may say so and feels even complete. I will stress no aircraft will be totally complete in X-Plane as there is always something to be adjusted or refined, but the feeling I now have is that the best way to say this about the Rotate MD-88 is that it is now very well matured, it is a magnificent simulation. Not absolutely perfect, but then what in life is...  overall it is pretty good in that context.

In that same vein then Rotate has moved on to their next project which is going to be the McDonnell Douglas MD11, the 70's TriJet and if that aircraft is going to be as good as this MD-88, then we are in for a big treat, all I can say to that is bring it on...




X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg


Yes! the v1.31 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

If you already have purchased the McDonnell Douglas MD-88 by Rotate, then go to your X-Plane.OrgStore account and download the free v1.31 update.


Developer Rotate - Rotate.Com

Developer Support - MD80 - X-Plane.Org




-> Precise flight model and fine tuned engine performance
-> Developed with the advice and counseling from MD-80 licensed pilots
-> Works great on all three platforms: Windows, Mac and Linux
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




X-Plane 11 or X-Plane 10.51+
Windows Vista/7/8/10, OSX 10.9+ , Linux Ubuntu 14.04 (or compatible) and up - 64 bit operating system
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)
Current version: 1.31r2 (last updated July 6th 2017)
File Download is huge 960.40mb
CoG Table jepg: CoG Table.jpg.zip


Version v1.31 full changelog:

- Updated engines, performance and predictions in XP11 version.
- Updated exterior textures and normal maps.
- AT submodes now functional.
- Improvements in cockpit-fans sound.
- Added yoke animation responding to servo's commands.
- Command based manipulators now support "repeating" while control is held.
- Added commands for AP control as requested by cockpit users.
- Basic support of SmartCopilot plugin.
- Corrected a bug in VNAV descent profile calculation.
- Corrected a bug in throttle handle movement.
- Corrected texture problem in texts of central panel.
- Corrected axis manipulators in pedestal handles.
- Corrected bug in CO ROUTE load routine. Now it accepts navaid ID collisions.
- Corrected bug in HYD PRESS LOW alerts. Now shown when pumps are in LOW.
- Corrected bug in GEAR hydraulic dependency.
- Corrected bug in DFGC self-test.
- Corrected bug in fuel burn derived from Air Packs.
- Corrected bug in Fuel Flow indicator.
- Corrected texture problem in Audio Panels and heaters.
- Corrected various manipulator errors.
- IRS align time has been changed to 5 minutes.
- Corrected a problem with engines flaming out a few frames after loading.
- Corrected a bug in route's trajectory calculation after a DISC.
- Corrected a problem in copilot's max speed indication.
- Corrected text error in CDU DES page.
- Updated manual and tutorial flight.



Update Review by Stephen Dutton
8th July 2017
Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews
(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.02

Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini : Headshake by Simcoders : JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : WorldTraffic 2.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : XPRealistic Pro v1.0.9  effects US$19.95

Scenery or Aircraft

- LEBL - Barcelona by Justsim  (X-PlaneStore) - US$21.00

- LIRF - Roma Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport by Seaman and DtRs90   (X-Plane.Org) - Free


Logo Header X-PlaneReviews 200px.jpg


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