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  1. Aircraft Review : x737project v5.0 by European Aircraft Developer Team (EADT) The x737project goes a long way more than just being a project to design and create one of the all time great versions of the Boeing 737NG or Series -800 aircraft. It is and always has been a project that became the soul of the X-Plane simulator. It is created by self-less and inspired creative people that not only spend a lot of time in creating brilliant work but are also willing to do the work for free and for the good of not only the simulator, but to every one who dares to dream in flying in this one of the most successful aircraft ever built. It has to date been over a decade since the original first x737 version was released in X-Plane 864, yes that is X-Plane Version 8® (v8 was released in 2004) and it is still available for download if you want to see the original release from the EADT site. That is well even before my time in the simulator so I have no recollections on what that aircraft was like back then, but I knew when I first downloaded the x737 in X-Plane9® that this was something special and why the simulation bug bit hard in the fact that aircraft like with this level of quality was available and could be easily downloaded for nothing. But to a point that the x737 is free or not, it is in my eyes always been in the level of payware in quality and I never saw or classified the aircraft as freeware and it is and has always been in the realm of payware and I respect that and cover this review in that aspect, and you can donate to the project (details below) and give your respects to the time and commitment that has delivered to X-Plane the latest and certainly in this the greatest update release in the aircraft's history in Version 5 (v5.0). Externally the x737 is identical to the current v4 series that most X-Plane users have downloaded. The external fuselage is not changed in any aspect and really there is no need for that as the original aircraft design is very good and delivers a highly detailed quality aircraft. One external change is that the x737 can now use 4K HD (High-Definition) textures for liveries and with the v5.0 release they can also be downloaded from the EADT site along with an amazing collection of over 200 liveries for really any part of the world and for most of the operating airlines for the aircraft. As the x737 has been around for what seems eons and is used by so many X-Plane users. Then the aircraft does have a lot of extra freeware support to surround it. Payware add-ons also accommodate the aircraft and one of the best is the JARDesign Ground Services plugin that with my own (QF) Qantas livery you can service the aircraft in getting ready for departure in perfect realism. A new notable feature with v5 is you now have opening lower cargo hatches with internal baggage inside, and it is with great realism to set out your ground services to do the work for you. So far the x737 seems to be your old same favorite that already subsides in your aircraft folder... But go onto the flightdeck and then you will notice the v5 is absolutely nothing like the one in your aircraft folder! That old central 2d cockpit screen is gone and it has been totally replace by an amazing 3d virtual cockpit that will make you just cry with excitement (well I did!) The old famous central 2d panel has sadly been relegated to the past. It was just not compatible with the new functional 3d cockpit. It is not just that the virtual cockpit is very good, but there is a very different feel to the cockpit as well. Nothing in X-Plane currently is like this cockpit in its look and feel. It is modern, very high quality and very sharp right down to the smallest details, and even better than payware! Yes the design here is well within the sort of aircraft US$50 price range that you expect on the X-Plane.OrgStore. To highlight the sheer depth of design and detail you have in this x737, then lets look at the crew seats, as they move! Not only do they move but are also fully adjustable on their tracks in a forward and backwards motion, the backrests can be also adjusted forward and backwards as well.... and even adjustable are the headrests! Side armrests can be stowed or lowered and note that dropped under the seat company Visa card that you will need for paying for the fuel. Fussy and still not happy with your seating position... Then you can also adjust your rudder pedals for reach via the centre turn handle. The Boeing 737 has a unique iconic pedestal. And EADT have recreated the design in all its glory, beautifully rendered and detailed the mechanisms are a sight to behold and you just wish that this 3d cockpit was 3d real world to touch and use. Levers click and move with metallic precision and those huge trim wheels do trim and whirr magnificently in flight. note here is that the x737's trim is separate from the X-Plane's version so you can't use the standard X-Plane settings to use it, but you can still set up your keyboard to adjust the trims via the provided settings if you wish. The engine and APU fire panel is well executed and fully workable. Radio console is excellent but still a bit bare in areas, it is missing the lateral trim, HGS, Cargo Fire and weather radar panels. No doubt they will come later as they are not currently essential. The overhead panel is complete. Every switch and every dial is there and all are extremely well done, perfect in fact. All systems are active including hydraulics, electrical, environment, bleed, lighting and APU. Switches can be pushed and twisted with clever manipulators, like with the engine start switches. The hardest thing to convey here is how different this panel is in use and feel, everything is very well done and very efficient and smooth in its operation, in be it a switch or a dial that needs movement. x737FMC You can buy from EADT an add-on for the x737 in a fully working FMC (Flight Management Computer) by Javier Cortes. This plugin has been completely designed for the x737 aircraft and the FMC is also fully intergrated into the aircraft. If not installed you have the standard X-Plane default FMC in its place. This fully working xFMC has been updated for the new 3d virtual cockpit and has had new features added into the system. This route is from YBCG (Gold Coast) to YMML (Melbourne). Qantas - QF881 SID and STAR's can be inserted and in this case you are using APAGI2 (APAGI) for departure and LIZID2 (LIZZI) for Arrival. Route waypoints are easy to insert and you can save the route when filed or EXEC (EXECuted) for an easy load next flight. Aircraft PERF (Performance) including N1 and Takeoff/Approach Ref's (References) can also be inserted with the settings intergrated with the aircraft's autopilot systems. On the keypad there is no radio button to get access to the RADIO functions, but it is there in the Menu index under "Nav Status" The essential PROG (Progress) page is very good with secondary Nav (waypoint) information also available. x737FMC does pop-out for ease of use, but I prefer to use the pedestal version to be closer to the Nav display. There are some tricks (mostly in updating or EXEC) in completing certain inputs like SID and STAR inputs, so you really need to read and follow the manual and video's to tune yourself into the system as it is not as forgiving as some built in FMC's. Overall the x737FMC adds in a great dimension to the x737 project aircraft. Menus The standard x737 menu is still there and basically the same with the pop-up overheads panel still usable, but really they are redundant now with the full 3d overhead panel to use. Only additions are the two front and rear lower cargo doors. Fuel request is still the same and a procedure that needs a stick-it note in your eyeline. Forget to put enough of the go A-1 spirit and you can not add in the fuel later in flight... Okay hands up who has done a long glide down to nowhere by running out of fuel! Guilty m'lord as charged! Add in the JARDesign Ground service fuel truck for added realism when refueling the aircraft... perfect. Walkround Time to go, and a quick walkaround confirms that the x737 is still one one of the best Boeing's in X-Plane. Certainly years of refinement has been done here, but the aircraft has always been really great in detail and in any lighting conditions. The x737 does not come with a pushback feature. So i use JARDesign's great iTow plugin, which works extremely well with the aircraft. Starting the engines on pushback is the normal now... APU running and the bleed is set, fuel valves to idle and a turn to GRD for each engine gives you that familiar whine in the background, but it is not the usual x737 start up sounds you are hearing here. All sounds are now directional and have been completely redone for v5.0 and the difference is really very good and to excellent compared to the original sound packs. Startup is very good, and so is takeoff, but at altitude those noises are the standout sounds here which are really, really good and very realistic and complete with those lovely whirring trim sounds. Flaps set to 5º and the x737 flap and leading edge spoiler arrangements are still very good. Taxi to RWY14 is cleared by the tower and a nudge of the throttles and we are moving. You can adjust the POV (Point of View) on the fly by grabbing the central windscreen column, and pulling it backwards or forwards. Quick and much easier than delving into the X-Plane settings. You set the LNAV to "ARM" and advance the throttles to full power. Ref callouts are good and you rotate around 165knts (155knts + 10) "Positive climb" and you find even with a full gross weight you can climb at 2500-3000fpm, most users know the x737 backwards, but the FMC does give you more options and those great takeoff Ref's, then climb settings. In full climb you love the sounds and feel of this great aircraft, it is in no doubt the huge extra dimension that the 3d virtual cockpit give you with the x737, it is magnificent. The CTR function gives you three modes in the NAV (Navigation display) in forward, rose and rose + altitude, which gives you a reference to your climb and height to altitude. Target altitude for V/S (Vertical Speed) is always a useful tool for set climbs and descents, one small annoyance is the below altitude warning that goes off (sometimes for no reason). switching over to manual and resetting the altitude will stop it going off, the horn (silence) is a button to the left. Panel lighting knobs are behind the yoke (two more on the overhead). great design on the yoke with the built in trim buttons... and yes they work! Main panel displays are superb, in clarity maybe some of the very best in X-Plane. The red line with the x737FMC installed is very slightly noticeable, but not distracting. Overall the PFD (Primary Flght Display), NAV (Navigation) Display are fully adjustable in position and totally functional. Slight annoyance is the VOR/NDB waypoints are overridden by the waypoints until you get to 80nm line, so clogging up the display on arrival when you need a clear screen and the approach NDB waypoints. Central upper display shows Fuel, Primary and Secondary Engine Indications in full, sadly the lower display does not have the secondary engine indications but just the aircraft situation page, which can make it look empty and well... useless in flight, once the wheels are up. Sadly we just can't cover each item on the panel in detail here, but everything you see is switchable and fully functionable, this is the best B737-800 glass panel you now have in X-Plane. Glareshield autopilot and EFIS control panels (left and right) are excellent and again fully functional. Highlight of the 3d virtual cockpit are the manipulators. They have been uniquely created and are quite different an very easy to use. vertical and horizontal movements will allow you easily change the knobs requirements. Could they be too loose? Some users might not like them or even hate them, but I am in the love them camp as they can be so easily moved to set your requirements, going from 34,500ft to 7,000ft is just an easy slide down... brilliant. Other working manipulators are small arrows that are again very easy to use and are very effective. NAV display shows the X-Plane weather WXR very well on the display, with great smooth movement and detail to avoid those storms. I recommend as does EADT the use of SimCoders HeadShake plugin (Free), it is very good but use with the settings in the low positions for realism. The x737 has a sort of weird shake of its own, a slight movement that needs attention and so the two together can be too much movement. But HeadShake is worthy at the takeoff and landing phases for total realism. Overall this cockpit is the place to be, still do you note this 3d cockpit as freeware? No doubt the best freeware possibly ever created. Note the rear of the cockpit and the fuse panels. All panels are extremely detailed and beautiful to look over. Small things like the grab handles are also animated. Another feature is the x737 now has split scimitar winglets. Already famous is Aviation Partners when they formed a joint venture with Boeing, called Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) to license the Blended Winglet Technologyfuel system which can enable a 737-800 to increase its payload up to 2,500 pounds or increase its range up to 75 nautical miles. By adding in a new Scimitar (STC) tipped ventral strake. This more advanced modification demonstrated approximately 2% drag reduction over the original basic Blended Winglet configuration. Coming soon to an airport near you. You can add in the new scimitar winglets to any livery, and you can change from the Blended Winglet to the newer Scimitar Winglet by just changing to the livery you require. Arrival at Melbourne is gloomy, but not my mood. Entrance to RWY27 is via STAR LIZZI to EPP NDB approach via MAITE waypoint. A simple arrival but requires the correct height (high hills at LIZZI) and speed to get it right. It was only a few years ago when I came into X-Plane that 3d virtual cockpits were a rarity, now you really would not fly without being in one... but not in your wildest dreams back then would you expect this sort of detail and design around you. This review is a strange thing really as this aircraft has been available for so long and flown. But the strange aspect of it all is the x737 is to a point a very different animal than the aircraft you have used for almost a decade now, not only in feel, but visually and in those great heightened awareness with those new sounds. With this completeness even the exterior feels different because you know how changed now it all is on the inside. You do get a completely different experience from the v5 x737. Lighting Cockpit lighting is as dramatic and as good as everything else on this new version. That newness of feel again comes to the fore as you gasp at the beautiful design of all the lighting highlights. Lighting is fully adjustable, on the panel (highlights both main panel and glareshield) and instrument and switch illumination. Only missing feature is the instrument and switch illumination does not work in the day, which I find strange with all the rest of the detailing as it would look as amazing as it does at night... you really miss it. The lighting highlights here are the two roof mounted spot lights (one for the captain and one for the first officer) that are controlled by side knobs that give you at a switch full brightness or adjustable manipulators, great stuff. You can very easily find that perfect ambience and clear vision for night flying (even lowering the monitor brightness) to get that perfect clear view out for landing... It is great stuff. External lighting is the same as the v4, and is very good. Liveries There are four HD (High-Definition) liveries with the download: TUI, American Airlines - One World, QF Qantas (Wagga Wagga) and SAA - South African Airlines (Fly SAA.Com). There are of course 200+ liveries that can be downloaded from the EADT Liveries site. Cabin The bulkhead behind the cockpit is still a work in progress, but you can already see the end result in quality. Cabin is stock x737. One of the great things to do with the x737 is to tailor it to your own requirements. Here on this aircraft I have created the QF interior in the cabin, and the aircraft looks all the better for it. It is a bit bright in the cabin, but still better than nothing. More cabin details from EADT are yet to come. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Summary The release of v5.0 to the x737 Project is another significant milestone of one of the greatest projects ever started in X-Plane. The aim in not only delivering this great 3d virtual cockpit, but to go way above the cause and design the cockpit to such a high quality and really deliver not only a fully-functional cockpit, but also one that delivers some landmark making design features as well. It would have been so easy to have taken the easy road and just done a basic working virtual cockpit. But to deliver greatness is a testament to Benedikt Stratmann and Pierre Stone's skills and sheer devotion to the cause with all the EADT team in designing the aircraft for over a decade, no doubt this is their finest hour and they deserve it. A small note in that although this release is a major milestone, the aircraft is not totally complete with this release, it is still an ongoing project and small things, bugs and future features will continue to be fixed or completed, your feedback is important but don't criticize in the fact that you expect it in this v5 to be a complete final design because it isn't and the x737 should always be viewed in that way. It is also a note that this updated v5 design comes with a significant frame-rate kick. Surprisingly the new 3d virtual is very efficient, but the older outer skin of the exterior is not as good, so all this quality comes at a price. So it is my recommendation that you will need a powerful computer to get the full experience and certainly with HDR on at night. Reducing texture settings does not help either, it is really quite heavy on your computer processing power, but EADT will work on that aspect as already some efficiency work has already been done. There is something quite more to the x737 project than it just being a free download and a great aircraft. It is of the communities love and involvement of this and other projects that signifies the heart and soul of why we love X-Plane. To create the best and to enjoy that though collaboration and the sheer involvement that together we can do something great and all share in the benefits. You can share as well by donating to the x737 Project cause, this not payware, but you are getting payware quality and even a small token of your gratitude can be shown by tipping your hat to the sheer volume of work and discipline of the aircraft you can download here. If you thought you loved the x737 before... now you will be overwhelmed by why we fly X-Plane. The best simulator out there. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Although the aircraft will be free to download, there are several ways (to ease the guilt) of repaying the team for all this excellent work. You can make a donation to EADT here : Donate for the x737 Project! Or purchase the excellent x737 add on in Javier Cortes x737FMC which a custom fully built in FMC made for just this x737 aircraft. This plugin will be totally updated to v5.0 for this significant release. The X-Plane.Org is a proud sponsor of this x737 project and has supported the project since its inception almost 10 years ago. For more information go to the EADT x737 website here: x737 Project for X-Plane Download the x737 v5.0 here: x737Project - EADT Requirements X-Plane 10.45+ Mac/Windows/Linux 32/64bit are all supported Installation and documents: Download for the x737 is 160.00meg and the unzipped file is deposited in the "Heavy Aircraft" X-Plane folder at 380.40mb. A README (important) and Quickstart manual, excellent set of three flight planning manuals. There is also a huge amount of downloadable manuals and details for flying the B738. One of the best is here at SmartCockpit _____________________________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 1st May 2016 Copyright©2016: X-PlaneReviews 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 10 Global ver 10.45 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini : Headshake plugin Pay Addons: JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin - US$14.95 and JARDesign Tug Master Deluxe - US$9.95 Scenery or Aircraft - YBCG - Gold Coast by tdg (X-Plane.Org) - Free - YMML - Melbourne by ISDG (X-Plane.Org) - Free - Winner best scenery 2014