Posted in: FSX, Reviews

Review: Captain Sim 767 Base and expansions

The Boeing 767 was the first wide body twinjet produced by Boeing. Designed in tandem with the 757 they both share design features and the same flight deck.  The 767 is capable of carrying up to 375 passengers with a range of 6,590 nautical depending on the variant and the seating configuration. It is also the first wide body Boeing jet to enter service with a two person crew eliminating the need for a flight engineer. Commonly used on medium to long haul routes it has become the most popular airliner on the transatlantic runs between the United States and Europe. The first variant the 767-200 came into service in 1982 followed by the 200ER, 300, 300ER, 300F freighter and finally the 400 series in 1997. To date their have been just over 1000 aircraft ordered.

The 767 has also served in several military applications. Derived mainly from the 200 series it has been configured in both a tanker and AWACS platform.

The Captain Sim base pack is based on the 767-300ER variant

Installation and Configuration

File size should not be an issue here as the base pack is a mere 68 Mb and the largest expansion model doesn’t exceed 10Mb in size.

Installation is very simple, after making the purchase you are given an executable to run, this will install the product to your PC. When it’s done you will have an entry in your program listings for Captain Sim and within that access to the ACE utility, Support Manuals and updates and finally the uninstall program.  Any expansion packs you purchase once installed will be placed within this same program group.  The only difference being that each has it’s own uninstall program. The other items are common to any model.

Configuration is done through the ACE utility.  It is very simple to use and self explanatory.  The first time I went to use the ACE utility it kept indicating that it was in demo mode and I was unable to save any changes because of that. Searching their support site I came to see that others have experienced this same issue and that a replacement executable was available.  Once I replaced the ACE executable everything was as it should be and I was able to use the utility. Opening up the ACE you first see that there are three tabs; Fleet, Pre-flight and Tools. The first tab, Fleet has two sub tabs; Existing and Add New.  Here you can add or delete repaints, disable windshield reflection, have flight deck only and enable winglets. I tried selecting and deselecting these items but found no affect when it came to performance. The second tab, Pre-flight is further broken into 767-300, 767-200 and 767 Freighter. This is your load manager, you choose the unit of weight and decide on passenger and freight loading. The third and final tab, Tools states that it is to be used by request of Captain Sim support officer request only.

Documentation

There are five manuals available to you through their website.  They are well written and each one of them holds a wealth of knowledge that you will find useful when you fly these aircraft.

1        User’s manual. This describes the software package and the differences in the various models available.

2        Aircraft Systems. They go through each panel, first with a picture and then a brief description of every switch, knob, dial, display and indicator. This is quite in depth and a must read if you want to have any chance of operating this aircraft with confidence and proficiency.

3        Normal Procedures. It is in this book that you will find all of the checklists beginning with pre-flight exterior inspections through all the various phases of flight to shutdown and finally securing the aircraft.  At the end of the manual they’ve even included ribbon diagrams for the various types of approaches.

4        Flight Characteristics and Performance Data. Here you will find all sorts of  technical data and tables. Most of them you will probably never use but they do include takeoff and vref speeds which definitely come in handy.

5        Flight Management System.  If you want to be able to control the 767 via the CDU/FMS you will definitely want to read this manual. It explains the functions of the computer and how to use it from initial power up to final flight shutdown.  They include all the pre-flight phases, lateral navigation (LNAV), vertical navigation (VNAV) and modifications to both of these, the different types of waypoints, holds, progress reports and finally the descent and approach.

Even after reading the included manuals I found that there were still many unanswered questions when it came to actually flying the aircraft and programming the CDU/FMS. There are no tutorials included nor was I able to find any pertaining to this 767 release. I wish there were as it would certainly have helped to answer those lingering questions even after doing all that reading.  Searching on the internet I was able to find a number of documents mostly written for a 767 that had been released by another developer, despite that they were helpful up to a point. The other resources that I found to be very useful to unravel the complexities of this aircraft are the manuals written by Mike Ray. A worthwhile investment for the serious Boeing simmer.

Exterior

I believe that these guys produce some of the best aircraft for FSX.  Looking around these aircraft you will see some amazing details. From the ground up they seem to have included even the most insignificant little touches that add realism to their product. Those of you who like to count rivets should be happy.  Scanning around a parked aircraft there are certain areas that will grab your attention, the undercarriages are one that comes to mind.  Looking closely you see fluid lines, springs, struts, wheel assemblies, right down to individual nuts and bolts and even up into the wheel wells.  Realism is the key here as it is throughout.

I’d also like to make mention of the animations, they are smooth and I’ll use that word again, realistic.  To access the external animations there is a dedicated pop up window, it is from here that you can do such things as open and close doors and access covers, put down tire chocks and call up the stewardess to name just a few. Other items that caught my eye was the detailing on the engine nacelles and then the engines themselves when the cowlings are in the open position.

The 767 is produced with engines from three different manufacturers; General Electric, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce.  You will find that they have been faithfully reproduced to further the accuracy of each model.

Overall, wherever you look the lines are straight and curves are smooth, no jagged edges here.  At any zoom level it was hard to find fault with these aircraft and that goes for all of the variants not only the base pack.

They not only model the exterior surfaces with great care this work also extends to the inner mechanisms as well. As an example, when you lower the flaps or deploy the spoilers the linkages and inner edges that are normally hidden away are just as detailed as any exterior surfaces.  I noticed also that the cargo bays are lit up, you will see in one of the screenshots the light fixtures in the cargo bay are on and illuminating the space.

While on the subject of exterior modelling let me mention here that when you log into the Captain Sim support site you will have access to 49 repaints for the 767 so no matter what part of the world you plan on flying in and out of you are sure to find an airline that matches your needs.

Cockpit

I was just as impressed with the cockpit graphics as I was with those for the exterior. Sitting in either seat and looking around you get the feeling that you are in an aircraft that has seen many hours of flying time.  The cockpit has been recreated in a remarkable fashion and there really is no area that has been overlooked. Besides having just about every button and knob clickable they’ve included many little extra animations such as moving arm and head rests and drop down sun glare shields.

You are able to control every phase of flight from the 3D cockpit. If you are having a hard time reading or using any portion of the 3D cockpit you can always bring up the 2D Icon control panel.  I found this to be extremely useful and very handy for accessing the FMS/CDU, EFIS, AP and overhead panels.  Programming the FMS/CDU in the 3D panel was difficult. All entries have to be made by mouse clicking on the keys.  It would have been nice to be able to input directly from the keyboard.

Systems

This aircraft is designed so that even the casual flight sim pilot who isn’t interested in having to learn complex systems can fly it.  I was happy to see this, everyone can enjoy this great addon.

For those that want an aircraft that demands your attention you won’t be disappointed, it certainly fits the bill.  The vast majority of systems are modelled, so if you are looking to follow checklists and procedures you will have plenty to keep you occupied.

I had never flown any of the larger Boeing jets before so I figured the best way to learn would be with a cold and dark cockpit and take it through the complete flight cycle by following the checklists and procedures. Doing this I was exposed to the majority of systems.  This is where having the manuals and reference material at my finger tips helped.  Let me mention here that if you want to use the ACE utility to set your loads you should do it prior to starting FSX.  There is also no fuel planner included which is a shame considering they include a load manager.  If you search the internet there is a fuel planner for the 767-300 series jet available as freeware not to mention that some flight planning software also come with fuel planners.

With this package you get two default flight situations, both at KSEA, one cold and dark and the other sitting at the end of 34R with the engines running ready to take off.  Both are great for setting up your own start up scenarios.

Following step by step and going through the process of bringing this large jet to life from a cold and dark cockpit can be a task. If you miss a step be prepared to do it again as you will soon find that the results you were hoping for will in all likelihood not materialize.  All of the processes are broken down for you in the manuals and it is a matter of practice and making sure you read carefully.  They do work.

Programming and interpreting the CDU/FMS is a must if you want to fly this aircraft using the onboard computer systems.  The included manual is very good and easy to read and explains each and every function you are going to use in every phase of flight.  You will want to take your time with this and learn how to program it. It may seem daunting but programming does follow certain flows that you will become accustomed to.  It is capable of controlling flight from just after takeoff till touchdown given the right conditions and minimal pilot intervention.  I was also able to create and save flight plans, call up pre saved plans, make changes in flight adding waypoints, holds, level and speed changes all without any problems. The aircraft followed the commanded changes every time.  The 767 does support Navigraph AIRAC updates.

Controlling the aircraft via the autopilot control panel was straightforward and once again the aircraft reacted as it should to any changes requested.

I have to say that I was very pleased with everything working as expected and according to the manuals. I do have a minor complaint with the speed bugs on the airspeed indicator. The command airspeed bug was accurately set either by the IAS/Mach selector or FMS as it should, however, the other airspeed bugs can only be set from the 2D panel, even then I couldn’t get them to set properly or see the new values reflected in the 3D panel.

Sounds

Overall the sounds are very immersive. The cockpit sounds are well done with all the usual switch clicks and noises you would expect as systems energize and the aircraft comes to life. Sitting in the cockpit the engine sounds are impressive, especially as you start the engines. They sound very realistic as you listen to them spool up. You can also hear differences as throttle adjustments are made throughout the flight and again during reverse thrust upon touchdown.

Outside, the aircraft sounds were just as good throughout all phases of flight but again for me they were most remarkable when starting the engines and during the reverse engine phase at touch down. You get a sense of the raw power being generated by these large powerful turbofan engines.

There are no speed callouts in the 767.  They do include announcements by the cabin staff and captain as an added touch.

Cabins

For those of you who enjoy walking through the aircraft they have included both the coach and business class cabins as well as the galleys.  All are nicely done and give you the opportunity to roam around and get a passenger’s perspective.

Expansion Models

In addition to the 767-300 base pack the folks at Captain Sim have also created several other models in this family of aircraft. They are the 767-200, 767-300F freighter, KC-767 tanker and last but not least the E-767 AWACS. Each has been created with the same attention to detail as the base pack and all with the exception of the 767-200 include animations unique to that variant.

The 767F freighter comes with cargo lift trucks and cargo containers.  The lift trucks extend and retract allowing you to unload and load cargo.

The KC-767 Tanker has three fuel probes, one at the end of each wing and one at the tail, all can be extended and retracted. The center boom located just above the rear fuel probe can also be extended and retracted as well.

The E-767 AWACS has a fuselage mounted rotating radome.

Weather Radar

As a bonus they’ve included the CS weather radar as an integral part of this aircraft.  You will need to power up the weather radar via the appropriate panel in the aft aisle stand for it to function.  I flew in a variety of weather conditions and in each instance it did provide me a display that matched the outside conditions.  This is another feature that brings the level of realism just that much higher than many other addons.

Performance

The complexity of the aircraft does have an impact on performance. If you are running a low to mid range system you might find that at larger airports you may be taking a bit of a hit with your FPS.

Final Thoughts

You will look long and hard to find an aircraft that has better graphics than the 767.  System modelling and realism are also about as good as it gets.  Sure there may be a few minor issues but overall if you are in the market for a large jetliner you need to seriously consider this offering from Captain Sim because this is definitely one of the best!

My Ratings

  • Installer: Very good. Simple to use.
  • Documentation: Excellent.  In depth and cover all relevant topics.
  • Modelling: Very good.  Extremely detailed and optimized for FSX.
  • Extras: ACE utility. Numerous animations. Two flight situations included. Lots of repaints available.


767-300 Captain Base Pack
Download Size: 68Mb
Price: EUR 39.99
Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/captain-sim-767-300-captain-base-pack-fsx.phtml

767-200 Expansion Model
Download Size: 9Mb
Price: EUR 9.99
Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/captain-sim-767-200-expansion-model-fsx.phtml

E-767 AWACS Expansion Model
Download Size: 7Mb
Price: EUR 9.99
Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/captain-sim-e-767-awacs-expansion-model-fsx.phtml

KC-767 Tanker Expansion Model
Download Size: 8Mb
Price: EUR 9.99
Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/captain-sim-kc-767-tanker-expansion-model-fsx.phtml

767 Freighter Expansion Model
Download Size: 10Mb
Price: EUR 9.99
Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/captain-sim-767-freighter-expansion-model-fsx.phtml

Test System: Intel i7 920 OC @ 3.8 Ghz, 6 Gb RAM, EVGA 285 GTX w/1Gb video, Win 7 Ultimate 64, FSX w/acceleration, Ultimate traffic 2, REX, AES 2.06

Richard Desjardins


Comments are closed.