by Akbar Sherwani
I got my review copy and I was intrigued to find there was bonus DVD included. The DVD is from ITVV who produce many other similar DVDs and VHS. Even though the DVD is quite old (10 years) it still shows some great points and the crew also explain everything in the cockpit to what they do before the flight. A great bonus gift which makes flying the 767-300 even more realistic after watching it done on the DVD.
Not to mention a manual which a checklists and a user guide but my personal favorite was the panel map which I had to stick to my forehead as I was using it continuously to find switches.
This was the first time I had come across at Level D product so I was interested to see what kind of features had been added. The install was simple and easy to install and also quick.
Configuration manager must be run to finalize the installation and lets you load and fuel the plane. This applet gives three options for configuring the virtual cockpit (VC): present; present with wing views and window reflections; and absent. The applet also displays useful numbers like zero fuel weight and total gross, which come in very handy later on when you get around to preflighting the flight management computer (FMC). One very welcome improvement would be a fuel and route calculator, with options for printing off weight and balance and flight plans. The installation also puts a 'Level-D' menu into FS2004, allowing you to customize certain aspects of the addon, such as the rate at which equipment failures occur and it also lets you save panel states.
The FMC code works extremely well under FS2004 and I had no trouble with it at all, which is unusual for an addon of this type, many of which give you an FMC with a limited range of functions and almost as large a range of bugs. One of the things that differentiates the Level D unit from other 'fully featured' FMCs is that it actually does have the majority of the features implemented and you will have to get to know the control display unit (CDU) extremely well, as the plane can't easily be flown without a good understanding of it. For most users, the CDU and the MCP will be the only outward evidence of the 767's sophisticated flight control system, which is centered around twin flight management computers, three autopilots, a flight director, autothrottle and thrust management system. Data from the flight management system is displayed on the CDU and the Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI - that's the lower of the two big gauges set directly in front of the pilot); taking input from the MCP, whose modes are echoed on the EADI. Yep, it is awful complex and I wouldn't recommend the 767 to new FS2004 users, unless you are the sort of person who enjoys a real challenge; although if you want to learn how real airliners are flown, the Level-D 767 is definitely a good place to start.
At the end of the flight, the approach reference page can be called up, on which the FMC automatically calculates the gross weight of the plane and derives the Vref speeds from that figure. This page also shows the ILS frequency and course for the selected arrival runway once the plane is either more than 400 miles from the departure airport of halfway to its destination. This a great FMC feature and is very helpful to check the nearest airports or the approach speed.
One of the great features that I liked was the cabin crew sounds as well as the ground crew. The cabin crew will talk to you regarding the air in cabin as well as the temperature and departure and arrival.
The virtual cockpit is nicely done, with active controls all of which work so long as you don't move the point of view too far back; a common problem with FS addons, that ends up leaving you slightly too close to the panel for comfort if need to pan around and make alterations in a hurry. As you can see, the VC looks convincing, but note that the CDU keys don't work and clicking on the units pops up a windowed 2D-panel style CDU for data entry. I have never felt that the FS2004 VC quite makes the grade as far as flying complex sims is involved and while you can use it to fly the 767, I wouldn't personally volunteer to do so - but that is hardly Level-D's fault.
Overall its a great addon for FS2004, you can still use to just fly with playing with the panel and its great and if you love your sims you can spend hours reading the manuals and following everything to the dot. With all the realistic panels and sounds you really do feel like you are the pilot in control.
Review Score: 90%
– FMS system and Panel looks amazing
– Realism and Failures Settings
– Sounds not only from engines but crew and cabin
– Complicated for the novice user
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