In a forum post, Robert Randazzo (lead developer at PMDG) has given us a confirmed release date of February 7 for the 737-900NG, completing the 737 aircraft product line for MSFS.
Randazzo confirmed as well that pricing “is expected to land between the 600 and 700/800 variants, with final pricing to be announced at release time”. The package will contain both the 737-900 and the 737-900ER with blended winglets and split-scimitar winglets, in line with previous releases.
In addition to the news of a release date, Randazzo gave an update on the status of the highly anticipated Universal Flight Tablet which has been in development for some time and been struck with numerous delays. In a previous blogpost dated 30 December 2022, Randazzo had said that we could expect the tablet to launch “in close proximity” to the -900 release. However it would appear the team has again opted to delay the release, with Randazzo saying “We do not have a release date plan for the tablet” which appears to ride back on his previous statements.
While the news of further delay will be sure to disappoint many simmers, RSR stresses in his most recent post that the team at PMDG are determined to get the UFT complete to a high standard where it can operate “seamlessly and without effort”. He blames this most recent delay on that fact that planes built with C++ and/or WASM technologies are “unable to use normal windows communication methods that are necessary for the tablet to function as part of the airplane”. In place of that, he says the PMDG team are working on “[a] new communication medium that had to be designed from the ground up in order to facilitate the table speaking with the airplane for operational performance computations”.
Randazzo also states in his most recent update that “It is looking more and more as though we will release one function at a time on the UFT, in order to put focus on individual functions in the testing process without scattering beta testing attention all over a half dozen applications while the poor team is also trying to test multiple airplanes at the same time as well”, although offers some clarity saying that some operations like Navigraph Charts integration have been working “for many months”.
When and in what fashion the EFB will be gradually released on a feature-by-feature basis remains to be seen, but this new approach could be perceived as a concession to simmers who continue to criticise PMDG’s failure to get the UFT working and available alongside their flagship MSFS product releases.
Finally, Randazzo made a brief comment alluding to the 777: “Work continues apace… We are not currently planning to show anything here until well after the 900 is on the market- but that day is creeping closer.”
As ever, FSElite will continue to bring you the latest updates on this story as and when we recieve them.