As QualityWings has now lifted the non-disclosure agreement from the 787 beta testing team, we are now able to share a number of details about the aircraft – including a number of your questions, just in time for this morning’s preview stream of the 787 which you can watch here at 10:00 AM UK time on October 2nd.
We were able to sit down with one of the beta testers of the 787, Will Westlake, and he was kind enough to spend some time answering your questions while also giving us a tantalizing demo of the aircraft and (in our opinion) some excellent sounds.
First off, Will’s system specifications are the following, so keep this in mind during the ensuing discussion:
- GPU: nVidia GTX 970
- CPU: Intel i5 4570
- RAM: 16GB DDR3
- Simulator: FSX Steam Edition
Our first discussion centered around performance – VAS, FPS, and the like. In our test scenario, we were on the ground in FSDreamTeam CYVR, with full Orbx coverage and ActiveSky running. In this scenario, we started out with 3.0 GB of VAS utilization, and we achieved a consistent 30-40 FPS both in and out of the cockpit. As a point of interest, the aircraft actually has a VAS meter built in – if you know where to look, it’s on the left side of the PFD hidden away.
We discussed the complexity of the aircraft as well. At this point, we’d say it’s a step above the Aerosoft Airbus level of simulation. Almost every button in the cockpit are clickable and have a function, so it does appear that most systems are simulated to at least a degree. It is a fairly automated aircraft, but the hand-flying feels very natural and smooth when it needs to be done. The aircraft includes the traditional QualityWings announcement system, and one feature that we specifically noticed as being spectacular is the sound package. Personally – and I just heard the sounds over a low-quality Skype call – I think the engine sounds are some of the best I’ve heard on an aircraft recently.
Here are some of the most interesting questions to come out of our discussion!
FSElite: How do features like the moving maps and onboard chart viewer impact your immersion?
Will Westlake: This is the first aircraft I’ve used with these features built-in – they take some time to get used to but is very handy eventually. I’m used to using my iPad for Charts but I’m slowly transitioning to this and I like it.
FSElite: If you could share some advice on how to fly the plane, what would it be?
WW: It’s pretty automated. It does have FBW but it’s not to the extent of the 777 from PMDG – it’s a little more responsive, and I like that. You have a lot more front-end view from the glareshield compared to other aircraft and this can mess you up a bit because you might think your pitch is incorrect.
FSElite: Could you describe your first “WOW!” moment that you had while flying the aircraft?
WW: Just stepping into it and seeing it for the first time, it’s so well modeled – if you go and zoom in on text, it’s exceptionally clear. You have to get in really high zoom levels to notice any blockiness.
FSElite: Is there expected to be shared cockpit compatibility in the future?
WW: It has been discussed – from what I know, there’s nothing set in stone, but it seems a logical next step.
FSElite: Is the flight deck lighting on/off or variable?
WW: All the flood lights are variable and the other cockpit lighting is on/off.
FSElite: Is there a payload manager? Does the aircraft’s Heads-Up Display (HUD) work?
WW: Yes – it’s external to the simulator – and yes!
FSElite: Do you know if any real-world 787 pilots have tested it?
WW: There were at least 4 or 5 real-world 787 pilots testing it, along with some crew members as well.
FSElite: What is your opinion on the sound package?
WW: Really great overall. The cold & dark startup has solid sounds – they are high quality and very immersive.
We also are lucky enough to have some exclusive screenshots of the aircraft that we can share with you to show you the amount of detail and work that’s gone into this aircraft.
We’d like to give a big thanks to Will for taking the time out of his evening to provide us with some exclusive details and give us a tour around this beautiful aircraft – and create just that little bit more hype in our community!