At long last, the hugely-anticipated Boeing 737 from PMDG is now in the hands of a lucky selection of testers, who will be putting the aircraft through its paces over the coming weeks. This was a much waited final stage that paves the way for the eventual release of this highly realistic 737 for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
The announcement came, as usual, from PMDG’s boss Robert Randazzo. It follows on recent news that revealed PMDG’s plans to soon take the aircraft into a broader testing phase, as most of the issues that have plagued the project over the last few months have finally been left behind.
PMDG is now putting the final touches on the 737, cleaning up many details around the product and preparing it for beta testing. Development over the last week has focused on several key factors:
- Further adjustments to the 3D model of the Heads Up Guidance System, including improvements in the combiner glass technique and positioning.
- Scale work, detail and adjustments over all of the 3D models, including VC and external models.
- Implementation and testing of TCAS II v7.2 with both online/offline traffic.
- Continued work on shadow models and texturing
- Verification of hundreds of hardware/equipment/functionality options.
- Updated models and textures for ground handling equipment.
- Improved accuracy for automated pushback features, including user-driven pushback tractor.
- Continued system logic checks, verification and adjustment to resolve previously and currently reported system logic service reports.
- Implementation of client side installer and server-side installer assets.
- Functionality verification for flight plan loading from outside tools (simBrief, etc) as well as saving/loading of FMS generated flight plans.
PMDG now feels the airplane is “very complete”, a key decision point that propelled the product to the hands of testers, who are now enjoying the aircraft and looking for issues in need to be fixed. Don’t expect any beta footage to start leaking though, since they are all still under an embargo. If all goes well, after a few initial builds, the embargo should be lifted and we may finally start to see the 737 in action in Microsoft Flight Simulator.
An update from PMDG wouldn’t be the same without some new images. This time we got just a couple of them, with one particular highlight: the gorgeous 737 flight deck at dusk, with the visible HUD grabbing all attention. This is a rather cool feature in the 737, which provides improved guidance and easily glanceable information that is especially useful in low visibility conditions. With the HUD, take-offs and approaches are made easier in IMC, making it a beloved tool by many 737 pilots.
With every complex airplane such as this one, simmers have obvious concerns about performance. While further optimizations are expected to be implemented as the product reaches the end of the development cycle, in preparation for a release, Randazzo says that the 737 is already performing rather well and comparably to other similar airplanes in MSFS.
With this said, the time is now to get ready for an influx of previews from testers, and also some video content from PMDG, possibly with the release of a few tutorials over the coming weeks. Every beta can be unpredictable, and depending on the issues that are found by testers we may be looking to a few weeks to months before the release. In any case, the PMDG 737 is approaching, and will surely land in an airport near you this year!