Time flies! It’s with that finding that BlueBird Simulations is marking the 1st anniversary of the announcement of their Boeing 757 for Microsoft Flight Simulator. Not that there’s much to celebrate as the aircraft is still in development, but this date serves for the developer to talk more about this project and offer some answers to the most frequent questions that have been made over the last 12 months.
Through a new video available on its Youtube channel, BlueBird Simulations’ CEO Shervin Ahoo asserts the team’s satisfaction with the progress achieved over the last 12 months, despite knowing that there’s a lot of work left to do. Still, the team is confident that the 757 is still on track for a release later this year.
The video, which you can watch in full below, provides some very interesting answers about the product. We’ve summarised the whole thing after the clip for your convenience. Besides that, note the VNAN demonstration that kicks in at the 7:50 mark, which illustrates this mode with altitude constraints during the descent. It shows how the FMS manages the descent in case of an “at or below altitude” constraint on one of the descent waypoints.
BlueBird Simulations reaffirms that this project is still on track for this year’s Q3 or Q4, probably closer to the fourth quarter. Shervin says that once the team is confident of a release date, they will announce it to the public, but probably not until just a few weeks off the determined date.
Originally, when BlueBird announced this project, it was somewhat ambiguously said that the 757 for MSFS would be an aircraft with “mid-level complexity”. Knowing that this can mean different things for different simmers, BlueBird says that the best way to explain their goals is to say that they are focusing on “normal operations”, with a special focus on the flight management system. Shervin says they’ve spent a lot of time on the FMS and believe it’s very robust, with complex features like full VNAV and LNAV, among other great features.
BlueBird also states that other systems are being modeled in great detail… although some of them won’t be available in the initial release. A functional APU, pneumatic and electrical systems, among others, are planned to be included in the package, even if some will only be added after the initial release. BlueBird promises that the work on the Boeing 757 will not stop when it’s out, and users should expect continuous enhancements following the launch.
For the initial release, BlueBird will have the passenger version of the 757, with both the 200 and the 300 Pratt & Whitney Rolls-Royce engines, with winglet and non-winglet variants. Scimitar winglets will not be included in the initial release, but may come later as a free update. A Cargo Expansion is also planned, but only a few months after the release of the passenger version.
There’s no exact information about pricing yet, but BlueBird details that there will be a base package, which is the Passenger version, to be followed a few months later by a paid Cargo expansion. This Cargo expansion will include some enhancements that will trickle down to the passenger version for free.
Following that, any updates and enhancements will be free, even for those with just the base package. The enhancements that are planned for some of the systems in the cargo variant will be included as a free update in the passenger variant.
A new cockpit
In the video, you will still see the current cockpit that BlueBird has for the 757. However, there is some important news on this front, because the team is actually working on a new version of the virtual cockpit that Shervin says is “absolutely incredible”. Thanks to the help of Mike from FlyByWire (who did that incredible video about the A380), BlueBird is now building a new cockpit that will hopefully satisfy those who’ve shared their negative opinions about what they’ve seen so far in the 757. Expect this to be previewed in a future development update.
In terms of cockpit versions, for the initial release, the BlueBird 757 will only have CRT displays. One of the upgrades that are planned for the Cargo Expansion are LCD displays for the primary and the navigation displays. As stated above, this upgrade will find its way back into the passenger version for free, even for simmers who don’t buy the cargo expansion.
The BlueBird 757 will indeed have a virtual cabin. The team hasn’t started working on it yet but promises to share some images of this feature once there’s been decent development progress.
Many have noticed that the preview videos shared by BlueBird so far have featured the default 747 sounds. However, Shervin assures that the final product will indeed include custom sounds recorded from a real airplane.
This has been a common question that has been answered before. While not on the initial release, the BlueBird 757 will come to the Xbox at some point.