This Monday came with a fresh wave of excitement for owners of the PMDG 737NG for Microsoft Flight Simulator, as the company has finally rolled out the first build of the much-awaited Universal Flight Tablet.
The Universal Flight Tablet, the official name for what everyone calls “the PMDG EFB”, is a novel ecosystem within PMDG’s product line. Its essence is to provide a robust platform from which a range of applications and tools can be accessed to augment simmers’ enjoyment of PMDG aircraft. The initial release of the UFT comes with a suite of applications chiefly focused on the “EFB” functions:
- Flight Plans/SimBrief Integration: Enables importing of flight plans from SimBrief, downloading weather information for the flight plan route, sharing flight plans and weather data between the tablet and the aircraft, displaying the Operational Flight Plan, and real-time METAR information in either native or simplified format.
- Charting: With a Navigraph subscription, simmers can access Navigraph Charts, featuring georeferenced aircraft position on displayed charts and flight-centric chart selection with the option to pin desired charts.
- Performance Computation: This feature facilitates take-off, diversion, and landing computations, data import from flight plans or from the aircraft itself, reduced runway length computations, and graphic display of displaced threshold data.
As PMDG’s vision for the UFT unfolds, future updates will leverage the tablet environment to introduce functionalities focused on control of the PMDG airplane. These include managing PMDG Options, Functions, and Failures from the tablet or the FMS menu. Moreover, PMDG is in the initial stages of coordinating with outside developers to enable direct access to their applications from within the UFT, promising intriguing integrations without compromising realism or cluttering the desktop with multiple pop-up screens.
The PMDG UFT is envisioned as a “feature-rich garden of tools” designed to enhance the simming experience with future PMDG products. For now, the 737NG Series serves as the testbed for the current build, but the upcoming PMDG 777 will also enjoy the advantages of having this tool installed.
The latest update for the 737NG that includes the UTF is now available exclusively to direct PMDG customers. It can be accessed via the PMDG Operations Center under the Product Updates page. Once updated, build 3.0.0080 (or later) will unlock the tablet capability in your PMDG 737.
As for MS Marketplace customers, the new builds have been submitted for approval. Upon clearing the multi-phase approval process, the update will be made live, but we know how these things go with the Marketplace. It may be made available within a few days or in a few weeks.
Now, with the tablet finally installed on the flight deck, PMDG says that the next batch of functions is already in the pipeline for testing. Hopefully, this also ends the community drama that has grown incomprehensibly around this topic and reopens the opportunity to discuss properly exciting new PMDG products. You know, like that 777 and who knows what else. As Randazzo put it, it’s time to “collect your gear and go flying!”