QualityWings Boeing 787 Dreamliner Review
By: David M. Edwards
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the first clean sheet, engineered and designed from scratch or blank paper, aircraft from The Boeing Company, since the introduction into service of the widebody fuselage Boeing 777 by United Airlines on May 15, 1995.
The midbody fuselage Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been the flagship of the Boeing fleet since October 26, 2011, when it was introduced into service with All Nippon Airlines. Thirty-two billion United States Dollars (U.S.D.) were invested by Boeing in its development. “Boeing celebrates 787 delivery as program’s costs top $32 billion”. The aircraft offered the most modern clean sheet designed aircraft since the Boeing 777, with advanced digital technology in the cockpit, passenger comforts (larger windows and greater pressurization) and composite construction and carbon fiber construction comprising 50% of the airframe structure allowing for a 20% increase in fuel efficiency. The unit list prices for the Boeing 787 line vary from $239 million U.S.D. for the 787-8 model to $325.8 million U.S.D. for the 787-9 model. To date there are 1,365 orders and 678 deliveries of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
United Airlines, a legacy carrier, has always been my favorite airline, with their Rhapsody In Blue by George Gershwin music (playable at the top of this review), will be the theme throughout this review. United Airlines was the first American launch customer for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in 2010. United Airlines has a three-class seating configuration for the Boeing 787-9 that seats a total of 252 passengers (48 United Polaris Business, 88 Economy Plus and 116 Economy). Currently, United Airlines has thirty-seven 787 Dreamliner’s (twelve 787-8’s and twenty-five 787-9’s) in service with an order for twenty-eight 787-10’s. All new clean sheet (built from scratch) aircraft have an inevitable and non-avoidable teething (trouble(s)/problem(s) rectification) period. The primary trouble ticket item for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was the batteries. Now that the teething process has been completed and the production line optimizations have greatly improved, the profitability and aircraft delivery frequency has entered a nice stride for both Boeing and the global airline industry.
QualityWings previously release their Boeing 787 for Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX) available here. Current owners of the QualityWings Boeing 787 for FSX can get a 50% off coupon code valid through August 1, 2018 here.
The recently released QualityWings Ultimate Collection Boeing 787 is an officially licensed Boeing product for the Lockheed Martin Prepar3D version 4 (P3Dv4) and is the subject of this review.
Setup (Purchase, Download, Install):
I securely purchased this through Flight1 and can be accessed by clicking here. The product is priced at the low-mid range price point of $69.95 United States Dollars (U.S.D.). Download size was 593 megabytes (MB). The installer asks for the root P3Dv4 folder. Liveries are available from the quality wings website listed under FSX liveries. Note the FSX liveries should be used for the P3Dv4 version and are available here. Downloaded liveries should be placed in the QualityWings Dispatcher folder. Once placed in the folder, open the QualityWings Dispatcher and click install livery and a window with all your downloaded liveries are listed. Each one will need to be individually installed. There are 35 liveries available for download the 787-8 and 27 liveries available for the 787-9. It would be nice if QualityWings and other developers had an embedded batch function to install all liveries in one operation with one click. I’d do it myself, however by my C++ programming courses from Oregon State University (O.S.U.) is a wee bit rusty. My index finger started to have some fatigue and soreness after the first few liveries were installed. I felt the initiation of arthritis in the making. A repaint kit is also available for download. United Airlines (U.A.L.) has always been my favorite airline and this livery will be used throughout this review.
Hardware: Intel i7 950 running at 3.07 Gigaherz (Ghz), ASUS P5B motherboard, 12 Gigabytes (G.B.). HyperX Ram, 2 x Nvidia 770 GTX (4 Gb each) in Scalable Link Interface (S.L.I.) configuration, Track Infrared (I.R.) 5 head tracking head gear and receiver (Natural Point, Corvallis, OR. United States of America [U.S.A.]) and Dell 4K Ultrasharp 27 inch monitor.
Software: P3Dv4.2, Active Sky for P3Dv4, Active Sky Cloud Art, REX Sky Force 3D, Pilot’s! FS Global Ultimate Next Generation FTX Mesh (Global land elevation points generated from orbiting satellite reconnaissance mapping in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [N.A.S.A.]) and EZdok 2 (Head tracking software).
Notes: 1) Purchase of Lockheed Martin’s Prepare 3D version 4 is required for this aircraft add-on to work and can be purchased here. 2) All testing herein was conducted at 4K (4190 x 2160) resolution. 3) All flight testing was conducted in the contiguous (lower 48) states of United States of America (U.S.A.). 4) All screenshots in this review were taken at 4K resolution.
Documentation includes the following: Quick start guide (17 pages), Users guide (423 pages) and tutorial (187 pages) in pdf format. The quick start guide provides essential info to get in the air with a flight plan as soon as possible (a.s.a.p.). The users guide is exceptionally thorough with an exquisite presentation of aircraft systems with a strong focus on effective use of the advanced avionics. The users guide also overs the installation and program features in detail. The tutorial is exceptionally thorough, systematic, intuitive, and comprehensive. Five tutorials over from a cold and dark startup to shutdown at the end of the flight. Explanations, detailed checklists and illustrations are reminiscent of the elite add-on company’s. My only suggestion for the documentation would be to compile two sets of checklists. One detailed and one abbreviated that are not embedded in the tutorial and can be used for future reference.
Exterior Modeling and Textures:
Exterior modeling of aircraft and textures look fantastic, especially at 4K resolution. Visual details to the airframe, probes, etc. down to the individual rivets are extremely detailed and clear with no anomalies. I used the United Airlines livery throughout the testing other liveries appeared equal in quality and detail.
All Napal Airways (A.N.A.) has four jets in their fleet with a Star Wars theme. One is a Boeing 787-9 that is depicted as R2-D2 and as Star Wars #1 fan, this merited and warranted a few screenshots. A.N.A. Star Wars themed jets including a Boeing 767 and Boeing 777, click here for details.
Virtual Cockpit Modeling and Textures:
The 3D Virtual Cockpit (V.C.) looks and sounds GREAT!! The quality of the textures, sounds and functionality make the V.C. feel and sound like you’re in there, especially at 4K resolution. Cockpit lighting is very good in general with multiple levels of preset lighting that work very nicely, although there is no minutely incremental variable lighting, regardless the V.C. lighting looks great. I noticed there is a switch to move the copilot seat and the seat moved with a mechanical noise. The Heads Up Display (H.U.D.) unfolds down from the stowed position with excellent display and information. Rain effects, integrated with TFDi Trueglass technology, are excellent and variable at low through high speeds, provide a premium to the environmental immersion.
The steering tiller is the round wheel to the left of the captain’s seat is non-function. I had no problems steering with the rudder peddle steering and differential braking. The steering tiller is used for excessive turns greater than 30 degrees in either direction. Typically used for tight parking spaces.
Delivery flight: Electronic Flight Bag (E.F.B.) and Flight Management Computer (F.M.C.) Testing:
Boeing Field (KBFI), Seattle WA to Portland (KPDX), OR.
New York (KJFK) [Version 2 FSDreamTeam], New York; local area flight.
Terrain Radar Testing:
Denver, CO (KDEN) [Version 2 FlightBeam]; Local area flight.
T.C.A.S. Testing: San Francisco (KSFO) [Version 2 FlightBeam], CA; Local area flight.
Dynamic 3D Lighting Testing: Minneapolis (KMSP) [FlightBeam], MN; Local area flight.
Maximum Takeoff Weight testing: San Francisco (KSFO) [Version 2 FlightBeam], CA; Local area flight.
The QualityWings Dispatcher is an all in one tool for the following: installation and removal of liveries, units for weight, night lighting optimization and load manager (aircraft specific fuel and payload loading). Don’t forget to click the “Save Payload Settings” button or the information won’t be transferred to the simulator. This module was very intuitive, easy and pleasant to use.
Flight Model (Flight Dynamics):
Briefly the flight model is outstanding. The fly by wire flight control systems are fully and authentically simulated with Boeing C*U, P-Beta and spiral stability logic. I tried numerous stalls under various conditions including power on/off, in landing configuration, in cruise configuration and medium to steep banks (15-60 degrees). Under these stalling and slow flight conditions the aircraft felt very real and responded accordingly. The stick shaker is first engaged prior to the stall warning horn. On several occasions, the stick shaker seems to start preemptively. However, this may be part of the flight envelope protection. Deep stalls, full stall with full back pressure (with full elevator trim up) resulted with a loss of altitude reaching approximately 7,000 feet per minute or more.
Takeoff at a Maximum Takeoff Weight (M.T.W.) of 554,158 lb (pounds) from San Francisco (KSFO) runway 28L had a notably longer takeoff roll, due to the increased weight. Banking and overall maneuverability at M.T.W. seemed notably damped compared to the handling at a light weight. One note regarding maneuverability is that while the was a notable they are not nearly as drastic as those would be on a transport aircraft without fly by wire flight controls and envelope protection (e.g. Boeing 737, etc.).
Bank angle protection has been beautifully modeled. When bank angle exceeds 30 degrees the system is active and brings the bank back to 30 degrees. At banks angles greater than 60 degrees there is an alarming sound of passengers screaming, similar to that of the first major drop on an roller coaster, heard from behind in the cabin. This is an extremely nice feature though I would have much preferred that it was triggered at 45 degrees of bank, rather and 60 degrees of bank. I would do it myself, however my C++ programming courses from Oregon State University (O.S.U.) is a wee bit rusty. Perhaps this mod can be integrated on a future update. Tail strike protection is also included. Wing flex of is also beautifully modeled. Although it is most obvious under higher gravity force (G-Force) conditions where the upward wing taper is flattened under these conditions. The flight model has been extensively tested and certified by active Boeing 787 airline pilots.
The flaps overspeed/load relief system is also a very nice feature perfectly integrated in the flight model. For example when over speeding when flaps 30 are extended, there is a red “OVERSPEED”, and “OVERSPEED” voice. Next, a message on the screen will display “LOAD RELIEF” next to the flaps setting indicator, simultaneously, the flaps will automatically and transiently be reduced to adjust to the overspeed. In my example flaps were automatically reduced from flaps 30 to flaps 10 and then the flaps were automatically returned to flap 30. The system is fully automatic, yet keeps the pilot informed on the screen what is going on.
I intentionally did a very hard touchdown at the end of Runway 30 at Oakland International Airport (KOAK) followed by a go around. The inertial and the hard hit to concrete were quite notable and seemed proportional to the impact on the landing gear.
Dynamic 3D lighting:
Overall, the dynamic 3D lighting looks fantastic. The dynamic 3D lighting testing was conducted in Minneapolis (KMSP) MN developed by FlightBeam. At the time of the testing there was a live severe thunderstorm depicted and my frame rates were slashed to single digits. I quickly looked at my settings and several were maxed out. If doing night flying in particular, make sure to tone down your settings particularly autogen, trees, traffic, etc. to reasonable levels for a high demanding aircraft add-on. Once the I reduced the trees and other settings to reasonable levels, I was pleasantly pleased with the fluid night framerates under these distressed conditions.
General systems: The status of all systems (Electric, Fuel, Air, Flight Controls, Gears, Doors, Hydraulics, etc). is available by clicking “SYS” above the display. Within that system menu each system can be individually selected. A comprehensive colored schematic diagram shows an overview of the currently selected system status. The anti-ice system is modernly simplified with off/auto/on knob selectors for each engine and the wing (3 knobs in total). Comprehensive systems include: Electrical, Fuel, Nav, Hydraulics, De-Ice, etc.
Flight Management Computer (F.M.C.): The F.M.C. is nearly identical and familiar to the legacy F.M.C. in previous Boeing transport aircraft. The display User Interface (U.I.) and buttons have been modified and take a little getting used to. However, one the first flight I was able to efficiently and effectively use the F.M.C. with its pleasant updates.
Electronic Flight Bag (E.F.B.): The E.F.B. was solid and very useful. Utilities of the E.F.B. include: Dispatch, Performance, Maps and Charts (Instrument Flight Rules, I.F.R.) viewing, dynamic functionality with import of maps and charts,etc. The dispatch page allows for efficient payload and fuel loading that is immediately coupled to the F.M.C. for performance calculations. Maps and charts from external sources (Navigraph, Jeppesen) can be simply imported.
Electronic Checklists: The simplified electronic checklists are selected by the button “CHKLST” and are a seamlessly pleasant experience using.
Weather Radar: Excellent. The weather radar was seamlessly and effectively integrated with Active Sky for P3Dv4, Active Sky Cloud Art, REX SkyForce 3D. The weather radar is engaged by pressing the “WXR” button above the inner left primary flight display (Captain’s side) and weather radar echoes (precipitation) are displayed below the buttons.
Terrain Radar: Terrain Radar is excellent and fully simulated. Simply press the “TERR” button above the inner left primary flight display (Captain’s side) and the terrain features will be overlay the weather radar return echoes, if enabled, below the button.
Traffic Collision Avoidance System (T.C.A.S.): T.C.A.S. is faithfully modeled with high fidelity. I did the T.C.A.S. testing in the San Francisco Bay Area U.S.A. starting at San Francisco International Airport (KSFO) version 2 developed by FlightBeam. Typically, I will fly with no traffic to excessive loads on my system. For this T.C.A.S. testing I set traffic at 100%. Aural (sound) verbal warnings for nearing traffic “TRAFFIC” are triggered when the traffic target turns red on the display and “CLEAR OF TRAFFIC” is stated when traffic is cleared. The traffic targets are on the display and outside are synchronized and accurate. Traffic is displayed by pressing the “TFC” button above the inner left primary flight display (Captain’s side) and displayed below the button. The traffic targets are very clear and change color from white to yellow to red depending on the proximity. Additionally, each target has an arrow indicating it is climbing or descending and displays the altitude difference. The T.C.A.S. system does not include T.C.A.S. Resolution which tells the pilot verbally what to do (e.g. climb, descend, turn left, turn right, etc.). Surprisingly, with a the extremely heavy of KSFO and 100% traffic the QualityWings Boeing 787 had tolerable and smooth framerates under these distressing conditions. I was surprised and please the high visual and audio quality and fidelity of the T.C.A.S.
The overall sound package on this addon is exceptional and provides a feeling of immersion throughout. Cabin announcements (Takeoff, Landing, etc.). At bank angles greater than 60 degrees there is an alarming sound of passengers screaming, similar to that of the first major drop on an roller coaster, heard from behind in the cabin. This is an extremely nice feature though I would have much preferred that it was triggered at 45 degrees of bank, rather and 60 degrees of bank. I would do it myself, however my C++ programming course from Oregon State University (O.S.U.) is a wee bit rusty. Perhaps this mod can be integrated on a future update.
Framerates are very good with reasonable settings. In a very heavy weather load (overcast) + FSDreamTeam JFK V2 smooth lower frame rates similar to Flight Sim Labs (F.S.L.) Airbus A320 .
Naturally and obviously as a default recommendation I would of course like to see an increase in framerates with future service packs. However, the framerates for the released version were both surprising and pleasing for the quality and complexity of the product.
For the quality, fidelity, and breadth of the detailed features provided with this release at the targeted price point, I have no reasonable substantive recommendations.
One not so subtle suggestion I have for the QualityWings leadership and crew would be to made a professional addon extension/expansion (approximately $50-60 U.S.D.) that would take the Boeing 787 aircrafts systems and functionality to the highest level, similar to what Majestic Software did with their MJC8 Q400. A wish list items would be an expansion of the E.F.B. (functionality and capabilities), F.M.C. (functionality and capabilities), ice accumulation/shedding (wings and windshield), deice and implementation of Advanced Communications And Reporting System (A.C.A.R.S.) for use with flight plan clearances, company communication, etc. An expansion of this type would allow for the quality to flow to the highest level for those customers whom choose and have the disposable income to reach that price point.
Angle of Attack and Airline2Sim are the primary high quality (high definition) and high fidelity (training by real airline pilots) training companies. Neither company has made any announcement regarding training programs to date for the QualityWings Boeing 787. In the mean, I highly recommend JustPlanes Dreamgirls 787 high definition download. JustPlanes does not offer this on Blu-Ray disc anymore. However, I have seen it on the marketplace (e.g. Amazon.com, PCAviatiator.com, and Ebay.com).
Available Supplemental Add-on’s:
FSFX offers a extremely detailed and customized visual effects, “eye candy”, “Immersion” package for the QualityWings Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Performance enhanced visuals for wing water condensation (vapor), engine condensation, jet trails, contrails, volumetric lighting, touchdown effects, engine startup smoke, special rain effects, water vapor vorticies, brake dust effects when the undercarriage is being retracted, Etc. The package is available by clicking here.
Multi Crew Experience offers a dynamic virtual flight crew experience. Recently the Multi Crew Experience has been expanded to include the QualityWings Boeing 787. Utilizing voice recognition technology, the Multi Crew Experience includes: Crew Resource Management (C.R.M.), Crew Coordination, Interactive checklist reading, realistic Air Traffic Control (A.T.C.) operations, speed callouts and callouts for deviations from standard operational norms and standard operating procedures (S.O.P.’s), etc. There is a free fully functional demo to try on the Multi Crew Experience website to try buy you buy and is available by clicking here. Multi Crew Experience was awarded The AVSIM Gold Star Award and is available for purchase by clicking here.
Flight Model: 10/10
Breadth of features and Functionality: 9/10
Overall: 58/60 (96%)
Final Grade: A+
GREAT job QualityWings!!! The overall quality, fidelity and breadth of features of aircraft add-on’s has just been redefined at the low-mid target price point range. The visuals, sounds, breadth of features and systems are excellent. The flight model is fantastic. I most highly recommend the QualityWings Ultimate Collection Boeing 787 for purchase without reservation and/or hesitation. It can be purchased and immediately downloaded by clicking here. QualityWings has released a “Hotfix” / update for the typical and expected initial release bugs “teething” and pledged their commitment to resolve any remaining and newly identified troubles (bugs), provide enhancements and performance optimizations with their Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, moving forward over the next few months. QualityWings Simulations announced on their Facebook page that they are developing a Boeing787-10 (B787-10) Dreamliner, the newest derivative of the Dreamliner series. Notably, QualityWings declared that this new variant will be a free add-on/upgrade to the current owners of their B787-8 and B787-9 variants. The B787-10 add-on/upgrade will be available as soon as it was ready.