Every once in a while I come across software that I end up getting into a fight with. I am extremely competitive and loathe being beaten. That is exactly how I felt the first few times I loaded up the Captain Sim 767 – defeated. I then decided to check my ego, take a few deep breaths, and try some baby steps. After following the written checklists, it all started to make sense. Just like real life, this aircraft is so complex missing even one step will result in failure. That experience set the tone for this entire review. Once again, I find myself stating that study and use of manuals and checklists are vital to successful operation on a Captain Sim product. Unless you are a real world 767 pilot, it’s doubtful that you will be able to know all the systems, how to operate them and get into the air.
The first flight I made was a VFR cruise around the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas. I just wanted to hand fly the jet for a while and get a feel for her. After all, if the auto flight systems fail, I would be flying manually. I think it’s an important thing to do, so I took my time. Yaw, pitch and roll rates were just what I had imagined they would be for this size of airplane. You certainly know you’re not in a nimble fighter or small Cessna. That said, the 767 is actually a very docile plane once you get the feel of it. The only time I had any trouble was on my final approach. I got a little behind the power curve and I found myself falling out of the simulated Texas sky. I recovered, performed a go-around, and came back for what I would call a smooth landing; albeit a bit faster than I probably should have been.
I made the second, flight from Dallas/Ft. Worth International to Salt Lake City International, in full auto flight mode. From 8,000 FT MSL until touchdown, the autopilot system did the work. I sat back, monitored the systems and communicated with air traffic controllers. I found that the FMC and overhead were very much the same as I had encountered on other products, such as PMDG and Level-D aircraft. The main differences were mostly 767 related. For instance, weight and balance, fuel capacity, and even the cost index I would normally use (999), produced an error message on this flight. That’s not the case on the others I have flown.
The start up sequence seems to have to be done exactly in order, which has not previously been my experience. Normally I can vary it slightly to my liking. Not here. Checklist straight or experience the wrath of the general warning alarm. Honestly, I enjoy that about this aircraft. By my third flight, which was from KSLC to KLAX, I felt pretty at home with the plane. By relying on the skills I had developed with those other products and coupling them with what I had learned about this one, I built the habits I needed to operate this jet safely. Even though some of the math and FMC programming were different than what I had experienced previously, it almost felt routine at this point. I had won the fight and now this ‘ol girl was doing exactly what I wanted her to, on command.
After landing in Los Angeles, I shut down the simulator and headed to my “day job”. I found myself reviewing the flight and going over systems in my head. I was trying to think of how I was going to write this review and do the plane the justice it deserves. It was then that I noticed that I hadn’t really paid much attention to the modeling or texturing of the aircraft. The next day I remedied that. I loaded up at KDFW again and started looking at the details of the aircraft. I was surprised to see how much work Captain Sim had put into the smaller, finer points of the external model. The panel lines, lights and everything that you would expect to be textured, were there and well done. I was actually pretty impressed with the self shading feature. It was kind of cool to see the shadow on the aircraft move as my relation to the sun.
There are many animations on the exterior model; too many to list them all, actually. I believe the website says “hundreds” of custom animations. The ones I noticed the most were the wing flex, wingtip vorticies, flight attendants standing in doorways (in a matching uniform to the livery you were flying). In addition, the engines start up, shut down and operation looking very close to the real deal. Speaking of engines, you can fly with three different types: General Electric, Pratt and Whitney and Rolls Royce. The last point on the exterior model I want to make is you get 14 liveries in the package. All of them are exceptionally and professionally textured in what II would consider high definition. The Captain Sim website says there are 108 more liverys available, but I have a hunch there are more drifting around the community and private virtual airlines. It’s safe to say that pretty much any operator of the 767 is covered; but if you find that the one you want is not there, there is a downloadable paint kit that’s a breeze to use.
Moving inside, I have to say up front I was not impressed with the 2d “cockpit”. It honestly reminded me of something I would see in FS9. The virtual cockpit is very detailed. It’s better than the 2D cockpit, but I still think they could have done a better job on the texturing of the panel. Individual gauges were great, but the MIP itself left me wanting more. Switching to the bigger picture of the entire flight deck, I think Captain Sim did really well. The large cabin gives you that “I just stepped onto a flight deck” feeling. There are several animations for you to find (not just moving arm rests). However, the best part of the interior modeling, in my opinion, is not on the flight deck. Captain Sim brilliantly modeled the entire cabin of the 767. Everything from lavs to flight attendant stations, to moving window shades and tray tables to Russian language magazines (Captain Sim in based in Russia), There are even TV’s broadcasting the safety message. I’m pretty impressed with the quality of work. Major kudos, guys!
Sound, as simple and overlooked as it can be at times, plays a key role in this aircraft. The engines (all 3 types) are spot on. I’ve been around real jet engines and researched the Rolls Royce variant online. All of them appear to be fantastic replications of the real deal. Creaks, groans, brake noise, spoiler rumble are all great. Alerts and alarms all seem to be pretty much standard for what you would find on any other simulated Boeing product, including the GPWS. There are built in cabin announcements for both pilot and flight attendant. Luckily, I was using the British Airways variant, so the British voice actors fit in. If you’re using, say, an Aeroflot model, it won’t as much; although I do understand you cannot necessarily do voice actors for every livery.
Is It Worth The Money?
While I think this is the best 767 I have ever personally seen, I am having a hard time swallowing the price tag. This plane retails for $53.00; that’s PMDG kind of money. I don’t feel that this is quite PMDG quality. If it was around the $45 range, I would say yes without question. However, If you want a 767, this is the one to get.
Bugs/Crashes – None
Availability – Captain Sim
System Specs - Windows 7, AMD Phenom II X4 965, 8GB RAM, Radeon HD 6670
Control Scheme – Saitek Pro Flight Yoke and Throttle, CH Products Pedals
Acquisition Method – Review Download