Let’s take a step back to the 90s. Air travel is booming, the Concorde is the envy of the common man, and humanity looks optimistically towards the new century. As we gaze skyward, we wonder when the next speed barrier would be broken, not when the next MPG limit would be broken. We looked to the skies and wanted to see Ferraris and Lamborghinis of the sky, not Chevy Volts and Toyota Prius people movers. But, as with all exaggerated hope, that dream soon came crashing down, as terrorist attacks involving aircraft shook the world to the core at the turn of the century. All the glamour of rocket-speed travel was gone, to both the common man, and to the business man. What was once a given was now a fleeting dream for the average citizen, and a liability to the business man. Air travel slumped, and suddenly, getting passengers to their destination quickly became a backseat priority to simply getting passengers on airplanes at all. The rise of oil prices and the decreased demand for tickets led to a sudden shift in the type of airplanes that airlines wanted. They wanted something cheap to run, so cheap that they would be willing to sacrifice close to everything but basic safety to make it cheaper. Airlines came to Boeing with that sentiment, and Boeing responded in as much haste as it could muster, with the 787.
The 787 was a new breed of plane. It wanted to give airlines the kind of versatility they never had before with a plane. It needn’t be filled with large amounts of people, but could still go just as far as every common long haul aircraft. The plane would offer an unrivaled efficiency and passenger comfort, matched with revolutionary versatility and technology. To say the plane was a hit with airlines was an understatement. To date, it has amassed over 1k orders, and is a smash hit with the airlines that already have them. It’s a good thing of course that it’s a smash hit with airlines, as it means you’ll probably enjoy it too. Quality Wings have spent the last few years hard at work making the best 787 simulation on the market to date. The real question is, how much weight does that crown carry, and is it worth picking up? Join me, as we take a deeper look into the Quality Wings 787.
This product came wrapped in the typical Flight1 Wrapper. You could either log in to your Flight1 account directly from the wrapper, or provide it some details like e-mail addresses, keys, and order numbers to allow it to unlock. As I was provided with a review copy, I was required to do the latter, which was still, all things considered, a relatively easy install procedure. Slightly long winded? Sure, but it got the job done quickly and neatly, so, I have no real room or right to complain. What I do want to complain about though is that this plane comes with 0 pre-installed airline liveries, you just get the QW house liveries. While this may chop a few megs of the initial download, you’re going to have to install the liveries anyways from their site, and that proved to be an issue on day one when their DL servers were bogged down with extra traffic. I would have liked to see at least 2 or 3 very common liveries included out of the box to alleviate this issue. This, however, is just my personal opinion, and others may prioritize having smaller initial downloads over having more convenience out of the box. What you do get included in the initial install is all four variants of the 787 currently available, house liveries for the 4 variants, a livery manager for the special file formats that liveries are distributed in, and detailed aircraft documentation to help get you off the ground.
As one of the newest hyped “from the ground up” planes to enter the market lately, a lot of pressure was on QW to do this exterior model right. With the power of new technologies, a new pretty plane to model, and a dedicated experienced team, they were all but expected to knock it out of the park. All of this build up and artificial tension may lead you to expect that I’m going to report that the model didn’t meet expectations, but you’d be wrong. Qualitywings had a high bar to clear, but they still jumped two or three bars above expected. Words are 1/1,000th the worth of an image, so I will give you these photographs to enjoy the true work that QualityWings put into this model. Take note of the detailed engines, high-resolution textures, and 3D cabin.
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The interior model of this plane has to be its biggest selling point. Quality Wings have always been good about textures, it’s the one thing you could absolutely rely on to be good in one of their planes. This plane, as a QW product, had a legacy to live up to, and live up to it it did. Shots taken from the simulator in the right light can look like blender renders, the detail and smooth texturing of this cockpit is in a league of its own. The displays have an immersive fingerprint texture, and everything else beside it just looks so dang sharp. The only cockpit I can begin to compare it to the is the TFDi 717, and even then, it seems to be a leap forward in some regards. I wouldn’t call this a VC, no, I would call this art.
click on the images to open them in full resolution
Quality Wings have built their company up over the past few years under one, common slogan. “Complexity, simplified!” While this approach worked for their 757 and Avro RJ, it was clear from the start that this approach would not work for the 787. They were going to be the first big developer to model the 787, and as such, they couldn’t quite get away with this philosophy. They knew they had to step it up a notch, and provide something more substantial. They developed and developed and developed, teased and teased, and finally, came to this plane. For me, this plane is a break from QW’s past, almost as if it was made by an entirely different house. The best frame of reference I can give in terms of a similar addon is the iFly 737NG series. It’s not as fully featured as the PMDG 737, and it still has some annoying bugs, but I’d be damned if I weren’t to say that it was pretty good.
The physical systems are the major systems relating to the flight of the airplane, but not the autoflight computers. Modeling of these systems is one of the biggest strong suits of the 787. Everything you would interface with on a regular basis is modeled and satisfying to work with. The 787 doesn’t fall to the usual pitfalls indicative of a mid-range addon, like tying the light switches together or having non-movable switches. Regardless of whether something is meant to work or not, the switch to control it will most likely go through the full set of motions, and at the very least impact a system indication visually, be it an EICAS message or an external model change. These small plugs where advanced systems would go really do a lot to make the plane feel fuller and more feature rich than it really is. This isn’t of course to say that there isn’t plenty of depth to go around, for most of the systems you will touch during a regular flight are modeled fully, leaving very little room for “wanting more.”
The physical systems also appeared to remain relatively bug free, something I cannot say transfers over to the virtual systems.
The virtual systems are all of the digital displays, autoflight systems, and other computer-based systems within the airplane. We’ll start with the two big monitors sitting right in front of you as a captain. Qualitywings implemented touch control of the UI elements on the PFD and ND, whereas in the real aircraft it is controlled with a physical mouse. Regardless, this approach is easier in the simming world, and makes for a fun usage of the screen. On this screen you will find all of the manipulation you may need for the ND, as well as a few other things like the QW info panel (more later) and other information that would normally go on the bottom EICAS. The Engine Info is not set to one screen, so you can pick on which screen it resides. As the captain, I always choose to push the engine display over to my poor FO’s ND, as I want all of the screen real-estate I can get.
We can move down from the top two screens to the bottom screen, which takes the place of a traditional secondary EICAS. Here we find the FMC systems, which are now entirely digital floating windows. Don’t fret however, as these systems are just digitized renditions of the normal Boeing CDU systems. No major changes were made to their operation, meaning anyone familiar with the typical 737, 747, or 777 affair would feel right at home. The Quality Wings rendition is satisfactory, exhibiting only occasional glitches, such as my route deleting itself when I tried to change the STAR on one occasion, or my vAPP speeds refusing to take, both of which seemed to happen once, and then never occur again. What is glitchy however, is the autothrottle system. When commanding a speed manually for a long period of time, and attempting to use FLCH directly afterwards, the autothrottles would go insane, often displaying -nan(ind) as the target for throttle, before crashing the entire simulator.
I forgot what 60FPS in a sim felt like, I really did. I’m used to 30, or even 25 if I am lucky. The 787 changed all of that for me. It runs absurdly well, I mean amazingly, mindbogglingly well. I don’t know what magic fairy dust they sprinkled all over the code to make it run this well, but I could maintain upwards of 70FPS ON THE GROUND at a complex airport like KIAD or ENGM (Flightbeam and Aerosoft respectively.) I fell in love with the smooth animations and movements that I had long since forgotten were possible in a flight simulator. I can’t wait to see if they can keep this magical performance intact well into the world of v4, as it would make me a very happy camper.
To go along with the eye candy, Quality Wings has provided a very high quality soundset, that will sound like candy to your ears. As with the visuals section, this cannot really be described with words, so here’s a selection of sounds tossed together from in the 787
Quality Wings have evolved over the past years from a medium tier developer to one gunning for the high end. The amount of effort put into this plane is obvious from the first look, and their love for the project translates well into a great airplane. It has a ways to go, what with getting into P3D v4 and fixing some minor bugs here and there, but by and far this plane is a far cry from the products of Quality Wings’ past. Despite my positive things to say about it, its flight model seems to be a bit lacking (a friend of mine managed to get to a cruise of 60,000ft) and frankly, I don’t want to fly a long haul plane in FSX. A product this new and innovative should not have been released for FSX. As such, I really cannot recommend the product in good faith until such time as the v4 compatibility patch is introduced. At such time as that, I will gleefully recommend this masterpiece of a plane to you. Keep your eye on their Facebook page to see when it’s released. I’ll be sure to provide follow up when that happens.
Disclosure: This product was provided to be free of charge by Quality Wings to allow me to be able to review their product. The opinions expressed within the review are solely mine, and are not influenced by the receipt of the product free of charge.
i5-6600k @ 4.2GHz
AMD Radeon RX480 8GB
16GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM.
1TB HDD @ 7200RPM