PMDG 747-400 Queen of the Skies II. A release that we have all been waiting for. It’s time to install it and start learning. Check out how I am doing.
The 747 is available in PMDG store and it will be delivered electronically (downloaded) after the payment of $89.99 (FSX and FSX:SE) or $134.99 (P3D). Inside the RAR file, you will find an installer and “readme” text file.
The installation is similar to any payware plane you have (or to any other modern software) – just click “ok” or “yes”, or whatever is needed to move forward. The only obstacle is the DirectX installer that tries to add Bing toolbar to web browsers (untick the consent field to avoid this).
747 – Queen of the Skies V3
Let’s get the numbers sorted. You will find that this 747 is often referred to as V3 or Queen of the Skies II (QOTS II). It’s V3 because it’s the third 747 by PMDG. “II” because it’s the second product branded as QOTS. You will notice the parallel numbering system in PMDG Operations Center app.
What is included? PMDG delivered a 747-400 in all major versions (apart from LCF model):
- 747-400 (Passenger)
- 747-400 BCF (Boeing converted freighter)
- 747-400D (Domestic – created for Japanese short domestic routes; low range, high capacity, no winglets)
- 747-400ER (Extended Range – Australians needed, even more, range than the standard 747 offered)
- 747-400ERF (Extended Range Freighter – longer range, cargo)
- 747-400F (cargo)
- 747-400M (combi)
For each version, there is a choice of up to three kinds of engines (Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, General Electric) that were available to airlines.
PMDG Operations Center
It’s an external application for managing PMDG planes. It’s an updater and livery manager (you can download additional liveries from PMDG servers or add a third party liveries through Ops Center interface without having to mess with aircraft.cfg file.
The choice of liveries on the PMDG server is considerable.
- 747-400 – 37 liveries
- 747-400 BCF – 4 liveries
- 747-400D – 2 liveries
- 747-400ER – 1 liveries
- 747-400ERF – 1 liveries
- 747-400F – 17 liveries
- 747-400M – 3 liveries
Additional liveries created by users can be downloaded from Avsim and FlightSim.com.
Look for the manuals in Ops Center or navigate to the main FSX (P3D) folder and then to PMDG -> PMDG 747 QOTS II -> Flight Manuals. There are four documents there:
- PMDG 747 Introduction
- PMDG 747-400 QOTSII FSX Tutorial 1
- 747-400 FCOM
- 747-400 QRH
The first introduces the 747 created by PMDG. Here, you will learn how to install and activate the product. Customization options are also described in detail (you can customize your aircraft in FMC). There is a “Yes, You Really Should Read This” chapter – and yes – you should read it.
The tutorial describes a simple flight of the 747 from startup to shutdown. It’s like a shorter manual on 113 pages.
FCOM – both volumes of the Flight Crew Operations Manual in a single PDF file. 1606 pages of Boeings manuals for the 747.
QRH – Quick Reference Handbook – checklists for anything bad that can happen on a plane. You don’t have to learn them by heart. If you wish – it’s 554 pages long.
AIRAC – nav database
PMDG delivered the 747 with AIRAC 1702 – so the navigation database is current in February 2017. You can update the database using Navigraph’s services (subscription or a single AIRAC purchase). AIRAC is updated 13 times a year.
In FSX (P3D) for the first time – activation
Once you install the 747 you will need to accept (grant) permissions for the files and libraries that were installed – just as you do with similar add-on planes. When you select the 747 you will need to accept permissions for an additional file (or files) and then you will need to activate the product. Just copy and paste the code from your order confirmation. Now you are ready to fly.
Warning! If you are using DX10 Preview in FSX – keep in mind that PMDG discourages users from using this mode. If you still prefare the DX10 Preview (perhaps you have the DX10 fixer like I do) – you will notice that the 747 lacks some textures in the preview window of FSX. Don’t panic – it works well once the simulation is loaded. The problem occures in the FSX preview window only.
The first flight
I chose to fly from Krakow (EPKK) to Katowice (EPKT). It’s just a short hop – departure, a few minutes at low altitude and ILS approach.
I like Krakow (Drzewiecki Design – EPKK Kraków-Balice 2012 X) – it’s a nice payware scenery that doesn’t cause noticeable performance issues on my system. With maxed out settings (previously I was flying VFR over light sceneries) I got slight fps drop in the 747 on the apron and the minimal drop in the air. I am satisfied but I could use 4-5 fps more. I would say it’s the level of PMDG’s 777. Their 737 performs a little better. Once I adjusted my settings – performance was ok.
The 747 feels familiar
I have considerable experience with PMDG’s 777 and that makes programing 747’s FMC a lot easier – the procedures are about the same. 737 users will find some differences around radio-navigation. Like with other PMDG Boeings I fly (777 and 737) the flight preparations are moved from FSX’s fuel and payload menu to the FMC. Just enter the number of passengers, weight of the cargo and the amount of fuel. I will describe this procedure in detail later on.
New features – ergonomics
At first glance, I noticed a major improvement over the 737 which I have been flying recently – in the 747 you can close 2d panels for FMC with a click in the middle of the screen. It’s the same with all other displays that you can open as a 2d panel. 737 required clicking the “X” button in the corner of FMC panel. It may be a small detail but I feel the difference right from the beginning – that is a good sign.
I also have a subtle feeling that the logic of how the dials for altitude and heading turn has been improved (over already very good performance in the 737 and 777).
Let’s skip the manual – flying the 747 without a proper training
I can’t imagine waiting until I read the manual so I tried to fly the 747 without reading a word of it. With my experience in 777 and 737, I had no problem taxiing the 747. I feel it was easier than in the long 777-300 and narrow taxiways in Krakow and Katowice caused no problems. Taking off and flying the programmed route did not require any additional knowledge than flying the 777. FMC feels familiar, autopilot works as expected and manual landing was not a problem. It was a good flight although it wasn’t the most elegant (early flaps on landing, probably incorrect speed during the ILS approach – everything on the safe side – I just did not know the correct numbers – something I will surely check in the manual soon).
I like it!
After the first flight – I like it. Queen of the Sky II made me want to study the 747. I will be looking for some interesting routes and you can expect more texts about the 747 soon.