FlightSim.Com Reviews: AETI 747-200 CLASSIC
REVIEWS

747-200 Classic by AETI

By FlightSim.Com Staff (6 June 2000)

Now that's accuracy! Finally, a 747 done right! Look at the accurate scales and makings up close, used to create this perfect visual model. The paint job is as great, and as realistic, as the rest of the ol' 747.

INTRODUCTION

This past May, I attended the MicroWINGS convention where only a few products truly got me excited. AETI's latest product, 747-200 Classic was the one that really got me going this year! In recent months I have reviewed quite a few products that have lacked the quality I expect from commercial developers. Some of you have seen my reviews, some of you may never see them, as a recent load of products containing aircraft are so bad and riddled with bugs, I cannot even stand to fly them, let alone review them. We have now for the first time in many months, a truly quality add-on aircraft that is worth boasting about. And, it's not even in the stores as of yet. And, it's only one airplane. But if someone can make one airplane right, it's worth far more than the 20 or so aircraft included in boxes other companies are pushing.

A great shot of the NW 747-200 getting ready to taxi. The landing gear accuracy and the engine inlets are really worth noting!
I have been searching long and hard for the perfect 747. I even tailored our contest which runs through June 10th, to help me find the perfect 747-400. Too bad I didn't include the -200 I guess. This one would have won! But, Marty Arant and the gang at AETI have great yokes and toys to play with already, so that contest is still open for anyone out there that produces the best 747-400, 777 or A340 out there. With what these folks have done with the 747-200, it's going to be mighty hard! The AETI 747-200 aircraft was designed by the capable hands of Craig Mosher and the panel was done by Ralph Tofflemire. Both of them deserve an award for their work in creating this masterpiece. When you see something this good, you want to tell the world. I am hoping for the -400 next!

Amazing virtual cockpit. I am supposed to hate these things! This one features functionality and not much frame rate hit to boot! I'll stand here for a while and watch the flight.

COMPLETE EXPERIENCE

The 747-200 may look great, and it flies great as well. But first, you'll have to get through the panel! This is not a novice's panel nor one that you should expect to get going in a snap. Since I wanted to get this review out quickly, I didn't spend the time reading the excellent looking 61 page Adobe Acrobat manual included. This should not be missed. My recent experience with real heavy jets and turboprop systems got me to figure out the proper startup procedure rather quickly, in about 30 minutes.

Sunset on the ramp. The 747 becomes even more beautiful at night.
I used the Concorde default sound set with slight modifications, for my 747 flights. The airplane doesn't come with a sound set as of yet. The panel does include great sounds, as many of the gauges are dynamic, and are programmed to respond to the aircraft. For instance, it comes with the "talking" airspeed indicator. The speed bugs get set to the right speeds when your aircraft weights are set! You will hear the proper crew calls when bolting down the runway! In addition, when starting engines, the startups are vocal as well. Checklists and "next up" items are mentioned. The panel comes with a pushback gauge built in to get you out of the ramps. There are APU sounds and air conditioning sounds.

If you're operating a Sound Blaster Live! card such as I am, you'll want to use your control panel that's included with your Creative Labs Program group, to set the number of simultaneous wav file playback to the maximum of 32. If not, you may get lots of screeching and loud sound corruptions when multiple sounds try to play from this panel. That happened to me first, but Ralph Tofflemire told me how to remedy this, and now I am telling you. It worked.

KLM enroute to the Caribbean. Side view showing perfect accuracy and scaling.
The main forward panel is included along with a complete flight engineer's panel, overhead fuel and system panel, complete working INS system gauge, throttle quadrant, virtual panel and the normal FS2000 toggles like GPS. You can have as many or as few panels on one at a time and you can certainly resize all of the auxiliary panels however you want.

There is no virtual cockpit! Finally, someone agreed with me that they slow down views and take away that nice "passenger perspective" you'll get with left rear, and right rear viewing points. You'll want to look at the wing which includes slats, moving engine fan blades and speed brakes. Speaking of all of this, the visual model of the entire aircraft is great. There are perfectly spaced, sized and colored window rows. The wings, leading edge slats, flaps, moving controls and speedbrakes animate and form a great model. However, the low speed ailerons do not move and the flaps don't animate like Fowler flaps, moving out on a track, then down. Heck, that's a small oversight. The other small oversight is the landing gear goes up and down far too quickly. Most designers don't know that the 747 takes 18 seconds of travel time to lower or raise the gear and close all the doors. I would have liked to have seen that. I also wish the tail, elevator and nose gear moved. I am guessing the lack of animation is due to a parts limit. But I cannot complain. AETI has beaten my desire for animation out of me, as the visuals make up for it. I can not be upset at this.
Another great evening shot. Go in, take a look!

Everyone knows the side profile is so important when pointing out flaws in a visual model. I just can't find any to point out!
Flight modeling is outstanding. It's heavy and sluggish where it should be, and responsive at higher speeds. It seems to have the right amount of heavy drag with gear and flaps down as well as pitch position on a final. Power must be way up, to hold a glideslope with full flaps. Cruise flight yields the correct fuel flows, true air speeds, and aircraft attitude. This is a 747-200. In the 1970s, this was the most powerful airliner. Today however, its engines are not as robust as the modern -400 and you'll notice the lack of "ummppphhh" in takeoff, initial climb, and especially in high altitude climb. You'll not climb out of the high 20's fully loaded, until fuel is burned off first. Medium weight flights may have to level at FL 310 first. Climb rates at M .75 or 320 kias may only be 1000 to 1500 fpm if you are not going to over temp and redline the engines! Most initial climbs out of airports even lightly loaded are less than 3000 fpm, compared to 6000 fpm in an empty 747-400. Climbing to more than FL330 can be a long process! True to all 747s however, are their fast cruise speed. Get the -200 level, and she'll get right up to M .84 in a hurry (500 ktas). So, you may be low at first, but you'll make it up in cruise for sure.

Taxiing the big 747 takes some time getting used to. A lot of thrust may be needed to break away from standing still. Then once you get going, you'll find the engines wind up after an initial push, then wind down a bit. You never know quite where the power setting will take you. Maybe this is some real function of the real P&W; engines. If you move the throttle up to 50% to get moving, it will settle down to about 40%. It's hard to set taxi power without either coming back to a stop, or speeding up with a lot of momentum. Through a lot of trial and error, I found a great taxi rpm to get moving and taxiing at is 50% N1. To sustain speed, about 46% is needed, with some braking. I found keeping the power at 45 to 50% and using braking on and off would keep me at a 10 to 15 kt speed rather nicely and help me around tight turns where the airplane will pivot nicely, but want to stop also.

Takeoffs are fun, and your V-speeds are always set for you. Landings are typical 747 arrivals. That's plenty of power in on final, speed at 130 to 145ish, and power cut in the flare at 30 feet. It's real smooth and easy after that, with reversers taking you down to 50 kts rather briskly.

I can't find any flaw with flight modeling. It flies by the numbers. Perfectly. This is a rare, highly accurate 747 model that I'm sure real 747 pilots would get a kick out. Maybe they already have in the development?

CONCLUSION

No virtual cockpit will let you enjoy the finest fanblade animations I've seen, as well as watch the world go by under the round engine pods.

The only buggy items are the times when Marty Arant's voice calls for gear up on the runway, flap calls out of place and some instances where at sunset times, or sunrise times, all the night textures pause the sim for a long time. This can be really bad when flying around sunset or sunrise and each few minutes, some darker panel textures are loaded in as well as the aircraft's exterior change. I understand the artistic quality may deem this, but in my case I would have rather not have night transitions taking place, just one "bang" night panel and outside model. I wish the outside model had some landing light floods on the forward fuselage and engine nacelles, as some freeware designers have been doing.

This is the best aircraft add-on package I've seen. It edges slightly over Lago's Mad Dog. Without a doubt, the best 747 and panel I've ever used. Craig Mosher's 747-400s that I loved two years ago have appeared in some of my reviews on and off. You can purchase them at Abacus in the Instant Airplane Maker program, or as it's called in some markets, Fly the Best. But now his all FS2000 747-200 really takes the cake. It is the finest visual 747 ever made. Nothing comes close to the trained eye.

Ralph's panel is the best panel he's ever made. Far superior to the older, photorealistic panels of the past. The gauges work smoothly, the frame rates are not impacted much over a default FS2000 panel. Everything works, most toggles "click" and there is much more startup functionality than other panels offer. The autoflight panel works very well and represents the aircraft in a classic way.

I can only imagine a complete, unique 747-200 sound set and a little more visual animation would have made this aircraft review the highest I've ever given. Actually, it still might be :)

The Classic 747-200 by AETI, deserves a 94 out of 100. DO NOT pass this one up.

MORE PHOTOS

Flight Engineer Panel. Outstanding!
Pilot's panel with the full working INS display engaged. I don't know how to work it yet, but I really think it will work correctly, based on what I've seen so far!
Pilot's panel with the fuel and exterior lights panel. Again, nice work!

Purchase & download the 747-200 Classic from AETI ($29 USD): go HERE

Read Tim van Beveren's Additional Review on the 747.



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