PMDG DC6 Update + Release Info!


PMDG post a status update on the AVSIM forums today! Take a look below:

Tonight we have an update for the vintage airplane fans and X-Plane users looking forward to the upcoming PMDG DC-6 Cloudmaster for X-Plane.

One of the things that is interesting about simming is the diverse range of interests from which simmers draw on the hobby.  Some simmers are far more interested in visual detail that allows them to engage in an immersive story of the journey.  Others are more interested in sitting down with original manuals and working the knobs, switches and levers to recreate perfectly the steps taken by aircraft flying in the real world.

One of the challenges that PMDG sought to undertake when we launched our first product line in August 1997 was to bridge the gap between these two poles in the simming community- and to that extent I think our products have largely succeeded.  With this update tonight, I want to show you an example of how this is especially true with the PMDG DC-6 Cloudmaster!

Picking up on some of the themes from our earlier update, we have created a really nice and easy-to-use Fuel And Loadout Manager for the DC-6.  The fuel loading method will give you complete flexibility to set your total fuel load, or set the fuel load on a per-tank basis to satisfy your dispatch requirements.  Alternatively you can click the 100% and 50% buttons, and the results will be self explanatory.



For payload loading, we will use this cargo DC-6 as a good example…  Along the lower right corner of the page you can see your current fuel and weight loading with the respective impact on the aircraft’s gross weight.  Setting cargo in the Lower or Main holds will reflect in your weight on the manifest.

We didn’t stop there, however- as we all know that cargo is not invisible…  So as you load weight onto the airplane, it’s presence becomes visible in both the upper and lower deck cargo areas.  You can see in this image below the presence of paletized freight strapped to the floor and ready for hauling to the outter reaches best served by the good old Cargo Haulin’ DC-6!



So now let us step onto the flight deck and talk a bit about nit-picky-detail stuff.

The DC-6 has a TON of circuit breakers.  (These are the old, 1950s switch throw circuit breakers that actually have some weight to them- so i MAY not be exaggerating when I tell you that there are a TON of them on this airplane!)

You have heard me say a few hundred times in this forum that the modern interpretation of circuit breakers is that pilots should leave them alone.  If a breaker pops, it is an indication of trouble.  Report it to maintenance and don’t go resetting them in flight.  It failed for a reason…



On the DC-6, things are a bit different.  This airplane comes from an era where the pilots were often trained mechanics and they were expected to be able to address any circumstance that came up in the field without having to call home for permission.  (Insert argument on accident statistics and safety here…  LOL)

To that end, we are giving you quite a bit to play with…  All of the breakers (except maybe two or three) are operable.  You can throw them, and turn equipment on and off to see what kind of impact it has on your ability to fly and operate the airplane.  All of it works…  Or not…  Depending upon how you set that breaker…



There will be a quiz later, we expect you to know what every single breaker does, where it is located (by feel, in the dark) and how many amps you save by throwing it to the OFF position…  You have a week, get studying!

Seriously- we like to provide this incredible level of depth and detail, but we also want to make the simulation visually immersive and enjoyable- so we have implemented some balancing controls to allow you to set things up to suit your style of simming.

In this image, you can see a realism options menu that allows you to configure on or off the kinds of detail level you want to experience.  Most of the options here are pretty easy to understand- and all of them can be further understood if you take the time to dig into the manual and read what sort of pilot skills you will need to employ if you turn various functions on.  One of the more interesting features is that we implemented a “head shake” to replace the seat of the pants sensation you would get in certain instances, such as leaving your cowl flaps set too far open in high speed flight.  If you do this in the real airplane, you get a very ominous, low frequency rumble and vibration through the airframe that serves to ensure every member of the crew knows just how stupid you really are…  So we implemented this with an optional head shake to simulate the vibration.



Whether you admit your lack of airmanship to your crew is up to you.

(Side note: Flying the DC-3 last summer, we managed to get one set of cowl flaps in the OPEN position rather than TRAIL on takeoff…  The vibration was bad enough that the engine gauges were hard to read, and we were pretty certain the right engine was misfiring.  Precautionary landing followed… and the offending copilot was beaten ruthlessly with the fuel dipstick…  True story.)  :ph34r:

Of course- if you elect not to admit your mistake, and maintenance decides to launch a full inspection of the airplane- they will have all of the required maintenance stands and equipment to accomplish the mission!



Any of you who have flown our 747 (the old one OR the new one!) will know that fuel system complexity is something we have always taken great pride in.  The DC-6 has an incredibly complex system that has been modeled in great detail.  Main and alternate fuel systems with crossfeed, fuel dump, and accurate display of fuel pressure on the cockpit gauges.  You won’t be bored in cruise flight as you manage this plumbing marvel in order to ensure you have access to all of the fuel you need for those long over-water segments, that is for sure!



Okay- as the last part of my update this evening, I promised Henning we would squeeze in a few shots of the airplane and the flight deck “in action” at night.  The external lighting has been modeled to give you much of the feeling that you get flying the actual airplane.  These airplanes were designed in the 50s, after all- and plain old incandescent bulbs tended to be poor on the illumination side while drawing a massive amount of energy.  The result is that the wing inspection lights, while operable, aren’t always as helpful as one would like- and you can see that in evidence in this image here.  Look at the outboard left engine and you can see it- but not in great detail because of the shadows and dim light.

Pretty neat stuff when you see it in the sim!

While I’m here- notice the exhaust stack flames on #3 and #4?  You have to see those in the sim to really appreciate the work that went into animating them!




Last might image for the evening is the businss end.  We have shown you a few images similar to this in order to demonstrate the wonderful, red glow of the cockpit lighting and how realistically it creates a sense of space and darkness.  If you love old airplanes and revel in the characteristics that make them challenging to fly- then you will LOVE flying this magnificent prop-liner at night, in weather.  The amibiance and the feeling of being there is hard to beat.



Okay- I think that gives you a pretty good sample of what we have in store with this incredibly deep, feature rich simulation of one of the classics of airliner history.  When you look around this flight deck, you aren’t just seeing a bunch of knobs and buttons that dont DO anything…  They are all functional.  Everything works.  Needles respond to system changes, temperatures and pressures.  They respond to vibration in the airframe.  The airplane flies marvelously nicely until you abuse it…  Then it swings a cantankerous cudgell that will send you scrambling for the runway and the safety of proper procedures.

Sure, it may take a bit of time to master, but we promise you the satisfaction of a flight well flown will be worth it.



The PMDG DC-6 Cloudmaster is an incredibly deep simulation of the adventuring days of modern airline travel when we were just learning how to safely transport passengers across vast expanses of territory in a manner that was designed to appear effortless.  Fly the PMDG DC-6 Cloudmaster, master the operation of her systems, and you will gain a much greater understanding of just how much effort can go in to making something look effortless, that really isn’t.

She is a classic…  From the golden era…  hence I will close with an image of the Golden Gate, as seen through the front windows of a golden age classic.



Want to fly her?

Release for X-Plane will take place on June 1, 2016…

(For those interested in other platforms: We don’t have any platform conversion ETAs available at this time…  We will let you know once we have spent some time on the conversion and thus have some estimates…)

See you in training class!


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