I have a few items to update you on today, one of which is quite important to anyone who has installed liveries for their PMDG products that were not created by PMDG.
Operations Center 2.0 Global Rollout
In early February we are going to initiate the global rollout of PMDG Operations Center 2.0. When this happens, users of PMDG Operations Center 1.0 will receive a notification within the app indicating that there is an app update.
The app will ask you if you wish to install the update. When you do, the app will install the new Operations Center 2.0.
Functionality is the same, but the layout will be different. More efficient, a bit more businesslike as the Operations Center is poised to become the home for distribution of all PMDG download products as well as the launchpad for PMDG Global Flight Operations.
What do you need to do to prepare? Generally speaking, we recommend uninstalling any liveries that you downloaded from PMDG using the original Operations Center. We recommend this because we have changed the way liveries are tracked, and if you transition to OC2 and then receive an update to an existing livery- it will cause it to duplicate in your livery list within the simulator. Not terminal, but untidy- and we all hate untidiness- so best practice is to simply uninstall all liveries that you downloaded from PMDG, then reinstall them once you have Operations Center 2.0.
One note for those who have lots and lots of liveries installed that you installed manually, outside of the Operations Center 1.0 installation mechanism: (Some livery painters give you a zip file with some instructions, for example.) In *theory* these liveries will be fine, the OC update doesn't do anything with your aircraft.cfg files but Operations Center 2.0 tracks the presence of liveries a bit differently than Operations Center 1.0, so it might point them out to you as "requiring a repair" the first time you run OC2. Simply acknowledge the warning. The next time you run the application it's internal knowledge of your liveries will be up-to-date and you will be back to where you started.
Invariably someone will ask "can I keep OC1?" The short answer is "No." Shortly after the OC2 transition is launched, we will disable all of OC1's capabilities except for its ability to update itself, as this is the only way to ensure that we have a consistent user experience.
PMDG 737NGXu 600/700 Expansion Package
We have been receiving quite a few requests from users wondering when this package will be ready for release. We are hoping to publish by end-of-month in January, possibly as soon as the coming week. The product itself is in beta testing and we are smoothing over a few rough spots before handing these two new airplanes to you. Pricing hasn't been set, but will probably be a bit lower than what you expect. With this update you will have all of the performance data for both body types added to the EFB, which will help with flight and performance planning.
Included airplanes are the 737-600, 737-700, 737-700 Blended Winglet and 737-700 Split Scimitar Winglet airplanes.
We are currently evaluating customer interest in a cargo variant expansion package for NGXu, as well as a BBJ/BBJ2 package.
PMDG 737NGXu Base Package Update
Concurrent with the release of the PMDG 737NGXu 600/700 Expansion package mentioned above, we will be pushing to you a significant update for the base package. This update has been in testing for 10 days or so, with additional changes and fixes being added constantly. The focus of this update has been to improve predictive logic in the EFB, tune the flight model a bit more in all phases of flight, improve the physics model's inertia management (should show up as changes in both flight and in braking performance) as well as a number of logical corrections for various service reports we have logged since the product released back in November.
PMDG 747 Queen of the Skies II Update: We are about to push an update to the 747 product line off to our testing teams. This update is focused on some general cleanup, some logical corrections to various systems and expanding the physics model to include ground handling inertia management. This update will include the ability to manually push the 747 while driving the pushback tug just as we introduced in the 737 product line back in November. (As someone who started his career as a ramper many (many many many) years ago, let me tell you that driving the tug under a 747 is fun!)
Something else that will be of interest in the updated physics model: The 747 has body gear steering which dramatically improves ground handling by reducing the turn radius below what would normally be experienced by the airplane if the body gear were static. The 747-8, for example can reverse direction on a 175' wide runway (it uses 172' to do it) so long as the body gear are steering normally. If the body gear are disabled, then the turning radius changes dramatically and the radius of turn becomes an unwieldy 228', and requires quite a bit more power to keep the airplane rolling due to increased scrubbing friction as the body gear get dragged along the concrete.
When we publish this update, I'll have some more interesting tidbits about how all of this works and how you can see the improvements in accuracy of the new physics model in full demonstration while taxiing this magnificent airplane...
The update doesn't have a firm ETA as it depends upon testing results, but we are looking to publish this before month end.
PMDG 777-200LR Base Package And PMDG 777-300ER Update
We have been promising to circle back for an update on this product line for some time, and the promise seems to get OBE on a regular basis. (sorry!) We are preparing a major update to hand over to our testing teams in approximately two weeks- and we hope that it will then roll out to you a few weeks after they receive it.
This update is a massive sweep-up of various improvements we have made to system logic across all fleet types, cleaup of various service reports we have logged, addition of ground physics, ground handling physics, and inertial management to the physics model. It will also add PBR to the external models.
For those interested to see the EFB come to the 777: That work is underway. It will not be included in this update, but will roll out once it has been completed and tested. The process of data importation to the EFB is a significant one. Each airframe takes about 80 man hours to accomplish just the data import process... It might be interesting to a few of you to learn that the EFB will get 200ER data during implementation. Run with that as you may.
PMDG Global Operations Public Testing
In the coming weeks we are going to begin inviting certain members of this community to join a very limited early access period for PMDG Global Flight Operations. We have recently mapped out our phased implementation strategy to bring this exciting new simulation environment online- and the first batch of users will be hand-picked folks from within this forum. We chose some a group of users from frequent posters, individuals who consistently offer help and commentary, helpful criticism (of us- not someone else! ), issue reporting etc. We have even chosen a few folks who are ardent critics of us because we respect they manner in which they voice their opinion in this venue.
These folks will be given early access to PMDG Global Flight Operations as a way for us to test the entry procedures for new customers, and they will immediately have access to some of the features that will be available to all customers on "Go Live Day." After a short period, during which we will update/change the entry procedures based upon user feedback and experience, we will open the Early Access a bit wider. with an additional, larger invitation period during which we will begin turning on many of the advanced product features and using the Early Access customer load to test and be certain these features are ready for prime-time.
We then plan to go through a period in which we increase customer access to PMDG Global Flight Operations in stages so that we can be certain all of the load balancing and communications systems behave as expected- and once confirmed PMDG Global Flight Operations will Go-Live for anyone interested.
Development of this product has been an incredible undertaking, far larger than I think any of us realized when we started- and the truly exciting thing is looking ahead and seeing what it will be capable of once we have you all up and running. We have some really fascinating features planned for the future and we are looking forward to telling you about them!