I hope all of you had a nice holiday season and that your 2021 is shaping up to be an improvement over what we have all experienced with 2020. I'm sure all of you are as tired as we are of being locked down, held in place, and unable to enjoy personal time with friends, family and neighbors. We remain optimistic that this too will pass and soon enough we will all be able to enjoy one anothers company again soon.
In the mean time, development work at PMDG continues apace. Even with the holidays we were hard at work on numerous projects in an effort to get some of the heavy-lift projects off of our agenda in order to free up manpower for other items on the agenda.
I am happy to let you know that tonight's update will be less words and more graphics, for a change - as the last few have been walls of text to give you lots of information on multiple topics. Tonight I am focused entirely on the 777 for prepar3d .
PMDG 777-200LR/F And PMDG 777-300ER Product Updates
This update cycle has been in discussion for some time and is nearly finished. To recap a few aspects of it that are important, we wanted to bring you the long awaited 777-200ER product (details below) but found that in order to do so, it would be important to update the core of the 777 product platform in order to bring it more into compliance with newer products such as the 747 and 737 product lines. 777 is nearly 8 years old and the code was becoming harder to keep up-to-snuff and it required a very significant overhaul that has taken a large investment of development manpower to complete. Market conditions created by covid, and the need to keep a significant amount of development resources dedicated to our upcoming line of MSFS products caused us to decide to conduct a massive, free update to the existing 777 rather than to do a full product rebuild and replacement with a new (and thus more expensive-to-users) v2.0.
You probably know that we have a very advanced system of collecting, managing and monitoring service reports for all of our products and we have continued to track issues for the 777 product line going all the way back to the day of publication. We have been clearing up items in that system, adding features, cleaning up inefficiencies, modernizing aspects of it's operation and preparing the code to survive another 5+ years cleanly within the prepar3d v4/v5 environments. We are planning a full virtual cockpit replacement and work on that is underway but will take half the year to accomplish.
So this massive update is nearly finished- and we have just pushed another version to our beta teams for evaluation. I expect a few more build cycles before we release the updates to you, because there are still a few more items we want to clean up before turning the product over to you.
PMDG 777-200ER Expansion Package
In even more exciting News for the 777 product line, our long awaited version of the 777-200ER airplane is moving into beta testing this weekend and we anticipate providing it to our beta team during the day on Saturday. The 777-200ER is easily one of the most asked-for expansions and we have struggled to find the right time to insert it into our development agenda. Given that our teams are siphoned off to work significantly on our MSFS projects, it seemed a natural fit to dedicate time to this much loved airplane type at long last.
The PW Powered ER:
This package includes the 777-200ER with Rolls Royce, General Electric and Pratt & Whitney engine types. Each engine type comes with it's own customized engine model, accurately modeled engine instrumentation on the flight deck, accurate engine behaviors and of course a custom suite for each.
Along with the 200ER, we enable in the flight deck a fully functional EFB that is available to you in all of the 777 models (777-200ER/LR/F and 777-300ER).
For all of us on the PMDG team, working on the 200ER has thoroughly reinvigorated our love of this, one of the most robust and magnificent airliners fielded by Boeing- and it has truly been fun to take a deep dive back into this fleet type in order to bring it up to date with our 737 and 747 product lines in order to field this new variant for you.
The Roller Powered ER:
Speaking of things to love about the 777: In this image of the Roller-Powered 777, the image was taken just as the left landing gear was beginning to lose contact with the runway. I often wonder how many of you take the time to really examine just how detailed our ground-relationship is with the 777 and 747 airplanes. We put a huge amount of work into developing the physics models for the landing gear and their contact with the ground. If you look at the 777-300ER, you will find that we fully modeled the cantilevered gear that helps to give the tail of the airplane an additional 18" of ground clearance during rotation. (The 747 has a bunch of it's own animation beauty that you only see on PMDG models- so go take a look! There is some fun stuff going on down there!)
The GE Powered 200ER:
Looking forward, we are sort of feeling our way toward a release for this product line that appears to be around the end of January. If it needs more time in testing, then it will be in February, or however else long it takes.
Right now we are planning to push the product updates to you prior to the 200ER variant, but we might collapse those on top of one another and do them simultaneously if that seems like a smarter way to handle the release once we see how things go. Either way- we are nearly finished and we can't wait to roll these out to you.
Okay, that is all I have for you tonight. I hope you have a nice weekend and are looking as forward to this update cycle of the 777 as we are looking forward to delivering it to you!
Robert S. Randazzo