757 Professional v1.3
from PSS/Just Flight

A Review by Dave Gorman
February 2008


The Boeing 757 made its first commercial flight on January 1, 1983 with the US carrier Eastern Airlines. Since then the 200-seat jet was a big hit with scheduled and charter airlines across the globe, with airlines favouring it due to its capacity, efficiency and ability to operate in hot-and-high conditions as well as from shorter runways than similarly-sized aircraft. Such a hit was the 757 that by the time production of the type ended in October 2004, a total of 1,050 airframes had been delivered, with the last one going to Chinese carrier Shanghai Airlines.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the 757 not just because of its amazing performance even in difficult conditions but also because the first route a 757 operated outside America was a British Airways’ flight from London to my native Belfast. It is also a very sleek looking plane, lovingly nicknamed “the flying pencil” by pilots and enthusiasts alike. Bearing all this in mind, then, I jumped at the chance to have a go in the PSS rendition of this all-time classic.

Even before I’ve installed it, the PSS bird looks impressive. The variety of aircraft models is amazing – both the -200 and less popular -300 models are available, and each one can be chosen with either the Rolls-Royce RB211 engines or Pratt & Whitney PW2000 turbofans. Furthermore, there is a choice of exit configurations, and models with or without the aftermarket performance-enhancing winglets can be chosen. Passenger and freighter configurations can be chosen too. And how many liveries would you like? 10? 20? The PSS 757 comes with 66. The 757, then, is value for money if nothing else.

Model fitted with aftermarket winglets

This being a Just Flight package, I wasn’t surprised to find the immensely useful Load Editor and Fuel Planner utilities for both the -200 and -300 models in my program folder. This is something that many developers tend to overlook, but I think that it’s something important to include with any advanced simulation.

Having loaded up the 757 in FS9 and selected my chosen startup and carrier preferences (such as EADI style) from PSS’ in-sim menu, I had a look around the cockpit. PSS never disappoint when it comes to 2D panels and I am pleased to report that this one is no different; the gauges are clear and readable, and for those who are still having difficulty reading the small text on them or perhaps running at lower resolutions all can pop up with a single click on the chosen instrument for an even better look.

The same quality can be seen on the various sub-panels, which are both very well drawn and functional. The quality of the panel bitmaps has to be seen to be believed; the colours and texturing here even put the likes of Level-D and Wilco to shame. PSS certainly know what they are doing when it comes to panels. In fact the only thing I could find wrong with the 2D panel is just a matter of taste, everything looked a little clean and new for an aircraft that has been used so much and been out of production for a few years. However, like I said, this comes down to personal preference and many will prefer the clean look.

Night lighting is also exceptional with everything being well-lit and realistic looking. There are two stages of night lighting to choose from, with the instruments being lit and a dome light to light up the whole cockpit.

Not many 2D switches here. PSS have done a wonderful job on the virtual cockpit.

Not surprisingly, the 2D panel lives up to PSS’ high standards.

Moving into the virtual cockpit, PSS has kept up the standard they achieved in the 2D panels, the VC looks magnificent. Almost every knob and button has been modelled in 3D and moves accordingly. The instruments are no less readable than they are in the 2D panel which is excellent. I found the VC to be quite easy on computer performance with a drop of only a few FPS for me and as in the 2D panel the refresh rates of the instruments can be adjusted to take the strain off the computer in return for lower-quality movement of the simulated CRT screens.

One thing I was surprised at was the lack of a virtual cabin when this is becoming increasingly the norm these days; although that didn’t bother me what did spoil the VC a bit was the lack of wing views – the wings are invisible in the virtual cockpit. The level of detail in the virtual cockpit is otherwise immense though; it really is completely functional and an entire flight can be flown from the virtual cockpit if you wish. Even the position of the rudder pedals can be adjusted!

Continuing my visual inspection, I moved to the outside of the plane. Wow. I am sure that many experts will jump out of the woodwork and tell me that the external model isn’t 100% accurate, but I can tell you now that it looks good.

The model boasts a host of animations such as animated passenger and cargo doors and also more detailed features such as opening APU inlet door, an animated RAM air turbine, drooping undercarriage when airborne, and flexing wings. The textures are not to be sniffed at either. I feel safe in saying that I’ve never seen PSS produce a better set of textures than they have for the 757. They might or might not be photoreal but I don’t think they could be any better than they are. With 66 liveries included it has to be said that a lot of work has been put into these – good job, PSS!

Just one of the dozens of liveries and variants included in this package

Back in the cockpit, I began the preparation for the Delta flight from Atlanta to Cincinnati and had a play with the numerous systems realistically modelled in this package. The FMC is very detailed and functional with a very realistic look to the font used on the screen, although I did have a few problems with boxes in blank fields displaying incorrectly.

I did all of my Boeing learning curve flying the LDS 767, so there was nothing new to me in the overhead panel and startup procedure, although it is very detailed and simmers who are less familiar with advanced Boeing sims may require a little help. Happily, for this very reason a detailed and helpful tutorial has been included. The autopilot is as advanced as in any other simulator at this level and worked perfectly for me as long as the FMC had been properly set up beforehand. TCAS is included and so is fully-functional weather radar which was a nice inclusion to an already very complete systems package.

Pushing back and starting up, I had a good listen to the sound package included with the 757. Sadly, this is one area for disappointment with the engines failing to give a very good impression of their size and the power that comes from them in the real world. If anything they sound like the much smaller engines fitted to the 737. This should not put anyone off buying the package though as many fantastic sound sets are available for free from the likes of Avsim. A bigger disappointment, to me at least, was the lack of a virtual co-pilot to call out V-speeds, with the only callouts simulated being the automated ones from the EGPWS, TCAS, and EICAS systems.

The liveries have to be the best PSS have ever made. They are truly stunning There is plenty of detail inside and out

Fortunately, the flight model somewhat made up for this shortcoming. On the ground the taxiing feels very realistic when you remember that the pilots are a good 12 feet in front of the nosewheel. In-flight, the sleek styling of the 757 is backed up by astounding performance for an aircraft of this size – the 757 has always been notoriously overpowered – and the controls feel very responsive. At heavier take-off weights the controls feel realistically heavy and slower-moving when you consider that at MTOW this aircraft can weigh over 113 tonnes. A slight anomaly with the flight dynamics is in the engine power – the required EPR value to keep the speed up on approach is a little higher than it should be and the values on engine start-up aren’t exactly correct either. I also noticed that quite a high pitch was needed in the flare which also seemed a little bit off. However, even for a realism junkie like me these problems are minor and on the whole the FDE is fantastic.

UPS Cargo variant

To sum up then, this is really quite a package. As I have said, the variety of models and liveries available is no less than astounding and PSS have maintained their high standards in the 2D cockpit and VC. Apart from a few slight bugs the flight dynamics are very realistic leaving the only problems in the soundset, which is easily replaced anyway. Overall I think that the 757 is well worth buying and whether you are a big fan of the flying pencil or not it will provide hours of very enjoyable simulation. As a side-note, the paintkit is very good too if you happen to own a VA or have an interest in repainting. A big part of the appeal is also the 757’s versatility – remember that this is an aircraft that has been used to cross the Atlantic or to connect airports as little as 70nm apart.

There’s something for everyone when it comes to the 757!

Dave Gorman

    My review machine specs:   Just Flight 757 Links

   3.06GHz Intel Prescott

   1024MB DDR2 RAM

   nVidia GeForce 7600GT
  757 Product Page
  User Forum
  Just Flight home page




Mutley's Hangar © 2006 - 2008 All Rights Reserved.