|Wilco B777 X
By: David Lolley
|Wilco B77-223ER for FSX
The modern airliner collection from Wilco Publishing
At the time I was flight testing this simulated very modern long range twin
engine airliner, A British Airways B777 arriving at Heathrow from Beijing China,
dramatically lost power to both engines, two miles from touchdown, and was
successfully glided over the threshold to a crash landing, by the First Officer,
which resulted in a loss of the airliner but all passengers and crew escaped
with only a few minor injuries.
So far this has been the only serious accident involving the B777 since its
launch flights in 1995.
So what does the simulated version have to offer? Firstly the product is
available either on CD or as a download for FS2004 and FSX. Installation is
straight forward and will result in the FSX version taking almost 100mb of space
on the hard drive. Only one texture, that of the Boeing House livery is
supplied, but there are at present some 15 extra liveries covering a wide range
of the World’s leading airline companies available free for download from the
Wilco site for both FS2004 and FSX. Each of the downloads are between 3.80 MB
and 5.50 MB, when unzipped and placed inside the aircraft folder each livery
will take up between 33 MB and 46 MB on the hard drive. One loaded into FSX you
will find the aircraft in you SimObjects\Airplanes folder under Feelthere B722
A quick point here if I may about the extra livery downloads, they are all in
.exe form, and will automatically install into the aircraft folder, but do check
that the path to your flight simulator is correctly selected, for instance the
exe file chose “C” drive for FSX, but my FSX is on “F” drive. Also after install
you may think like me that they have forgotten to include a text file that will
allow you to update the aircraft cfg with the texture details, which with most
aircraft you have do a copy and paste job to update, however in this case scroll
down to the bottom of the cfg text, and there you will find the text and already
numbered in the order you install it, very clever and saves quite a bit of
All the textures look very good on screen, certain features have been simplified
probably to help keep up the frame rates particularly in FSX, for instance the
side windows are painted on, and are not transparent from the outside. All the
working bits, undercarriage, flaps etc show interior as well as exterior detail
and are just fine. Although I found that the tyres appear to be a little sunk
into the tarmac, which could mean the contact points in FSX anyway are not quite
perfect. Interestingly, when you switch to the FSX camera view of the
undercarriage and fuselage the tyres look fine.
Frame rates in general appeared to be just 2 or 3 less than with the default FSX
aircraft, which is pretty good considering the detail in the 3D cockpit. Most of
the sliders are either fully or almost fully maxed out to the right, but I am
not using autogen. FSX flies very smoothly now since the updates, and this
aircraft flies well, with a good air file, so the 2 or 3 frame rate loss is not
really important, if your computer is a little slower, just ease back on the
scenery a bit when using this aircraft.
Inside the cockpit, there is a very good 3D panel, which as you pan around with
the hat switch, shows lots of detail, and not just in the instruments, as you
would expect, but even to the details on the cockpit walls, the jump seats and
such. I would
however say that I do not think that the instruments are quite as super sharp in
detail, as one of Wilco’s other offerings, the Legacy Executive Jet; they are
sharp enough for most practical purposes. There is a difference here, in that
the 2D panel has sharper panel graphics. Clicking with the mouse on the
instruments will bring up and enlarged view or these views can be selected with
the usual shift + 2, 3 or 4 and so on.
There is an FMC, (Flight Management Computer) referred to as the CDU in the
pilots guide, which will show when you open shift+5 for the communications
panel, or shift+6 to have the FMC on its own. Like all FMC’s it is difficult to
operate at first, and it will take some reading and practice to master it.
Which brings me nicely to the Pilot’s Guide, which you will find in the manuals
folder inside the aircraft folder, there is also a checklist as well, and they
can also be accessed in the Start\All Programs\Wilco Publishing\777. The Pilot’s
Guide is written by Capt. Mike Ray, it is well written and very clear to follow.
In it you will find how to fly it and land it safely, the manual is fully
illustrated with very clear pictures and diagrams, full marks to Wilco for
There is a drawback however, I have so far been unable to find a complete manual
that covers every little detail of the aircraft simulation, this can create a
problem here and there, because for instance the pilot’s guide makes no mention
of the Weather Radar, or the TCAS, so you have to try and guess how to make it
work. I do believe the proper way would have been for Wilco to draw up a list of
features not mentioned in the Pilots Guide but available in the FSX version, and
supplied a brief illustrated guide call it updates to the pilots guide or
What I liked about this aircraft is the fact that you can fly it as a beginner
in flight simulation, and yet there is enough extra (i.e.) the FMC etc.,) to
keep the more advanced flier happy. Some of the pay ware aircraft out there can
only be flown after you have spent a good deal of time and effort programming
FMC’s, pushing this knob, and flicking that switch and so on. So in that respect
this is a compromise aircraft to operate.
It should also be noted that this is not an aircraft for short journeys, it is
designed to fly long distance, and so to use it correctly will involve you in
flying for extended periods, probably of two hours or more, however you can of
course always practice with the aircraft by flying short familiarisation flights
to and from airports of your choice, or in the circuit of your favourite
airports to practice, say, ILS approaches, and the like, just be sure to not put
too much fuel in the thing to make it too heavy to land after a short flight.
After all this is the largest twin jet aircraft in the World.
Which brings me to setting up the aircraft, if you look in the Start\All
Programs on your screen and go to Wilco Publishing, you will find there under
777, the Checklist, the Pilots Guide, Fuel Planner, Load Manager, Setup Utility,
Register, and uninstall. I must point out though that at this time the load
planner does not work in FSX, so the aircraft is already loaded with a default
number of passengers and amount of cargo.
This is a nice aircraft to fly, you will feel very comfortable in the cockpit,
the sounds are good, on takeoff, no doubt due to those enormous six wheel
undercarriage bogeys, there is quite a whine from the tyres. The night lighting
of the panel is very good, referring back to my comment that the panel is not as
sharp as other Wilco aircraft, the glass instruments
are in fact good enough, it is the graphics on the surrounding panels, text
around switches and knobs that is less clear, or sharp in photographic terms.
There is also a weather radar, a useful instrument to have, but Wilco make it
clear that it is very frame rate intensive, and you may choose not use this
instrument. You have the choice to select it or not in the setup utility.
I am going to give this aircraft an 8 out of 10, two points are lost for blurred
text graphics on the panel, and missing information on what is available to set
up your aircraft and how to do it. As for the rest I was happy with that, a nice
aircraft to fly, you can fly it by the book and on instruments, or choose to fly
by hand, it is very precise and beautifully balanced, good fun with this big