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Boeing 747 CLS
By: Adam Johnson

Commercial Level Simulations Boeing 747-200/300
By Adam Johnson

Don’t you just love it when you’re right? I know I certainly do. The engineers
behind the Boeing 747 can also share that feeling, and for good reason. Many
sceptics said the 747 was too large to fly. Sounds like a logical argument,
right? How does something as large and as heavy as a 747, a metal monster of an
aircraft, manage to become airborne and stay up there? Well, thankfully the 747
did stay up, and the rest is aviation history. Boeing 747, Jumbo Jet – whatever
you prefer to call it, there’s no denying the fact that it has played a critical
role in aviation. The 747-200 first entered commercial service in 1971, with a

CLS Boeing 747 Review
total of 393 deliveries to airlines. The 747-300 entered commercial service in
1983, with a total of 81 deliveries. Two Boeing 747-200Bs are currently used by
the United States Air Force as Air Force One, the United States President’s
private transportation. The Air Force One 747s, which were specially modified,
were renamed the Boeing VC-25.

At a cost of up to $US308 million, a 747 is just a tad out of the average
person’s budget. A cheaper alternative would be to strap some cardboard wings to
the sides of your car and paint the words ‘Boeing 747’ on the doors. But that
may look slightly ridiculous, particularly if you drive a hatchback (no offense
to any hatchback drivers reading this!). So, we turn to the closest alternative
– a simulated 747.

This is where Commercial Level Simulations (CLS) steps up to the plate. CLS has
developed the Boeing 747-200/300 Series, the newest addition to the Just Flight
F-Lite range. For those not familiar with the F-Lite range, it provides simmers
with the option of moving on from the default aircraft, but not into a complex
cockpit environment like that of the PMDG Boeing 747-400 or Level-D Boeing 767.
In the F-Lite aircraft, the systems are simplified, and some are omitted
altogether to avoid overwhelming complexity. But that doesn’t mean you can’t
still enjoy flying the aircraft.

The Base Pack comes in a boxed DVD or via a 388MB download. After unlocking the
product (if downloaded), you will be prompted to select whether you wish to
install for FS2004 or FSX. It’s a clean installation so there’s no mucking
about. After two or three minutes, the aircraft and all twenty-one included
liveries will be installed in the selected simulator and ready to fly (providing
you’ve read the manuals of course! Or you can just “wing it” – no pun

CLS Boeing 747 Review

Speaking of manuals, two documents are included; a 32 page Crew Operations
Manual, and a 14 page manual explaining the 747’s Inertial Navigation System
(INS). The documents are in Adobe PDF format (if downloaded) or printed (if
boxed DVD was purchased). The INS manual is imported directly from the CLS F-Lite
McDonnell Douglas DC-10 Series. Due to the similarities, the manual applies to
both the CLS DC-10 and CLS 747.

The Crew Operations Manual (to which I’ll refer to as COM from here on) is not a
difficult read, and the information presented flows in a logical sequence. I
managed to divide the COM into nine sections. The first section is an
introduction describing some of the features of the aircraft, as well as a brief
history of the Boeing 747’s early days. Also included are two tables detailing
the 747-200 dimensions and performance specifications. The second section lists
the included liveries and which engine types are included with each model and
livery. The third section provides information on installation, and how to
install the freighter and combi versions (sold cheaper as separate expansions).
The fourth section explains how to access the aircraft in the FS aircraft
selection menu. The fifth section provides brief information on the included
747-200/300 Series Paint Kit (allowing you to create your own liveries for the
aircraft). Now we get into the heart of the COM – information on aircraft panels
and how to fly the aircraft. The sixth section speaks of the inclusion of the
INS. The seventh section details the location of all the “bells and whistles” so
to speak. It details the location of all the gauges and Mode Control Panel (MCP)
knobs and buttons on the Captain’s panel, First Officer’s panel, and Flight
Engineer’s panel, overhead panel, radio stack, throttle quadrant, Flight
Management Computer (FMC) Control Display Unit (CDU), and the doors and features
panel (which I’ll explain in detail in the ‘Additional features’ section of this
review). The eighth section describes the Flight Management Computer (FMC). The

CLS Boeing 747 Review
ninth and final section of the COM includes a basic tutorial flight from London,
England to Palma, Spain to help show you the ropes. Overall, in my opinion the
COM was well written. There were a few typographical errors that I noticed, but
that’s just me nitpicking.

The INS manual explains how to enter waypoint coordinates and align the INS with
the aircraft parked at the gate. It explains how to manually enter coordinates,
or have FS automatically import them. The information included may appear
daunting, but like anything it just takes time to learn. Thankfully, CLS
provided excellent diagrams of the INS to aid the learning experience.

As is if the included documentation is not enough, CLS have on their website a
further 158 pages of manuals and tutorials for the aircraft, all of which are
free. Included is a detailed history of the 747-200/300, a tutorial flight, and
details of every knob, button, and switch across all panels. One document even
describes (in rather simple terms and with the aid of diagrams) the physics of
how the INS works. I respect the commercial add-on developers who include
manuals for public download on their site. This way, the simmer knows what to
expect from the product. There is nothing worse for a simmer than to spend a
substantial amount of money on a product, come across hundreds of pages worth of
manuals, and then realise they are in over their head.

Additional features
In FS2004 (not yet included in FSX), the simmer has the option of displaying
stairwells and ground service vehicles near the doors and surrounding areas of
the aircraft. A SimIcon on the 2D panel will bring up a top-down basic schematic
view of the aircraft, showing all opening doors. A narrow vertical box will
indicate a door, while a wider box will indicate areas for ground service
vehicles. By clicking on the door box, the corresponding door will open. By
clicking on the ground service box, relevant vehicles/stairwells will appear
next to or near the doors. The schematic uses different colours to highlight the
features available in the PAX, Combi, or Cargo models.

External model
Well, it looks like a 747 (that’s a start). All the usual animations such as
ailerons, elevators, rudder, flaps, slats, and landing gear are present (you’d
hope so – they’re essential for flight!). I was quite pleased with the level of
detail embedded in the aircraft’s external textures. From a distance, the livery
blankets the aircraft rather nicely. Up close, you can see an army of rivets in
the metal. They stretch along the fuselage, as well as lining the edge of the
cockpit windows and inside the engine pods. I feel I must commend the texture
artists for this. The livery texturing is crisp, and it really is a poetic sight
as the sunlight gleams off the metal. CLS have created a number of external
viewpoints which I believe highlight the aircraft’s brilliant texturing and
modelling. My favourite is a camera located above the left inner engine pod
(it’s called the Air-stair view). Also included are left and right wing views, a
landing gear view, and a tug view (at the nose of the aircraft).

Older aircraft such as the Boeing 747-200 were equipped with a navigation system
known as the Inertial Navigation System (INS). The pilots would manually enter
the coordinates of the route’s waypoints into the INS. The INS was eventually
superseded by the Inertial Reference System (IRS). Thankfully, CLS implemented
the option of having FS automatically load the waypoint coordinates into the
INS, saving the simmer much time and anguish. If however, you strive for realism
or are just looking for ways to make tasks more eventful, you can manually enter
the waypoint coordinates. This takes considerable time (particularly if it’s a
long route). In real life, the Captain, First Officer, and Flight Engineer would
check and then double check these coordinates to ensure no errors were made, so
make sure to double check everything! The INS can appear rather overwhelming,
but like every aspect of aviation, practice makes perfect.

CLS Boeing 747 Review

While some 747-200s are equipped with an INS, some 747-200s and all 747-300s
have been retrofitted with an FMC and Inertial Reference System (IRS). If you’re
fresh from the cockpit of the default aircraft, you may not be familiar with the
FMC. It is a computer into which flight data (eg. route, aircraft weight,
takeoff speeds, cruise altitude, etc) are entered by the pilot. The FMC then
utilises this information to calculate the most efficient climb/descent
profiles, aircraft speed, etc, and can be coupled to the autopilot. As the
747-200/300 Series is in the F-Lite range, the FMC has reduced features to fit
with the theme of simplicity. Simmers new to this device will find it very easy
to use, and is a good platform in which to propel oneself into a more complex
systems environment. It is capable of calculating takeoff V-speeds and landing
speed based on several variables, as well as aligning the IRS at the gate prior
to pushback. There was one problem I encountered with the FMC. The VREF (landing
approach speed) calculated by the FMC was 20 KIAS too high. As I flew an ILS at
the calculated speed of 172 KIAS, I reduced speed to 150 KIAS, and found this to
be more appropriate. I searched the internet for reports of similar problems,
and found another simmer who also found this to be the case.

The autopilot (A/P) is like that of the default Boeing 747-400, and so it should
not take the simmer long to adapt to this one. In general, the A/P worked quite
well. It had no trouble acquiring and maintaining selected headings, altitudes,
or vertical speeds. There was, however, a slight problem with the auto throttle
(A/TH) function. I selected a speed in the A/P speed select window, and armed
the A/TH before activating the IAS hold function. With all throttles set at
full, I would issue a speed command into the speed select window. The aircraft
seemed to have trouble maintaining selected speeds during a climb, and speed
varied ± 5-10 kts – if not more. When flying level or descending, the A/TH had
no problem acquiring and holding the selected speed. Again, I searched the
internet for reports on similar problems, and found a blog of one simmer who
described the same problem. I think I agree with his final word; that after a
few flights you will get used to it. Until then, one alternative might be to
manage speed manually using the throttles.

2D panel and VC
The 747’s panels are designed by Ken Mitchell. Ken is known within the flight
simulation community for designing freeware aircraft panels (many of which can
be downloaded from sites such as In addition to this, he is also
employed by CLS. When I first viewed the 747’s Flight Engineer’s panel, I
immediately recognised it as Ken’s work. I’ve never been in the cockpit of a
real 747-200/300, so I had to rely on images of the real cockpit in order to
assess its accuracy. One thing you will notice when you view the panel is the
implementation of analogue tape gauges for engine readings (N1, N2, EPR, EGT,
and FF). This is a contrast to the more typical round analogue gauges found in
more modern aircraft. However, after searching the internet, I could not for the
life of me locate any pictures of a 747-200 cockpit panel with tape gauges –
they were all round analogues. This prompted me to question whether the
747-200/300 actually had tapes, although I will be happy to hear from anyone who
can set me straight. Although, I have seen one picture of a 747-200 with tapes.
The rest of the panel was relatively accurate, although there were a few minor
discrepancies between the real and simulated panels. It is, however,
understandable that the FE panel is heavily simplified.

One thing I noticed on the Captain and First Officer’s 2D panel was the
airline’s name and (on some aircraft) the flight number written in white below
the Mode Control Panel (MCP). For example, if the Cathay Pacific livery was
selected, the words ‘Cathay Pacific 6382’ would be visible on the panel. In the
VC, the writing is to the left of the Captain’s panel. This was a nice touch I
thought (particularly useful if you forget what airline you’re flying for!).

Older airliners would include a third crew member in the cockpit who would sit
at a station towards the rear of the cockpit. This crew member was called a
Flight Engineer (FE) (or Second Officer if they were also a pilot). The FE would
monitor the aircraft’s systems such as fuel, hydraulics, battery, etc. FE’s were
eventually made redundant as technology evolved and computers could monitor and
control the aircraft’s systems. The CLS 747 features a simplified FE panel,
providing information for hydraulic systems, electrical systems, engine status,
fuel control, and panel lighting.

Although the aircraft can allow for a slight drop in FPS, the VC does not really
contribute to this and is surprisingly well behaved in terms of FPS. The level
of detail is superb (especially considering the aircraft’s F-Lite status). If
FPS conservation is your priority, a SimIcon on the 2D panel allows the simmer
to disable the VC altogether. A second click of the icon will re-enable it.
However, I found little difference in FPS with the VC disabled. When I looked
around the VC at night, it really had an impact on me. I really became immersed
in the environment, and it felt like I was really in the cockpit of a 747-300.
In all my years of flight simming, I have never felt truly immersed in an
aircraft cockpit before. I don’t know if other simmers will share this feeling
(I certainly hope they do – it’s a wonderful experience).

The aircraft’s internal and external sound set were recorded from real Boeing
747-200/300s equipped with GE CF6-50, PW JT9D, and RR RB211 engines. The mighty
roar of the engines really enhances the experience of flying the aircraft. As
you increase speed (even slightly), you can hear the engines’ subtle power
increase and see the EPR values rise – and it really makes you feel proud that
you are in control of 219,000 Ib of thrust.

Flight dynamics
I’ve never flown a real 747, so I’m not sure how it compares to the real
aircraft. It definitely handles differently than the default FS2004/FSX 747-400.
The aircraft is not difficult to handle, and can bank, yaw, and pitch with
relative ease. So you don’t need muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger in order to
fly it. At the other end of the scale, it won’t barrel roll like an Extra 300S
either. CLS have included a set of separate flight dynamics called “747-EZ”.
This allows the simmer to use a more simple set of dynamics with more engine
thrust, less weight, and easier pitch and roll rates. When the aircraft is
initially installed, the normal dynamics are installed by default, but it can be
replaced with the 747-EZ. I was curious as to how CLS obtained the flight
dynamics data for the aircraft. I got into contact with the friendly team at CLS
via email. In a prompt reply, the CLS flight dynamics expert informed me that
they used data from the Boeing Aircraft Company and several international
airline operators. Data was also obtained from 747 simulator experience.
Fourteen hours were officially logged in a Level-D simulator in Denver, Colorado

Admittedly, the aircraft can invoke a slight drop in FPS in FSX, regardless of
viewpoints, though I must say, this was more noticeable on the ground. Once up
in the air, FPS seemed to return to a more acceptable level. I’m guessing that
(unless you get lost while taxiing) you won’t be spending a significant amount
of time on the ground, so this won’t be too big a deal but this is still
something to be aware of though. I guess that, like anything in FSX, it all
depends on your system’s ability to run it. With respect to FS2004, FPS was
quite reasonable, and doesn’t warrant any complaint from me.

The CLS 747-200/300 is a wonderful aircraft to fly. The manual is well written,
the sound set is authentic, the external model is excellent, and the 2D panels
and VC are relatively accurate. It’s a heavy, but “lite” on complexity, and is a
good choice for simmers looking to move on from the default aircraft. That’s not
to say that more experienced simmers won’t enjoy it. The aircraft does have one
or two flaws, but what add-on doesn't? There is an old Proverb that says "A
beautiful thing is never perfect". I think this applies to the aircraft. Will I
continue to fly this aircraft? As long as there are air molecules in the sky,
fuel in the tanks, and a controller to clear me for takeoff – you can bet your
bottom dollar.

Rating rubric:
• Documentation: 9.5/10 points – There is a good amount of information, but
reference speeds for different variables and flap speeds would be beneficial.
• Interior Appearance: 19/20 points – The VC is of excellent quality. The 2D
panels are good, but do have a few discrepancies between the real 747 panel.
• Exterior Appearance: 20/20 points – Superb texturing, and the model holds true
to the real aircraft.
• Systems: 16/20 points – The FMC and INS are good for novice to intermediate
simmers. However, there is an issue with FMC VREF calculation.
• Extras (unique features, etc): 6/10 points – Ground service vehicles and air
stairs are a nice touch. However, it would be nice if they were available for
• Pricing: 9/10 points – The package is good value for money.
• Performance: 6.5/10 points – Aircraft creates drop in FPS on ground, but
improves once airborne.
• Total: 86/100 points – Overall, a nice aircraft with just a few minor

The above award was given to the CLs Boeing 747-200/300 by VFR reviews but
Sim-reviews have given this product CLS Boeing 747-200/300 a Silver Award

Product websites:
Just Flight:
System Requirements: System Tested On:
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 or FSX
Windows XP or Vista
1.6 GHz Intel Pentium IV or AMD equivalent
No DX10 compatibility
128MB 3D graphics accelerator card.
Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Acceleration
Windows Vista Home Premium
Intel Core 2 Duo CPU T9400 @ 2.53 GHz
Memory (RAM): 4.00 GB
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT

What I Don't Like What I Do Like
Take off smoke Sounds

Price: £28.50 $47.00 €33.50 Rating: Silver
Reviewd By: Adam Johnson Date: 23 Jun 2009
YouTube Link: