From Ben Weston: Now then chaps, I know you like to know what we're up to and when I'm in a position to tell you about it, I like to do so.
Well, the news I'm delighted to share with you is that we have our real world airline Captain and trainer for the Airline2Sim PMDG 747 Cadet Training Program. His name is Roger (not to be confused with the unseen safety pilot from the Q400 First Officer Program - he wasn't real) and he flew all flavours of the 747 for a big Hong Kong based airline up until a few years ago when he transitioned to the 777. Recently retired, we've nabbed him from relaxing on the golf course to come and teach us to fly the Queen of the skies. He's well qualified to do so as he was a Type Rating Instructor, so I don't think much will get past him. Also for those of you that have flown the 777 and watched our Cadet Program to go with it, there will be an interesting comparison between the two aircraft as although on the surface there looks to be a lot of commonality there are some big, big differences!
With the 777 Program based mostly in the USA and the Q400 around the British Isles, we'll mix it up by spending some more time in Asia with this one - looking at 747 cargo and passenger operations into places like the Philippines, Indonesia, China and Russia as well as some long hauls where the QOTS will take us across the Pacific. As with the 777 there will be a training mission followed by some line style flights, concentrating on the trickier stuff once we've got the hang of the 747.
The big bonus of this particular program is that it will include a section on operating to one of the most amazing sceneries ever made for FS - Kai Tak! Finally, you'll get to see how this is done properly. Roger played it down a bit (typical British understatement) when I asked him how hard it was, and pointed out that he would sometimes do it twice a day in the 747 making it fairly routine. For foreign crews who might go there once a year it was different story! Well, finally you'll get to see how it's done. This section will be included the 747 Program but also sold separately as a new product line we're doing focusing solely on airports. This will be called 'Airport2Sim Kai Tak', so don't be confused or try to buy it twice!
Timescale is as ever fluid, but we're slating release as Dec this year. If we get it done quicker then it'll arrive before then. Pricing will be, to quote a fellow developer, in line with the Triple. Obviously we have the 777 Cadet+ ULR episodes completing soon and of course the 717 Lite Program is in the pipeline, plus you might be thinking - what about the Flight Sim Labs A320-X? We've got a Captain with so much Airbus experience (literally his whole commercial flying career has been free of dinner on his pants - one for the 777 Cadet fans there) I strongly suspect he calls out retard when he pours milk on his breakfast cereal. More news soon, but for now enjoy the view - you'll be doing this in the sim soon!