PMDG 737-600 for Microsoft Flight Simulator Review
August 9, 2022
The Boeing 737-600 is one of the “next generation” models that includes the 737-600, 700, 800 and 900 variants. The B736 is therefore the first and smallest aircraft of this generation derived from the so-called “classic” models, with production beginning in 1996.
According to my sources, the B736 was a commercial failure. The -600 variant made up only 69 of the 4000 total “next generation” models manufactured.
Now the -600 variant will receive a new life in the world of flight simulations. After the great success of its 737-700, PMDG has recently released the 737-600 as the second model of the MSFS 737NG series.
The installation of the plane is very simple. Just run the downloaded file and then it automatically finds itself in the PMDG Operations Center. Of course, you must first download the operation center via the PMDG website because that's where everything happens: installing updates, downloading liveries, and accessing the help center.
The manual and other documentation are also available in the aircraft folder. For example, a short tutorial is included, as well as a document that details everything you need to know about the plane from basic operations to key configurations.
The exterior of the aircraft is well modeled. Users can not only open every door and hatch on the 737, but also choose from a multitude of ground service equipment. As usual with PMDG, the level of detail has been well worked on to the point where it is almost indistinguishable when we compare the plane side by side with its real life counterpart.
We can clearly distinguish a good level of detail by taking a closer look at, for example, the pitot tubes, the connection of the various ground service vehicles to the aircraft, construction of the landing gear, or even the smallest details such as the screws fastening the cockpit’s windshield. Finally, we can distinguish the typical shape and size of the B737-600. We can therefore say that the exterior is well modeled.
The cockpit resembles that of PMDG's B737-700 (same case in real life between the two variants). As expected from PMDG, everything is there and all the buttons (or almost) work. So, there is no surprise on this side. From my point of view, the only criticism that can be made here is that it looks like the plane comes directly from the factory and has never been used: everything is very “smooth” and very clean; maybe too much. This is not the case, for example, with the various 737s made for X-Plane. Some wear and tear should increase the plane’s overall immersion.
If we compare it with a real B737-600 cockpit, we can say that the resemblance is there and that the level of detail is high. As I have said, there are rarely any surprises with PMDG when it comes to the cockpit.
The cabin is also modeled. But unfortunately, I could not access it through the cockpit door because it does not open. So, I found myself in front of a door impossible to open at the moment. However, you can still travel to the cabin via the exterior using the drone camera. It is still unknown at this point when PMDG will address the nonfunctional cockpit door.
The CDU contains both the FMC and the menus that we can use to control ground vehicles, doors, and everything else that we need to make the simulation even more real.
As you can see in the picture above, the setups can be adjusted in the setup menu whie vehicles and other animations can be controlled by pressing the FS ACTIONS button where you can change everything from the amount of fuel to the maintenances that can be performed at the aircraft. There is, therefore, a lot of immersion on the ground and it is really nice to be able to prepare for your flight in these conditions!
As for the FMC, pilots accustomed to PMDG and 737 will not be lost. For new users, the FMC is still very intuitive and should not cause you any problems.
As for sounds, all cockpit buttons have custom sound effects. It will not be the same if you press the switch to activate the flight director or if you click on the switches to activate the lights.
Inside the cockpit, we can clearly hear the instruments, the packs, and of course the engines when they are on. The sounds are really well modeled compared to those of a real B737-600, adding in great immersion in every stage of flight. You can even hear small squeaks when the plane rolls and the noise of the wheels touching the ground.
As for the exterior, there is nothing to complain about either. You can clearly hear the motors and the sound of the APU when it is engaged. I cannot repeat it enough: PMDG does not have bad surprises in store for us, the developers have done a good job on this.
During the flight, we can of course hear the airflow on the fuselage.
From my point of view, during my flight from Amsterdam to Paris, my experience was more than satisfactory.
There is a comfortable and immersive flight environment, a flight preparation that puts me in the mood directly thanks to the ground vehicles, the systems work well, the sounds are pleasant to listen to during the flight and everything is very intuitive.
From my point of view, beginners, and fans of the 737 game will all be delighted and will not encounter any problems.
PMDG clearly competes with the A320 from Fenix Simulations and that is a good thing. The liners are becoming more and more efficient and well worked for MSFS
I must be honest, this second aircraft in the 737NG range for MSFS2020 fulfilled expectations. But frankly speaking, there will not be any huge surprises for PMDG regular users. But that does not mean this product is not worth it. The simulation is very immersive, both on ground during flight preparation and during the flight. Everything is there: the sounds, the systems, and a cockpit in which we like to spend time. This product will satisfy all 737 fans. Both existing PMDG users and newcomers can only enjoy this aircraft.
What about the price? Honestly, $34.99 is a more than fair price if we look at the quality of the product for new users
There are still some pending future updates. When they are released, all you have to do is upload them via the PMDG operations center.
For more information about the product, check out the PMDG website.
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