The FJS 737-200 Twinjet was recently on sale on the x-plane.org store. Being the big sucker for classic jets, and in particular the cigar-tube equiped -200 series of the memorable 737 line; I obviously had to get it.
I messed around a bit after installing, seeing if I could start it up from the wonderfully unsung cold and dark state(except by @BeachAV8R ). After succeeding I opted to call it a night and head off to dreamland. Awoken by the gentle autumn sun and inspired by my Mudspike coffee mug, filled with the inevitable black beverage of life I opted for a flight.
Where would I go? To my favourite place! The Caribbean! TIST or TISX were the obvious starting points, with either TNCM just off to the east, or TJSJ off to west being the obvious choices. Neither would throw me on the high altitude airways and both would give me a little breathing room to figure out my approach once airborne.
It should be of note that the 737-200 doesn’t have any INS or GPS installed by default. You can buy the INS for 10$ that bolts onto the 737-200 and the 727 Study V2 product of FJS. this INS system is called the CIVA Navigation System, which about sums up my knowledge about it. It looks pretty vital if you desire to leave the world of VOR Beacon populated country and short hops!
I have plotted a short flightplan in SkyVector that has me making a left turn after departure, intercept and pass over the STT beacon, then turn towards San Juan. It works but is not ideal, the mountains south of the airport are not high, but high enough to form a point of attention if I would loose my bearings and fly the wrong direction. I plan on landing on runway 10 given the predominantly eastern winds.
As it turns out, Westjet has a old 737-200 parked on TIST that they really wanted to sell! Unfortunately it was scheduled for a charter to San Juan today… Well, atleast BudgetPaints is located there, so it’s where I need to go! So after a little haggling I agree on taking the passengers and cargo with me, with the condition that I can do “Eye of the Tiger” karaoke on the PA system. They did not look amused… Can you imagine?!
The passengers started boarding already and are complaining that the AC is too hot, jokes on them though. It wasn’t on yet.
A few flicks and flops on a variety of switches later and the lights, galley, air-conditioning and no-smoking signs are on! That should hopefully get them drunk enough before we start taxiing
The Weight and Balance report surprisingly tells me mostly about Weight and Balance, no Shakespearean drama in there. On the other hand, I kinda needed it too.
We have enough fuel to reach our destination and do a few laps around the island if we’d feel inclined enough. Depends a bit on how the passengers behave in the back, they already started a congo-line. Perhaps bringing all that vodka was not such a good idea.
Engine 1 and 2 are spinning to life and overruling any authority the poor little APU had, the center fuel tanks are empty so I would indeed expect those lights to remain lit. Everything else seems to be all fine and dandy!
Very nice vref card, I can really appreciate this attention to detail.
Almost pushed back, the 732 does not show a pushback tug although that’s only really immersion breaking if you are viewing it from the outside.
Verifying the flaps are set and dandy, ready to flap in the wind and do whatever it is that flaps do(something something change profile?).
After a quick and sobering taxi(I had to stop the conga-line shenanigans) we head off for a quick and steady departure, gently banking left to intercept STT. At this point I made a big misstake.
The 737 Autopilot is a rather simplistic affair, I made the misstake of presuming it would be simple and straight forward, this caused some very violent manoeuvres and altitude changed that were not quite… commanded. After a big loop around the island I finally coerce the auto-pilot into doing my bidding by threatening it with a serious application of percussive maintenance, which never fails.
The instruments are absolutely gorgeous, and very smooth and clear!
The WestJet livery is nothing special, but I am a sucker for those black patches on the nose!
Soon enough we see Puerto Rico and are indeed flying over solid ground again.
I underestimated the distance on the map to intercept the ILS, so I flew it in a little high. No biggie, there’s an ocean and a big ol’ left turn up ahead!
Manually flying the ILS, because it’s some of the best fun you can have with these old aircraft.
Crossing the highway, a little high since those tree’s would get trimmed a little if I’d stuck to the flightpath!
Safe and sound on the ground again, unfortunately the instant replay(alt-r) feature drained all the remaining fuel so I could not finish my taxi to a gate and go through the whole shut-down. Everything else on this flight was an absolutely delight. The FJS team have delivered a gorgeous aircraft that feels spot on(based on no experience with the 732 at all). The visuals are stunning in almost every regard(don’t look at the CB panel behind you).
Unfortunately the manual doesn’t quite explain how the Auto Pilot works exactly like you might find in most DCS modules. It shouldn’t stop you from flying this wonderful bird though, it’s easy enough to figure out given some space and time!
Now… Off to that cheap paintshop at the dodgy part of the airfield!