Following up on my recent article on the DC-9 Classic 2D panel, it's time to have a look at the DC-9 Classic virtual cockpit.
Although all love is not lost for the 2D panel, the flightsim community seems to have slowly shifted over to preferring the virtual cockpit as the primary cockpit view.
As I wrote in my 2D panel article: The virtual cockpit is able to provide the user with an immersion factor and feeling of being there which just cannot be provided by the 2D panel. In the virtual cockpit you get to see the cockpit as if sitting in the real aircraft. You also have the ability to freely move around and interact with the switches and controls just like you would in the real aircraft. These are the winning factors.
In this article I have included pictures of all the virtual cockpit camera positions provided in the DC-9 Classic for your convenience. I do realize that users of the virtual cockpit aren’t going to use static views when moving around in the virtual cockpit. The view positions provide you with a starting position from which you can pan around with your joystick hat switch or press and hold the spacebar while moving your mouse.
If you have a TrackIR setup, you can select one of the two pilot forward view positions depending on whether you wish to fly as the Captain or First Officer. Both the Captain’s and First Officer’s instrument panels are fully simulated in the DC-9 Classic virtual cockpit.
The virtual cockpit modeling and texturing is the work of my friends over at McPhat Studios. Widely known for their texture work, McPhat Studios are now also doing great 3D modeling work. They have put the same level of quality and attention to detail into their 3D modeling as they have in their award winning textures.
The virtual cockpit was first introduced into the MS Flight Simulator series back in 1997 when MS Flight Simulator 98 was released. I wouldn’t call it an instant hit, but it has certainly caught on over the years to the point where Microsoft, in their latest civilian flight simulator release MS Flight, have chosen to drop the 2D panel all together in favor of the virtual cockpit. It’s an interesting move.
The virtual cockpit in the DC-9 Classic is fully functional. Everything you can do in the 2D panel, you can do in the virtual cockpit as well. The only major exceptions are the 400+ circuit breakers. These are readily available via pop-up panels in the virtual cockpit though, just as they are in the 2D panel.
Update: Just before release we managed to make the circuit breakers in the VC operational. All 400+ of them!
The DC-9 Classic builds on it's predecessors the Super 80 Classic and Super 80 Professional. However, the DC-9 Classic virtual cockpit was built from scratch - and it shows. The DC-9 Classic virtual cockpit is a major leap forward in terms of the level of detail in the 3D model and the quality of the textures when compared to Super 80 Classic and Super 80 Professional. It really is something different.
I am very excited about this aircraft and I can't wait to hear your comments once you've had a chance to fly it. It shouldn't be long now.
All screenshots by: Patrick van der Nat (Soya)