FSPassengers 2004 Review
Platform: Flight Simulator 2004
Review By a real pilot Oskar Wagner - Sep 3, 2005
My first thoughts for a new add-on are always the same:
Is it User Frendly?
Does it add fun?
Who should use it?
How I tested
I installed the software 'as is' and noticed that the installation went smooth and without any problems. And – yes – I read the manual! I know that a lot of users don’t do that but in this case it’s higly recommended to have a good overview of FSPassengers features. The manual is clearly written and can be read in less than an hour.
What I didn’t do was...
Look at any forums about complaints and problems in order to have a first hand look at the software. A few things noted below -might- have been discussed elsewhere.
I did around 40 flights all over the world in the following A/C's: Lockheed L-049 Constellation, FS default B737, PMDG B737-600, PSS Airbus A319, PSS Airbus A330. Most of them were very short range flights (around 140 NM), some of them short range (around 600 NM) and only a few above 3000 NM, some without any special setup and some into “war” regions. So I tried to cover most of the spectrum of FSPassengers to gain some insight and experience on this program.
To be honest, I was very sceptical at the beginning as I am always a bit worried about add-ons that promise to add some “as-real-as-it-gets” fun. And usually my scepticism is justifiable. Now , for the very first time I must admit that I was pleased with what FSPassengers has to offer the user and how it changes the experience of flying the heavies. Whether you run a “virtual” airline to it’s full extent or just want to add a reliable copilot to assist your flying, it’s all up to you! And everything is fully customizable.
I do not intend to write an application handbook with this review, yet I would like to point out a few things that will add some “reality” to your flight ops.
Your copilot will call out important speeds and altitudes and monitor your handling of the A/C. This is realistic in a two-man cockpit as you might very quickly be warned e.g. when you bank too steep or do other things that you shouldn’t…
You can do a realistic flight planning and try to reach your destination on time, otherwise you’ll get a penalty.
You can improve your operational skills by handling lights, altimeter settings in time, otherwise you’ll get again a penalty. Who actually cares about landing lights? Well, here you will….
You can handle emergencies and try to escape alive. If not, your company will suffer from bad reputation. That’s again quite realistic. Whenever an emergency can be handled to save lives, the company’s reputation will even increase….
You will get an impression about the cabin staff being on the way during a normal flight and how you should cope with it. You will have to think about serving hot meals or sandwiches, drinks, or showing the passengers a movie. There’s nothing more frustrating than to stop service before all passengers are fed or to break the movie due to the imminent landing just because you were not aware of the remaining flight time…. Of course in “real” the cabin staff will take care of that but it’s still the Captain’s responsibility to give them a timeframe for their activities.
Ohh and btw, you’ll get a coffee every quarter of an hour, nicely served by your hostess. (unfortunately she doesn’t show up. Now THAT would be an add-on!!)
There are so many variations in setting up FSPassengers that It is impossible to go over the myriad of options in detail, then again one of it's main advantages is that it can be set up according to your preferences. Another goodie that should be mentioned is the simple input for various numeric commands such as COM/NAV settings, heading, altitude, decision height, altimeter setting and transponder by keyboard, nicely “assisted” by your copilot’s voice.
Now, as any other program it has it's glitches... I would say “deficiencies” in my view (however, this is just my personal opinion).
There’s the possibility to add a seat belts button to each A/C. However some add-on A/C as PSS and PMDG have their own seat belt switch which unfortunately, it is not recognized by the FSPassengers program. Maybe something that should be incorporated in future releases??
Most failures also “incorporate” loss of the Attitude Indicator (referred to as loss of vacuum system in the failure report….even in a jet!!). At least almost all of the system failures I experienced had me cope with that. In my opinion this is too heavy and should not occur at all or at least only in extremely remote cases. In reality there are at least three independent sources for Attitude Indication, one of them emergency powered. Loss of Attitude Indication is a worst case scenario in airline flying and leads in almost all cases to a fatal crash. Remember, we’re not in a VFR crosscountry flight but in an IFR/IMC flight and furthermore in most FS A/C there’s no warning for such failure and no standby equipment. So the moment you get aware of the condition you won’t have any chance to escape alive. My personal thinking is that you should always have a chance to handle the emergency. Everything else is frustrating. But well, maybe that’s bit too much into professional thinking.
Handling of the menus out of the FS menu bar is sometimes a bit annoying. I would rather propose a FSPassengers program window to open and to run the complete menu within.
Ohh, and one more thing that would help realism too: When loading the A/C I would rather have an input window for desired fuel amount instead of playing around with a percentage slider.
To conclude my review let me answer the three top questions:
Yes, it is user friendly. It is easily customizable to almost everyone’s taste. Installation is flawless and I didn’t notice any impact on framerates. But – please – read the manual!
Yes, it adds a lot of fun. A lot of “realism” too, but remember, Flight Simulator is just a game!
Surely not the simmers that use FS for buzzing around in various A/C or for bush flying. But the rest: Use it and have fun!!!
A word about the author
Oskar Wagner is a retired Swissair Captain with some 16’000+ flight hours. He’s been flying for almost 40 years and was a VFR and IFR instructor as well as IFR check pilot. In his flying career he flew some 90+ different A/C types ranging from Piper L-4 to Airbus A330. The “heavy iron” experience includes DC 9/32,34,51, Boeing B747 as Copilot, Fokker 100, Airbus A319,320,321 and A330 as Captain.
ADDON GAMEPLAY: 5/5
ADDON FEATURES: 4.5/5
ADDON INTERFACE: 4.8/5
AIRCRAFT ENVIRONMENT: 5/5
ADDON SOUNDS: 5/5
FINAL MARK: 5/5
Review & Screenshots by Oskar Wagner
- PIV 3 GhZ
- 1GB RAM BUS - 800mhz
- ASUS ATI AX800XT 256MB DDR with last drivrers
- Audigy 2 ZS
- HARD DISK SEGATE BARRACUDA 160GB Serial ATA
- Windows XP PROFESSIONAL SERVICE PACK 2
- Flight Simulator 2004
Fly time: ~10 hours
Comments by Harrier Panels, Inc.:
Would you like your stewardess to bring you a cup of coffee during the flight? Or maybe found your own Airline company? More than just an addon FsPassengers 2004 combines excellent interactive aircraft environment (crew, engines & brakes, and much more) with your pilot & Airline founder career starting from buying a small aircraft and finally heavy jet for your company bringing the SIM on a NEW LEVEL of flying! So you get 2 in 1 addon for your money!