This is a review of Angle Of Attack’s Level D 767-300 training DVD by Jessica Bannister-Pearce.
We virtual pilots are dumb. Why? Because we demand ever increasing levels of realism. The problem is that all this realism tends to come in large tomes, known as the ‘Flight Operations Manual’. The larger the aircraft, the larger the FOM. The sight of such a huge bulk of rain forest can strike fear into the hardiest of virtual pilots, more so the poor novice. The thing is, if we want to fly like the pros, we need to do it by the book, but without the expensive training, hours of ground school and time with an instructor. Well, thankfully, that’s all about to change. Thanks to Angle of Attack Productions.
It looks daunting, but its not. Honest
Angle of Attack Productions started out as a simple idea. Founder, Chris Palmer, noticed that Flight Sim lacked training resources. He felt that the manuals provided did little justice to the product they were designed for. So, armed with the Video Editing skills he’d learned at high school (I know, young doesn’t cover it), and the flying skills he’d learned from the real world, he came up with the idea of producing training DVD’s to fill the gap in the market. In 2006 the Angle of Attack team produced Level D 767-300 training.
Forget the Popcorn
The first thing I’d say is DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT try to watch this DVD in one go. There is a vast amount of information included here, and at an eye watering 5 ½ hours of footage, you’re brain will melt. My advice is to take it easy and watch in bite size chunks. That way you can avoid those unfortunate drooling problems as your brain freezes quicker than Windows can.
Some gentle reminders on landing
Procedures, Procedures, Procedures
The first part of the DVD is set out to follow the Level D manual, so if you have a copy of the manual next to you, it’ll help, but it’s by no means essential. We start with the panel layouts and switch locations. This is a godsend to help familiarise you with the layout of the 767 cockpit. Each chapter takes you through a different system, from the lighting to the FMS. Some are quite short, others not so much (The FMS section takes almost an hour by itself, so tackle this one on its own) but thanks to the chapter selection you can choose which system you’d like to study. From there, however, things progress to the flying procedures.
A minor issue and how to deal with it.
With every flight, we begin with a takeoff. With the AoA DVD we go through several, from normal takeoff, to abort below 80kts, to V2 Engine fire. Each procedure is explained and demonstrated, with warnings on things to look out for and what to expect from the aircraft. All this pales into insignificance compared to the approach section. Every conceivable approach from a non-precision VOR/DME approach to a full on CAT III auto land is gone through. However, don’t think you’re getting off that easily. Included on the disk are all the flight plans you’ll need to replicate the flying you see on screen.
Every step of the way Chris guides you along, so if you can find some way to watch the DVD whist flying the same approaches in flight sim, you’ll really get the benefit from this great DVD.
Confused by Charts? Then be confused no more
There’s still more to go, however. Once the procedures are over, we’re treated to a full flight onscreen to demonstrate all we’ve learned in the previous sections. From configuring the aircraft to shut down, all is shown with only the boring cruise sections left out. Once more the flight plan is included on the disk, so you’re welcome to join in. Finally, after the full 5 ½ hours, we come to the end of the DVD, and even if your brain is nothing more than a puddle on the floor next to you (I warned you not to watch it all at once) you’ll be surprised with what you will have learned.
Can I recommend this DVD? Without a doubt, yes. If you fly the 767-300 it’ll be more than just a training aid. It’s an invaluable resource that you can turn to whenever you need to check anything. Even if you don’t fly the 767, you can learn so much from the take off and approach section by themselves that it makes up for the purchase price. The only thing to slightly put a dampener on things would be that the DVD is set in the NTSC TV standard. It is, however, region free so any PC will play it, as will more modern TV sets that can switch between several TV Standards (PAL, SECAM and NTSC)
By the time you’ve finished the DVD, you’ll be able to do this.
Chris Palmer and his company have done wonders, and have opened up the world of airliners to those who could otherwise have been put off by the complexity and large manuals. The success of Level D 767 training has now lead to the next logical choice, her bigger sister, PMDG 747-400. Chris told me recently that this DVD will be three times the size of the current Level D one, being offered on 3 DVD’s or even a BluRay disk. If you think this DVD was a long one, I’m told that the flight itself for the 747-400 is over 2 ½ hours (The Level D’s barely hit 45 mins) so expect more brain melting.
I have to say that this sort of training resource is almost certainly the way we’ll learn in the future. Not only has it given me a great understanding of the 767, but I’ve also become a better pilot because of it. The skills you’ll learn will easily transfer between aircraft, and your enjoyment level will go up ten fold.
Thanks to Chris Palmer and AoA productions for their help in providing screenshots and background.
Editors note: We’ve embedded the promo video for the DVD to give you a flavour of the contents:
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