Author Topic: Flight Sim  (Read 19632 times)

Offline Zaffex

  • Cockerel
  • ***
  • Posts: 111
  • "It's ZULU TIME!!!"
Flight Sim
« on: March 16, 2006, 02:06:47 AM »
Okay, I've got to ask...do you guys think Flight Sim does anything at all for a person's quest for a pilot's license? I've logged a lot of hours on mine, but I'm worried that instead of helping me learn, it's teaching me bad habits that will be hard to unlearn (turns without any rudder, for instance). What's your opinion?
"You know you're a redneck pilot when you think avgas makes a good cologne."

Offline Ted_Stryker

  • Chicken Farmer
  • Rooster
  • *****
  • Posts: 443
  • Never Forget 9/11/2001
    • Cyber Forensics
Re: Flight Sim
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2006, 02:25:44 AM »
Okay, I've got to ask...do you guys think Flight Sim does anything at all for a person's quest for a pilot's license? I've logged a lot of hours on mine, but I'm worried that instead of helping me learn, it's teaching me bad habits that will be hard to unlearn (turns without any rudder, for instance). What's your opinion?

I can tell you what I've heard from many an instructor, though I am not yet a CFI myself.  Almost universally, they say that MSFS people tend to know the procedures for certain things, but are very bad about not using the rudder, as you have already noted.  That seems to be a tough thing to correct in many, so the best thing you can do for yourself to assist with unlearning that bad habit is to do the following;

1) Turn OFF Auto-Coordination
2) Get yourself a set of rudder pedals for use with MSFS
3) Turn on real-world weather and let MSFS grab the current conditions to help with unpredictability.  Turn ON weather updating at say 10 or 15 minute intervals to provide an even more realistic effect.
4) Turn ON Crash Detection
5) Set the other realizim factors to their maximum
6) Use the kind of aircraft you will be training in and get to know it inside and out
7) Use the Virtual Cockpit mode exclusively to provide the maximum realizm.  You won't have a "spot", or "tower" vantage point in the real bird, and the default cockpit view is a little restrictive
8) Above all, remember that while MSFS is a good "procedural trainer", don't count on it as a substitute for really listening and paying close attention to what your CFI tells you.

Remember too that the CFI is your partner in training, and MSFS can be a tool in your training, but it is secondary, if  not tertiary, to your CFI and actual texts and flight experience.

MSFS can not faithfully replicate the sensations of g-forces, turbulence, or even the control feel when taxiing, or other stages.  Preflight is something completely ignored by MSFS, and usually most people skip right past the taxi operations, and radio work as MSFS makes that all too easy to ignore.

Having said all that, I will also say that I use MSFS for VFR navigation practice with ADF, VOR, and GPS, and practice with various kinds of instrument approaches (something you won't have to worry about until you go for your Instrument rating add-on).  Another thing that it does simulate well is the operational aspects of the radio stack, and the KAP-140 auto-pilot for the Cessna 172.  This should not be ignored, as most people do not get adequate practice with learning how to PROPERLY utilize the Auto-Pilot and it can lead to accidents if you are not familiar with how to engage, disengage, and set it up.  You may even want to search for the Bendix/King owners manual on the Internet for the KAP-140 (just use a Google search), and review it thoroughly.  It will enlighten you as to what all the various features are of the NAV, COM, and XPDR, and AP units are, and how to safely use them.

Just my $0.02.  Let me know if you need more info than this.


We're going to have to come in pretty low! It's just one of those things you have to do... when you land! -- Ted Striker - Airplane!

Offline Gulfstream Driver

  • Chicken Farmer
  • Alpha Rooster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1070
Re: Flight Sim
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2006, 03:46:00 AM »
Well put, Ted. 

Sims are great tools that can enhance training situations that would be impracticle in the airplane (icing, emergencies, etc.)  I always found them harder to fly than the real airplane because of the lack of "feel."  I always thought MSFS was better at IFR training than VFR because it was always so hard to look around, but that was on the older versions.  If they were able to fix that, I'm sure it'd be a good training platform. 

It's not going to hurt you.  Again, just turn off auto-coordination, even if you don't have rudder pedals.  At least it'll make you aware of the rudder.

Good luck.
Behind every great man, there is a woman rolling her eyes. --Bruce Almighty

Offline Mike

  • Supreme Overlord
  • Alpha Rooster
  • *****
  • Posts: 3379
Re: Flight Sim
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2006, 04:26:47 AM »
I have found in most of my students, that the main thing they have learned with the MSFS if they did it right is VOR's, basic airspace, and some instrument stuff actually. They knew where the instuments where and how to use them all good stuff.
They "feel" for the airplane is missing as Gulf put it right, so I had some who had a hard time learning the motor skills. The best students I had who had the "feel" right away actually flew model planes and helicopters....

One of my brother friends once tried to convince me he could get into a helicopter and fly it with out much help because he passed every mission in his "Apache" game. HA HA HA
I still wanna take him on a flight and try him out!!!
Dear IRS: Please cancel my subscription.

Offline wbarnhill

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • CAVU but no $ to fly.
Re: Flight Sim
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2006, 05:25:59 AM »
Another thing I'd like to add is that the controls for flight sim can be quite sensitive compared to an actual yoke or stick.  And you also have to realize you don't have changing pressures on the controls.  There are just a lot of things that can't be felt in a sim, but for basic knowledge on instruments and procedures, flight sims can be a lot of help to put you ahead of the curve.  Heck, just using google to look up how different instruments work like the pitot-static system, airspeed indicator, vertical speed indicator, altimeter, attitude indicator, gyroscopes in general, VOR, ADF, etc etc, you'll have a sound background of knowledge that can assist in understanding things quicker and more completely.  I will admit that the time in flight sim, along with my general passion for aviation helped me to accomplish my checkride in a short period of time.  There were a lot of other circumstances, such as taking a month to focus solely on flying, but all in all, the passion and desire for knowledge is what will help you the most.

Also, if you're concerned about communications in flight, any of the virtual air traffic groups online can help you.  VATSIM and others try to make sure the virtual controllers are as close to realistic as possible.  Now you'll have to get used to a 13 or 15 year old giving you ATC instructions, but still, it's another resource :)  Best of luck in getting your wings!

Offline FlyingBlind

  • Cockerel
  • ***
  • Posts: 232
  • What goes up, must come down
Re: Flight Sim
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2006, 02:26:27 PM »
Flight Simulators are useful!
But you should put it to as REALISTIC as you can! Stalls, Rudder etc. ALL ENABLE!
The only real simulator i have tried was a helicopter one in Finland, i know the basics now but i shall not get into a real one.
They help - but passing all will not make you a experienced pilot!
Good luck ;D

Offline Sleek-Jet

  • Rooster
  • ****
  • Posts: 312
Re: Flight Sim
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2006, 04:08:24 PM »
You want realistic, fly X-plane.  If you want eye candy, fly MSFS.  ;D

X-plane will actually do an honest-to-god Vmc roll in a twin, something that MSFS doesn't even come close too.  You can spin and slip in X-plane, and the aircraft respond as they do in the real world. 

I've helped a few of people get their licsense that are avid flight simmers.  All of them did extremely well.  They had a jump on things like holding alititude, heading, and airspeed.  Something that alot of people struggle with. 

Personally, I used MSFS 4.0 to help get my instrument rating.  That and old subLogic Apple II version.  Man, I miss the old days sometimes. ;D
A pilot is a confused soul who talks about women when he's around airplanes, and airplanes when he's around women.

Offline Callisto

  • Cockerel
  • ***
  • Posts: 125
Re: Flight Sim
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2006, 06:53:07 PM »
??? ??? ??? So in real life when you go to fly, you are not automatically sitting at Miegs (which is now Millennium Park, damn Daley) on runway 36 with radios set, in perfect weather? WTF?!? ;D

Excellent thread you guys! I've wondered this myself. I really want to get my pilot cert, but time and money are limiting factors at the moment. But I have MSFS loaded up and I fly for hours. I have the realism set to full real, Auto-Coordination off. Real weather set to auto update every 15min. I know the things I do in the "game" would not be cool in real life, but there are times I get serious and use the ATC, VOR's ADF, etc. I'm probably not doing everything 100% right, but I know I have the general idea.

The biggest thing would be the G's. Sitting at my desk with my feet up, I can roll into a steep turn and not spill my coke all over the place. I don't know what the turns, climes, TO's and landings would feel like. I race AutoCross and I've played many racing games in my life, but it took me a few races to learn how the G's really affect the car when negotiating the slaloms/tight turns.
If not completely satisfied with this post, return unused portion for full refund.

Offline Zaffex

  • Cockerel
  • ***
  • Posts: 111
  • "It's ZULU TIME!!!"
Re: Flight Sim
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2006, 10:44:39 PM »
I definitly agree on the fact that there's no sense of feel. I basically started running MSFS '04 a little while after it came out. I'm not very proud to say it, but when I started I thought you always steered on the ground with the differential brakes! Thankfully, though, I learned about what the rudder was for ::), and got over that habit.
"You know you're a redneck pilot when you think avgas makes a good cologne."

Offline Ted_Stryker

  • Chicken Farmer
  • Rooster
  • *****
  • Posts: 443
  • Never Forget 9/11/2001
    • Cyber Forensics
Re: Flight Sim
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2006, 10:52:31 PM »
I definitly agree on the fact that there's no sense of feel. I basically started running MSFS '04 a little while after it came out. I'm not very proud to say it, but when I started I thought you always steered on the ground with the differential brakes! Thankfully, though, I learned about what the rudder was for ::), and got over that habit.

Well... don't assume anything when it comes to flying the real plane.  Certain planes DO use differential braking for steering on the ground.  It depends on if the nose wheel is steerable or not.  On a Cessna, for instance, the rudder pedals have a linkage that actually moves the nose wheel.  At the low speeds at which you taxi, the rudder itself is not usually effective as an airfoil surface, so all you are really doing is using the rudder pedals on a Cessna to move that nose wheel.

On a Grumman T-Cat, though, which has a freely rotating nose wheel, you HAVE to use differential braking to turn it as the only steering is coming from which main wheel is stopped, or lagging behind the other!

So... know your different techniques for ground handling on different models.  It may not be the same on one aircraft to another.... it can even change within an individual manufacturer for various things too.  I.E. Emergency gear extension procedures, manual flap deployment, electrical flap deployment (old model Cessna's do this differently than newer models even within the 172 line!).

We're going to have to come in pretty low! It's just one of those things you have to do... when you land! -- Ted Striker - Airplane!

Offline Gulfstream Driver

  • Chicken Farmer
  • Alpha Rooster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1070
Re: Flight Sim
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2006, 11:01:09 PM »
http://www.visi.com/~mim/nav/

We used this site in school quite a bit.  It's handy for radio nav practice.
Behind every great man, there is a woman rolling her eyes. --Bruce Almighty

Offline wbarnhill

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • CAVU but no $ to fly.
Re: Flight Sim
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2006, 01:39:21 AM »
I definitly agree on the fact that there's no sense of feel. I basically started running MSFS '04 a little while after it came out. I'm not very proud to say it, but when I started I thought you always steered on the ground with the differential brakes! Thankfully, though, I learned about what the rudder was for ::), and got over that habit.

Actually in some aircraft you DO have to use differential braking to steer on the ground.

For instance, the Diamond DA-20 has a castoring nosewheel.  Unlike the Cessnas which have bungees attached to the rudder controls, the only way you're turning that nose on the ground on the Diamond is by having enough speed for the vertical stab to have control pressure (preferably not ;) ) or by differential braking.  All depends on the a/c you're flying.

Offline Gulfstream Driver

  • Chicken Farmer
  • Alpha Rooster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1070
Re: Flight Sim
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2006, 04:04:38 AM »
For instance, the Diamond DA-20 has a castoring nosewheel. Unlike the Cessnas which have bungees attached to the rudder controls, the only way you're turning that nose on the ground on the Diamond is by having enough speed for the vertical stab to have control pressure (preferably not ;) ) or by differential braking. All depends on the a/c you're flying.

Taxi speed = Vso

Yehaw!
Behind every great man, there is a woman rolling her eyes. --Bruce Almighty

Offline Frank N. O.

  • Alpha Rooster
  • *****
  • Posts: 2446
  • Spin It!
Re: Flight Sim
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2006, 07:44:21 PM »
Regarding MSFS then FS2004 aka FS9 have a official Garmin GPS system simulated, two versions btw, and regarding flying then the company called RealAirSimulations have made a special version of the stock C172SP for a Australian Flight School that is free to download that has tested remade physics that should be a lot more authentic including allowing sideslip and spins. It is true that MSFS isn't a real simulator physics-wise like X-Plane is, and X-Plane is catching up fast on the visuals, but FSX (the next MSFS version that'll come out for x-mass 2006) will have a ton of graphics-updates, but not one word of physics, although they said it would be backwards-compatible and I don't think that promises well for new better physics.

Has anyone tried Terminal Reality's Fly! simulator? I have version 1 and 2 and it had a real manual start-up unlike FS, and I remember it showing the small planes moving in the air like I remember feeling in the Cardinal, namely that the plane moved slightly up and down and rotated slightly around the vertical axis even though the winds were calm, FS has never showed anything like that.

You are right about the G-forces. I also drive some racing sims, like GPL and rFactor (made by ISI that made the physics for EA Sport's F1 and NASCAR games) and it's hard to feel the car's movements and there are a lot of differences in feel when looking at a small monitor as well in terms of speed feel etc. A 900 degree (2 1/2 turn lock to lock) steeringwheel does help in games with proper steering simulation (Logitech Driving Force Pro that does actually work on the PC).

I was wondering, does anyone fly flightsims with the CH Flightsim Yoke? How much movement does it have compared to the real thing like a Cessna? I read one place it could only go about 2 inches in and out and only turn 15 degrees from side to side which is a lot less than the 90 degrees a Cessna can move. The CH Pedals however has toe-brakes as well like Cessnas and other planes.

Frank
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."
Leonardo da Vinci

Offline Zaffex

  • Cockerel
  • ***
  • Posts: 111
  • "It's ZULU TIME!!!"
Re: Flight Sim
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2006, 01:56:30 PM »
I use that flight yoke! It's definitly an upgrade from what I was using before. My old setup was a racing wheel to control roll and a joystick to control pitch. So while I was flying, I'd have to have one hand on the joystick and one hand on the wheel with pretty much no other hands to control anything else. Of course, I suppose I could have just used the joystick alone to make things easier...oh, well. Lack of thinking on my part, I guess. The CH flight yoke is pretty nice. You've got a lot of switches and buttons to work with. One problem is the lack of Force Feedback. They substitute that with springs, which I suppose isn't very realistic. Let me get out the ruler...hmm...the yoke moves about...oh...2 inches in and out, so you were right about that assumtion. Just from a rough visual check, I'm guessing the yoke rotates about, say, 40-45 degrees each way.
"You know you're a redneck pilot when you think avgas makes a good cologne."