Aviation MegaThread!!!!

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by EvilGenius, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. Mudflaps

    Mudflaps Northward

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,237
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Wonder if it had the prop release feature prior to bailing out like the xp-55.
  2. koncha

    koncha .

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    10,129
    No disrespect was intended. :freaky

    I asked this a while ago but didn't get an answer...

    How many people fly a desktop simulator? I have wanted a PPL for some time and I am getting to the point where I won't have to mortgage everything to make it happen. I am thinking about buying X-Plane and a nice set of replica Cessna controls to get some virtual flight lessons. A young FI acquaintance says it is a great idea. An older, former FI and current 757/767 PIC says I am better off spending the money for a few more flight hours.

    The new version of X-Plane has some pre configured scenarios for flight lessons.

    Thoughts?
  3. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    109,583
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    I think my attention span is just too short for X-Plane, and I'm not very computer-literate, so I never got into it. I fly Microsoft FS2004 a great deal, though. I fly the 737 a lot, which took a while for me to figure out. I have all the realism setting maxed out to make it fun. Microsoft FSX is too demanding for my computer/video card.
  4. koncha

    koncha .

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    10,129
    It looks like I am in the market for a new computer. My MacBook older than dirt. So do I spec it for Xplane or just the low rent stuff my kids play for school?

    It is interesting how polarizing this topic is for pilots.
  5. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    7,972
    From what Klay wrote earlier about MS Flight Sim and the 737 it seems like the fidelity/dynamics were off. Myself, I'd love to have a simulator, but not a desktop simulator. So far, although with limited exposure, I've not been impressed with any desktop type devices. A "real" simulator will run $100,000+ and then into the millions. (Don't forget the dedicated room or barn to put it in). With that outlay you can afford regular flying - which I still think is the goal a simulator is best suited for.
  6. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    109,583
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest

    I believe that it's more likely me messing things up. I've read other sources that say the actual flight physics is good with the Microsoft simulators. I've seen setups where people take a gaming computer and use many monitors to make a better simulator. Not sure of the value of any of this, but it's fun to play with. I'm not willing to spend money on flight lessons. I fly my bike right out of the garage...no trip to the airport or other expenses. I also sold my boat, so I don't have to lose sleep at night wondering if it's smashing itself to pieces on the rocks.
  7. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    7,972
    I dunno, what you described as far as pitch angles and power settings and what the plane was doing sounded like the modeling was off. Not that is easy to model....

    I am thinking big machine like aircraft like the 737 are maybe hard to model for a desktop and are also very difficult to fly mostly because they are not visual seat of the pants sorts of machines - there's a lot of inertia, and more subtle feed. Also, things are very proceeduralized (the depth of airline operating regimes/regulations is a huge influence on how you fly) and, for all that, besides the complex aircraft, you also pretty much need a second pilot. (That is a complex psychological training undertaking unto itself). Then there's the whole contextual environment they fly in, ATC, IFR routes, departures, performance limitations, and the whole zeitgeist of what's going on with the weather while listening in and fitting in with other traffic and how that shapes how you'd fly the plane. I think that part is way beyond MS flight Sims - that's often lacking in even the best of airline simulator training. So, to me, that sort of leaves me with the feeling of flying something rather out of its element. I have been around simulators a fair amount and its kind of fun to goof around and fly them VFR, EG flying a 747 under the Golden Gate Bridge, but that's good for about 5 minutes, otherwise its a waste. Can you load an aerobatic aircraft, like a Extra 300 or a Pitts on MS Flight Sim?
  8. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    7,972
    Think of a desktop simulator for a motorcycle.....not very appealing compared to riding? However, (and I think Honda may have done this) a high fidelity motorcycle simulator, one you sit on, with proper controls, a 30 foot wide high res screen, that could be a huge training benefit. You could program; different bikes dynamics/performance; great scenarios with differing traction, tires, tire pressure, lighting, road, and traffic conditions - you could even ride with zero beers or ten beers. The data could be useful for bike designers and the immediate feedback quite a training aid for the individual rider.
  9. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    109,583
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    I read somewhere that the physics was quite good. I'm sure it's me. No training.

    It took a long time for me to get used to any of the jets in the simulator...I had to develop much more of a sense of energy management and a sharpened routine of constantly checking the instruments. Also, I lean on the autopilot in some cases and let it sort out things.


    I ignore that stuff...I'm just playing around.



    There's an Extra 300 in FS2004 that's a hoot to fly. I also loaded an add-on, Wings of Power, and get to play with fighters and bombers and even German jets that were under development at the end of of WWII. The flight physics are good enough that you'll find controllability problems that theoretically exist with the designs, for example, the Focke-Wulf Ta-183 has compressibility problems where the elevator becomes unresponsive at high speeds. I found this out by flying into the ground at 800 km/hr.
  10. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    109,583
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    Also, the jets in the add-on include effects of G-forces. If you fly in cockpit view and pull a tight turn at speed, your vision blacks out starting at the periphery.
  11. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    7,972
    ...but when you start to see the gray out with a simulator you can still reach for that cup of coffee sitting next to the mouse......However, there's a good deal of evidence that motion simulators in airline training add little, if any, added training benefit but they do add a lot expense. I'm not ragging on desk-top sims, I think for initial exposure they probably are quite good. For example, I know very little about helicopters and maybe using a desk top sim I could get at least the basics down.
  12. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    109,583
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    So far, I have been utterly unable to control any helicopter I try on the simulator.
  13. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    7,972
    What helicopter sim did you try?

    It is said if you can fly the simulator you'll have little or no trouble with the actual aircraft and so far for me that seems to be true. Although...I heard a story of a helicopter sim instructor when faced with the actual aircraft did terrible with it. Could have just been a story.
  14. mfp4073

    mfp4073 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    3,358
    Location:
    Central Florida

    I am almost the opposite. Sims have always been hard for me to work with. With no inertial feedback, limited sight, etc. All of my actual flight time (less than 10 hours at this time) has been very easy and made MUCH more sense on what I need to be doing and when.
  15. EvilGenius

    EvilGenius 1.5 Finger Discount

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    20,325
    Location:
    DFW, Texas
    I get the feeling the quality and expense of the simulator make a big difference.
  16. EvilGenius

    EvilGenius 1.5 Finger Discount

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    20,325
    Location:
    DFW, Texas
    They can be finicky bastards.

    Often you have to input left or right rudder as you add or subtract collective to keep 'em straight.
  17. Smithy

    Smithy Avoiding the Skid-Demon

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    Oddometer:
    9,285
    Location:
    22310
    I have flown nearly every FS since SubLogic 1.0 for the old Apple. I also hold a (now expired) sailplane license, have sat in the jumpseat of a 737-400, and a C-141, while in flight. On the 737 I enjoyed an hour up front, including the entire landing sequence and taxi to the ramp before I decamped back to my seat.


    What I'll say, is FS's have the potential to teach the fundamentals of flight, if the student is paying attention and doesn't turn all the controls to the "easy" side. Unlink your rudder from your ailerons, turn on all the realism settings so your gyro wanders, manually set your IFR radios and instruments, and you have a fair idea of what cockpit management can be like. The dynamics of actual flight will be easy for some, difficult for others. Much depends on your eye-hand coordination, steady stomach, fear of heights, and intuitive attention to detail.

    Spending months on an FS will prepare you for some things, especially ground school, air control and navigation issues (if all that's on), and the primary essentials of lift, drag, axis of control, slip/skid, stalls, spins, etc.

    Cockpit time has no substitute, either for effective teaching, or the fun factor.
  18. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    7,972
    The thing about simulators is to take it as a fork in the road situation. Ask yourself am I ever going to want go on to actual flight? If there's that chance then I think most people's approach needs to changed. Playing around is fun, but one would have to, or should, apply oneself to a more disciplined approach because down the road you'll have a lot of techniques or styles that will really need some serious undoing, and there would be a good chance you'd be spending more time (and money) doing that than if you started from scratch. I've instructed in transport aircraft sims and I coach in swimming. I see people all the time who didn't learn the better swim techniques years ago, and some of them, most actually, have a real tough time changing. The people in the sim? Not so much. They started out with an intentional goal and made sure all their time counted before moving up to that aircraft.
  19. koncha

    koncha .

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    10,129
    Maybe I should have framed the sim discussion better.

    I am talking about VFR in a 172. Just the beginner, first 50 hours stuff.

    X-Plane 10 is getting high marks for the physics.

    The cost of the computer isn't really a factor. I am already on the hook for a new one before school starts. The controls and software would be an incremental expense.
  20. Smithy

    Smithy Avoiding the Skid-Demon

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    Oddometer:
    9,285
    Location:
    22310
    Get good controls, then, not a $50 Saitek joystick. You want a yoke, throttle quadrant, and rudder pedals, to best mimic the student experience.