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LAdamson

MSFS and bad habits for the real world

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A few weeks ago I posted a lengthy account of my recent experience with flight lessons after having somewhere around 3000 hours using sims. I'm still progressing through the syllabus very quickly but I will admit now that MSFS has created a few bad habits that I think it is worth considering.First, last time I took lessons (about 12 years ago and with far fewer sim hours), landings came pretty easily to me. With less than 10 hours I was already getting my share of "greasers", and that was on a short narrow strip (N03 - if you are interested). This time around landings have become the bain of my existence! I consistently land rather flat - not in the nose high attitude that instructors prefer. Momentarily losing sight of the runway because of the cowl drives me crazy. None of my landings have been dangerous but they just aren't to the point I would like. So I returned to the sim to see what I was doing wrong. Interestingly, what I've been considering a good landing in FS2K2 is exactly what I am doing wrong now! Landing too flat. This effect is exacerbated if you use a panel that doesn't include a cowl because you'll get a nice clear view of the runway at just about any angle of attack. The Archer remains the best GA plane IMO for simulating this aspect of the landing, although the nose drops as soon as the main gear touchdown, making it difficult to do the desired "wheely" down the runway. If you fly the King Air or a jet for much of your simulated time, your landings are probably becoming more of the controlled crash that Navy pilots strive for on a carrier. Coupled with the lack of peripheral vision in the sim and limitations in the feel of most affordable yokes,the sim might actually hinder your progress in the real world if you don't take steps to counter this early on.Another bad habit I've acquired is in regards to ATC. In general, the limited commands in FS2K2 represent a huge advancement from the past. They've made me much more comfortable with the routine calls to and from the tower but a nonroutine call completely throws me for a loop! If the response from the tower isn't exactly what I'm expecting (ie. the MSFS response), I'm completely thrown off. Oftentimes I don't even recognize my callsign because I'm not expecting a call at that segment of the flight. The latter is pretty minor and I'm sure I'll get better at it with time, but it would be nice to have some randomness in the ATC.David

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With regard to flat landings, I suspect your experience with MSFS reflects real life. From personal experience, I think that the flat landing is a

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Well David, you are not the only one acquiring bad habits through the use of MSFS!! I had about 30 hours from the time I was a senior in high school ('94), and took up simming in between then and the time I started flying again last fall to quench my thirst for flying. When I started up again, one of the biggest problems I had was dividing my attention between the panel and outside. It seems that through the use of MSFS and no motion involved, I was totally relying on my instruments to tell me what my aircraft was doing. I was probably spending 80% inside and 20% outside instead of the other way around. I just had to quit flying MSFS all together for about a month while I flew and corrected my mistakes. I quickly got over it, and Im sure you will too!Craig

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So it is not so bad to fly a lot 'outside the aircraft' in FS2002 after all, is it ? ;-) ;-)The above is also why the VC is an excellent tool for the sim. It prevents users from just staring at a 3/4 2-D instrument panel most of the time..... Especially in GA that os NOT what one does in the real world, much like in driving a car. You just glance at the instruments from time to time and look outside most of the time.The setup of the panel in FS is partly to blame of course.... it fills quite a large area of the screen to show all the gauges... :-outta Francois :-wave[table border=0 cellpadding=10 cellspacing=0][tr][td valign=bottom" align="center]"At home in the wild"[/td][td valign=bottom" align="center][link:avsim.com/alaska/alaska_051.htm|Don's Alaskan Bush Charters]"Beavers Lead the Way"[/td][td valign=bottom" align="center][link:www.avsim.com/vfr_center/mainpages/vfr_flights_main_page.htm]VFR Flight Center]"Looking Good Outside"[/td][/tr][tr][td valign=top" align="center]http://avsim.com/hangar/air/bfu/logo70.gif[/td][td valign="top" align="left" colspan=2]http://www.fssupport.com/images/moose2.gif[/td][tr][/table]________________________Francois A. "Navman" DumasAssociate Editor &Forums AdministratorAVSIM Online![/bemail: fdumas@avsim.com________________________

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Yes! I forgot about my instrument fetish ;-) My instructor now covers all my instruments except the ASI and the altimeter in an effort to get my eyes outside the plane. Amazing how fixated I can become even on those two instruments! And dark sunglasses don't work. Somehow he can see my eyeballs glance down!The best solution to that in the sim, though, is TrackerIR (another shameless endorsement!). Now I get far more enjoyment looking out the windows and only occasionally glance back at the panel. I also use the Archer for most of my serious simming and simply cover the instruments with a quick right click (even shows on the VC - incredible!).David

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Since starting flying lessons this summer I've adjusted my approach to MSFS. I now spend most of my time in VC, only switching to 2D to accomplish specific tasks then back to VC. I make a habit of panning around to look for traffic, just as I would in real life. For landings and takeoffs, I zoom the VC view out a bit (about 75%) to improve peripheral vision and pan slightly to the left so that I can see more of the runway through the pilot's side window. The effect is pretty realistic. I find that the more realistic VC-zoomedout-panned-slightly-left perspective helps counter the tendancy to land flat since you have better peripheral vision. Just keep pulling farther and farther back on the stick as speed bleeds off. Flares work very well in MSFS as long as you hold the right speed on short final and begin the flare at the proper altitude. Some planes do this better than others. Lately I've mostly been flying the Carenado V35 Bonanza which makes very sexy flares and rotations.Oh, and silly as it may sound (so my wife tells me!) I always make my radio calls verbally before hitting the hotkeys. This has really helped my real-life radio work.

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Do you pilots have the realism setting set to full? I have heard half way may be better. Anyone have any input on this?

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Interesting topic. I tend to think that MSFS can give you some bad habits but from my real-world instructor experience, my biggest concern would be speeds. Climbing speeds. It is very easy to yank bacl on the stick in FS and whip into a climbing turn - however in real life, you do that after take-off not minding your speed and you are in for it. Climbing turn stalls are something all should be very wary off.On the topic of landings, first, I think more people probably tend to pay more attention in the sim on landing then any other time. Now, as far as landing is concern. If you are 'flat' on landing - don't worry. What's your speed, are you stalled? Are you wheel-barrowing actually, not flat? These should be addressed first. To me, a landing is perfect if you can not fly any more. Meaning there is not enough lift left to put you back in the air. Doesn't matter, hard, soft, three point, hold it off to show off - as long as when you touch - you are not going to go back up. That's it. It is not the speed you are moving at that holds your nose off like a motorcycle doing a wheely. It is lift, and if you are able to hold that nose off, then you still have some lift - maybe not enough to fly - but what if a gust comes up?Did you know most consider a perfect landing in a taildragger is all three wheels at once? Lot harder to ground loop when you have your tail down.There are tricks to making your landings look nice and feel great - after all, we all love that sound of the mains starting to spin after a light touch with mother earth, but control of the aircraft is most important, not style. I often showed my students some exercises to allow for smoother landings but for the most part, landings come with experience. After a while, you just know when it feels right. And don't think that that F/O on that United 747 sometimes does not think to himself or says it out loud, "Gee, I think ya dented the runway, Capt". Just my 2 cents. Enjoy.

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The secret is to apply real life flying techniques to what you do in flight sim, not to apply your flight sim techniques to real life.It

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>Do you pilots have the realism setting set to full? I have >heard half way may be better. Anyone have any input on this? I keep my realism settings on full because that's the way I like them, as well as being use to the stick travel, response, etc. I also use MSFS just about the same as real piloting, although I don't always worry about pre-flight run-ups, taxiing, etc. Since I apply real piloting skills to the sim, I havn't formed "bad habits". Actually the sim has helped with habits such as switching tanks, lowering the gear, and other small tasks.L.Adamson

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I absolutely agree with the above statement.Also if you listen to what real airline pilots say about their full-motion simulator training they also tend to complain about less-than-fully-realistic flying qualities. And this is in regards to multi-million $$ devices. Michael J.

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I am glad to hear some of the comments here.Yesterday I completed my first cicuit with no assistance whatsoever from my Instructor landind et all, in a moderate crosswind, on one of the smallest airstrips in Europe, with just 6 hours SPL.Maybe there is such a thing as naural pilots but I have to thank MSFS.I find that lining up on the approach is as easy as in FS except for the 'flat' tendency which I blame more on the .air files.I tend to fly light aircraft in FS as if they were jets on approach instead of the pitch down attitude in real world.I a m sure if time and energy were put into theese .air files and FS models insted of scenery and special effects that MSFS would be a great learning tool for any student.That said, keep up the good work MS and thanks for the help in he real world!

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[http://www.avsim.com/dcforum/User_files/3cc5d15671f44040.jpg] Hehe I had (have) the same problem. Going up for a flight very early on in my lessons (which like a few of us, I haven't had the luxury of completing) my instructor had all these plastic coffee cup lids. I didn't say anything but thought to myself "He must really like coffee or something, the weirdo."Shortly after take off and leaving the zone, all these lids go right up on the instruments. Until that point I hadn't realized how much I watched them. Like the bleedin' tele! Anyways from time to time, I'll turn off all the instruments in FS and go for a short VFR hop and try to fly the plane properly. It's still not always perfect, but I try.Cheers,CF-AOAKyle

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>I find that lining up on the approach is as easy as in FS >except for the 'flat' tendency which I blame more on the >.air files.I tend to fly light aircraft in FS as if they >were jets on approach instead of the pitch down attitude in >real world.I a m sure if time and energy were put into >theese .air files and FS models insted of scenery and >special effects that MSFS would be a great learning tool for >any student. The "pitch down" and trimming of the real world small aircraft, is just something you learn after landing a few hundred times. It becomes a memorized response. I do the same in MSFS even with default air.files. Since I don't have much original default air.files left, I'm using the stock 182RG for this exercise. The key is to bleed off speed ahead of time, so that the appropriate use of landing gear and flaps within the correct speed ranges will result in a farther deteriation of airspeed before getting to the runway. If the speed isn't blead off beforehand, then your either stuck with cheating by lowering flaps and gear (which may rip them off in real life), or a buildup of speed on the downhill, which can only be arrested by flat or nose up.The "stock" 182RG in a nose down approach mode:

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OK I agree it is possible to land pitch down as illustrated but it is also possible to approach nose slightly up and land perfectly in FS ie:flat appraoch.Try the SPL landing lessons and try doing pitch down approach within the limitations -not possible and not real.Hense, I think this is not good practise for the real world.

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>OK I agree it is possible to land pitch down as illustrated >but it is also possible to approach nose slightly up and >land perfectly in FS ie:flat appraoch.Try the SPL landing >lessons and try doing pitch down approach within the >limitations -not possible and not real.Hense, I think this >is not good practise for the real world. I'm doing the reverse here. I use real pilot technique to see if MSFS works. Until these evening, I've never bothered with any of the lessons. But I did try the "student pilot lesson #2". I managed to obtain a final approach speed of 75 kias as the instructor wanted. I also managed to round out, flare, and a nice landing on the mains. I thought it worked quite well.I should also mention that back in my real world student days, I did tend to land "flat" far to often. It was "beat" into my head, to raise the nose and keep that plane flying until the last bit of lift was gone. The key is to keep the nose at the perfect attitude, while bleeding off speed. I can't say how well transitioning from simulated lessons on the PC screen to real piloting will work. I'm doing the opposite here, and my brain fills in the voids & feel of it all. Since I can do it that way, it makes the sim seem quite emmersive and real. I also use the VC cockpit alot for improved visual cues.BTW---- the instrument landing course I just tried was quite fun. My CPU was keeping a constant 35 fps in the haze which made for a nice smooth flight.L.Adamson

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