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KevinAu

Compare the Dash8 panel with the ERJ145?

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Would any guru care to compare the 2 panels? -- in a nice, constructive way of course.I admit to having tried a few times to fly the ERJ145 - and also admit to giving it up as "too hard for me!! " :( I guess it really is just a matter of putting the time in -- but my mommy keeps calling me for dinner!! :) And the Dash8 looks even harder!!.Please be gentle with me.Barry

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Mr. Grabowski's ERJ panel is actually quite a bit simpler than the new DHC-8. Don't get me wrong, though, because the ERJ is probably my absolute most favorite aircraft to fly, including all the payware addons. Every flight is like a perfect airliner run. It's great for the "immersion" feeling. I use it a with FS Maintenance to make lots of money fast.Edit: the autopilot on the ERJ is much different from the usual Boeing-style autopilot -- reading the manual, (which is excellent reading, by the way,) is a must.On the other hand, the DHC-8 is shaping up to be a hot contender for the favorite aircraft spot ;) Just flew a great circuit around Moncton. The panel's not really that difficult if you follow the intro flight and practice starting the engines a couple of times. Landings are quite difficult, though, at least for me at this stage -- they aren't pretty. Oh, and the labels on the switches are very difficult to read. If you notice the titles on the panel areas, and you have an idea of what switches are usually together (i.e. electrical, hydraulic, lights, air conditioning, etc.), and you squint really, really hard, you should be able to find them all. If you can't find a switch, post to the forum.Edit #2 (geesh!): and the sounds on the Dash-8!! Unbelievable. Best ever.Have fun learning both ;)Greghttp://www3.sympatico.ca/gregory.moffatt/sig1.jpg

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Hi Barry!If you are talking about Bill Grabowski's panel for the ERJ, then this is what I think. I think that Bill's ERJ panel is magnificent! Unfortunately, it is also hard on the performance of the sim and the frames; for that reason, I opted for a less resource intensive ERJ panel. The Dash panel that came with the Dash-8 is far better on the frame rates, even though people are still working out how to better read the thing.Regardless which one of these panels you try, you are going to have to do your homework and read. On the Dash, you will not even be able to get the engines properly turned on unless you read the manual. Same applies to the ERJ, although I think that once you are familiar with Bill's ERJ panel, it's easier to operate.My 2 cents.Sincerely,Dennis D. Mullert

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I much prefer the new Dash 8 panel. However, some of that may be the fact that it's a new toy. However, I've used the ERJ (I assume you mean Bill Grabowski's?) a great deal in both FS2000 and 2k2 and I think I know enough about it to be able to compare.Visual presentation: The ERJ is a bit too 'cartoony' for my tastes, but it does have the great advantage of clarity and readability. The main gripe is the side view BMPs which always seem to take an age to load. The Dash8 has the problem of readablility unless you use a 21" monitor, but then it does seem to contain a great deal more info. Panel Details: Well, clearly the DASH wins hands-down. Bill's panel makes a good attempt at a useable MSFS panel, and for a freeware product, it's excellent value! However, I always got the feeling that there was so much procedural stuff that had been missed out. I just feel that the panel has been emasculated to make it more accessible to the simpilot-in-the-street. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that approach if that is the intention. However, if the simmer wants - and can handle - more detail, then the ERJ is a little lite. The Dash 8 is very much more of a full meal after the entree of the ERJ. However, the downside is that it may put the casual user off. The only other freeware panel I've ever come across that was this rich in detail was Dai Grffiths' marvellous Shorts 360 for FS98. I particularly like the fact that with the new DASH8 panel the switches do actually DO something and having them in the wrong config can have extremely unpleasant effects. Because of this, it teaches the right lessons, which is something I always look for in a panel.Functionality: Bill's ERJ wins here. It's just a lot easier to get things done on his panel and it's an ergonomic delight. The Dash, by comparison, seems to have been designed by a committee in terms of usability. However, you do get used to the Dash and when you do, it's extremely rewarding. It BADLY needs some sim-icons for the various sub-panels (which would be dead easy to implement). One big thing here is the A/P of the DASH. I think it's one of the most solid a/p implementations I've come across in a freeware panel. If you tell it to do something, it does it extremely well, especially tracking a VOR or LOC. G/S tracking at 120kts fully configured for landing is spot on (unlike a lot of payware stuff - no names but you know who you are chaps). The ERJ a/p has a mind of it's own - I hate the thing! Mind you, Bill and several others have protested vehemently in the forum on FSNordic that this is pretty-much what the real thing is like. Still doesn't feel right to me though. Frame-rate impact: I don't get much impact from either so others may care to comment. However, if you're using a single monitor, the Dash is better as the other views are not encumbered by the rather poorly-drawn (IMO - I ain't no artist) bitmaps of Bill's panel.The Future: Bill seems to indicate that development of the ERJ panel is finished. The Dash 8 panel is just starting out and the author seems to imply in the docs that an FMC is on the way. Docs: The ERJ? In a word - STUNNING. Some of the best docs I've seen for FS - nearly up there with Espen's F50 docs. The Dash 8 docs badly need some work. I'm sure there's an awful lot of detail that's just not being accessed at present. It needs an AOM and it needs something on weight and balance together with the necessary performance charts. It simply MUST have a proper switch/control diagram from somewhere. I'd gladly do it if I knew how.I just completed my first on-line flight with the Dash tonight (EGJJ-EGGD) and the aircraft was faultless, if a little noisy :-) Last week, by comparison, I used the ERJ on a flight to Leeds and the a/p had it all over the place and I ended up flying manually from 40 miles out from the destination. How's that for starters?AndyEGTR

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I'm curious about what you mean by the AP on the ERJ being all over the place. A little more specific info might help to either help you use it or to fix it. I've used the ERJ panel to fly point A to B and to beat myself up on multiple instrument approaches and haven't had any problems with it not doing the things I want it to do.As for the Dash 8, I am quite impressed with the full depiction of the various panels around the cockpit and what I see from my brief look at it seems to be at least on a par with Espen's F50's functionalitly. A brief flight also seemed to show good fluid flight dynamics. I do wish the ERJ had an overhead and pedestal panel like this, however what Bill implemented turned out to be pretty much enough to give immersion of an ERJ. The only thing missing from the ERJ panel that takes a bite out of real procedures is a lack of the bleed air panel. Everything else is hardly touched in normal operations as the plane was designed for "twelve o'clock dark" operations. There are no condition levers, fuel levers, or aux pumps or any of that other good stuff on these turboprop panels you need to play with in the right order to start the engines on the ERJ. It is as on the panel, seemingly dumbed down, but in real life it is just one knob turn to start the engines.The reason the ERJ seems less complicated to operate than the Dash 8 is because it actually is less complicated than these previous generation aircraft. Embraer designed the ERJ with the intention of making it an easy, dumbed down airplane.

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1. It seems overly sensitive in pitch when trying to hold an altitude and on occasion it ends up porpoising for extended periods. This may be something to do with the interaction of the air file with real weather (FSMeteo) but if it is, it is absent in every other .air file I've ever flown. For the record, I've been using FS since FS1 on a TRS-80 Model 1 in 1981.2. Again, trying to hold an altitude it will oftimes start an uncommanded descent. I've no idea why this happens, and it is nearly impossible to recover using VS or any other vertical mode. It is necessary to take it out of a/p completely to recover from this. I note that this was mentioned on FSNordic and Bill's response was a jocular acceptance that the real thing needed pretty close watching too!3. Intercepting and tracking a LOC is flaky and seems to require an incredible degree of precision before the a/p declares itself happy. Yeah, it often works as advertised, but sometimes it doesn't and there seems little consistency in the occasions when it 'gives up' on a coupled approach.4. Intercepting an altitude often generates an alt overshoot by in excess of 300'. And, yes, I do ensure that the correct t/o and ldg speeds are entered for the weight and I do follow the correct flap regime on approach. I reckon I've flown in excess of 200 hours using this aircraft/panel and probably around 120 approaches. I stopped using it when I started on VATSIM because I couldn't predict what the a/p was going to do and I didn't want that sort of unpredictability 'in public'.CheersAndyEGTR

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As a long-time regional fan, I definitely have a soft spot for turboprops, and I can't say I like the way RJs are becoming the mainstays of the big regional airlines like United Express, NWX, and (now) American Eagle. Anyway, as far as DASH add-on vs. ERJ add-on debate...I think you can see where my hear lies. As nice as Bill Grabowski's ERJ panel looks, and as intuitive as the displays are, I like the relative realism of Mr. Frolov's panel. I mean, SO MANY of the of the systems work as they should. Heck, there's even a weather radar that actually works. (Or almost works. The screen only updates whenever the sim changes the weather, and the display doesn't change as you change heading or move through the weather systems. It's a step towards something greater, however.) Also, the ERJ didn't come with a super sound set!(-:I guess it's back to figuring out how to smooth autopilot descents with ALT HOLD.

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For the AP to hold altitude properly, you need to have "Enable V/S Sign Correction" enabled in FSUIPC. Also, the AP needs to have the selected altitude "registered" by at least one cycling of one of the pitch modes after the altitude is dialed in. If for example, you were hand flying it in a FLC climb and then turned on the AP, the AP does not know what altitude you want to level off at unless FLC or VS was cycled again after the AP was on. If you are already level when you turned the AP on, cycle the ALT button. Yes, it's a panel thing, in the real aircraft that is not necessary. It was a tradeoff in order to allow the ALT to be preselected to a new altitude without having the AP begin an immediate descent or climb as soon as the altitude was changed.I don't know about the problems with tracking the LOC, my guess is perhaps there's just too much CPU resources being used. Try and intercept the localizer from not more than a 30 degree angle and far enough out that you established on it prior to the glideslope coming alive.Anyways, the ERJ is not completely finished yet. There is still one more update coming which incorporates recorded cockpit aural warnings and sounds. And finally, a set of ERJ aircraft sounds also.

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>For the AP to hold altitude properly, you need to have >"Enable V/S Sign Correction" enabled in FSUIPC. Yup, I'm aware of that. It's still buggy, IMO.>Also, the >AP needs to have the selected altitude "registered" by at >least one cycling of one of the pitch modes after the >altitude is dialed in. Yup, that one took me a few days to work out, but I am aware of it. It still causes problems and does not register reliably.>Yes, >it's a panel thing, in the real aircraft that is not >necessary. It was a tradeoff in order to allow the ALT to >be preselected to a new altitude without having the AP begin >an immediate descent or climb as soon as the altitude was >changed. Which was my point exactly - it does not behave in a realistic and predictable manner compare with other panel autopilots. It's nice to know the reasons, but it doesn't change the result.>I don't know about the problems with tracking the LOC, my >guess is perhaps there's just too much CPU resources being >used. Try and intercept the localizer from not more than a >30 degree angle and far enough out that you established on >it prior to the glideslope coming alive. Hoo boy, I don't know how many times I've done this and it is still unpredictable. Also, what you advocate is fine if you're flying offline, but online you don't always get a chance to decide the length of approach - you have to deal with the whims of the controller who is dealing with the pressures of other traffic. The answer is probably to hand fly, which is what I do, but this then proves the point I was trying to make. I also neglected to mention the bank limiter which, to me, is also haunted. I set it limited for take off and it seems to ignore it. Or I'm flying a SID with a sharp turn after take off so I ensure it's disabled, and the darn thing won't turn for toffee without it being cycled. I sometimes wonder if Bill wrote a special version just for me! >Anyways, the ERJ is not completely finished yet. There is >still one more update coming which incorporates recorded >cockpit aural warnings and sounds. And finally, a set of >ERJ aircraft sounds also. That's good to know. I still like the panel and I've not given up on it. The flight model is stable and it flies an approach extremely well. Best regards,AndyEGTR

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Barry,You have far more eloquent replies from simmers who have flown both panels more than I have so this reply is from an 'occasional prop flyer'.It is a while since I flew Bill's ERJ panel but from memory once I had learnt the panel, and the 'odd' A/P I found it quite easy.It is far more involving than any default aircraft and the way the A/P works is different from the default FS A/P, but hey, that's the joy of flying different aircraft.Just as with the Dash 8 though you do need to read the manuals and practice the systems.I have two problems with the Dash 8 and I hope both will be addressed by the author considering this is a first release.AS others have said the panels are difficult/impossible to read even on my 19 inch monitor, despite trying different resolutions as others have suggested.The only way I can read the panels is by resizing them and even then the annunciator panel warning are not clear.The panel thing should be easy to implement by making them bigger and using them as 'pop-ups'.However this still leaves the main panel difficult to read and I don't have an easy answer to that one.The other problem I have is fine throttle control. I have yet to taxi smoothly. When I move my throttle from idle instead of a smooth slow travel to flight idle to start taxi the thing leaps past flight idle and the Dash 8 takes off like a scalded cat :-eek I am sure this is down to 'noise' in the throttle but no other aircraft exhibits such erratic behavour.I will persevere but I suspect some tweaking of throtle response will be required.The dash 8 is a great piece of freeware and the systems implmentation is awesome and the author is to be commended for it; I just wonder what size monitor he and the test pilots used to fly it :-hmmm If you thought the ERJ was difficult to learn then the Dash 8 is even more so.

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The erj panel is much more easy from my exp . It does not simulate the aircrafts systems near as well

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>>>Yes, >>it's a panel thing, in the real aircraft that is not >>necessary. It was a tradeoff in order to allow the ALT to >>be preselected to a new altitude without having the AP begin >>an immediate descent or climb as soon as the altitude was >>changed. >>Which was my point exactly - it does not behave in a >realistic and predictable manner compare with other panel >autopilots. It's nice to know the reasons, but it doesn't >change the result. >Actually, being able to select an altitude without the autopilot automatically starting for it is one of the things which is extremely unrealistic in the MSFS default autopilot. The peculiarity of needing to reregister an altitude is only required during the transition from hand flying to autopilot flying or if the target altitude is changed mid climb/descent. Otherwise there is no need to do that and it's behavior is the same as the real aircraft for starting an altitude change. But yes, that bug definitely would lead to frustration if the user hadn't figured it out yet. One of the problems that has plagued this panel from day one is that since Bill tried to make the autopilot modes behave as close to the real one as possible, people who've only known an MSFS autopilot think that this one is all screwed up because of these kinds of differences. It won't start an altitude change immediately, this speed button doesn't seem to work in level flight, where's the autothrottle etc. etc. Same thing will probably happen when the sound set comes out. No, you're not going to hear a hearty engine whine from the interior views, in fact the interior engine noise is not going to be much more than a slight hiss and you'll have look at the Eicas to see what the power setting is instead of being able to tell by how much it is howling. The only sense you will have that you are supposed to be in a moving machine is the sound of the wind around the cockpit. Which is exactly the only sensations and clues you would have in the real aircraft. However, since most flightsimmers are used to hearing their engines rev up and down as they move the throttles, most of them will be asking what's up with these sounds?>>I also neglected to mention the bank limiter which, to me, >is also haunted. I set it limited for take off and it seems >to ignore it. Or I'm flying a SID with a sharp turn after >take off so I ensure it's disabled, and the darn thing won't >turn for toffee without it being cycled. I sometimes wonder >if Bill wrote a special version just for me! >The only thing I can think of for that would be to make sure the no_default_bank=1 entry was made in the aircraft.cfgAnyways, as far as the methods and procedures used to fly a real ERJ goes, with the exceptions noted above, there are no differences between the way I fly the msfs ERJ and the way I fly the real one. The functionality of the flight model, the flight guidance and AP on this panel has been faithful enough that the same procedures and techniques used for real are all useable here also. That was Bill's main goal. Though it would have been nice, even if a full overhead panel was added, it would not have added much more, since all the switches on the panel are always left in the "normal" position. With the exception of the bleed air switches, the only switches you need to turn on to start the plane up are already represented on the mini overhead.

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Kevin,I knew for the FSNordic forum that you flew the real jet, which was why I was careful to state my points precisely. At no time did I say that I expected the ERJ a/p to perform like the MSFS default. Indeed, the aircraft I use in the sim most extensively are the 767PIC, PSS Airbus, DF737 (not much - too many compromises) and Espen's F50. None of those use anything like the default a/p and I do understand what a real one does. I've about 100 hours on TriStar flight decks (jumpseat) from my RAF days and fully appreciate how an AFDS and a/p is supposed to function.I'm sorry to say that my experience of the ERJ in MSFS differs from yours. I wish it were otherwise.RegardsAndyEGTR

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