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Guest TomOOO

Question for people who are pilots

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There is a lot of comment on the pros/cons of FS2004 and X-plane (for example - the main 2 - FU3 is also Finite element analysis), much of this is very caustic without real understanding of the underlying technology . I am well aware of the flight models of the two systems (I am a scientist) : FS2004 based on a set of parameterised lookup and equations that define the acceleration at a point in time of the model. The parameters are optimised to give the appearence of the correct flight characteristics. It major failing is that it requires experience to define the parameters, and errors are large outside the flight model. Maybe more than one model is required to handle multiple state systems (linear flight/stall). X-plane uses finite element analysis (Blade element theory) where the main issue is the precision of the sampling and the propogation of errors within the analysis to calculate the acceleration of the model. It major failing is the sample size (ie believe X-plane uses 10 at max), and interaction of the elements. It can give good models, but it can also give completely wrong answers where the errors are very large - often seen as odd flight effects for no apparent reason.Neither method can be completely accurate, though I understand the difficulty and effort put into both these systems - they are both excellent programs. What I would like to know is comments from real pilots of the pros and cons of the two system and how they think the model real plane motion.Many thanks in advance for any comments from pilots.RegardsTom

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Both FS9 and FSX give the user a "sense" of what it is like to navigate an airplane through the world of aviation. Much like a racing sim gives one the sense of what it's like to drive a high performance car around a track. No simulator that I've ever flown, including professional full motion sims, can give you the exact feeling that you get when you're flying the real thing. Sure we can add windshear on final approach, or make the visibilty zero/zero at our destination to simulate what we can expect in the real world, but it's just not quite the same as having to do it for real. Simulators are mainly used in aviation to learn and practice procedures, whether it be for a type rating or re-currency check rides. FS9 and FSX ( I can't comment on X-Plane since I've never flown it) can be used to learn and practice basic flying techniques and procedures. Their flight characteristics are not good, however, when it comes to learning things like stall recovery,steep turns,slips or what it's like to fly through moderate turbulence,perform cross wind landings,etc. Most of real life flight training consists of doing just that, learn and practice...learn and practice and then practice some more. FS9 and FSX are more tuned for the user to enjoy the flying experience rather than the rigorous world of flight training. Having spent some time instructing, I can say that using the MS flight sims can only help the student, or future, pilots out there get a good feel of what it's like in our wonderfull environment above terra firma

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Hello Tom,Re. flight modelingI find the whole discussion on FS vs. Xplane flight modeling too nit picking. Maybe from programming point of view it deserves much in depth analysis. But just as far as the realistic feels of flying go, I personally don't care for the differences between the two. For me the real limitation in that regard comes from the fact I'm sitting in a chair and pulling on a spring loaded plastic yoke while staring at a computer screen. Let's say on a scale of 1 to 100 for total emersion, real flying is 100, FS is 25.1 and Xplane is 25.2 (or in reverse). That's about the scale of differences as I look at it. If one sim makes a world of difference than the other for someone, it probably means he's doing too much chair flying.

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> For me the real limitation in>that regard comes from the fact I'm sitting in a chair and>pulling on a spring loaded plastic yoke while staring at a>computer screen. >That's true! But on the other hand, if you actually have the real life experience, then the mind can fill in a lot of the gaps, minus the G-forces! :-hah No experience, and it really is, just a "spring"!>If one sim makes a world of difference than the other for>someone, it probably means he's doing too much chair flying.>I do have a preference, and it isn't from chair flying. I prefer a few 3rd party models for both FS9 & FSX, due to superior rudder qualities; such as required for slips, spins, and aerobatic manuvers.And in the end, my mind fills in the gap of "feel" just a bit better with these same models, than I get from X-Plane. IMO, X-Plane falls short on dampening and a sense of mass. L.Adamson

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L:Bingo! For pilots FS can be very real and the mind does indeed help with the suspension of disbelief. One's mind retrieves the real world experience and applies it to the simulator.If one has never flown in the scenario in which they are simulating, one cannot call on real world memories.Imagine never having seen a flower but you are staring at a painting of a flower. It may be very nice...even beautiful. But unless you have seen a flower glistening with dew in the early morning sunshine, smelled its fragrance, or touched the velvet of its petals, then all you are looking at is a pretty picture and nothing more.

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I wonder how desk top manuvering would change, if we could somehow "feel" those 4 1/2 to 9 G's! :-lol L.Adamson

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>>>>That's true! But on the other hand, if you actually have the real life experience, then the mind can fill in a lot of the gaps, minus the G-forces! :-hah No experience, and it really is, just a "spring"!<<<

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Disney World used to have a ride in the 1980's that simulated being strapped in the capsule of an Apollo rocket during launch. The bottom and back of your seat would slowly deflate, simulating the G-forces felt during lift off. If we can get a seat like that and then have Aces write a program that would command the inflation and deflation effects corresponding to our flight manuevers we would have to wear harnesses at our desk top. Of course someone would barf all over their keyboard and then sue MS. Oh well, guess we'll just have to stay with the real thing.John M

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Thank you for the comments on this topics. Would I like to fly properly - yes. Am I too old to retrain - maybe notDo I have dependants that would complain - yesSo I sim and dream.RegardsTom

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I originally started out with SubLogic, then when it morphed into MSFS stuck with it until x-plane came out. I used x-plane for at least 5 years. I found x-plane, at the time, to be much superior to MSFS in the flight modeling. I, also am a scientist (physics), so I do have a fairly good understanding of the flight model. I also flew real for a time, though just in C152's and C172's. I eventually gave up x-plane mainly due to Austin's quirky way of handling the rest of the "world": weather, landscapes, etc. Went to FLY! and was very happy until that line no longer existed. Had no choice but go back to MSFS with FS9. I have to say that FS9 impressed me in two ways: 1) the fantastic improvement in the flight model; very comparable to x-plane and with the some of the great designs out there it is really superior, and 2) the general "world" has become very immersive. Long-winded way of saying that my advice is to stick with MSFS, at least FS9, for now. I'm always ready to jump ship if something better comes along. Mike

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