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Paul_Yorks

FSX and Real World flight

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Thought I'd share my first experience of flying for real this week, as a strictly sim-pilot until now, having been hooked on FSX since December 06.This was a "trial flight" bought as a birthday present, I flew from EGCJ (Sherburn, West Yorkshire, England - the aero club also has an active sim club and ran a neat sim exhibition last year, to be repeated 09. There is some nice freeware airport scenery for download in the usual places).I've flown plenty as a passenger in jets and large turboprops over the years, but never in the pilot seat, and never in a 2 seater single engined rig. This was a Piper PA28, part of the club's for hire fleet, and suitably worn round the edges.I told my instructor for the session that I knew a bit of the theory from simming, but was a real life novice, and he was great about weighing up what I knew and needed to know. I figure it's got to be a pain to be told "I know it all because I've got a PC" without real flying experience, so I made it clear I expected no favours.We were soon up out of R29L, a tarmac strip. We had an 18kt Northerly blowing in with gusts, and R01 would've been ideal, but is a grass strip and is a bog at the moment because of all the snow round here (for those in properly cold parts of the world, "all" in much of the UK means a few inches...)I was amazed at how quickly I sussed out the dash - I recognised all the instruments and the nav/com radios immediately. After going over the first 2, the instructor gave up explaining them. FSX really nails the VORs, VSi etc. I felt at home straight away - but was soon impressed by how hard it is coolly to scan your instruments when being buffeted rollercoaster style at 2000 feet... We accelerated to rotation speed more quickly than I would've thought, and of course with a northerly x-wind and a westerly take off we immediately were in a right-facing crab. I was really surprised that I knew exactly what this was all about from FSX but also - it was much more marked than I'd expected, and physically disorientating so that I felt I needed to twist my neck to straighten out the angles. Needless to say, I was not flying at this point.It was a bumpy ascent - *much* bumpier than default FSX weather had prepared me for. My stomach, of course, was doing things that FSX can't do to you, but I was still surprised by the amount of buffet we had as we climbed - and indeed for the whole flight.At 1000 feet in level flight the inst. handed over to me and I flew the next 45 mins until we were maybe 400' off the runway (didn't fancy that 18kt xwind landing).At the risk of blowing my own trumpet too hard, the Inst reckoned I was ahead of some of his real students - and he barely had to touch his yoke until we were in the landing pattern. He was as surprised as me - but absolutely clear, and he said this several times - that my sim-hours had made a significant difference to my real world flying. I held alt at 1500' +/- 50' for 30 mins, and circumnavigated York's Ring Road at his instruction, rarely off course. I'm not a naturally dextrous type - I have no doubt that it was down to FSX experience.Apart from the buffeting, the other things I noticed as markedly different in RL were: the improved visibility - both over the nose and generally - even with Track IR4, the advantage of RL peripheral vision etc can't be overstated; the responsiveness of the yoke - felt very much like driving a car, where often on a straight-ish road you don't so much steer the wheel as apply gentle pressure one way or the other to keep yourself straight - I use a X52 Pro stick, and am now more than ever sure that I want a yoke for simming; the cramped room - I was hitting my knees with the yoke - but then I am over 6'2"; and did I mention the buffeting? :) It surprised me that I had to apply quite a bit of opposite aileron to straighten up as a gust rolled us to one side then the other.The inst. greased the landing, and the thing was over, about 50 mins in the air all told.The sightseeing was ok - but my time was mainly spent just enjoying the feel of a real plane under my control, scanning the primary instruments etc.Hope that might have been of interest to a few people. I was certainly impressed by both the similarities and differences between our sim and the real thing, figured some of you might be too. Now, all I need to find is a few grand for that PPL course...

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Have you done any more real-world flying? So glad you had the opportunity.I'm a real world pilot, and was invovled in FS for many years before taking lessons. I had a particularly exciting event during my training. I had practiced the nuance of control involved in performaing a forward slip to land in the sim, and greased my very first one in a real aircraft... all due to being able to aquire the nuance of control in the sim with yoke and pedals. My instructor was surprised too.Take care,Pilot MarkPhoenix, Arizona, USA

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I got my GA ticket before Flightsim made an appearance. When Flightsim got going I always regretted not having it available when I was learning to fly. I believe it could have saved me considerable dollars especially when it came to the nav exercises. Any budding pilots out there should take note of the potential value of flightsimming if you are going to learn to fly RW.

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I've been flying (and simming) long enough to remember when simming was utterly dismissed; even discouraged by old-school instructors. There are a few ancient straglers, but for the most part, simming is now widely accepted and encouraged as a part of flight training.There's no doubt in my mind that simming keeps the piloting part of my brain sharp between real flights... it's all about approaching it with realism in mind.. right down to flight-planning..I happily remember an instrument student's claim.. that learning things like VOR use and compass turns .. and practicing it all in the sim.. more than paid for his computer, yoke and pedals by saving him several hours of instruction.

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Fsim certainly helps but it also develops potentialy dangerous trends, when I was doing my PPL I was constantly criticised for my poor lookout when flying VFR in VMC which my instructor blamed my fsim hobby for. Because of Fsim my basic skills were far more advanced than any novice zero kowledge student and I had to learn the real basics like dead reckoning and land feature reading, something I hadnt bothered with really in FSim. I found it very difficult to translate the VFR 1:500000 chart to what I saw out the window and always wanted to use VOR NDB tracking instead.However I went solo after 6hrs and 20 minutes and I attribute this to fsim, absolutely 100% as I always felt comfortable flying the aircraft. There is no doubt about it Fsim is a wondeful training tool but it has to be used properly if being used as an unnofficial training toolI was also lucky enough to get 8 hours in both a 744 sim and 777 sim over at Cranebank, BAs training facility and this is where my Fsim skill came unto its own, knew my way around the equipment,overhead, FMS etc, flew the 777 totally manually doing touch and gos at Gatwick, Kai Tak, JFK Canarsie visual and Quito but again this was a sim with no consequence so its pure fun ! Some of the landings were a tad hard !The single biggest misconception I recognised was that sat behind a computer screen you go where you want when you want and in whatever wx conditions you want, the reality of danger just does not exist as a sim pilot and I guess my sense of intrepidness was for more advanced than my instructors 2000+ hours of experience! , you quickly learn the hard way how isolated you feel when your up at 3000 ft alone, wx is not too great and a minor problem like the alternator fails and your not 100% sure where you are, it gets your heart pumping and pits sweating ! It is a very solitary place up there but I would never give flying up, I just love it too much ! When I cant afford to do my monthly flight I just over indulge in FSX ! Regs

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A coworker of mine is taking lessons along with her son. I sold them my old FS9 rig, ch yoke and pedals, and even set it all up for them. I just heard two days ago from the FBO operator about this kid doing so well, he was ready to solo, but didn't have enough time yet. That was my coworkers son, alright! It kind of mirrors my own experience. I got FS2000 a few months before I began my RL flight training. It helped immensely, but I too spent too much time looking at the gauges instead of out the window. THEN, when I was preparing for my Instrument checkride, I practiced EVERY approach at the particular airport where I was taking the ride. I changed winds, did partial panel approaches, and worked hard for a couple of weeks on every conceivable approach I would ever do there. When I did my actual checkride, it was so easy I felt like I stole something. Winds were calm, 9,000' overcast ceiling, no challenge.

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My first lesson in the US was from Scottsdale. I thought I was really familiar with it all from my experience behind a computer screen and probably came across as a bit cocky but my instructor performed a power-off stall and I nearly passed out. I think I must have turned very pale as he gave me a blast of cold air and apologised - I was terrified. But he did let me do a touch and go at Deer Valley though which I performed well, mainly to try and prove I was up to it after the earlier events!

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