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Robi77

How realistic is FSX ?

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I purchased PMDG's B-747 and MD-11 for FSX.There is a lot to learn,the manuals being well over 1000 pages long.My question is how realistic is this compared to a real B-747 or MD-11 ?Could two good FlightSimmers replace the two pilots ( imagine the real pilots got sick and are not even in the aircraft ) and fly the airplanes ? Start,cruise and landing.a) From a cold and dark state ?:( When the planes are ready to taxi ?My gut feeling tells me "no way" but I wonder what the opinion of FlightSim experts are ( I am a newbie ).And: what features are not included in FSX but only in the real aircraft ? Can anybody name a few ?Just curious.Robi77

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Sitting in front of a computer screen pressing buttons on your keyboard and waving a joystick about.Sitting at the controls of several hundred tonnes of aeroplane hurtling through the air at several hundred knots, miles above the ground, with several hundred lives in your hands.They are about as far apart as you can get :)The more advanced addons like the ones you mention can be used as an educational tool. You can use them to learn the cockpit layout, maybe learn quite a bit about the instrumentation, aircraft systems and flight deck procedures, but that's about it.At the end of the day, no matter what anyone tells you to the contrary, MSFS is just a game, albeit with the capability to become a rather sophisticated one :)The reality is if one of us simmers were to find ourselves at the controls of a heavy, we would probably complain that the framerate with the VC is apalling, the glass on the windshield is too reflective, the autogen looks terrible and some obscure function of the FMS isn't working properly and VNAV is broken. We would then post an angry message on the Boeing/Airbus website proclaiming the sky is falling and our life is on hold until a patch is released, and wishing they could make it more like the PMDG one.

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And: what features are not included in FSX but only in the real aircraft ? Can anybody name a few ?
Unfortunately these are very nearly taboo questions to ask on an FS forum. The unfortunate inference underlining an answer to questions of this sort is that individuals with an interest in transforming aircraft into weapons of war could use FS to acquire experience flying a complex airliner. I'm sure we've all thought about what would happen if the entire flight crew were disabled, there were no RW pilots on board, and the call went out for any simmers to help out at a time when the prospects of those involved looked otherwise pretty grim. I'm sure that each of us would answer the call as best we could. But to ask for an accurate comparison between our favourite simulation and RW operations could be seen by some to be provocative.Search the forums for similar questions to these and you'll find that there are surprisingly few of them.

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Sitting in front of a computer screen pressing buttons on your keyboard and waving a joystick about.Sitting at the controls of several hundred tonnes of aeroplane hurtling through the air at several hundred knots, miles above the ground, with several hundred lives in your hands.They are about as far apart as you can get :)The more advanced addons like the ones you mention can be used as an educational tool. You can use them to learn the cockpit layout, maybe learn quite a bit about the instrumentation, aircraft systems and flight deck procedures, but that's about it.At the end of the day, no matter what anyone tells you to the contrary, MSFS is just a game, albeit with the capability to become a rather sophisticated one :)The reality is if one of us simmers were to find ourselves at the controls of a heavy, we would probably complain that the framerate with the VC is apalling, the glass on the windshield is too reflective, the autogen looks terrible and some obscure function of the FMS isn't working properly and VNAV is broken. We would then post an angry message on the Boeing/Airbus website proclaiming the sky is falling and our life is on hold until a patch is released, and wishing they could make it more like the PMDG one.
Thanks.So my "gut feeling" was correct.

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The reality is if one of us simmers were to find ourselves at the controls of a heavy, we would probably complain that the framerate with the VC is apalling, the glass on the windshield is too reflective, the autogen looks terrible and some obscure function of the FMS isn't working properly and VNAV is broken. We would then post an angry message on the Boeing/Airbus website proclaiming the sky is falling and our life is on hold until a patch is released, and wishing they could make it more like the PMDG one.
Aint that the truth!!! ROFL

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Unfortunately these are very nearly taboo questions to ask on an FS forum. The unfortunate inference underlining an answer to questions of this sort is that individuals with an interest in transforming aircraft into weapons of war could use FS to acquire experience flying a complex airliner. I'm sure we've all thought about what would happen if the entire flight crew were disabled, there were no RW pilots on board, and the call went out for any simmers to help out at a time when the prospects of those involved looked otherwise pretty grim. I'm sure that each of us would answer the call as best we could. But to ask for an accurate comparison between our favourite simulation and RW operations could be seen by some to be provocative.Search the forums for similar questions to these and you'll find that there are surprisingly few of them.
I agree and did not think about theses possibilities.On the other hand I was not asking how to use and operatethese features but only to be aware of what is not in FSX.Frankly I do not understand why this should be a tabu.Robi77

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There have been plenty of simmers who have become good at flying flight sim addons such as PMDG, LevelD and others that have gone into full motion simulators that train actual airline pilots and have done well. I may be wrong about this, but I think that many airlines train their pilots in full motion simulators which pretty much prepares them to fly the real thing soon there after.It seems to me that if you study and practice an addon such as PMDG's 747-400 you should be able to step into a full motion simulator and fly it just fine. I had the opportunity to fly in a C-130 full motion simulator and prior practice and familiarity with the CS C-130 helped tremendously to allow me to fly it successfully.As far as taking over an airliner if both pilots were incapacitated, there was a "Myth Busters" TV show which looked into this. The two myth busters, who had never had any flight experience, sim or otherwise, and didn't even know what an altimeter was were successfully talked down in a full motion simulator of a large airliner by someone posing as an expert on ATC. Besides, if you happen to be lucky to be on a flight in a modern airliner with full auto land and rollout and you have to take over the aircraft, then you don't have to fly the plane just know the systems. :(I have thought about this some. If I were on a flight in a modern 747-400 and both pilots became incapacitated, who would I want flying the plane, a real life pilot who only flew Cessna 172s and knew nothing of the 747-400 systems or a flight simmer who knew the PMDG 747-400 systems like the back of his hand from countless hours of simming with it but never flew a real plane before. I think I would take my chances with the flight simmer, although it would be good to have both in the cockpit.Mike

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Sitting in front of a computer screen pressing buttons on your keyboard and waving a joystick about.Sitting at the controls of several hundred tonnes of aeroplane hurtling through the air at several hundred knots, miles above the ground, with several hundred lives in your hands.They are about as far apart as you can get :)The more advanced addons like the ones you mention can be used as an educational tool. You can use them to learn the cockpit layout, maybe learn quite a bit about the instrumentation, aircraft systems and flight deck procedures, but that's about it.At the end of the day, no matter what anyone tells you to the contrary, MSFS is just a game, albeit with the capability to become a rather sophisticated one :)The reality is if one of us simmers were to find ourselves at the controls of a heavy, we would probably complain that the framerate with the VC is apalling, the glass on the windshield is too reflective, the autogen looks terrible and some obscure function of the FMS isn't working properly and VNAV is broken. We would then post an angry message on the Boeing/Airbus website proclaiming the sky is falling and our life is on hold until a patch is released, and wishing they could make it more like the PMDG one.
If so I suppose that with regard to realisn I might as well stay with the FS9 version of PMDG 747-400?

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They are about as far apart as you can get :)
I believe they are closer than you think.There have been simmers proficient in aircraft from developers like PMDG and LDS that have done well in real Level D simulators. Mike Ray, a retired 747 captain, has written several books on simming with these high quality aircraft and says they are very accurate. The owner of PMDG is a type rated 747 pilot. I have no doubt there are some hardcore simmers that have enough working knowledge of these high quality sim aircraft that could take over the same RW aircraft in flight and autoland it.

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Oh yes I agree, there are probably many hundreds (thousands even) of flight simmers who thanks to PMDG, Level-D, etc could quite easily find their way around the flight deck of a 737NG, 747-400, 767-300, MD-11.If push come to shove, I would think it's entirely possible that in an emergency, one of those simmers, with help from the ground could get one of these aircraft into a position where they could execute an auto-land.Could they start up the aircraft, take-off, fly a flightplan and then land at their destination? No way. That's why real world airline pilots have to complete many years of study and training before they are given command of even the smallest regional airliner, let alone a "heavy".Put it like this - how much confidence would you have giving a high performance sports car to someone who's only driving experience was Forza Motorsport or Project Gotham?

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Frankly I do not understand why this should be a tabu.
Sorry for the appearance of hostility, Rob. It simply occured to me when I read your post that someone wanting to operate an airliner under real world conditions might not be motivated by the best intentions. It is one thing to think about getting a big bird safely back on the ground in an emergency situation, but quite another to think about entering a secure area at some airport and nicking off with one.And if you do happen to find yourself in an emergency situation, get someone to work the throttles for you while you do the driving. It's all about speed when you're approaching in a big airliner, and if the weather happens to be a bit dicey on finals then someone is really going to have to focus on the throttle.

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Could two good FlightSimmers replace the two pilots ( imagine the real pilots got sick and are not even in the aircraft ) and fly the airplanes ? Start,cruise and landing...............Robi77
Hi Robi,This is a question that comes up every so often.I fly (when I'm current) a C172 at my flight club. I would agree with another poster here that I would rather have someone who knew the systems from using FSX and a PMDG (or equivalent) product up the front if everything went south and the real pilots were not able to fly. However, I'm thinking of a serious simmer, not just someone who jumps in and takes off and who knows what "VNAV" and "FLCH" are but would freak out when alarms went off.Ironically, FSX is probably closer to reality for that serious simmer who was placed into the above position on an airlines, than it is for someone who really wants to fly and starts the conventional way of learning VFR flight in a small Piper or Cessna, where the visual illusions of looking at a flat screen several feet in front of you but pretending that you are seeing to "infinity" is very unlike the real thing with real 3D, real depth of field, and of course real interial sensations. One day simming will get there, as virtual reality becomes indistinguishable from the "real" reality.Bruce.

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Sorry for the appearance of hostility, Rob. It simply occured to me when I read your post that someone wanting to operate an airliner under real world conditions might not be motivated by the best intentions. It is one thing to think about getting a big bird safely back on the ground in an emergency situation, but quite another to think about entering a secure area at some airport and nicking off with one.And if you do happen to find yourself in an emergency situation, get someone to work the throttles for you while you do the driving. It's all about speed when you're approaching in a big airliner, and if the weather happens to be a bit dicey on finals then someone is really going to have to focus on the throttle.
I totally agree with you but who is talking about nicking off with an aircraft ???After reading the PMDG manuals and watching the "Queen of the Sky" video I intended to ask afew harmless,hypothetical questions.1) How realistic is this program compared to the real thing ?2) If not then what was left out.Please note that I am not asking how to use those "secret left out" features. Only what they are. Ex: the manual and the video shows and explains how to start the engines.Quite frankly I would be disappointed if am told that in reality the procedure to do so is different.Robi77

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The truth is that current add-on aircraft for Flight Simulators are very much like the real thing in a lot of respects. One thing which points to this is the fact that several years ago a real world airline pilot would have seriously avoided mentioning any interest in Microsoft Flight Simulator, but you don't find that to be the case these days. Lots of airline pilots are quite happy to be associated with it and the development of more sophisticated add-on aircraft. Many will happily admit that they use FS and things such as the PMDG 747 to brush up on the occasional procedure; a few years ago the only thing they would have used for that on a PC would have been Precision Pilot, Elite or the good old Aerowinx 744 Precision Simulator.Avsim's key note speaker for the upcoming Fancon is a real-world airline pilot, you also have former United skipper Mike Ray writing tutorial books for FS aircraft based on his real world knowledge, and you might also remember that a current Virgin Atlantic 747 captain was involved in PC Pilot's series of tutorial articles for the PMDG 747 not so long ago. Ten years ago these guys would probably have had a hard time from their colleagues for even thinking about such involvement.Having said that, there are still many systems on an airliner which are either not simulated at all in FS, or are merely emulated by pressing buttons which don't actually do much under the hood of the sim. Cabin pressurisation is one, circuit breakers are another, and there are several other things too. But, providing you did not freeze in complete fear if the proverbial simmer's dream scenario of a panicked cabin crew member asking you if you know how to fly a plane came true, I reckon you'd be in with a shout at landing the aircraft via the autopilot, because that is very much like the real thing in the FSX incarnation.In practical terms, you might actually struggle with some very basic stuff, for example, do you know where the 'push to talk' button is for the radio on a real 747? (it certainly isn't the tab key on a PC keyboard). If you could find that, there'd be a good chance that you could get on 121.5Mhz and ask to be patched through to a current 747 pilot who could talk you through setting up an autopilot approach.This you might know, is a scenario portrayed in the movie 'Turbulence', where the stewardess has to program the CDU on a 747 to get the thing down after the crew have been killed. Whilst not totally accurately depicted in the movie, it's not far off how it could be done, and if you know how the CDU works on your simulated 747 and you know the mode control panel properly, you'd pretty much be in business providing your hands were not shaking so much that you couldn't press the buttons! Incidentally, if you like trivia, the movie Turbulence is one of the few airliner disaster movies which actually portrays a real airline rather than the usual 'Oceanic' or 'Global' you get in movies of that kind. Good fun film if you like 747s by the way.Manually flying the thing however would be a very different story I reckon; there's a good chance a sim pilot would overcontrol the real thing and possibly cause a structural failure, so in that instance, I think the 'Cessna pilot' somebody mentioned in an earlier post would be a better bet. Someone with real flying experience is usually more aware of those kind of dangers - I remember being shouted at by my instructor years ago for giving the rudder too much delfection when we were above maneuvering speed, because I did not know any better at the time.The real advantage sim pilots have over real world pilots is that they are very much more accustomed to trusting the instruments than your average real world pilot, this is because, with no motion, it is often the only real feedback they have for what their simulated craft is doing, and you find that real airline pilots sometimes stuggle with that aspect in even full-motion simulators.I hope you never have to try it for real, but if you can fly the PMDG 747 properly, I'm guessing there's a chance you could get a real one down in one piece.Al

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