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An Apology to the Hobby Itself.

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I've reached an empasse.I have been the owner of all versions of Flight Sim since version 4, with the exception of FSW95. All this time, I have been cheating myself out of about 85% of what this sim has to offer. In all these 11-plus years of simming, I have yet to really approach it in the spirit which it was designed (IMHO, of course). For me, it's been a case of fly from point A to point B using my own means of "getting there". I've never taken the time to really learn the art of navigating with VORs or NDBs. And when I have used instruments, it's been as a crutch with coupled approaches in heavy iron, because I couldn't shoot a visual in an airliner if someone paid me. Ever since I could remember, the routine has always been this-1. Install whatever version is current at the time.2. Find Aircraft.3. Find Scenery.4. Look at the new aircraft and/or scenery.5. Repeat 2 and 3 ad infinitum6. Toss in a utility here and there to try once and never look back.Never once have I gone through any of the canned lessons to try to learn the deeper aspects of the sim, and the flying experience it provides. Never once have I looked into getting a sectional, to learn how to fly true VFR using published data. Can I fly a plane in the sim? Sure... but I break every rule and SOP in the book doing so. My turn rates are enough to give my virtual pax heart attacks. My decent and ascent rates are likewise. Effective use of flaps and other control surfaces to safely slow down is non existent. I go from cruise speed to approach speed by hitting the spoilers and killing the throttle, rather than using flaps and attitude to gradually bleed off speed. Flying becomes a chore, because I don't really get "into" it. I used to do the online thing back in the SATCO days, and made about 4 or 5 successful flights. I bluffed my way through them, letting Otto control the plane, even in the phases of flight when I should have been the PIC. So, why am I writing this? I guess it's because I want to rededicate myself to the hobby. I know that there are others out there like me, and maybe this is a rally call for those of us to wake up, start that program up and take a look at it again for the first time. I'm going back to the basics. I'm going to master that little 172 as best as I can, and work my way up to the 747. I don't know how long it's going to take me, but I've got a new sense of focus. I'll learn what MS has given me in the basic package first, and then when I'm ready to try the third party aircraft out there, I'll have a totally different perspective. Not a curious simmer's point of view, but that of a virtual pilot.In the coming weeks, I'm going to be asking some pretty basic questions-- some with answers I should already know by now. I just ask for patience and understanding, as I re-enter the hobby like this.Thanks for letting me get it out. :)Best regards,Jonathan D.KATL

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JonathanI have recently come to exactly the same conclusion.I have basically stopped the downloading of scenery and airplanes and have gone through my collection to pick only the ones I really like, then deleted the rest. As I live and mostly fly in BC I have all of Holgar's BC LOD7 and LOD9 scenery files to improve realism.Time for me to stop playing around and get serious about flying!

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Good for you. You won't regret it. I think that the training material which comes with MFS is excellent, and you will defintely benefit by getting more involved.

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Just one, sorry two, words of caution Jonathan.1) It will become adictive :D 2) There are one or two 'gotchas' in the MS certification tests, if you are going that route.There are some tips out there on how to pass those 'awkward' tests but I don't have links, sorry.Maybe a search through these excellent forums will find the threads.Best of luck with your new journey.

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I came to the same conclusion just after getting FS2002.I had previously been flying with Flight Unlimited III and I was so familar with the small (but amazingly detailed) scenery areas of that sim that I knew exactly where I were without looking at a map or using any navigational equipment (I almost always flew in blue summer skies with no fog or clouds).I was actually better at VFR when I had just got FU3, because then I had to look at the map and try to figure out what it would look like in the sim.At that time I also took the time to properly "fly" the plane. I practiced coordinated turns, learnt to manage my rate of descent and being "nice" with the engine, doing a 360 degree turn in two minutes, landing in crosswind etc. but I only learnt how to use the basic instruments.Since I got FS2002, with its world-wide scenery, I found myself mostly flying around the SFO and Seattle areas since I were familar with those since FU3. I realized that I had to learn how to navigate in order to be able to explore the scenery.I have learned most things from experiments. I don't like the "flying lessons" in FS2002. Even when I'm doing something right, the instructor still sais I'm doing it wrong :-lol What does it matter if I'm a couple of hundret feet off, or a few miles too far to the south or whatever? The sky is a big place :)I now know the basics, and I can get from Point A to Point B and land, all in very low visibility, without using the GPS or any other "cheat". It is very rewarding doing a 2-hour flight in virtual zero-visibility, without using the GPS or FS Map view to see where you are, and then at the end of the flight, see the runway pop up in front of you. It's also great for impressing on friends, but then you have to keep the flights to less than 15 minutes or they'll get bored :)I'm stil not very good at using a map and a clock. I'm usually 30-50 miles or so off at the end of the flight :-lolWhat's the moral of the story?It's late and I should go to bed instead of ranting here :)

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Good post Jonathan.I find I get the most enjoyment out of the sim when I fly as close to real life as possible, usually GA aircraft or small turboprops. Navigation fascinates me and I love the challenge of keeping track of where I am along my virtual flight.By all means get yourself a sectional chart. They aren't too expensive and in a small single engine you can do a lot of flying before you reach the edge of the chart. I bought a book of approach plates for Ontario and British Columbia and enjoy interpretating the charts and duplicating real life approaches. It still amazes me that I can do this in my basement and using only a modest home pc.It makes me wonder about what constitutes an enjoyable virtual flight, but I think I'll save that for a separate post.RegardsBlairOttawa, Canada

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I once met a 72 year old "youngster". While replacing a modem, I watched him planning a flight for FS. He did not use any modern tools, he planned his flight using maps, a sliderule, Mercator Computer, nav ruler, etc. He had a full printed Met Report and studied the upperwinds, etc. He the meticulously wrote his filghplan in detail on a logsheet.He had two old fashioned stopwatches mounted on his yoke and refuses to use utils like FSNav, etc. I stayed to watch him doing his flight. Using his stopwatches and cross nav checks, etc, he adjusted his flight all the time ........ arriving at his checkpoints within seconds of his estimated times.At the end of the flight, he told me that he likes to fly from point A to B to arrive at B on the exact time by using his own brainpower.Best RegardsJohan

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Johan-WOW! That's what I call a hardcore simmer! He don't need no steenkin' Garmin. :-lol Ah... if only I had the time and wherewithal to be -that- dedicated to it. Blair-BY ALL MEANS, feel free to post what you think makes up an enjoyable virtual flight. I'm finding I like to read that sort of stuff, and will try to incorporate what I like into my own experiences. Thank you to everyone for your kind responses. It almost feels like a totally new thing to me. :)Jonathan D.KATL

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If this religion spreads to far (that is, flying your 172 until you are an expert), then we might as well shut down the file library. Folks, let's be careful where we go with this, okay? :)

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Don't worry about that Tom. In a couple of years when everyone has mastered the good old '172 there will be a surge of downloads of single engine w/retractable and small twins, then a few years after that, the file library will resume normal operation with downloads of 7x7's and Airbuses :)Johan - That is how I would like to fly one day...but it would probably take a lot of practice.

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Tom, that will only happen when we can make a living flying in flight sim. ;)

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LOL! Don't worry, Tom. The point of my return from my backslidden ways was so I could learn to enjoy all the great addons properly. I mean, let's face it, one of the greatest ways to compliment the developer of that highly complex aircraft, with advanced systems modelling, and yadda, yadda, yadda is to approach it like a pilot, and solve the problems of operating it in the way a pilot would.Long live Flight Sim Freeware! ;)Jonathan D.KATL

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You may want to keep the file library open Tom. You could practice one day in a blue 172, and the next day in a red 172, and the next day in a red-and-blue 172....When we run out of factory color combinations, there are an endless variety of custom paint schemes to consider. And, once the paint possibilities have been exhausted, it will certainly be necessary to provide for the widest possible range of world-wide registration numbers. Then we'll certainly need both clean and dirty variations. And some with a shine and some without. Various window tints are also a must. Some will prefer wheel pants and some will like them naked. And there are at least 11 variations of antennae that can be displayed. Depending on the year-of-manufacture, the prop specifications are different and several visual representations will be required. As the avionics have changed considerably over the years there are probably 100+ different combinations of the Bendix stack which will need to be provided for (plus GPS additions). Upholstery fabrics have changed from the first 172 to the last and I'm sure we'll need at least one example of each in the VC. I'm sure there are other factors to consider but, just based on the above, there should be 1,245,788 different 172's to fly by the end of the summer. Not to mention the modifications coming later in the year for FS2004....Trip

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