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An Apology to the Hobby Itself.

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One thing you could do which might jump-start your aviation knowledge quest is to sign up for a private pilot ground school at a local flight club/FBO/whatever. It costs somewhere between $150-200 and is intended to guide student pilots through the various topics that are tested on the "written test", which along with a successful "practical test" (consisting of an oral exam and flight test with a designated examiner) will get you your real "wings" (after you've got all the needed flight hours of course). But, even if you don't want to go that far, this is still a good place to see how the various bits fit together - aircraft systems/instruments/engine, weather, air traffic control, airspace, the Federal Aviation Regulations, etc. My ground school was one 3 hour class per week, for twelve weeks. They also have weekend courses but IMO it's too much material to cover in that amount of time.I have been simming since, um, it seems like forever but I finally got my "license to fly" (the purists will tell you it's not a license, it's a certificate - at least in the US) in 2000. I find that I'm enjoying simming in FS a lot more now that I actually understand how all of these things fit together. And lately, due to budget constraints and other hobbies, I've been simming a heck of a lot more than flying the real thing!Being a "real pilot" also makes me appreciate FS2002's capabilities even more. We whine a lot about what's busted or missing, but really it is amazing just how much of the real flying experience they've been able to capture in this $80 program - especially when augmented with certain add-ons.Dave BlevinsPP-SEL/IA/PP-RW

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Hi Jonathan,Interesting phobia we all have going here!Of course, a part of what you describe is that you never really "go" anywhere in the sim. Even if I only fly 2 hours in the real plane, hardly getting me out of CO, it's some rural farming area, the folks talk and are different; chances are that it feels warmer and more humid, and other aspects of actually "going" somewhere (and the satisfaction that I was able to command a plane in US airspace and get there safely).Because none of that exists in our virtual world, we have to "make up" pieces of it to add to the simulation. One thing I'd love to see- and if RC3.1 already does this then I must go figure out how to add the feature- whether you're in the US or Europe (or almost anywhere), a 1-2 hour flight in a jet will take you somewhere where the people sound different when they talk (they may even talk a different language in Europe, and when speaking the universal language of English in aviation they have very very different accents). This would add something to flights in the sim.You speak of using auto-pilot, and that this makes you feel as if you've just blown away an hour or two. A couple of thoughts. If you use PIC, or another realistic and complex glass panel, computer sims work very well for these, and give you a skill over time that takes airline pilots a lot of time to learn. Just using a default panel and using the auto functions doesn't teach you much however.Also- I'm finding that FS offers a great way to learn instrument techniques. I've flown sims since '94, and real planes for a while too, but am finding the IR skills are really tough, and the sim can present a real challenge if you don't use the auto functions and keep tolerances in heading and altitude (and speed) to those that the FAA requires. Interesting thread!Bruce.

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Hi Jonathan,I just checked on the Roger Wilco site. Here's some info on RW:http://rogerwilco.gamespy.com/products/rw/index.htmlIt does confirm that one needs a full-duplex sound card.Let us know how you progress in your quest to fly the sim with more reality. As I oferred above, I'd be more than happy to help with any real world aviation knowledge that I can impart.Bruce.

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I came to the same conclusion back two years ago. Back then, I was using FS2000 because obviously, FS2002 had not been released. I made it though the private pilot portion and almost through the Instrument Rating part and stopped. Why, because it is a lot of work and I do this as a stress release. I think, however, what really got me side tracked was 767 PIC. However, I paln on finishing the Instrument, Commercial, and ATP portions. My goal is to complete all the lessons and then to study the 767 PIC manual and become proficient at it. Keep your nose to the grindstone and best of luck!Robb

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Great post Jonathan, although I do think you're being a bit hard on yourself! The beauty of flight sims is you can play them however you want: as a simulator, as a game, or anywhere in between. I've found myself taking a step back... back in the FS4 days I had a lot more time on my hands and tried to make my FS experience "as real as it gets" by studying real life procedures. These days I don't have much time to set up a flight plan and dig into the depths of the sim, so I usually just fly from point A to B, disregarding any of those pesky real-life rules and regulations. Heck, sometimes I get a bit impatient and take off from the taxiway! I don't feel as if I'm cheating myself because I'm still having fun, and that's what this hobby is all about!Don't disregard all of those years you didn't fly by the book... every bit of experience helps. I'm sure you'll have a much easier time now with the amount of FS experience you have than if you had dove into the technical side right from the beginning. I'm starting to dig into the sim a bit more, reading the POH's for the planes I fly the most and trying to fly them by the book. But I'm still not very interested in working with the ATC or following any airspace rules. I'd rather take off from point A, fly to point B as quickly as possible, and practice a nice crosswind landing :) If I ever decide to go for my private pilot

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Hi Jonathan,Good post! I think a lot of people will be inspired by it to take on "real" FS flying! I did a couple of month ago and don't regret it for a second! It has opened up a whole new world for me. The actual thrill when you fly that Cessna by the numbers and end an IFR flight in zero vis with a perfect ILS approach is fantastic!If you want some real, real good material to study check out this site: http://www.navfltsm.addr.com/index.htm It teaches you everything step by step!Good luck!!Regards,Lennart

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Oh my God!It's like looking at myself.There's not a word I don't agree with - and one day when I get a PC more powerful than my toaster, I'm with you!I'm about to post a question about the CRS heading on the jets except the 747. Probably doesn't get more basic than that.Good luck.Allblack

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Hi EveryoneWhat I do is hop on the web and look up a real-world GA or small cargo operation and then simulate their ops for a few flights, though I have odd lapses flying geriatric Dc-9-30`s on charter routes ( think Bristol - Alicante in the late 80`s).This is when I`m not practising max-rate turns in the Real Air 172. I`m studying for the NZ PPL at the moment (solo`ed back in January but hardly flown since) and now I finally have rudder pedals its good practice.Amazing that I`ve been flying FS since FS-2 on the Amiga (I think) and only since I`ve flown in the real world did rudder pedals become a necessity.I for one avoid the automation. I have always enjoyed the navigation aspect of FS (where it is very realistic) and thoroughly enjoy a complex departure or arrival where there`s plenty of VOR flipping on the way.Its really cool to hear how other people approach FS. Its nice to see that otherwise rational people are as bad as me!CheersRottenlungsAthlon XP2000512MB RamGeforce 4 Ti 4200MS Sidewinder 2CH Pro Pedals USBHomebuilt 3 axis + trim buttons throttle box

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What changed the world for me were the "Jeppesen Simchart" packages, which I buyed about 3 years ago. Before that time, I also flew a bit around mostly not exactly knowing where I was.It was just like driving a car without maps and not knowing the routes (I also did not like so much using the GPS).With the Jeppesen packages, I had the maps and the CD's with the SIDS and STARS a.s.o.For me, it was just an revealation: I learned to read the maps and the sids and stars and found it an challenge to go around with them.Now I am able to display the SIDS and STARS with my old computer with display next to the flightsim display of my new computer.Flying now means for me in 90% of the cases: first study the sid, flying route, and star (and sometimes programming it in the FMC, but mostly not) and after that flying exactly the defined routes and I must say, for me it is 100% more satisfying then before.Also I get the feeling, that everything is a step more realistic and by that, I enjoy the simflying more and more.With coming packages like "Ultimate Traffic" and others: well I must carefull: all get more interesting every day and free time is limited! Regards, Willem

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Yup yup very much of your words counts for me except it started very much later with FS2002 because for the simple fact i am very much graphic orientated. The reason i started FS is because of of the graphics.With that came the interest in the actual plane i was flying and yes from A to B is the most important not knowing the procedures. After i got myself a sidewinder i actually could land it. How many times I thought next time i will land nicer and actually cared for the virtual verhicle i was sitting in.I just got myself a yoke and pedals and now i see i need to bring out the books and tutorials. And start to learn turning again and its a real challenge to take a step further to reality.So cool thread and personaly i cant wait for FS2K4 :)

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I look at all the wonderful planes, sceneries, panels, etc available to us all, essentially for free, as being colors on my FS palette. Some people like to have as many they can to enhance and indulge their every aviation whim and fancy (me) while others can do just fine with cyan, magenta, and yellow. The important thing is that the choice is yours. What a great hobby.http://www.expedia.com/pubspec/images/airlines/smNW.gifAlex ChristoffN562ZMinneapolis, MN

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Done that a long time ago. Now I only very occasionally download or buy something (maybe 1 package every other month and most of those are spot sceneries).Makes it more enjoyable, a lot more.I can do without a thousand aircraft, each with a hundred repaints.I now have a decent collection of (mostly payware) aircraft and even of those I don't use half more than occasionally.

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Just restrict it to scenery only (and maybe repaints of default and commercial packages). For really flying you need better visual references than FS as standard provides :)

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I used to be the one that would download everything and anything that looked cool. Now I am to the point of I have customized the heck out of FS and now it is time to just enjoy the game. I have istalled only those items I have paid for and then the rest of the stuff that to me is important or cool. I look at the download section and see what is there, but I have not downloaded a thing except for maybe a repaint that I didn't have. By doing this, I have reclaimed a great portion of my harddrive and my computer is loving me for it. Enjoy the C172 mastering session. Being an experienced pilot going back to basics is always the way to go in my opinion. Feel free to ask any questions you want. I have asked a few crazy ones myself, and always got a welcoming reply.....

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Well... Okay, I have to make a small concession here and there. I will get some scenery from time to time, especially for the areas I fly around most (Atlanta, since it's home, and Seattle, since it soon will be), but I'm not going to go out and find every little grass strip in Hooterville that comes out (No offense to anyone... some of these backwater sceneries that are coming out look amazing), until I'm ready for my first realistically handled cross country flight. Just an update on my progress, I've been practicing the pattern and doing touch and go's, while learning how to use the VASI/PAPI. Haven't quite gotten my glideslope "on the numbers", but I do have a few greasers that I'm really proud of. :D This is turning out to be such a blast!Jwenting,At one time, I was a pilot for TCA, and I'm still on the mailing list. When I feel I'm ready, I'm going to have to reapply, if Rainer and Co. will have me. (I'm sure they will... great bunch of guys, they are.)Cheers!Jonathan D.KATL

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It's amazing how such a simple thought is shared out here. Like many of you, I have gone through this phase in my FS use. Having "flown" since FS2 on the C=64, I've done practically everything.Currently, I am on an airliner/systems management kick - I'm flying all my nice paneled/FMC'ed Airbus and Boeing aircraft more than anything else. When I burn out from that, I move into the flights that I would take if I had my own license in a 172. I purchased the Reality XP guages way back when, but at the time I was on another airline kick, so they went largely unused. Next time around for the GA aircraft, I'm going to take the time to LEARN them. A private pilot's license, while a long way off, is not out of the question, and the more realistic systems I can get accustomed to, the better!Even though you're itching for a more sublime experience, you'll find yourself bouncing back and forth as you grow tired of them. Good luck!!!! -Greg

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