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Glass or 'Steam', what's your preference?

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FSX planes give us so many options now, it's amazing. The only 'glass' we had when I learned to fly was the plexiglass, so I have been a reluctent student of the new glass cockpits. However with all the 'NG' type planes coming to market for FSX, I have had to force myself to learn FMC's, G1000's etc.I still like the older planes but am slowly becomming more of a 'glass guy', but I'm not sure I like it. It seems to me going to glass transitions us from being a pilot to being a 'systems monitor', and it's not quite as much funWhat do others prefer?

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Both. I enjoy the frame rate of a well-programmed acft with steam gauges. But I also enjoy learning the G1000 like yourself, or any other PFD/MFD systems etc

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FSX planes give us so many options now, it's amazing. The only 'glass' we had when I learned to fly was the plexiglass, so I have been a reluctent student of the new glass cockpits. However with all the 'NG' type planes coming to market for FSX, I have had to force myself to learn FMC's, G1000's etc.I still like the older planes but am slowly becomming more of a 'glass guy', but I'm not sure I like it. It seems to me going to glass transitions us from being a pilot to being a 'systems monitor', and it's not quite as much funWhat do others prefer?
I prefer "Steam" gauges for hand flying GA aircraft.I'm not a glass guy per se, so about all I can say is I believe the Analog indicators are a bit more natural to "gauge" than digital readouts wildly incrementing/decrementing. And nobody needs to fly precisely 52kts. For example,VSI: Needle above or below 0?ASI: In the White zone for flaps?Altimeter: Needle steady for trimmed flight?Knowing the various failure modes of the steam instruments is also helpful, rather than a simple black screen of death. Thinking real world a bit.On the other side of the fence, a GPS map beats using 2 VORs to chart your location any day of the week.Bottom line here, you will become accustom to the manner of flying the plane in no time.

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In the real world, I'd probably like glass gauges - I'm not a pilot IRL, but I enjoy car electronics, and electronics in general.In the sim I strongly prefer glass gauges for two reasons - first, as others have noted, they usually don't drag down performance, and second, they're much easier to read. The small size of glass gauges in the virtual cockpit makes reading them a challenge. True, you can use larger-scale popups, but that clutters up the screen and gets complicated to manage.Finally - and this applies to both the sim and real life - there's a lot of information available in analog presentations that isn't there in digital. The hands of an altimiter tell you more at a glance than the altitude readout tape on a glass gauge (in the same way, an analog clock tells you more at a glance than a digital clock). Of course there are tradeoffs - a glass gauge can merge several different gauges into a single display. But steam can be useful and informative. It's got charm, too, but that's another matter.Good thread - will be interested to see what others say.Alan

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Depends on the aircraft, and how it will be flown. For a big, fast, multi-engine airplane, where IFR flying is the norm, Glass is better..For light GA, VFR flying, steam is best, because glass is overkill, and if you take that glass cockpit IFR, it's too many egss in one basket.

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In the FSX/FS9 - I still prefer either analog or older generation glass. Not only it looks better but it isalso a lot smoother.Unfortunately there is nothing yet for me within FSX that could give me the fidelity/performance of the G1000 that I want - so I stay away from it. If I want to practice and learn G1000 - I use Garmin's PC trainer.In real life - I flew SR22 with G1000 - absolute Heaven.

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Away from the question of in-sim performance (which means steam for me in FSX with a couple of exceptions) there's simply no substitute for the situational awareness that a competent glass installation can give you. While you have to learn to read the Basic Six, and interpolate what they are telling you, the far more intuitive display and vast information potential of glass is simply a different league. Being firmly attuned to both analogue and digital in the real world, the screen presence of LCD displays and the manner in which they can overly information in a relevant and timely fashion is hugely informative for me. Their only limitation is that they are capable of providing far more information than the average pilot can assimilate, and they really only come to the fore when used with a sophisticated autopilot and the pilot can act as a `systems monitor` in the manner of an airline pilot (although modern GA with the Garmin or Avidyne systems is quite capable of providing more flight information than even a seasoned airline pilot might be used to).One might argue that with a basic six one has to learn to dial in the information, whereas with glass one must learn to dial out the unnecessary... same recalibration as was required in the step from biplane to retractable monoplane.As the `downgraded` systems work their way down the GA market, they are increasingly establishing that less is more, and with Highway In The Sky (HITS) due to provide a simple, clear flight-routeing system integrating graphics and informatics in a more easily interpreted format, I am sure we will see that Glass is Good, even for the most simple of GA. Power requirements are less, maintenance requirements are lower, backup systems are triplicated or even better, resistance to harsh environments far, far higher. Add the weight advantage and reduction in the depth of the behind-panel systematics and inherent reliability of digital technology in harsh environments and you create much better opportunities for rendition than heretofore, although very few manufacturers have delved beyond the `TV screen` mentality thus far.

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I like steam guages and I can not lieYou other brothers can't denyThat when a plane walks in with an itty bitty dashAnd round things in your faceYou get sprungWanna pull up toughCuz you notice that panel was stuffedDeep in the guages she's wearingI'm hooked and I can't stop staringOh, baby I wanna get with ya And take your pictureMy homeboys tried to warn meBut that panel you gotMake Me so oldy

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I like steam guages and I can not lieYou other brothers can't denyThat when a plane walks in with an itty bitty dashAnd round things in your faceYou get sprungWanna pull up toughCuz you notice that panel was stuffedDeep in the guages she's wearingI'm hooked and I can't stop staringOh, baby I wanna get with ya And take your pictureMy homeboys tried to warn meBut that panel you gotMake Me so oldy
OMG Becky, look at her buttonits so big.Shes like on of those Pilot guys airplanes.

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I have nothing against glass, but would really like to have the Tinmouse II for FSX.On the glass, what gives me most problems is getting a good handle on the VSI gauge in the airliners and the turn coordination on the G1000 and some comparable.scott s..

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On the G1000 it's pretty much the same principle as with a standard TC.You just make sure the little triangle and the rectangle below it are lined up when you make the turn. If the turn is uncoordinated - the small rectangle will either indicate a slip or skid depending on what side of the triangle it's on.g1000TC.jpg

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Away from the question of in-sim performance (which means steam for me in FSX with a couple of exceptions) there's simply no substitute for the situational awareness that a competent glass installation can give you. While you have to learn to read the Basic Six, and interpolate what they are telling you, the far more intuitive display and vast information potential of glass is simply a different league. Being firmly attuned to both analogue and digital in the real world, the screen presence of LCD displays and the manner in which they can overly information in a relevant and timely fashion is hugely informative for me. Their only limitation is that they are capable of providing far more information than the average pilot can assimilate, and they really only come to the fore when used with a sophisticated autopilot and the pilot can act as a `systems monitor` in the manner of an airline pilot (although modern GA with the Garmin or Avidyne systems is quite capable of providing more flight information than even a seasoned airline pilot might be used to).One might argue that with a basic six one has to learn to dial in the information, whereas with glass one must learn to dial out the unnecessary... same recalibration as was required in the step from biplane to retractable monoplane.As the `downgraded` systems work their way down the GA market, they are increasingly establishing that less is more, and with Highway In The Sky (HITS) due to provide a simple, clear flight-routeing system integrating graphics and informatics in a more easily interpreted format, I am sure we will see that Glass is Good, even for the most simple of GA. Power requirements are less, maintenance requirements are lower, backup systems are triplicated or even better, resistance to harsh environments far, far higher. Add the weight advantage and reduction in the depth of the behind-panel systematics and inherent reliability of digital technology in harsh environments and you create much better opportunities for rendition than heretofore, although very few manufacturers have delved beyond the `TV screen` mentality thus far.
You might want to read the aopa study on glass vs. steam. We had a thread about it about 5 months ago. Very interesting reading. Glass safer in certain hours and modes and more dangerous in others.

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In real life, I have "steam", but would overall prefer glass, as a number of friends have glass panels that I use from time to time. I do use a Garmin 696 portable which replicates a lot of the Garmin 1000 features in regards to navigation, terrain/obsticle, and satellite weather. It also drives my auto-pilot.Someday. I'll upgrade to glass with dual screens and synthetic vision. In the experimental aircraft market, it's much cheaper that going some certified routes. In some way's I find steam gauges such as airspeed & rate of climb easier to read, but you can get use to it quickly with glass too. Glass panels can provide instant true airspeed & wind direction, which has to be hand calculated with normal steam instrumentation. It's also easy to move a lot of information from screen to screen with glass systems. For flight simming, I just don't find the glass panels easy enough to read, and I tend to avoid them. Products such as the Garmin 1000's, and numerous others are very easy to read in the real aircraft. Synthetic vision is becoming quite popular, and is marvelous for IFR operations. It's even good for VFR, since there is always the occasion of becoming IMC in what was suppose to be VFR conditions. As far as I'm concerned, students who learn from day one with glass panels such as the Garmin 1000 in Cessna 172's or Diamond DA40's are better off. In fact, it's been proven through side by side test's, that they're better off. They learned navigation quicker, and finished the PPL sooner.And BTW---- having glass does not make one a systems monitor instead of flying....even in GA VFR I prefer automation with my six pac gauges..... as I do have a two axis auto-pilot that will follow what's ever programmed in the GPS. It's not all that fun to hold a stick or yoke for hundreds of miles at a time. I'd just as soon look around, scan for traffic, check the sectionals, and so on.At the end of the day, GPS driven glass will be much safer. Especially with synthetic vision, that replicates topography as we're already use to with flight simming. It's going to solve a lot of problems that VOR's could never do.L.Adamson

You might want to read the aopa study on glass vs. steam. We had a thread about it about 5 months ago. Very interesting reading. Glass safer in certain hours and modes and more dangerous in others.
That's why new students will be better off using glass from day one. It's those, that are not familier enough with glass, that have the problems. Glass is the future, and for good reasons, so get use to it........I'd say.L.Adamson

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In real life, I have "steam", but would overall prefer glass, as a number of friends have glass panels that I use from time to time. I do use a Garmin 696 portable which replicates a lot of the Garmin 1000 features in regards to navigation, terrain/obsticle, and satellite weather. It also drives my auto-pilot.Someday. I'll upgrade to glass with dual screens and synthetic vision. In the experimental aircraft market, it's much cheaper that going some certified routes. In some way's I find steam gauges such as airspeed & rate of climb easier to read, but you can get use to it quickly with glass too. Glass panels can provide instant true airspeed & wind direction, which has to be hand calculated with normal steam instrumentation. It's also easy to move a lot of information from screen to screen with glass systems. For flight simming, I just don't find the glass panels easy enough to read, and I tend to avoid them. Products such as the Garmin 1000's, and numerous others are very easy to read in the real aircraft. Synthetic vision is becoming quite popular, and is marvelous for IFR operations. It's even good for VFR, since there is always the occasion of becoming IMC in what was suppose to be VFR conditions. As far as I'm concerned, students who learn from day one with glass panels such as the Garmin 1000 in Cessna 172's or Diamond DA40's are better off. In fact, it's been proven through side by side test's, that they're better off. They learned navigation quicker, and finished the PPL sooner.And BTW---- having glass does not make one a systems monitor instead of flying....even in GA VFR I prefer automation with my six pac gauges..... as I do have a two axis auto-pilot that will follow what's ever programmed in the GPS. It's not all that fun to hold a stick or yoke for hundreds of miles at a time. I'd just as soon look around, scan for traffic, check the sectionals, and so on.At the end of the day, GPS driven glass will be much safer. Especially with synthetic vision, that replicates topography as we're already use to with flight simming. It's going to solve a lot of problems that VOR's could never do.L.AdamsonThat's why new students will be better off using glass from day one. It's those, that are not familier enough with glass, that have the problems. Glass is the future, and for good reasons, so get use to it........I'd say.L.Adamson
Well I couldn't find the thread at this late hour for me where I posted the aopa link...but if I recall-those with in between 0-1000 hours the rates were much worse for those with glass, along with those who did not frequently fly. I know our CAP aircraft has a g1000-and I've gotten a verbal from a lot of the "weekend" flyers that they don't feel up to snuff when not flying on a frequent basis as they do with steam.I do know one of the near collisions I had was with a Cirrus pilot-who must have had his/her head down punching buttons as they reported themselves completely on the wrong side of the airport and instead flew right thru the ils as I was making an approach getting the wrath of the controllers.I love glass and would prefer to have it myself-but like all technolgies that are supposed to better mankind/womenkind there seem to always be flaws when humans get involved. Then there is the case of the ferry pilot taking a plane from europe to the usa with extra gas tanks. The g1000 couldn't cope with the xtra tanks as the programers had never anticipated such,the system crashed, and refused to reboot-while the pilot was in imc over the Atlantic. Luckily there were backup steam gauges. <edit> I found one of the articles:http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/topics/TAA2007.pdf

"Pilot experience is another area of interest when examining

TAA safety (Figures 5 and 6, p. 12). When looking

at total time in all aircraft, pilots with 1,000 hours or

fewer are more likely to experience a mishap in a glass

cockpit aircraft than in a traditional GA aircraft. Fatal

accidents in TAA were more common for even more

experienced pilots, with those logging 1,500 or fewer

hours having over 85 percent of fatal TAA accidents,

compared to 57 percent for the fleet.

Time in type was also problematic for the TAA pilot,

with 300 hours in type or less accounting for more accidents

in TAA than GA in general (Figures 9 and 10).

This was even more exaggerated in fatal accidents

where the TAA risk factor went up to 500 hours in type"<edit> found the second one:http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/inst_...fm?article=5958

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Well, from a dev's point of view, building a 3d "steam" gauge is considerably more "interesting" (i.e. harder) than building a "glass" screen. No moving parts. However, the coding side is WAY more complex and, worse yet, it does have quite the tendency to slow the system(s) down. All in all, as a dev, I much prefer steam gauges for the planes we build BUT... for flying... glass all the way...kc

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I remember the cockpit from the old Concorde. That was like looking at a wall of wristwatches. Still, after a while, one can make sense of the patterns of all the needles. Jeff ShylukSenior Staff ReviewerAVSIM

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I remember the cockpit from the old Concorde. That was like looking at a wall of wristwatches. Still, after a while, one can make sense of the patterns of all the needles. Jeff ShylukSenior Staff ReviewerAVSIM
Newer pilots brought up on modern glass say EXACTLY the same thing! It's all about assimilating the `flow` - the river of information. Those trained on steam struggle to accommodate the `informatics` of glass because they have to adjust not only to the additional flow, but also the change in the way the information is presented. On a wet day in the clubhouse the old and new pilots discussed this while hoping for VFR, and while I'm kinda `in the middle` in terms of experience with about a thousand hours in powered aircraft, I have used FS as a means to become more familiar with glass and am now reasonably comfortable switching between the two, which gives me an advantage over both sides when allocating a rental - I don't care if its glass, steam or something in between, whereas the newbies don't want steam, and the oldies don't want glass... so they wait for the right plane to be available.And to pick up on Geofa comment about a Cirrus glass reboot issue, I've lost count of the number of new - and old - pilots who have followed the `from` rather than the `to` needle on a VOR, however briefly... I've lost count of the number of times I've had to take off, or stay on the ground, when my non-digital aircraft has a gauge malfunction and I cannot remember when our two club aircraft with glass (a 172 and a 182) were grounded for more than a few hours waiting for a repair on the digitals, but I can personally recall tens of wasted hours while we wait for a mechanic to come and fix the latest breakdown on primary gauges... and most importantly in our part of the world the number of airspace incursions as a result of improper use of navigation instruments that are less precise and more vague in information display to start with. So it goes both ways, as ever.

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My favorite plane right now is the Quest Kodiak (Lionheart Creations): I really love the glass cockpit!!! It has all the information I need in the VC. I really don't like flying without a GPS-map anymore (in the VC). All the info I want and need is there (like radio freqs, runway information, etc.) It's absolutely great. The Kodiak is the best GA I've ever had, really! (Not only because of the glass cockpit and the great VC (which is an EXACT copy of the real one) but also because of the (real life) specs: fast, powerful, can get you really anywhere: it's a GA-dream come true!)

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My favorite plane right now is the Quest Kodiak (Lionheart Creations): I really love the glass cockpit!!! It has all the information I need in the VC. I really don't like flying without a GPS-map anymore (in the VC). All the info I want and need is there (like radio freqs, runway information, etc.) It's absolutely great. The Kodiak is the best GA I've ever had, really! (Not only because of the glass cockpit and the great VC (which is an EXACT copy of the real one) but also because of the (real life) specs: fast, powerful, can get you really anywhere: it's a GA-dream come true!)
Only the craziest, crankiest old git would argue that GPS with map display hasn't been a major step forward in situational awareness. Even steam jockeys nearly always have a GPS in the cockpit. OK, so it comes with it's own set of pitfalls, but then so do steam gauges and, just as biplanes were eventually outmoded by advances in aerodynamics, construction and customer expectation, so steam gauges will eventually fall out of favour, if not out of use as they will always be a market for them. The single biggest advance has to be GPS WAAS, turning almost every runway into an ILS, and of course opening up the possibility of precision curved approaches for obstacle avoidance, terrain clearance or good neighbourliness. HITS will be the ONLY way to fly such approaches so the digital guys will be flicking a digit to the steam guys when they are able to land and the Old Skool are not. One might argue that virtual terrain display is also a wonderful addition but I must admit I am less enamoured of something that takes more `head down` time to make full use of. I recall a flight a couple of years back where my PIC was unable to `see` the urgent traffic pointed out by ATC because he was looking at the Garmin, not out the window where the lights were quite plainly and easily visible. It delayed the avoidance manoeuvre by several seconds.

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Well I couldn't find the thread at this late hour for me where I posted the aopa link...but if I recall-those with in between 0-1000 hours the rates were much worse for those with glass, along with those who did not frequently fly.
That's understandable since they don't know their way around the panel yet. And they haven't established a good flow to take in all the information. IMHO at least

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One might argue that virtual terrain display is also a wonderful addition but I must admit I am less enamoured of something that takes more `head down` time to make full use of. I recall a flight a couple of years back where my PIC was unable to `see` the urgent traffic pointed out by ATC because he was looking at the Garmin, not out the window where the lights were quite plainly and easily visible. It delayed the avoidance manoeuvre by several seconds.
The virtual terrain/ synthetic vision will be most useful for IMC/IFR operations, as well as just plain darkness. That's where "head down" time works anyway. L.Adamson

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I much prefer steam. If one has a power failure or selective instrument failure then the flight can still be "normal" with steam.If the glass goes in turbulence or at night or in IMC or at a critical flight phase the standby instruments are not visually and ergonomically in the right place and often too small to be seen clearly.Vololiberista

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Defintely prefer the glass cockpits, but I think there are some basics of navigation (basic VOR radial/NDB) that are often learned best on steam guages before moving to glass. Glass certainly gives you the best SA, but it seems easy to never learn the basics if you aren't forced in to a little worse SA from time to time.

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I've mentioned this before, but some bush pilots I've spoken with absolutely hate GPS. It's not reliable in arctic northern latitudes and it loses signal in the valleys up there. I would suggest that the type of flying you do would influence the type of instrumentation you would want to have. Being a Canadian, I would propose the most Canadian of solutions: cockpits should have both sets of gauges. I see that as the trend now. Maybe in 2019 when the Blade Runner flying car gets going, cockpits will be all digital. I suppose this is science fictional thinking, but perhaps the flying car will decide how cockpits will look in the future. A), the vehicle will be flown by computer but directed in part or in whole by the driver and maybe by an integrated traffic control system, B) The controls and displays will need to be simple enough for drivers and not pilots. A massive de-clutter will need to take effect. A computer can monitor and operate many features "under the cowling", while the driver simply makes the choice as to where to go. A couple of years ago, I was reading on how Israel is apparently hard at work on making a flying jeep/bus. The sticking point is automating the flight with computers, otherwise the vehicle will look a fair bit like the VTOL's out of Avatar. Jeff ShylukSenior Staff ReviewerAVSIM

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I've mentioned this before, but some bush pilots I've spoken with absolutely hate GPS. It's not reliable in arctic northern latitudes and it loses signal in the valleys up there. I would suggest that the type of flying you do would influence the type of instrumentation you would want to have. Being a Canadian, I would propose the most Canadian of solutions: cockpits should have both sets of gauges. I see that as the trend now. Maybe in 2019 when the Blade Runner flying car gets going, cockpits will be all digital. I suppose this is science fictional thinking, but perhaps the flying car will decide how cockpits will look in the future. A), the vehicle will be flown by computer but directed in part or in whole by the driver and maybe by an integrated traffic control system, :( The controls and displays will need to be simple enough for drivers and not pilots. A massive de-clutter will need to take effect. A computer can monitor and operate many features "under the cowling", while the driver simply makes the choice as to where to go. A couple of years ago, I was reading on how Israel is apparently hard at work on making a flying jeep/bus. The sticking point is automating the flight with computers, otherwise the vehicle will look a fair bit like the VTOL's out of Avatar. Jeff ShylukSenior Staff ReviewerAVSIM
If that's the case why don't they just make glass simulations on the LCD screens... after all, we KNOW it can be done..! :( Seriously though, how many cases of total LCD failure have there been? Against the number of serious steam failures in the same time frame? It should be pretty easy for the Garmins and Avidynes of this world to actually create a basic six which could be swapped for the high-level SA stuff a a flick of a switch. Keeps the purists, the fundamentalists, the early adopters and probably even the clergy of any denomination happy. Best of both worlds - and if anybody does it, I came up with it first, not that Bruce Artwick or that Austin Meyer geezer :(

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