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Guest estevesm

Mixing sim flying with real flying

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So how do the real-life pilots here handle it? I got my private certificate three years ago, then after a year of sporadic flying quit for nearly two years at 95 hours total time (42 PIC). I'm currently getting back into it, and flew 4 hrs of dual in October to get signed off for the flight review, but felt my landings were not yet back to an acceptable level of quality. Poor weather and a cold kept me on the ground for another month, by which point I had so little confidence in my ability to land safely that I scheduled more dual flying with another instructor. First two times out my landings just plain sucked. Pretty good crosswinds were only making things more difficult, but the disturbing thing was that I kept trying to flare way too high. Went up today with milder winds and almost no crosswind, and really focused on judging the correct height to start the flare. After an hour in the pattern it did feel like I was finally starting to get it back. Now I'm wondering if FS2004 has been screwing me up all this time? I picked it up a few weeks before I started flying again, more out of curiosity after reading several favorable reviews. I had bought FS2000 back during my flight training, used it for 20 minutes to understand VOR reverse sensing, but lost all interest in it after that. I have to say I was very impressed at how far the technology had progressed with FS2004 (I never saw FS2002), particularly the grapics and ATC. Spent some time flying the default 172 to run through pre-landing procedures and pattern entry. After my first flight in October I tried the FS 172 one more time and immediately realized that it does not handle at all like a 28-year old 172 rental/trainer. Probably doesn't handle like a brand new 172, for that matter. So to try to disassociate sim flying from real flying, I switched to flying the 737. I figured it would be so unlike flying a single-engine light that I would not develop any habits that might affect my real-life flying skills. I'm not sure if that is what has happened or if it's just my flying skills being really slow to come back. At any rate, I'd like to keep using FS in between real-life flying, and have been looking at eventually taking up VA flying as a hobby. So I'd be interested to hear how others have managed to integrate their sim flying and real flying.Thanks!Mark

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If you want a "better" 172, then try the freeware RealAir 172 which upgrades the default & was designed for a flight school; although it's an SP model which is at least 20 horses more than a 28 year old Cessna 172. I believe it's available in the Avsim library.Other than that, I use rudder pedals, am use to my computer controls & never feel that MSFS or other flight simulators have messed up real flying.L.Adamson

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Hi Mark,I firmly believe that flight simming over the years has enhanced my cockpit skills. Piloting goes well beyond controlling the aircraft, and involves many procedural activities. I can absolutely state that I've gained confidence and skill in all of these areas, including communication, navigation, and cockpit management. I find that I will bring something from each (actual and simming) to the other, and the two have become somewhat interactive. This afternoon, in fact, I was RW aviating and marveling at the incredible similarities and perspective that MS has given us in the sim (those of you that have not seen this comparison have no idea how well MS has done this). As far as relating the sim to the real thing in terms of flying qualities - with a proper setup (RealAir for example), we can experience action/reaction and cause/effect, which will likely flatten the learning curve (much like R/C modeling), but we will learn to fly an airplane in the real cockpit. Just my 2 cents.Leon

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I flew flightsim long before I got my license. I started with FS4, then FS5 & 5.1. I stoped there, but later got the FS2002 while working on my instrument rating. FS helped alot there and I really zipped through the instrument course.I think becoming a real pilot made me a better sim pilot. I did my private in Cessna 152s, and instrument in 172s. While working for the comercial rating, I flew 152s, 172s, and 172RGs. They all fly different. The school I went to had five 152s, five older 172s, two new 172s (not SP though), and two 172RGs.I learned early on that not all planes of the same make fly alike. Each one of the 172s had it's own feel. You have to learn technique rather than memorizing how that one plane flies. You may go rent a different 172 later and it will feel totally different.I think flightsim helps in that respect. The default 172 may not feel the same as the one you're flying now, but like I said not all 172s feel the same. You know your approach speed and stall speed, you need to time it so that your at stall speed when the wheels touch.My technique was to put 10

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G'day MarkYou will find that Flight sim flying teaches many bad habits which rub off into your real flying.The major one as you siad relates to landing(both day and night).In real life as you would know(or have been taught) good landings stem from looking at the far end of the runway and using peripheral and depth perception to lead to good height judgement.On a PC you use none of those as you have neither a good view of the end of far end of the runway now any peripheral vision.The best technique by far is when you strap in do not use ANY handling information gained by using FS as 99% of it is incorrect and inappropriate.FS is useful for teaching navaid's and tracking but in all honesty that is about all.Froma manipulative point of view almost everything in the sim is wrong compared to the real world.Close yes but not close enough and at the end of the day if you use technique's from Microsoft your real handling techniques will suffer.Having been simming for as long as flying some 18 years and having taught lots of people the art of aviation just remember a PC is a PC and a 172 is a real aeroplane in the real world.Don't get them mixed up.Even the fidelity of big simulators is never the same as the real deal and every time you get in you must switch over to simulator mode.Sims are sims and planes are planes don't get them mixed up!!All the best.

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>You will find that Flight sim flying teaches many bad habits>which rub off into your real flying.>The major one as you siad relates to landing(both day and>night).>In real life as you would know(or have been taught) good>landings stem from looking at the far end of the runway and>using peripheral and depth perception to lead to good height>judgement.>On a PC you use none of those as you have neither a good view>of the end of far end of the runway now any peripheral>vision.>The best technique by far is when you strap in do not use ANY>handling information gained by using FS as 99% of it is>incorrect and inappropriate.I must be using the VC cockpit's too much, because the majority of my FS kicks come from the landings................ which can seem very real! I pull back my eye point (basically what RealAir does for default) to get peripheral vision & use rudder pedals to aid in the "feel". All in all, it's very much just like real landings. I suppose my 21" monitor helps too! :)And BTW--- I many times do a re-run from spot view of my landings, and they're usually quite good...Which means I'm somehow detecting height, considering the simulations limitations.L.Adamson

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With only 14 hours under my belt I don't pretend to have much expertise, but thought I would add to this thread, since I'm having problems similar to Mark's. First off, about all the opinions that I had read about real flying being actually easier than the simulation, it's not that simple. Yes, you have more sensory clues as to what's happening with the plane, but at the same thing the real plane sensitivities can't never be fully rendered in the sim. Well, at least my Tomahawk is pretty sensitive; so often I have flashbacks to my driver license training where I would treat my brother to frequent whiplashes with my acceleration and braking technique and torture the engine with not so smooth gear shifts). I don't know, maybe I'm one of those who take longer to get it, but maintaining the altitude within +/-50 ft margin, especially under 1500 AGL (turbulent air) and in turns is quite a challenge for me. Initially, apparently like many flight sim pilots, I got fixated on instruments, primary reference in the sim. It finally got to me that unless I look outside I will never be able to keep it steady, since visual clues will always be much more easily discernible. Landings are still tricky to me, but I would never blame the sim for that. My approaches, according to my CFI, are excellent, the problem starts 5 feet above the runway - I sometimes flare too high and tend to float. I don't think it has anything to do with excessive speed cause I'm usually right on the suggested numbers. I had to learn to lower my flare height and distribute it better in time (gradual, slow pull). I really don't know how the sim could screw me up in this respect, I never really practiced that many landings in it. I think it's a matter of "getting the feel for it," since as my CFI and some fellow pilots said, the proper flare cannot really be taught: there comes a time when you finally "get it." I guess if you haven't flown for a while, you're also very likely to lose it. I never even contemplated the idea that more simulated landings might help me with my landing technique - only more practice in the real thing can do that. Nor do I think that sim time can really hinder your real world flying: it's only a matter of knowing its limitations and not taking it too seriously. As already mentioned, it's a great procedural trainer, to some extent it can also help the hand-eye coordination too, I think.I have read a lot of those posts and letters about how long-time simmers finally decided to do the real thing and found it so easy with their simulation experience. Well, I guess not everybody is born a pilot, some of us are made...Michal

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>>In real life as you would know(or have been taught) good landings stem from looking at the far end of the runway and using peripheral and depth perception to lead to good height judgement.On a PC you use none of those as you have neither a good view of the end of far end of the runway now any peripheral vision. The biggest difference - and it's a HUGE difference - I've ever found with regard to simming was adding a projector for the "out the front" view. Having a regular looking panel right in front of me where it should be, and the 'scenery' considerably further away (Only about 8' away, but that's enough to get outside the binocular vision zone, and to make it fill my field of view) is immeasurably more realistic. Flying a sim set up that way is dramatically more like a real flight than is having the instruments and outside view on the same monitor. It makes judging the flare and height above ground so much more similar to the way you do it for real that it's hard to put into words.Richard

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Hi Darren,You are right about bad habits being developed whilst simming, but it really depends on the simmer.You'll find that like driving a car, if you experience driving a wide variety of vehicles you can actually get to the point where you can jump in to any car and drive it well.My point is that flying is really about the feel of it, as any bird will attest (birds don't have instrument panels but they are nature's most perfect flyers). I've simmed for many years, and I've also flown plenty of Cessnas, and I know for a fact that simming has helped greatly with my real life flying (I've also flown gliders, which require good attention to the flight envelope).Many simmers fly without really knowing what's going on in terms of aerodynamics etc. I believe that if you have a good understanding of flight to begin with, you can actually exploit flight simulator to indeed maximise your real life flying learning capacity.When I first started flying my CFI has amazed at how much I knew without ever having flown in real life prior. I mostly sim with either the VC or a full window without instruments, and that has helped with the visual aspect of flight and landing. I can now fly any aircraft that comes my way in FS9 and after a few minutes can land it with ease, whether it be a light GA aircaft or the North American X-15.Anyway, I believe simming recreates flight well and it is used extensively as a training aid. People should NEVER underestimate the value of a modern flight simulator.James

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It's hard to stick landings if you don't practice them a lot. Even after a month of not flying my landings aren't the greatest. A few laps around the pattern or even better laps, followed by cross-country and laps at the destination and then back to the origin, really help out a lot.The legal minimum 3 landings in 90 days for currency to carry passengers is not enough.As far as integrating FS and RW flying, I find that FS helps in figuring out the mechanics of an instrument approach. Lay out the approach plate, get it all set up, and then fly the approach in FS, it makes much more sense later when I try it out in the air.As far as landing, I don't do any of that in FS, it's all RW landings, especially gusty crosswind landings, those are the challenging ones.One thing even real world flying with a safety pilot while doing practice instrument approaches you don't actually get to practice the "break out." e.g. taking a break from your instrument scan to peek out the window to see if you have your landing environment. Otherwise you just stay glued to your instruments until the safety pilots announces "break out or runway in sight or something like that." FS with its weather effects has gotten better for that.Woodreau

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G'day JamesYou are 100% correct in saying Flightsimming is fantastic for your knowledge.It is a great primer for real flying and if used corrctly can help you grasp many difficult concepts.IE navaid tracking and intercepts.I remember teaching myself NDB and VOR intercepts and tracking when i forst started and i saved myself heaps of cash by having a great understanding before that component of my training started.My points about it creating bad habits is more to do with the handling side of things.It teaches VFR pilots to look at flight instruments for attitude info and you should be looking outside.The afformentioned landing problems it causes by having the cockpit/world perpective all ballsed up.I could go on for quite some time.If used correctly it is a godsend and can save you money in real training.But it has major limitations and can have an adverse affect if people do not understand its massive limitations.If you use it right its a cool eductional tool for navaid training and maybe one or two other subjects.But from a handling point of view it causes more problems than its worth from a training point of view.All the best

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I have used every version of fs from the beginning for every rating I have achieved-the latest being the commercial, instrument, multi I got last week.It has helped considerably, saved me much money, and I certainly haven't found it anything but a help to my real flying. All the cfii's I know mandate their students use it to help their real training.I do think one has to apply the real flying experience to the sim-and not the other way around, to get the real usage of it. When one does that however, the uses are considerable-from geographic awareness at unfamiliar airports, to procedure training, weather awareness, instrument practice, -even for Civil Air Patrol search grids which has saved my CAP unit a lot of time, money, and logistics problems.http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/Geofdog2.jpg

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>If you want a "better" 172, then try the freeware RealAir 172Yep, I've tried that one. It does have a much better "feel" to the handling.Mark

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>In real life as you would know(or have been taught) good>landings stem from looking at the far end of the runway and>using peripheral and depth perception to lead to good height>judgement.>On a PC you use none of those as you have neither a good view>of the end of far end of the runway now any peripheral>vision.I think you've nailed it right on the head. I was _not_ looking where I should've been, and the instructor was commenting on it as well. It took an evening of thinking about it and conscious effort on my part the next day to get over it. Although FS may have had a small effect, I'm going to chalk it up to low time, too long a hiatus, and too little time between recent flights! This experience will definitely be in the back of my mind from now on.Mark

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I think simming helps with technique to some degree.For instance, in a cross wind landing you have to yaw away from the wind and bank into the wind in both simming and real life. Stall recovery is another example where the basic technique in FS is the same as RL.While it feels different in FS than in RL I know it has helped me in making these techniques second nature before they would have been if I had relied soley on RL lessons.Speed.

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I'd like to take a shot at this. I think Geoff is very much correct when he says, (not a quote) You apply your real life piloting skills to the sim. I know I do. But then for the newer pilots, those with little real experience, it is a heck of a procedures trainer. But for some it is not working, and may be doing them harm. I saw it today. Here is my story. I thought I would be nice and fly multiplay with a youngster who I met online. He asked me to fly MSFS2004 with him. We did. I was being extremely generous and let him select the whole scenario. He soon wanted to play head on passes in large aircraft during take off at a large airport. He liked to take off on 18R for instance, and have me take off on 36L, then meet in the middle of the runway for a head on pass. I tired of this quickly (two or three take offs) and felt like I had been had; I had allowed myself to be used. I soon broke off the session. And thinking on it I see that everything he is doing in his MSFS aircraft is wrong, dangerous, and teaches incorrect viewpoints and lessons about flying. These simulator programs, with MSFS especially are tools. I don't think they are games or toys in anyway. And yes, this is an opinion. But as a former professional pilot and CFI I believe the sim can be a great asset; but I also think that it has to be handled correctly. Today I saw how not to handle it. I'd like to hear more on the subject. Please, keep posting.

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Mmmmm....very interesting topic...As a procedural and instrument trainer, this sim has many advantages I believe.On the other hand, the aerodynamic behavior of most airplanes is a far cry from the real thing.Generally speaking, drag and ground effect are badly modelled.Take adverse yaw for example: totally wrong - the adverse yaw in the sim is linked to the angle of roll while it should have been linked to ailerons' deflection.Virtual pilots get used to applying rudder through the entire duration of the turn while in real life, as soon as the ailerons are neutralized, adverse yaw disappears and with it the need for rudder input.The lack of peripheral vision (VC is NOT a perfect solution) and the lack of depth of vision constitute another problem (unless you manage to hook 6 monitors...)The lack of "feedback" through the controls (out-of-trim forces) is also a major contributing factor for a lack of realism. Just my 2 cents...Twister

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What a great thread. I too am a high time PPL and I agree with everyone that the sim is a great procedural trainer, especially navigational. But,I am a firm believer that when it comes to landings, especially in a 172 (a very strange bird to land compared to the rest of the GA fleet-anyone with significant time in anything else will testify to that) the sim will mess up your squash in depth perception and it makes you totally complacent in correctly judging the flare and the real fot work that is required in ground effect before touchdown. You know what I'm talking about, the little blurbs of yaw that you get as you try to hold that centerline. I think the sim really hurts my real flying on approach and landing. I've got nothing but positive things to say about Real Air Sims 172 and DF's 152, but I'm with the side that says sim will never be able to match real world flying when it comes to true dynamics. And I say that with total respect for the entire flight sim community.

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The 2 don't even compare.I primarily use the FS series for instrument training, and getting my "kicks" in a 777 or a 767 or such, or "flying" that plane you've always wanted to.Nothing beats the real thing though, coming in at 110 knots in a Navajo, on a downsloping, icey runway, surrounded by trees, with a 90 degree crosswind blowing a 20 knots that shears right when you flare.You just can't duplicate that in the sim!!Chris

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A few additional points from a non technical PPL.1. Putting FS v RW into perspective, I really think that the only significant difference is in landing performance (as ably demonstrated by many of the points in this thread). It just isn't the same. That said, representation of the other 99% of your flying feels very realistic.2. What has not been emphasised so far is the cost saving of practicing the art while on the ground. In RW training, you become accustomed to work overload, particularly those first few hours in the circuit! What you learn that you have to do, is move as much of the work into your subconscious. And this can only be done by practice, practice, practice. A lot of this can be done in FS, so the stuff like trimming the aircraft, applying rudder in the turn, knowing which instrument to check, etc, become sufficiently instinctive so that you don't have to really think about it. I know I am an average pilot, but I did my PPL in 50 hours, and am convinced practice in FS saved me 5 - 10 RW hours.3. We've talked alot about the benefits of practice for Instrument work. Proof of the pudding: I did my British IMC rating in the minimum 15 hours, and can honestly say, using FS, I had mastered much of the theory before training began. Again, I'm convinced I saved 5-10 hours.So in total, FS has probably saved me 10-20 RW hours training - that's

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Nice thread... here's my story:I fly MSFS since FS4 and last year I had the opportunity to fly right seat in a 172.The PIC did the landings and take offs but I flew the rest. He was impressed by my knowledge of the panel, numbers, and how I could maintain a heading/altitude flying level (ok, level flying is not a big deal, but it was for me since it was the first time I had the controls of a real airplane). We did some turns and he congratulated me on the fact that I used the rudder correctly, but the thing is: I only realized I was using the rudder after he told me that... :-) I just felt like I needed to use it... strange because in FS I always look at the "ball" and try to keep it centered.I too got a little fixated on the panel, although after 15 mins I started to look outside more...Also, I'm a skydiver and usually fly right seat on Caravans and Twin Otters (ok, no landings just takeoffs ;-)... it's nice to see the pilot do things and try them out in FS... :-)RgdsMarcelo

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