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[Amateur Question, Please Help] FSX & Joysticks

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Hi guys, I'm new to this AVSIM community and I have a couple of questions.

 

I love planes, however, I haven't been able to successfully fly one in a flight simulator. As a teenager, I want to be a pilot when I grow up, so this is important to me. I have a Mac with Windows 7 on Boot Camp, and I have Flightgear on my Mac partition and FSX Acceleration on my Windows partition. After I upgraded to 10.8 on my mac, FG stopped working, so I turned to FSX on Windows. I love it, and I really want to learn how to fly.

 

I have been using the tutorials, but finding extremely hard to taxi and navigate in general with the keyboard. In fact, it is impossible for me. When landing, I can't even line up with the runway and when taxiing, I apply too much power and go in crazy circles.

 

My parents have offered to buy me the Saitek X52 Flight System for Christmas, and from what I see it looks amazing.

 

My questions are:

 

1. I'm a lefty, but I've never used a joystick before. I think using it in my right hand would be no problem, considering there's no feel I'm used to already. Will this be ok?

 

2. Will getting the X52 significantly help me learn how to fly? I heard that FSX is nearly impossible with a keyboard and a joystick makes all the difference.

 

3. Are there any other lessons than the base tutorials they offer for me to download that will help me understand planes better? I don't understand some basic functions, like how to start the engines and what the function of flaps are.

 

Thank you everybody so much in advance! I hope to get help from the FSX geniuses themselves :D

 

 

Thanks

-RF

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1. A good joystick, which is configurable for both sides: http://www.thrustmas...roducts/t16000m

2. Depending WHAT you want to fly. If you want a Cessna 172, which should be your learning aircraft to learn to fly, then no, the X52 is a joystick, and Cessna has a yoke. But: it is better than the keyboard!

3. This might be of interest to you: http://www.fsflyingschool.com/

 

My blog also contains the info on how to make the FSX perform better, if you have performance problems. Located here on AVSIM in the tutorial section or simply via this link.

Furthermore, if you want to get to learning as real as it gets, and being young I guess you are not swimming in the money exactly, Saitek Flight System might be of interest, not too expensive, and quite good for the money. http://www.saitek.co.../prod/yoke.html

On the other hand, if you want to get serious, think about this

 

Good luck and warm welcome to AVSIM forums!

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Hi RF and welcome to the Avsim forums!!

 

Given that you're starting out the Saitek X52 system would be a great start. I've seen many pictures of other simmers set-ups and many have the X52 and are using it to fly a wide range of aircraft. There's no real right or wrong when choosing a "controller" for FS and for many, many years, I had a MS Sidewinder as my primary flight controller and have actually passed it down to my 11 year old son and he's loving flying around in FS with it. Having the X52 you'll be able to fly a wide variety of aircraft and helicopters.

 

As far as will the X52 significantly help you learn how to fly; well, it will help give you better control and allow you to enjoy "flying" in FS and getting you on the ground in one piece :lol: The link Word Not Allowed posted for FSflyingschool.com is worth the look and of course, posting your questions here in the forums will also really help.

 

Mike

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Hi. Good recommendations from above persons.

 

If your into GA flying (but also for heavies), like I am then you might want to consider the Saitek ProFlight Yoke, Trust Levers, Trim Wheel, Saitek Pro Pedals (this is my setup) and they work well and are very programmable for most needs. [Word Not Allowed has noted these in his post].

 

I then have a force feedback Logiteck Force 3D Pro stick for helicoper flying, or jets and can be used in combo with Saitek Pro Pedals.

 

One thing, I'm a lefty, there is no joystick on the market that actually works well for lefties, yes they can be programmed to move assignments around but the basic molded plastic are all designed with the hand rest position on the right, so you just have to adapt (which most lefties have had to do all their lives anyway). Also the thumb position is usually on the left side for right handed folks which is backward for lefties, I hold my joystick using left hand and use my index finger to click what is for righties the thumb button.

 

cheers

Bryan


Bryan Wallis aka "fltsimguy"

Maple Bay, British Columbia

Near CAM3

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Thank you so much guys for the warm welcome.

 

At this point, I can't afford an entire setup with a yoke & pedals. However, I think the X52 suits me well. Even though I want to fly Airbuses & Boeings (which use yokes), I'm more comfortable with joysticks (because I'll also use it for Battlefield 3).

 

In addition, I'll check out the link.

 

Also, I have some pedals from a racing wheel. I heard there's some way to hook them up as rudder pedals. Any ideas?

 

Lastly, I have two monitors- one on my laptop (obviously) and separate monitor. I also have TVs to hookup, but I'll work with that later. Whats the best setup? I'm thinking primary VC display on my laptop and instruments & GPS on my secondary monitor. Any suggestions are appreciated.

 

Thank you so much!

 

-RF

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Hi there RF

 

I'm certainly no FSX genius (points to that Word Not Allowed guy :lol: ) but as a recent newbie I've been through those painful early stages of sim-flying recently.

 

While using a home flight sim can be useful for practicing some procedures, many real pilots seem to say that real flying is so different from a home sim, you actually have a unlearn a lot when you get into the cockpit for real. Then again, there's that kid up in Scotland who became the youngest ever PPL in the UK, who practiced regularly in his home sim to supplement his real-world training hours, so who knows? Just be aware that FSX is only going to be of limited use in your real-world ambitions.

 

Now, you're right that flying with mouse and keyboard is a nightmare. There are some simmers who manage it and have a whale of a time, but I don't know how they do it. A joystick is an absolute minimum requirement, in my opinion. Next in importance is rudder controls - taxiing with keyboard rudder control is also pretty tricky, so a joystick with a twist control, or even better a separate rudder controller like the Speedlink Black Widow, makes taxiing and lining up ten times easier.

 

But the thing is, like Word Not Allowed says, when you start learning to fly for real, and in 90% of the aircraft you're ever likely to fly in real life, the control will be a yoke type rather than a joystick. The only aircraft where I think joysticks are more appropriate are (1) vintage aircraft, like WWI and earlier (2) Military fighters or (3) Airbuses (which use a left-handed sidestick). Oh and (4) Helicopters, but they're a whole different ballgame.

 

So if you're seriously looking at FSX as a step to learning to fly, a yoke controller would be a much better choice than even a top end joystick. And if you're going that far, I'm afraid you might as well go to the whole hog and pick up a set of rudder pedals. Not too long ago I made the switch from flying with a joystick to a yoke, pedals & throttle quadrant setup. It really does change the experience of sim flying from sitting at a desk to something you do with your whole body. I also found for the first week or so, that I'd turned from Buck Hotshot, ace joystick pilot into Crash McFumblehands, who could barely get a Cessna into the air with the yoke.

 

So here's a funny thing - I think you're actually at a bit of an advantage as a lefty. The Airbus pilot uses his left hand to control the sidestick. With a flight yoke you'll often be holding it with your left hand while you flick switches, adjust throttle etc with your right. Being left-dominant may very well work in your favour.

 

So to answer (2) a good joystick like the X52 will help you fly FSX much better. But it might not necessarily help you in your longer term goal of learning to fly for real, and will probably teach you things you'll need to unlearn, especially if you use it right-handed. A yoke and pedals would be much better for longer term experience, but since they tend to work out a lot more expensive than even top-end joysticks, expect some tough negotiations with your Funding Committee.

 

Now for (3) Have you found the Lessons buried in the FSX Learning Center. They go into much more depth than the Tutorial Missions, and are easy to miss if you don't realise they're there (I have to confess I'd been struggling with FSX for a month before I realised "Lessons" wasn't just another word for "Tutorial".)... Click Learning Center then over on the right, the tab Lessons.

 

As another option, and one I found very useful and still do, take a look at Angle Of Attack's Aviator90 online course. It's free, and takes you through all the basics of flying, including theory and basic procedures. It's non-software specific, so it won't teach you the key combination needed to adjust your flaps. But it'll explain what they are and how you use them and what you learn can be applied to FSX, FlightGear, XPlane and ultimately Real Life.

 

Hope these addled thoughts are some use to you. I see while I've been typing this other people have been chiming in, and I'm sure you'll be getting a lot of good advice from everyone. But the most important thing I'd say is.. enjoy your sim flying. If you decide a yoke is too much right now, then by all means fly with a joystick, left or right handed, and have a whale of a time doing so. Flying, even the most serious professional-style flying, should always be fun. Otherwise why are you doing it?

 

Personal opinions only, your mileage my vary etc. etc.

 

Dr V

 

One thing, I'm a lefty, there is no joystick on the market that actually works well for lefties, yes they can be programmed to move assignments around but the basic molded plastic are all designed with the hand rest position on the right, so you just have to adapt (which most lefties have had to do all their lives anyway). Also the thumb position is usually on the left side for right handed folks which is backward for lefties, I hold my joystick using left hand and use my index finger to click what is for righties the thumb button.

 

Hi Bryan

 

Have you seen the Logitech Attack 3? As far as I can tell it's one of the few sticks on the market that is completely symmetrical, lacking the ergonomic moulding that screws up you lefties. I was looking at it when I was considering an Airbus-style sidestick, and it does seem to be about the only non-contoured joystick around.

 

(I remember when all joysticks were symmetrical, when someone came up with the whole ergonomic design thing it was revolutionary!)

 

Dr V


The Couch Aviator's Diary - a newbie's journey into flight simming

http://couchaviator.blogspot.co.uk/

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Thank you for your help!

 

As much as I love Boeings, Airbuses are my preference. Plus, I don't plan on becoming necessarily a commercial pilot, maybe I might just fly as a hobby.

 

The yokes I saw are expensive, so for now I'll start off with a joystick. I do have the money to upgrade, and because I'm getting it from Amazon I can return the X52 and replace it with the Saitek yoke.

 

Any suggestions on my display setup?

 

Thanks,

RF

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so for now I'll start off with a joystick

 

You are off with a good start with the X52 then, definitely!

 

Display:

You can go with 2 displays of course, moving the instruments onto another screen, but that is kinda old school. Today the VCs are very high quality - just see the NGX.

Then again, going two displays requires a monster card, and even then, it's a shot and miss.

 

My suggestion is simple: biggest single screen you have. You can use the 2nd screen for utilities, weather, or whatever fancies you. Many of use the laptop for those things, leaving the FSX computer running FSX.

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My primary (and only high-end) computer is my Macbook Pro (which I use Windows on as a dual boot).

 

My specs are:

 

8GB DDR3 1067mhz RAM

750GB 7200RPM Scorpio Black Hard Drive

Intel Core 2 Duo 2.26ghz (one of my shortcomings)

NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256MB (another shortcoming)

Windows 7 Ultimate.

 

I might just stick with my single screen, however, my graphics card seems to easily handle an extra display.

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however, my graphics card seems to easily handle an extra display.

 

Not when you span the FSX over two screens. The higher resolution the FSX has to render, the less FPS you are going to get. You can however put the instruments on the 2nd screen, noone is saying you can't. And performance will not suffer that much. With your configuration you shouldn't be considering running high quality VCs or spanned FSX world.

 

You configuration is, unfortunately, what we call an absolute bare minimum for FSX. FSX is a monster, always was. It is not for nothing we run 5.0Ghz CPUs with GTX580/680 GPUs and 2133mhz+ RAM...

 

But really, don't let anyone, not even me, tell you what you should do: it is in the end up to the personal preference! We (I) are only here to give you some suggestions!

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Flaps...

 

A narrow wing is more efficient, less drag, enables a plane to fly faster but has less lift.

A wide wing has plenty of lift, lots of drag, less efficient and causes a plane to fly slower.

 

Flaps take a narrow efficient wing and make it wider, allowing the plane to take off and land at lower speeds, which reduces the length of the runway required. Once a plane has taken off, it retracts its flaps, wing becomes narrower and the plane can fly faster. Flaps have retract and extend speeds, you must not extend a flap when the speed is above its extend speed, it might fai, same goes for retract, the flap must be retracted before you reach its retact speed. The other thing I missed was stall speed. Flaps reduce the stall speed allowing the plane to fly slower. Stall speed is when the plane looses lift and wants to fall out of the sky.

 

Lots to learn

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One thing, I'm a lefty, there is no joystick on the market that actually works well for lefties, yes they can be programmed to move assignments around but the basic molded plastic are all designed with the hand rest position on the right, so you just have to adapt (which most lefties have had to do all their lives anyway). Also the thumb position is usually on the left side for right handed folks which is backward for lefties, I hold my joystick using left hand and use my index finger to click what is for righties the thumb button.

 

cheers

Bryan

 

Actually there is a great joystick for lefties, the CH flightstick Pro http://www.chproducts.com/Flightstick-Pro-v13-d-723.html I've been using one for 10 years now (well two sticks actually, upgraded to the USB version when they came out) The build quality is excellent, the pots have never spiked on me, and for simulating left side sidesticks like the Airbus, Cirrus, and Lancair I find it perfect. I've owned flightsim controls from Precision Flight Control's, Flightlink, Thrustmaster, Saitek, and have retrofitted real flight controls for sim use like the F-111 at the commercial facility I built, but through all that the CH Flightstick Pro has been a bread and butter controller when a left hand controller is needed. I have 2 actual airbus sidesticks that will be retrofitted to Flightstick Pro's for my A320 home cockpit (should I actually ever get around to finishing it lol), and am in the process of carving a dark walnut grip modeled after a Lancair at my local FBO for it. Versatile little bugger.

 

Chris


Chris Strobel KSNA

original.jpg

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Not when you span the FSX over two screens. The higher resolution the FSX has to render, the less FPS you are going to get. You can however put the instruments on the 2nd screen, noone is saying you can't. And performance will not suffer that much. With your configuration you shouldn't be considering running high quality VCs or spanned FSX world.

 

You configuration is, unfortunately, what we call an absolute bare minimum for FSX. FSX is a monster, always was. It is not for nothing we run 5.0Ghz CPUs with GTX580/680 GPUs and 2133mhz+ RAM...

 

But really, don't let anyone, not even me, tell you what you should do: it is in the end up to the personal preference! We (I) are only here to give you some suggestions!

 

For now, I guess I'll have to stick with my bare-minimum specs. Besides, I have SATs coming up, plenty of midterms, and not to mention regular homework, so I'll be keeping flying time at a minimum. However, I think that the X52 will reignite my yearning to fly and over the summer I'm sure I'll be taking many courses.

 

Thank you so much guys! I'll let you know if I have more questions :)

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Hi Bryan

 

Have you seen the Logitech Attack 3? As far as I can tell it's one of the few sticks on the market that is completely symmetrical, lacking the ergonomic moulding that screws up you lefties. I was looking at it when I was considering an Airbus-style sidestick, and it does seem to be about the only non-contoured joystick around.

 

(I remember when all joysticks were symmetrical, when someone came up with the whole ergonomic design thing it was revolutionary!)

 

Dr V

 

Thanks for the link. Quite frankly I haven't looked at the market lately but this would do for a basic joystick.

 

I don't think its force feedback though, which is mandatory for me. Now if i could find a force feedback lefty that would be great. Here is mine...its all designed for right, the buttons, the grip etc. but I make do.

 

http://www.logitech.com/en-my/gaming/joysticks/297

 

Actually there is a great joystick for lefties, the CH flightstick Pro http://www.chproduct...-v13-d-723.html I've been using one for 10 years now (well two sticks actually, upgraded to the USB version when they came out) The build quality is excellent, the pots have never spiked on me, and for simulating left side sidesticks like the Airbus, Cirrus, and Lancair I find it perfect. I've owned flightsim controls from Precision Flight Control's, Flightlink, Thrustmaster, Saitek, and have retrofitted real flight controls for sim use like the F-111 at the commercial facility I built, but through all that the CH Flightstick Pro has been a bread and butter controller when a left hand controller is needed. I have 2 actual airbus sidesticks that will be retrofitted to Flightstick Pro's for my A320 home cockpit (should I actually ever get around to finishing it lol), and am in the process of carving a dark walnut grip modeled after a Lancair at my local FBO for it. Versatile little bugger.

 

Chris

 

Again I don't think this is a force feedback, too bad.


Bryan Wallis aka "fltsimguy"

Maple Bay, British Columbia

Near CAM3

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