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Dewey

Flight Deck 6 by Abacus

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I'm looking for a good carrier ops sim. Has anyone tried Flight Deck 6 by PC Aviator. Or, better still, is there an addon that allows carrier ops within FSX?

 

Thanks.

 

Dewey

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Well Flight Deck 6 is actually created by Abacus. I bought it when I was new to FS, don't remember much about it, aircraft that come with it are pretty basic, about freeware quality.

 

I guess it's okay for some quick mission type, but I think there definitely are some better packages out there for that.

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STAY FAR FAR AWAY! Abacus products are among the worst there are and Flight Deck is no exception. I think Flight Deck 5 is the last I have any experience with, but they haven't changed almost anything since the first Flight Deck.

 

The aircraft are overshadowed by most freeware aircraft even. Their flight dynamics do not allow for proper AOA to be flown, assuming you want to see the deck actually. Visual models are poor and VC's vary, but many aren't even clickable and have FS2002 graphics.

 

The carriers as of the last version I tried (like I said, think it was 5, not 6) do not use native FSX Acceleration carrier features. They instead make use of the "uber auto-spoiler" to slow you on the deck. This means even if you land long missing the wires, they will still slow you down just enough to dump you over the edge of the deck with zero airspeed. You can also trap successfully without the hook down because it's all done by spoilers. The IFOLS (meatball) is a 2D gauge that pops up on the side of the screen. They use a slew work around for the catapult launch. The carriers also do not move over the ocean, which is possible in FSX and nice to have.

 

If you want a great carrier ops experience, here's how to do it:

 

First, if you don't already have Acceleration, get it. It has native "arresting zone" and catapult features. This means the sim actually looks for the tailhook to be down and contact the zone (it doesn't model individual wires) in order to arrest the aircraft. If you land long, you keep the airspeed and fly off the end of the deck. I am not sure how the catapult system works, but it works well. You actually drop the launch bar and connect, then get shot off the pointy end of the ship. They have a true IFOLS that is intregrated on the ship, so you can actually fly the meatball. You get an F/A-18C default that isn't bad, but can be better (see below). Just be warned, their default missions give a full fuel and payload for the Hornet, which makes it over max trap weight and impossible to fly on published speeds/AOA. Just lighten your load to max trap and it works fine. The carriers even move in the water making for a very realistic feel that helps slow down the approach.

 

Look on FSDreamteams forums. They modeled the Hornet for Microsoft and host the unofficial support forums. Users have made tweaks that come with a nice autoinstaller and makes the default Hornet fly very nicely. It even includes a cockpit ILS for the moving carriers.

 

Be sure to pick up Javier's Nimitz/Ike. They are freeware and superb visual models (better than default FSX). AI Carriers 2 is a seperate program that will allow you to drop them in to FSX as a moving carrier right in front of you whereever you happen to be flying. They also have all the default arresting/catapult features.

 

Look at VRS's F/A-18E. It is one of the best military add-ons (there are a couple nice F-15E's) and the best carrier aircraft. The flight dynamics are spot on and it just doesn't get any better. If you also pick up their TacPak, it adds fully functioning weapons (including guided AA), pitching carrier decks, TACAN/ILS for moving ships, and IFR tanker support.

 

Dino Cattaneo makes a very nice freeware T-45C and F-14B (think it was the B, he's working on a D now) that pair nicely with this.

 

vLSO is a nice program as well (also freeware) that will give ILS calls in the sim. After landing you get your landing grade and wire caught. There is an external part of the program that will even show your track in the groove.

 

You can also look at Team SDB's Enterprise. It is a rework of the old Alphasim Big E to be FSX native including moving ship and native arresting and catapult features. It is a bit nicer looking than Javier's carriers, but is not dramatically better. It is the Big E however, which will always have a spot in my heart.

 

If you already own Acceleration, then everything to get a great carrier ops experience is free. The only payware on this list is the VRS Super Bug and Team SDB Enterprise, which I love, but are not necessary. Vertigo Studios is set soonish to release a CV-6 (WWII Enterprise), which will add some historical options as well.


Eric Szczesniak

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Abacus products seem to make most AVSIM'ers scream in disgust, so be warned.


Simmerhead - Making the virtual skies unsafe since 1987! 

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I agree, I have owned and did not like the quality of the Flight Deck series by Abacus. I even spoke with their tech people who were not helpful in resolving some issues with their product.

 

IMO, the freeware mentioned above is much better.

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Thanks to everyone for the useful feedback. Yes, from the reading I've continued to do since posting my question about Flightdeck, it seems apparent that Abacus has left a bitter taste in a lot of customer's mouths! I'm not anxious to be among them. Since posting, I have obtained Acceleration. It offers a lot in a small package for a reasonable price, I think. It isn't perfect, of course. There are a number of frustrating glitches in the program, not the least of which is that the key assignments for the launch bar extend,retract, takeoff assist amr/disarm, takeoff assist trigger, and tailhook extend/retract are not actually assigned to their respective keys. That wouldn't be so bad if you could manually assign them permanently. But I have been unable to do that, which means every time I fly carrier ops I have to go through the pesky exercise of reassigning the keys again. I do all the "OKs" and the "Saves", etc., but once you leave the game and come back, the assignments are gone again. I imagine I can find the code somewhere to enter the assignments permamently, but if someone can tell me where that might be it will save me a whole lot of time wasted searching.. Other than that, the carrier ops, and the Hornets are great fun! Now if I had a joystick that wasn't worn out. My old Microsoft Sidewinder Precision Pro is no longer "precision", I'm afraid. There is so much backlash in the mechanism after all these years that trapping an FA-18 on a carrier is like trying to herd cats. Can someone recommend a reasonably priced replacement that is precision enough to satisfy the demands of doing that.......at least most of the time?

 

Anyway, thanks again for your words of wisdom, gentlemen. I do appreciate them.

 

Dewey

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...Can someone recommend a reasonably priced replacement that is precision enough to satisfy the demands of doing that.......at least most of the time?...

 

The Saitek X-52 is heavily used by many simmers. There are many varieties, but all basically the same. The cheaper ones are $120ish and you get a stick and throttle for this. Probably about the cheapest I would recommend. Particularly as a throttle is increadibly important for flying a carrier approach. I had one a while ago and it was decent. The centering spring is a bit on the loose side, but overall decent.

 

It's definitely in a difference price bracket ($400ish), but the Thrustmaster Warthog is absolutely fantastic. I wouldn't fly with anything else now.


Eric Szczesniak

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On request thread title updated from

Flight Deck 6 by PC Aviator

to

Flight Deck 6 by Abacus

 

As Flight Deck 6 is not published by PC Aviator but by Abacus.


Regards,

 

Momtchil Posted Image

Posted Image

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ESzczesniak's post (#4)

"STAY FAR FAR AWAY! Abacus products are among the worst there are and Flight Deck is no exception."

IMO, all his feedback is very true.

I tried FlightDeck 5/6 and had many problems with the product and technical support (no fixes).

I removed it from my PC.

 

I appreciated ESzczesniak's detailed information on how to get into carriers ops properly.

I just may get Acceleration and try it.


Best Regards,

Vaughan Martell - KDTW

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To say something in defense of Abacus although their planes and other such stuff isn't good they do make some good programs such as Instant Object Studio, so they aren't all that bad in every sector.

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To say something in defense of Abacus although their planes and other such stuff isn't good they do make some good programs such as Instant Object Studio, so they aren't all that bad in every sector.

 

True ... like FSRepaint is very good.


Best Regards,

Vaughan Martell - KDTW

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Thanks for the comments, gents. Since stores no longer stock joysticks and you can't get the heft and feel of the action by having one in your hands, we have to now rely on the experiences of others who use the ones we are intereseted in. That's a poor way to have to select something that is supposed to "fit" YOU, but it beats nothing. So I really do appreciate those who take the time to share what they know with me before I take a plunge in the wrong direction and regret it.

 

Now, if someone can just point me where I can change the code in FSX (or Acceleration) to PERMANENTLY programs the buttons on the joystick, that would REEEEALY

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i like my new Thrustmaster-T-16000M stick a lot! It uses Hall Effect sensors.

 

Ken

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Now, if someone can just point me where I can change the code in FSX (or Acceleration) to PERMANENTLY programs the buttons on the joystick, that would REEEEALY

 

It's an odd problem you're having. I've never experienced that. During installation of Acceleraiton, it asks if you want to change to the "Acceleration" default key assignments (replaces the Shift-whatever from the old to the carrier specific). Perhaps trying a repair/reinstall and selecting that option might do the trick?


Eric Szczesniak

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