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brianemwd

New to FSX

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A friend of mine is a pilot and he took me from NC to Illinois so I could pick up some business equipment. He has a 4 seater Comanche. Though I was terrified most of the flight, for some reason I cannot get flying out of my mind. He told me that FSX is a good flight simulator so I purchased FSX Gold. To my surprise my sons love it and we decided to build a semi serious FSX computer for 2014.

 

I am only just now getting into the game and I just learned that there is apparently a large number of add-ons for FSX. What would most of you recommend as a good first add-on to start out with? 

 

I see some setups that include the use of an ipad which thrills me as I am such a gadget man. Are there any recommended apps for the ipad that works with FSX?

 

Sorry for the newbie questions. I want to make sure I get off to a good start on this new hobby.

 

Brian of North Carolina

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Hi Brian.  Welcome to AVSIM and to the wonderful world of Flight Simulation.  You've nooooo idea what you've just gotten yourself into!!  :rofl:   You've come to the right place though, as you'll find no shortage of advice and opinions on pretty much every aspect of Flight Sim. There are tons of add-ons, both hardware and software, to keep any gadget freak happy.  My advice is take your time.  There are a lot of great things you can get to enhance your simming, but there are some clunkers out there too.  Do your research and ask questions before you jump in with both feet.  When you run into problems or have questions, and you will, check here first as there's a good chance someone else has been through it and can help you out. The forum search is your friend here. 
Enjoy your new hobby.
  Cheers.  :smile:

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Hi Brian!

 

First things first... Merry Christmas, welcome to Avsim and the very addicting hobby of flight simulation. A wise man one said something along the lines of "whenever you taste flight, you'll forever walk the earth with your eyes turned upwards."

 

Or something like that.

 

To answer your question, it depends on exactly what you're looking for and what you want to do. If you want to just dress up the visuals of your sim, Orbx FTX Global and Real Environment Xtreme are good places to start in regards to better looking ground textures (Orbx) and water/cloud textures (Rex).

 

There are excellent seceneries available that are about as real as it gets. Fly Tampa, Orbx, FSDream Team are a few that come to mind that produce beautiful airport seceneries.

 

When it comes to aircraft, your options vary widely. There's so many aircraft available to fit just about anyone's taste and skill level. Carenado makes some beautiful aircraft that air great for vfr. I really never have had any complaints with their stuff.

 

There's a whole world out there when it comes to Flight Sim. Your options are dang near endless.

 

What exactly is it that you would like to do? General Aviation, jetliners, online flying with ATC? You'll find a lot of advice here with a lot of different opinions. You'll soon find your niche and what it is that you'll enjoy the most.

 

Whatever you're looking for, you'll always find someone around here to point you in the right direction.

 

Sent from my shiny new Verizon iPad mini from my ranch in The-middle-of-no-where-central-Texas, Tx.

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Okay, so for a start, with addons, I recommend the following, broken down into categories.

--

Must Haves

  • FTX Global. This is pretty much an must, seeing as it's an absolutely stunning rendition of the real world, in the quality everyone has come to know and love from ORBX. It is essentially texture replacements for the entire globe, along with much MUCH improved night time lighting (3D vs. the default 2D; with no performance loss!)
     
  • Active Sky Next. The latest and greatest in weather engines. The default FSX weather engine is fairly horrible, and at times will cause an aircraft to randomly stall, overspeed, or cause S-Turns. Active Sky Next is a new revolution with a ton of never before seen features. 

These are 2 very important addons that, IMO, change your flight sim experience whether you fly low and slow, or high and fast. 

--

Aircraft
 

If you want to fly airliners, I recommend you look to PMDG for your Boeing flavors, and Aerosoft for your Airbus flavors.

If you want to fly General Aviation aircraft, the A2A Cessna 172 is an incredible aircraft that's receiving rave reviews at the moment.
Other popular GA Aircraft developers include Carenado and Real Air.

 

--

Airports

 

Again, if you fly the heavy metal jets, you're going to want to pick up a few addon airports of that caliber. I recommend Flightbeam, FlyTampa, FSDreamTeam, LatinVFR, Taxi2Gate, UK2000 and Aerosoft.

 

If you fly general aviation, smaller fields will most likely interest you, in which case I highly recommend ORBX products.

--

Optional

 

I've always found a good ENB file (these are post processing effects to make your sim's colors more realistic) to make a huge impact on the immersiveness of the sim. I can't link you to any one specifically, because there are thousands of different configurations. Find one you like, it makes a huge difference! :)
 

--

I hope you've found everything you need!

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Welcome to the Flight Simulation community! Be prepared to spend many hours on your computer engrossed in your new hobby :)

 

There are thousands of addons for FSX. Some of which are amazing, some of which are those of which we do not speak. First question though, what kind of flying do you like to do? General aviation, airliners, military, etc. This'll help us narrow it down for you.

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Most of the important stuff has already been covered. My hint would be to pick up some Orbx stuff that is now on sale till Jan 2nd. The very least get Orbx PNW, and or Orbx AU SP4 as there are good freeware airports with these two from ORBX.

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Welcome to the flight sim community! Without knowing some specifics (interests, budget) from you it would be hard to give advice on what to add, others have already asked some germane questions and I agree with them. My advice would be to take it slow, which may not be exactly what you want to hear but you have a fairly steep learning curve to climb. Jumping into externals like iPad displays may be a little premature. They can be used for many things but largely they're used for displaying a Flight Management Computer used by airliners, They can also be used in flight planning but again, you have other tasks for now. If you haven't already, learn everything you can from within the game itself. You mentioned a semi serious rig, so i5/i7 Sandy bridge and later for your CPU/ and 560+ Series NVidia for your video card. If it were me, I would start with a decent plane, and some weather and textures for clouds. You should really learn to fly in a smaller aircraft before jumping into a Boeing so I would suggest an A2A C172. Most real pilots and simmers learn in that plane. A package from REX will give you better weather and good clouds, we call them textures. If you want a good scenery package, the Pacific NorthWest has been done by a company called ORBX, it's very good. Those three items will give you a great start. From there, the possibilities are endless. I hope that this helps.

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Hi Brian, and welcome to the club!

 

Not everyone wants to take the time to "simulate" flying so it may help to let us know what you are after. FSX can be much more than a game. In fact, some actually have home-built cockpits and do the whole thing - from planning to debriefing.

 

As has been stated already, there is a whole plethora of add-on programs available to spruce up your sim. Some free, some expensive, and everything in between. But FSX Gold has pretty much everything you need to get started. And unless you are running it on a Cray, you need to think about the PC horsepower you will need to run it beyond slide-show speed. Maybe you will be better off building up that PC hardware to start with than to splurge on add-ons, at least until you get your feet wet and and are able to take off and land properly in a trainer, which you already have the keys to with FSX Gold.

 

A friend of mine was interested in my setup but he had little money and know-how to get started. This fall I gifted him my copy of FS2004, an older PC (not a slouch - had plenty of power for FS9 but not enuf for FSX), my Thrust Master HOTAS and a couple of books on Flight Simulation. I also gave him several DVDs chock full of add-ons I had gathered over the years. Last time I saw him he had already mastered the Cessna trainer and was working with the Beech Baron. He is doing it right - learning the physics and the correct way to take-off and approach for landing.

 

So, it's all in what you are after and it is not really necessary to go out and spend a munch of bunny to get started.

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Welcome to Avsim and FSX :smile: . 

You've got some great suggestions already.  I believe REX is a must have and probably the best first add on for somebody just getting into FSX.  It includes a weather program as well.  Not as good as the Active Sky series, but probably good enough for a lot of people.  Really depends how serious you want to get into simming.

 

Make sure you're using good quality hardware as well (yoke, throttle, pedals).

 

Also, are you into airliners or general aviation? 

 

There are excellent scenery add ons out there that are global and tons that cover specific areas.  Check out the aerosoft website for some great sceneries.

 

You won't believe the difference in graphics and realism after you get some add ons going. 

 

Just keep in mind that your performance will keep dropping as you add more and more add ons.

 

There is also FS2004 that can run great on just about any decent computer.  It's a great sim with a lot of add ons.  I fly both FSX and FS2004.  Both are excellent.

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Welcome to Flight Simming.  Rewarding hobby, and a lot of fun. However prepare for frustrations, as FSX is old, and pushed to its limits, even with modern hardware. Wealth of info and suggestions already, but I would be sure your FSX is humming really well before adding stuff, following the avsim hardware and software guide.  As mentioned, when you start adding all these wonderful addons, FSX will often buckle under the pressure, and bring your frames per second down alot. Good testbed is the Seattle area. If your doing well there, then move on. 

 

Theres answers to any issues, and frustrations, and once well tuned, is exhilarating. May sound harsh, but better to prepare for reality of it all. Prepar3d Version 2 is released which is kind of a successor to FSX with some caveats however its not quite ready for mainstream.  So dont give up. Lots of smiles and cool stuff to see!!

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Thank you for the positive reception! I have to admit I was very surprised to see so much feedback. It's awesome. Again thank you.

 

1. I hardly know anything about flying so general aviation is my interest at the moment. My son (15) wants to take on the jetliners. :^)

 

2. Here are my hardware specs:

 

OS: Win7 Home Premium (64bit)

CPU: i5-2500k @ 3.30 GHZ

16 Gig of memory (G.Skills Ripjaws)

Nvidia GForce GTX 560 Ti

Corsair 240 Gig SSD

Corsair 650w Power Supply

 

3. Can you post a link to the avsim hardware and software guide?

 

4. So getting a decent flight sim computer system up and running is my pet hobby project for 2014. So I have a decent budget and I believe I already have a decent computer to get started with. I was thinking about purchasing three monitors for it in Jan but I am not sure if that is a wise first step. Perhaps I should get 1-2 software addons and some flight sim specific hardware such as those from Saitek? Any thoughts on that? Do most hobbyists use a single monitor setup or a multi-monitor setup?

 

5. Visuals for very important for me as I am definitely interested in learning to fly (within FSX for sightseeing purposes.

 

Brian

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Your specs look pretty good, Brian.  You should be ok with most things in FSX for the time being.  Here's the hardware and software guide:

http://forum.avsim.net/tutorials/article/66-read-before-posting-software-hardware-guide-for-fsx/

Personally, I wouldn't jump to three monitors just yet.  It can be a headache and will require some additional hardware.  A single monitor (24" +) and TrackIR will set you up with a very immersive experience at far less cost.  if you're interested in using FSX for learning and practicing for real world flying, be sure to check out the Flight School section of the forum.  There's quite a bit of information there that I think you'll find interesting and helpful.  There are several great GA planes out there, and if your son fancies the big boys, check out the PMDG website, he'll be drooling.  PMDG is the cream of the crop for Boeing airliners, though, they are "study sims" so they can be a bit pricey and aren't necessarily the best choice for the newcomer, but they are totally worth every dime. 
Have Fun!!

Jeff

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Since you're into GA, take a look at the airplanes offered by Carenado.  You can always use the default planes first just to get a hang of things.

For your son who's looking into airliners, there are the default ones and great add ons for beginners can be found.  These are less complex airliners where the systems being simulated is very limited.  Take a look at offerings from Quality Wings and Just Flight.  There is also CLS.  But some of the CLS add ons are quite old and showing their age.  There is also sound issues in many of the Just Flight/CLS add ons if you're using Win7.  You can find superior sound add ons from Turbine Sound Studios.  You can find them at simmarket.com

When he want's to get serious with realism and do a lot of studies, there is PMDG.

 

Best way to learn from scratch is to do the missions within FSX.

 

Your PC is a very good one for FSX and should run with add ons without trouble.  Just don't try to max out graphics settings.

 

I believe the hardware/software guide is in the hardware forum.

 

Saitek is pretty good.  That's what I'm using and don't really have any complaints.

 

As for the screen(s).. This is entirely up to you and your personal preference.  I prefer a single large monitor to multiples.  I started on a 47" LCD and upgraded to a 60" plasma.  I don't like multiple screens because seeing the vertical borders of each monitor drives me nuts.  For a lot of simmers, it's not a problem.

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Hi Brian & welcome to the flightsim community!

As people have pointed out there are 1000's of addons. My advice is to you is also to get TrackIR & joystick with an separate throttle quadrant.

What I always do is to check out youtube videos about FSX. There are tones of tutorials, reviews, training & "how to do videos" that are really helpful.

As for learning the flying part, there are training videos built in to FSX, where an instructor guides you from the very basics in a C172.

You & your son will have a blast together:)))

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Yup. All of the above and then some.

 

Re: Monitor - I started on a 14" monitor many moon ago, went through all the sizes and have now a 32" Samsung Smart TV hooked up. I also have a laptop that runs my moving map (Plan-G) and has a second 24" monitor attached to it. That way I can surf and fly long hauls. A friend of mine has three 24" monitors and it is pretty cool but I don't want a setup like that. You can really get into your gaming if you put your head right up there in the , and with 3D glasses, it will knock your socks off. But he plays 3D shooters and I don't so that's overkill for me. No, I am a single monitor guy.

 

Re: Controllers - Don't get one of those twist rudder with throttle built in jobs. You will quickly learn it doesn't help when doing cross-wind landings. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. I went thru several different controllers before I settled on my current flight control system. I had Thrust Master for a long, long time but the advent of USB made it obsolete. It used a game port which went away years ago. Anyway, there are some really nice controllers out there. Choose one that fits all your flying needs if you can. You can check Thrust Master or CH or Saitek. I had a Saitek system (still do, in my parts pile) but I did not care much for its space ship style, didn't have any use for all the display gimmicks, and it had a twist rudder. I now have a CH Flight Stick, CH Throttle, and CH Pedals. I was considering buying a yoke to trade out when I fly heavies, but it won't fit/clamp on my desk and it would be awkward at best.

 

Re: your PC specs - I think you will do OK with that system to get started, but you might want to think of a CPU upgrade for sure. I am not up on all the processors these days (mine is 3 year old tech but is powerful enough and I have no plans to replace it). Your video card is good enough too, but there are much higher end cards out there. (Again, my 570 is outdated, but good enuf for FSX).

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If you want the airliners, check out http://precisionmanuals.com/. PMDG does the best of the best work on airliners. However, as someone above mentioned, they are somewhat study-intensive. You can hop in and just fly around, but to actually operate it takes a bit of willpower.

 

If you're an Airbus fan, Aerosoft's Airbus X Extended (aka AXE, Airbus X A320/321) provides an excellent level of graphics and decent systems simulation. They aren't as study-intensive as PMDG's planes are, but have enough layers to keep things interesting. You can find that at http://aerosoft.com

 

If you want some interesting levels of depth added into your aircraft, look at http://a2asimulations.com. They have a module called Accu-Sim that is nothing short of spectacular. http://realairsimulations.com also has an excellent selection of quality GA stuff.

 

Once again, welcome!

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Welcome to Avsim, Brian!

 

In general, I agree with what aamir said (post #4), but I'd like to add REX - those textures are definitely  among the best and they alone make FSX look much more real than default.

For planes, it's probably the best to start with some easier ones like the A2A J3 Cub (darn slow, but nice to get started and to explore the sim, and it can bring you to some adventures as well) or some Carenado planes, and steadily work you way up to more complexity - at least that's what I think is best, my first plane addon nearly made me stop simming, since I was in no way prepared for its complexity.

If you're into airliners, the Aerosoft Airbus X is called a "mid-range" product, but the way an Airbus is designed, that plane is really quite easy to learn - but in case you're more into Boeings, I'd suggest the QualityWings 757 to start out.

 

As for airports, it will strongly depend on what type of flying you want to do: For GA, there's probably nothing like ORBX PNW or FSAddon's Tongass Fjords. However, if you want to fly airliners, there's a great variety of developers to choose from: FSDreamTeam (mainly US), Flightbeam, Aerosoft (mainly Europe, but some nice Alaskan airports, too), FlyTampa (American and exotic destinations, such as Kai Tak or St Martin) and Tropical Sim and LatinVFR (both offer mainly Caribbean and Latin American airports)

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Brian --

 

Welcome, and good luck! You just got yourself into a whole new world of fun, and frustration. The frustration is mainly a result of MS releasing FSX in 2006 in a very unfinished and very flawed state. They issued 2 service packs after that which fixed some things and broke others. So It's still a very imperfect program right out of the box.

 

First, and foremost, you need a whiz bang, state of the art pc IF you want to get the best possible performance out of FSX. It is very, very cpu dependent. So you need one that is overclocked to 4.2 or better. I am NOT a techie, nor am I an advanced simmer, but I have, like everyone  else, struggled with the hardware and all the gazillion tweaks for the past 10 years or more. So the hardware IS the most important thing to consider to begin with. Don't skimp! Forget the scennery and airplane add-ons until you get the pc running the default program as best it can. Follow the hardware and setup guide posted here at the top and spend a good deal of time in the AVSIM Hardware forum. Look at the recent threads where folks like yourself are wanting a good FSX rig. There are lots of them. Most of your questions are already answered there. Paul Johnson is the guru there, but there are other smart hardware savvy guys as well.

 

My suggestion is ---After you are satisfied that your new pc is running the default program in the best possible fashion I would buy and install *Steve's DX10 Fixer*. FSX was released with DX1o not working properly so we had to use it in in DX9 mode ---- until just recently. Some smart guy by the name of Steve fixed it, for the most part. The result is much nicer graphics and smoothness ++. Then you can think about the other weather, scenery, and airplane add-ons!  Just my suggestion.

 

One last thing --- over at Simforums there is, arguably, the most hardware/software savvy guy in the FSX world. His name is Nick Needham. He comes across as an egotistical bag of hot air, but he is the definitive authority on FSX. He is also one of the primary scenery developers for FSX. He has published the FSX Bible (thinks he's God). You can find it here:

 

http://www.simforums.com/forums/the-fsx-computer-system-the-bible-by-nickn_topic46211.html

 

This *bible* also contains a lengthy Windows 7(the current preferred os for FSX) setup and tweaking guide that will blow your mind. It works too!

 

Once again your pc is the key to FSX happiness. Do it right and you won't regret it!

 

Bruce

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Here is what I consider the must halves for FSX.

 

-FTX Global

-Mesh and landclass add on such as fs genesis and scenerytech.  These will help u get the most out of  FTX Global.  

-REX

-Weather engine,  REX comes with its own but the Active Sky series and Opus are better.  Use REX just for textures.

-PMDG NGX with FS2Crew

-A2A 172

-Real Air Duke

-Milviz B55 Baron

-Majestic Q400,  Ranks right up there with the NGX with very good FPS.

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