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cavaricooper

More SP ramblings.... This time about AFDS/AT/AP....

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There are many things about the SP that you will love and appreciate, but the one I have come to appreciate more than most is the finely tuned interaction betwixt pilot and aeroplane this SP brings- that amalgamation of ones and zeros, that enthralling tango of logic and art form, that hallowed place we as transport drivers cocoon ourselves into and spend most of our "piloting" hours- manipulation of the AFDS/AT/AP systems.

A long time subscriber to Bill Bulfer's mentality of tactical MCP manipulation in a saturated environment (think change in arrival and/or runway flying into LGW- a radar target rich environment to be sure) vs. strategic FMC manipulation in a more sedate, less saturated environment (think ATC provided shortcut to FIX); I have come to the realization that most of the time, it is far better to let the automatics do their thing, so that one can utilize their remaining "capability" to remain positionally and situationally aware. When placed in our usual position of operating a transport category multi-crew aeroplane in tightly controlled airspace, single pilot- that option becomes even more brilliant. I fully agree with keeping ones hand-flying ability fully up to snuff- but most of the time, AFDS/AT is the intelligent option.

With that out of the way, one soon realizes that AFDS/AT/AP manipulation is by far the most common form of communication with the 777 (or any other similarly categorized transport aircraft). It is the way that we pilots (the conductor) effect the performance (the flight) with our interaction and manipulation (our baton), Similarly to the way Von Dohnanyi alters a concerto with his flourishes and emphasis', we alter our flight with our manipulation of knobs, waypoints, winds, performance data, etc.

Ok, so why am I so enthusiastic about how far AFDS/AT/AP has come in this SP? Simple, feel of flight... let me expound. We are all familiar with the axis' that act upon an object suspended in flight. Until now in FSX this was expressed in a mathematically calculated way- that was fixed, rigid and definite. It also was a bit brusque, abrupt and mechanically rote. Not anymore! Through astounding maths, with magically inserted variability, Vangelis has succeeded in transferring the "feel of flight" to this platform. The all pervasive, impassive, undeniable presence of momentum has finally been transferred to the desktop platform. Go HDG SEL and twiddle away- there is no jerkiness, no sudden change in flight path. Instead, while pinching yourself, you will feel what it is to alter the flight vector of an object weighing some 250T. Similarly, SPD INTV all you want. There is no sudden jerk in pitch moment- only the feeling of slowing a massive object, over the course of predictable time. ALT INTV, FL capture, GS nose over- all of have become rhapsodical in execution. Try decelerating, descending and intercepting the LOC all at the same time. Watch as she rolls, tucks in and sweeps across the landscape, and loose yourself in the moment.... But don't forget to call established!

What this gibberish means is that suddenly physics asserts itself into your experience, forcing you to accept and even accommodate for the fact that this is a large heavy aircraft that lends itself to cajoling rather than harsh control surface application. Like a ULCC underway, she will demand early and accurate prediction if you want to continue to thread the needle. For those of you that habitually ask your air-frames to perform miracles, i.e. maintaining the magenta despite massive energy/altitude changes- forget it! For those of you who expect her to capture SPD/ALT gates that are physically impossible- you will need Plan B.

Go prepare yourself with lots of RW You-Tube videos. When you see the horizon tilt and rotate about your center post my ramblings will all make sense.
 

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Is the change in how the aircraft flies apparent when you fly it manually as well?

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As I mentioned in another post today, what I like most about the 777 is how PMDG managed to capture the essence of its size and power and put it on my desktop.  You're telling us it only gets better, and that makes me giddy.

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Joel- I shall discuss manual flight and FBW in a future article.

 

Untoweechja- I too have been giddy about the 777, but more so because PMDG realized where she really needed some revision and DESPITE THE VOCIFEROUS MINORITY- ARE SPENDING THE TIME AND RESOURCES to get it right. Not too many in this day and age would expend the efforts they have (on something that will not earn them one more cent) just to "get it totally fabulous". While there certainly were some buggered areas, I hope we can agree that there are no show-stoppers!

There are many that have commented and criticized.... all of whom fly PMDG and continue to do so for one reason alone- there's nothing better.

 

Just wait until you see how much they have done for/to the 777. THEN REALIZE all the lessons learnt will transfer to our beloved NGX and even more importantly to my Fat Girl. Stay giddy- and far from the madding crowd.... She continues to get better and better :)

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I am actually far too excited after reading that  :P Literally cannot wait now  :im Not Worthy:

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Is the change in how the aircraft flies apparent when you fly it manually as well?

 

Yes.  I won't go any further and steal from Carl's future topic, though.

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FBW is already leaps and bounds better, but is still a work in progress, so at the moment I shall reserve commentary.  I can say, at this time, that we are moving in the direction that was encapsulated in my prior essay "Fluid Dynamics".

 

PMDG is very aware of how important this issue is and is working unceasingly to provide a FBW experience that measures up to the superlatives of all the other regimes of this 777 simulation.

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FBW is already leaps and bounds better, but is still a work in progress, so at the moment I shall reserve commentary.  I can say, at this time, that we are moving in the direction that was encapsulated in my prior essay "Fluid Dynamics".

 

PMDG is very aware of how important this issue is and is working unceasingly to provide a FBW experience that measures up to the superlatives of all the other regimes of this 777 simulation.

 

Great !!! Cant wait to hear more

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Is the change in how the aircraft flies apparent when you fly it manually as well?

 

The FBW changes represent a fairly massive difference in how the aircraft handles when handflying. You guys had it easy before when it was doing C* like an Airbus.

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The FBW changes represent a fairly massive difference in how the aircraft handles when handflying. You guys had it easy before when it was doing C* like an Airbus.

"Gulp" ......or I cannot wait ? :) theres me thinking im a great handflyer :(

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Transferring 777 FBW "feel" to the FSX sim is a process that requires art, imagination, a fair bit of skull-duggery- not to mention some amazingly convoluted maths. This would be well beyond the reach of most....thankfully we have Dr. V! Interpreting Boeing tech manuals to produce similar flight feel is like reading a mathematically slanted analysis of the Ode to Joy. You can grasp the basics, but until you hear the "da-da-da-dum" - you will never loose yourself in the music. The manuals are sterile and clinical- and flight experience is unwaveringly visceral. Therein lies the tedium.....and effort and commitment of PMDG..... Re-write code and FLY IT.... Re-write and FLY IT. Over and over until the Tech Team "feels" that it's "right". It will come- we have Dr. V :).

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I was just re-reading this and realized that I hadn't quite conveyed what I intended... AFDS has evolved into something truly superlative.... so here goes.....

 

Sometimes in my real world flight experience, there have been moments of perfect flight.  Once, early in the morning, with the mist from the by-pass canal still sitting in a tightly packed layer over Rwy 36, I took off before the sun and turned east towards Lakeland thinking of the eggs and grits that would follow.  As I trundled along watching the wisps and tendrils covering the still dark earth below me the sun peeked over the horizon.  There was pink and gold and purple light streaking towards me.  The Continental 85 was running particularly smooth that morning, and with my left elbow out the window, right hand on the stick and nothing on the radio I was in a cocoon of sublime perfection.  For one fleeting moment, I wasn't moving, just perfectly poised over the earth, while it rolled by below- in perfect stillness.

 

Another time, I took an Archer up for a spin around the strip before putting her away for the night.  If you turned the master switch off after start-up, the Hobbs stayed put ;).  It had been a dreadful afternoon, full of typical Florida thunderstorms.  The sky had been particularly violent that day.  After the storms moved away it was surrealistically peaceful.  Taxying the Archer to the hanger after fueling her at the pumps, I couldn't resist, and after a quick mag check we flew.  Everything was the same temperature- the asphalt, the earth, the Piper and the air.  It made for a magical carpet ride- total stillness- no convective activity whatsoever- fabulous in Florida!

 

My simming keeps me searching for similar moments.  In FS9 the 747-436 provided that in the turn at Kai-Tak in the midst of a monsoon rain.  In FSX I felt that in the NGX on short final.  Now, when I twist the HDG SEL knob in the 777F and feel the world move, instead of my aeroplane- I smile again.  I can tell you that in the NGX, after a particularly good flight, as all the systems are running down, there's a moment of reluctance, before I toggle the beacon switch.  That moment where she ceases to become mine, and will soon be an earth bound trolly bus, waiting on her conductor (ramp agent) and her next load of passengers to wherever.  There's a slight pang, and an slight hesitation before actioning that switch.... now, I'm happy to tell you I am just as reluctant to part with the 777.... she gets better and better.

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I don't know if anyone's told you this before, but sir, you can WRITE,

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Ta!  Rubbish with video/photos though.... thankfully there are others.

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