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brucek

Light aircraft flying versus the heavys

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Guest bobsk8

I have been flying flight sim for more years than I care to mention, and almost from the beginning, I found myself flying large aircraft, probably cause I only flew C152, C172 and Piper Warriors in real life, and wanted to see if I could manage the big ones. I never had a real IFR ticket, manly due to money constraints, so I could at least learn IFR on the flight sim, and flying the commerical aircraft really required that I get those skills . I practiced IFR flying, all kinds of approaches, and got to the point where hand flying an approach to minimums in a 737 was routine.About 2 months ago, I was taking one of my frequent business trips from Atlanta to Brussels, and I remember getting on the plane and thinking to myself , " Well, this is going to be a long and boring night, sitting on this plane for 8 hours". As we were going across the ocean, I wondered how the flight crew managed to stay awake, staring out into total blackness and monitoring their systems, with the FMC flying the plane. All of a sudden, it dawned on me that , this is what I do whenever I fly flight sim . I take off, climb to 30,000 in a 737 or similar aircraft, and follow the airways until it is time for a descent and landing. Whatever happened to the flying I used to do after I got my Private ticket? I would fly from Ft Lauderdale to Key West and as I went along at 1500 feet, if I saw something interesting, I would buzz over and take a closer look at it. I worried about weather, and hoped that it would be nice as I was heading to the airport for a days flying. I would fly over cruise ships, follow Cigarette boats over the ocean, I even asked FLL tower if I could get close to an Aircraft Carrier one day so my friend could take a picture.If I saw an interesting airport on the Sectional, that was near my route, I would drop in and see what it looked like. This was all stuff that I haven't done in years in flight sim. About 2 months ago, I decided to get the Misty Fjords scenery and rediscover VFR low level flying. Almost immediately, I realized what fun this was, and how I had been overlooking it all this time. I got some payware aircraft like the Aerosoft Beaver , to fly around in, and discovered that these new Paywear light planes flew like the real thing, rather than the default FS aircraft that I had tried years ago, and didn't care for. After the Beaver, I got a Real Air Simulation Scout, and now I could get in and out of almost any field with no problem. This morning I downloaded some South Florida Scenery, that made FS look like what I actually saw out the window as I flew in that area of the country years ago. I also purchased another light aircraft , the RAS SF260. I have already flown that this morning over So Florida, in and out of airports, down to Key West, over the 7 mile bridge at 500 feet, cruising at 170+ knots, couple of spins on the way down....you name it I did it. What a superb flying aircraft it is,aerobatic and docile at the same time. Well anyway, that's my view, and I am sure others will have comments about the subject, but I realize now that I have not even seriously considered Light aircraft VFR in FS ,until a few weeks ago. Now that I have tried it in FS9, I am really hooked on it. Back to flying....

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Hi Bob,Interesting insights there. Well of course we have for years been promoting the idea that there is much to learn and enjoy flying aircraft other than those with huge Navigational overheads to take you from A to B without touching any real controls!I enjoy sophisticated aircraft as well, just like everybody else, but I am convinced that the best way to practice basic skills is to fly something more modest.A simple dead reckoning flight in marginal weather conditions, or a challenging approach in low vis with a map, a VOR and a stop watch (or even counting one elepant, two elephant etc) is to my mind infinitely more challenging than whacking on an autopilot in a Boeing and watching paint dry!All sorts of other things come to mind: for instance doing a left turn without autopilot and not losing or gaining more than 15 feet in a complete 360 degree turn. Or doing a perfect circuit or pattern with a strong cross wind in a tail dragger.It is these skills which sim pilots are losing due to their over-reliance on navigational "candy", if I can use that expression.You can't beat flying hands on. Glad you are enjoying the Scout and Marchetti SF260!Kind Regards,Rob Young www.realairsimulations.com

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Hi Bob,I'm also discovering what you are. I just got my instrument rating- and even in a C172SP on a VMC day (i.e. flying relatively close to the ground compared to a jet, and with good visibility), instrument flight is so structured that I can see a difference already (in real flight). In VFR flight, I'd often make a small course deviation to fly over a wind farm, etc., bit when flying instrument rules then forget that- I'm likely to get busted, or at least talked to by the controller.In sims we get to make this comparison even more vivid by comparing (as you did) jet flying that is always IFR, and the good old basic VFR flight. On an instrument flight into SFO, for instance, one might pass over the Sierra Nevada at one of several discrete points where an airway is located. Think about all the scenery that's in between those points that one never sees.Good post. Bruce.

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Guest william273

hi bob, ditto, the above posts, very good topic. no doubt about it, smaller aircraft are alot of fun. my problem is it's to easy to change from one to the other. about all i have to do is see a video of some VFR flying and that's it for me. back into a single or twin engine. for the past few weeks though i've been into the heavies. something about watching the captain and first officer going over their flightplans, preflight, getting the cockpit setup, etc has wet my whistle for some long hauling, along with watching the approach and landings. judging from the past though, it won't be long before i get back to some good VFR, exactly as you said. again, great topic! william

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i agree with all you guys have been saying. Recently, I found this web site...www.fseconomy.combasically, it helps recreate what might occur should you be a pilot for hire using small aircraft. It's very ingenious...and helps give our flights a little more "purpose." and, while I'm plugging away, I might as well also recommend www.dc3airways.com , the VA for which I fly, when I am not hooked on fseconomy...ShermSherman8r at fseconomydca662 at dc3 airways

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Take off out of KSLC (Salt Lake City, Utah) sometime & head east over the mountains, then anywhere north/east/south. The default scenery is quite good, and is farther enhanced with FS Genesis's that has some freeware Rocky Mtn. scenery. This is all rugged mountainous area, and the reason I love flying low, but not exactly slow. About the speed of the SF260 is fine. KSLC to KJAC (Jackson Hole, Wyoming) is a scenic, short trip.Sometimes, I even take the freeware Kirk Oleson (spelling?) F-16 up to 30,000' over this scenery, as it looks so good!L.Adamson

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Guest TimQ

I have been trying to get back into VFR flight lately as well. Been flying commercial for a long time. I also like flying over the mountains in MT and AK. I need a plane that is fast, though, like the caravan or something around 180 or so kts, or I just get bored out of my mind on longer flights.

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Hi Bob,A very interesting view. However, my experience is a totally opposite one. I've been simming for 21 years now and was almost exclusively dedicated to GA aircraft. A few years ago, and a few versions of FS back it was simply not possible to model the heavies accurate enough to draw my attention. A year ago i purchased my first heavy (a famous 737) and since then I didn't fly anything else. I was surprised by its outstanding features and realized how powerful todays versions of FS are in the hands of good developers. I find great joy in learning how to program the FMC, work my way through all those switches on many panels etc. And because I choose flights of 1 or max 1.5 hour duration I never get bored during the flight: as soon I level on the cruise altitude, I have to start figuring out how to prepare the plane for landing.I am posting this just to show how different the history of a flight simmer can be.All the bestNeven

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I really dont see the challenge of programming an FMC and then spending 2-8 hours simulating a flight at FL370. Nothing to see apart from the odd AI and CB (if you're lucky!).Much prefer "seats of the pants" flying with some quality scenery (UK VFR Photographic and VFR Mesh does me!) and some real low level weather thrown in for good measure.Each to their own I guess but for me the real flying gets done at low level (whether on the sim or in real-life).RegardsAdamJAR PPL (A) IFR/NightEGKB

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Guest Keyser Soze

Hi,is this supposed to start a flame war again? I have seen a lot of such topics before. Isn't that nice that MSFS can satisfy all the simmers who like GA and also all the simmers who like big jets? So why someone always wants to show to others that he likes this and that and flying in the different way is "sooo booooring"? This is definitely upsetting me. Every man is different, with different personalities, with different tastes. Why some people like big cars like SUV's and why some people like sports cars?I mostly fly heavies, I can spend one hour with pre-flight preparation, fulfilling my flight plan, starting systems, programming FMC etc. And that makes me happy and that's why I'm a simming fan and I don't tell other people to use the simulator in that way. They just have to find what they like as I did a long time ago.

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Hi, KeyserI do not see this thread as war between light and heavy fans. It was interesting to see how simmers sometimes change their views and interests in course of time. Nobody said his view is better than others. In fact, Bob, Bruce and others have just induced my interest for GA again, and guess what: I just bought DF A36 :-) Back to low altitudes (at least for some time)

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Why does a thread expressing different experiences have to be a "flame war"?I don't think anyone has said one form of flying is bad and another is good, so no need to be "upset". No one "told" anyone else how to use FS at all. It's just people expressing an opinion, which is what forums are for.Enjoy your flying.Kind Regards,Rob Young

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Guest Zevious Zoquis

I guess it's the "what's so fun about programming an FMC and then watching the plane fly @ 30,000 feet" comments that rub people the wrong way. Personally, I prefer the low and slow type of flying myself ftmp, but I do occasionally like to sink my teeth into a more complex aircraft too. I think the appeal of programming the FMC is simply the fact that you can play around with a realistic representation of the hardware you find on the real planes. I mean think of how amazing that is - you can actually follow most (in some cases, very close to all) of the processes and procedures that a real airline pilot goes through to get one of those beasts up in the air and to it's destination. What I love about flightsims (or racesims for that matter) is the chance to experience the sorts of things only a select few of us actually get to experience in real life and the chance to have your own reasonably realistic 727, or ATR72 or 767 to fly whenever you want is pretty thrilling. But so is the chance to do aerobatics in an SF260 or Spitfire or to navigate your way through narrow mountain valleys in a Chipmunk or a Challenger. :DIt's all good baby!

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Oh dear well apologies if I "ruffled any feathers".I have loved aircraft and flying since the age of 4 when my Dad took me to a shop near Heathrow Airport and I gazed with amazement at this shiny screaming metal entity (actually a Trident 2) spurting black smoke which suddenly flew over my head at less than 300 feet. I was hooked!There is nothing, repeat nothing that gives me more pleasure than bimbling about at 2000ft in my "real world" aircraft watching the world go by below, the clouds pass by above, and seeing the world from a perspective that most people do not (passengers in airliners do not count;)Therefore I hope you will understand why I feel it is odd to sit in front of a computer screen for hours pressing buttons on a simulated FMC and seeing not alot apart from the occasional high level cirrus or (if you're unlucky enough) a bit of clear-air turbulance (which isn't even simulated in FS as far as I am aware!)However if it gives you pleasure - I am happy for you!I'll stick to my RealAir SF-260, Photographic Scenery, VFR Mesh and a large dollop of ActiveSky weather to enhance my particular Flight Sim experience:DRegardsAdam

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Guest bobsk8

I fly commercially quite a bit, and have noticed that as soon as the Airliner takes off, almost everyone either goes to sleep, rolls down their shade to watch a movie or starts reading. It is the rare person that looks out of the window. When I take people up in a C-172, their eyes never stop moving as they are thrilled with the view and want to take it all in. That to me is the difference between 30k+ and 1500 AGL. I just installed a copy of Megascenery New York this morning and I know I am going to spend hours flying around there, since it is my home town. So far, it looks great and I was getting frame rates in the high 30's to low 40's, even in area like JFK and LGA which are pretty rough on frame rates.

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Bob, great post. I have been simming/designing for about 3.4 years, started with WWII type aircraft. I have tried every type of aircraft and flights for FS, helis, gliders, hang gliders, ultralites, vintage, heavies, GA, etc to get me to where I am today and what "I" enjoy. I am also one of those that finds very little enjoyment in staring in front of a full screen 2D panel programming all the functions and then flying at 30+k for hours on end (I do enough of that in my designing), but to each his own. FS is more a world sim to me than just flight. I enjoy every aspect of simulation, from being a passenger to virtual interactions with clients and /or airport personnel, probably why I co-run a VA, which is the beauty of FS, something for everyone.Personally, I find the greatest enjoyment in skimming the treetops in forest areas (Misty Fjords addon) in my Beaver or heli, in real weather looking for a nice cabin to go fishing at. Regards, MichaelKDFWhttp://www.calvirair.com/mcpics/mcdcvabanner.jpgCalVirAir International

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So true, Bob. I bet many people that fly commercially wouldn't have an idea if they're in an MD80 or a 767! Maybe the only plane that sticks out is a "jumbo" (747).I also have that experience of wonder when I take people up. There's nothing like giving them the controls (for simple straight and level flight), and seeing them feel the aircraft through the yoke- the vibrations, and all the minute movements that the control surfaces are feeding back. I love that feeling.Bruce.

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Just wanted to throw in my recent experience. I, like others here, really like sinking my teeth into complex systems. Learning how to manage for instance the RFP 742 with the CIVA INS is certainly a challenge in itself and far from just programming the FMC and let go.Recently I

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Hello Bob,What a wonderful posting you've got here! I actually "confess" to flying the commercial jets, including payware like PMDG, PSS and RFP but I do have the Cessna 172 by Flight One and have not flown it too much yet. I have to get into learning more about things like VOR flying although I know this in principle, I don't use it and just use the GPS to navigate manually when I fly the 172. As for the jet's I actually don't use the FMC at all and always approach and land manually so I get the feel of controlling the airplane and feel that I've actually "accomplished" something on my own rather than relying on the computerized gizmos. I work with computers as my job and frankly don't have the patience to learn how to work an FMC; the only exception to this is the PSS Airbuses which I program, but the PMDG 737-NG I fly using constant switching to the FS moving default map and steering waypoint to waypoint using autopilot.I fly manual up to cruise altitude, then switch on autopilot and descent partway with autopilot to, say 4000 feet AGL, then take over on full manual (switch off A/P). I have to admit, your posting about the GA smaller aircraft handling and the enjoyment of scenery with low-altitude flying has made me very curious. After my current "world trip" is over - which won't be for a few months yet for I'm flying to practically every country in the world (but just to the capital or largest airport) - I will definitely look into flying my Cessna 172R more often. I did recently do flights with the 172 during the Africa portion of my world trip - namely from Kinshasa to Brazzaville - Demorcratic Republic of Congo to Congo-two cities right across from a lake from each other and two other cities in Africa and found the little nitwit to be a beautiful little bugger. One wonderful thing with the smaller propeller-driven single engine aircraft - because they are slower than the commercial jets (or any jet, like the Lear Jet 45), you have more time to react and correct mistakes and of course, to enjoy the scenery too. I actually have a lot of admiration for all aircraft, whatever their size and even though I may refer to the Cessna 172 as a "little bugger", it is by no means derogatory, but more of an affectionate term, for I really have grown attached to all airplanes of all sizes and that's just in the mere 1.5 years that I've started simming!Like you and others said, it will be a good exercise for me to really learn precise flying skills by flying the small GA aircraft.Thanks for the posting!John

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Hi Tord,Good luck with your pilot's license. Flying gets very addictive! Remember when you solo- you will be a part of a very unique club of poeple that have actually taken command of a real aircraft. There's nothing like it!Bruce.

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