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Wightleal

New Sim - Best Flight Dynamics?

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I've been using/modifying/adding to/contributing to FS9 for many years, and it looks and feels much better now than when I started. But I am enthused by videos of P3D and XP10, which seem to be the front-runners for anyone wishing to improve their flight simulator experience.

However, when looking for help in deciding which way to go myself, the bulk of the discussion I can find concerns the visual appearance of the sim. There is almost no in depth discussion about which provides the most realistic flight dynamics; indeed, there is often an off-the-cuff remark to the effect that "the FD is not perfect but is better than.....".

I have (very limited) real world pilot experience, including solo, in gliders and Austers, and having tried several iterations of FSX (demo) and Flightgear (demo) in addition to my own setup, I am inclined to think that Flightgear feels more realistic than either of the others, despite the fact that its visuals are nowhere near as sophisticated, (and it's buggy!).

I would be interested to know if anyone shares my opinion.

I will probably invest in an eye-candy rich replacement for FS9, because the visuals are important for immersion, but I think there will remain a slight disappointment that the sensation of flight could be improved.

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I've been using/modifying/adding to/contributing to FS9 for many years, and it looks and feels much better now than when I started. But I am enthused by videos of P3D and XP10, which seem to be the front-runners for anyone wishing to improve their flight simulator experience.

However, when looking for help in deciding which way to go myself, the bulk of the discussion I can find concerns the visual appearance of the sim. There is almost no in depth discussion about which provides the most realistic flight dynamics; indeed, there is often an off-the-cuff remark to the effect that "the FD is not perfect but is better than.....".

 

You have to consider both the sim and the aircraft.  Put a great sim out there with a junk FDE and you've got junk.  I do see discussions on comparing the FD in different sims but it usually devolves pretty quickly so folks avoid it.  Maybe if the discussion was limited to only folks that had both it would be a decent discussion.

 

Gregg

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Keep in mind, part of the FDE has been off loaded on many higher end aircraft within P3D. PMDG (Coming soon to P3D) has a lot of their dynamics outside of the sim, Majestic has the ENTIRE engine outside of the sim which both adds to the performance of the sim and to the fidelity. Now with that said, LR with XPX has a nicer FDE for all aircraft which leads to freeware 3rd party to fly as if it were designed by a sim giant such as Majestic or PMDG.

 

I have both sims, P3D is the go to when I want to simulate an airline flight. XPX is still very new to me but I spend a lot of time low and slow within the sim. Both have their merits and disadvantages, but both have a trial of some sort. LM allow for a 60 day refund and LR has a trial which is limited to the KSEA area.

 

Try both sims and you'll definitely see which one works for you. You mentioned that you have a lot invested into FS9, much of that probably can be ported into P3D which may sway you over to the good side :ph34r: .

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Well,

 

I was forced into the combat flightsim arena, where unfortunately lay the best flight dynamics, damage models, and even systems modeling available for the flight simulation for the PC market.

 

Started 2 yrs ago with DCS 's p51d, then a friend offered me IL2 BOS, and a couple of days ago I found what I am beginning to consider the best among those I have used - Cliffs of Dover ( just €9,90 in Steam ), with the Team Fusion patches.

 

I still use X-Plane 10 though, at this sim is really becoming the reference among civil flight simulators, and of course Aerowinx PSX, but this one although PERFECT, "only" models the 744, but since flight dynamics accuracy, plausibility, etc... is what really matters to me, I'm satying with CoD, and awaiting EDGE in DCS and whatever comes of good in the future for IL2 BOS...

 

I'm sorry I could never find the immersion, quality and smoothness in Civil flight simulators like I am finding it in the Combat flightsims, because I really do not like air combat :-/, but I do like to feel "like being there"...

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I would say, that given a current, fast system, FSX and the a2a Cherokee are a good example of a great, and totally convincing flight model.

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You could try Rise of Flight if you fancy flying something a little older. The flight dynamics seem pretty good to me, although, of course I've never flown a First World War aircraft in real life. I think you can still get the trial version, limited to two aircraft. I like to just fly the aircraft around the scenery and avoid the combat. Some aircraft like the RE8 can be a real challenge, thee's a fine line between flying and stalling.

 

 

Ian

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Ian, yes, forgot to mention that one too!!! A great ww1 sim for sure! and again, some flight dynamics, scenery, weather and living World we can't simply find on ANY civil flightsim :-/

 

MS FLIGHT looked SO GREAT :-(  It reminded me of yet another great tittle that went through the sink - FU3 way head of the competition when it was released, but not backed by powerful giants of the software market :-/, just like PROPILOT 99

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Till I was on MSFS I thought this is how an aircraft feels and fly and having no RW flight experience.  You will get all different opinions on this one is better than that.  

 

Hmm as many experienced RW pilots on this forum have said NO SIM CAN GIVE YOU THAT. And I tend to agree. 

 

In my opinion its the aircraft systems and the visuals make it look and feel Vreal. There maybe certain Dynamics that can be replicated in a Sim , who knows. 

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I'd argue that without force feedback controls it is almost impossible to implement convincing flight dynamics.

 

I say "almost" because I understand some aircraft (A330?) don't provide physical feedback through stick & pedals. 

 

I'm an INexperienced PPL-holder and I haven't "flown" Flightgear but I don't find any of the usual suspects to behave like the few real world GA aircraft I have flown. Doesn't mean they don't have entertainment value but (as they might say on Airplane) it's a different kind of flying altogether.

 

Z

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A lot of the dynamics can be replicated. A good mix of parametric (FS/P3D) and computationak/generative (XP) is usually the way to go to simulate an existing aircraft type. This is what A2A/PMDG do, and what IXEG will do with their 737-300. The plain-vanilla BET model by default in XP was intended to predict flight characteristics that were unknown -- it takes a set of physical descriptors of the airframe to model the pressure distribution dynamics in an estimative fashion -- correct trend & magnitude, or "thereabouts". Therefore the hybrid BET/parametric approach makes sense, with the BET compensating for the weak spots of the traditional approach, when the airframe to be simulated is well known, as it usually is for our purposes -- we're not building experimentals after all.

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Don't know about the BET/parametric stuff, at least they should give you one properly modelled aircraft don't want something which is flying on a string. 

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@Zul - I'm not sure what "properly" means in the context of recreational flight simulation. As far as I can establish, ALL the flight dynamics engines are flawed/inconsistent in at least some regimes and the aircraft parameters required to "feed" them are often proprietary - i.e. not in the public domain. There appear to be a few wizards out there who tune parameters to produce pretty good models but it appears to be predominantly black art. I agree with your "should" sentiment though.

 

@XPDEVS: I'm quite new to all this; please could you explain BET? Is it FEA? :)

 

Z

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@Zul - I'm not sure what "properly" means in the context of recreational flight simulation. As far as I can establish, ALL the flight dynamics engines are flawed/inconsistent in at least some regimes and the aircraft parameters required to "feed" them are often proprietary - i.e. not in the public domain. There appear to be a few wizards out there who tune parameters to produce pretty good models but it appears to be predominantly black art. I agree with your "should" sentiment though.

 

@XPDEVS: I'm quite new to all this; please could you explain BET? Is it FEA? :)

 

Z

 

I would say give me an aircraft which is flyable when I purchase a sim,  

 

 

BET = Blade Element Theory 

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IMO, the closest we've got in a civil flight simulator is AeroflyFS. Anyone who hasn't yet tried it, I'd recommend it highly, and shortly we should be seeing v2 which should enable global scenery and also more complicated systems in the aircraft.

 

Although v1 didn't model many things, e.g. There was no mixture or radios. Add a little weather into the sim, with great scenery and a decent controller, and it can almost make you motion sick.

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I'm with "Z".

 

My experience IRL comes only from gliders, and there being no wash from the prop in your tail surfaces, and wings / flaps too, certainly makes a difference, but I talk a LOT ( too much I guess, most of them aren't simmers, and they ... ) with other fellow pilots, and even get the chance to fly different aircraft types from time to time :-)

 

I'm with Z because indeed the absence of proper force feedback simulation in our simmer controllers is probably one of the worst limitations the use of a flight sim presents when it comes to realistic reproduction of flight.

 

Some sims use alternative, very wise IMO, ways of trying to translate that into things like amount of control deflection required, etc... but it is not always the same.

 

X-Plane 10 and previous versions use an approach which is interesting as a concept, but not always translates to success when we test the various aircraft models, starting with the default that come with the sim, but it surely has a LOT of potential, and talented developers can create really good replicas of the real counterparts, specially using the new datarefs recently made available by Austin.

 

As far as I am concerned, by far the best experience in terms of flight dynamics and overall physics, but also scenery, simulated living World, even weather effects, immersion, comes from Combat Flight Simulators. That's why I seldom start XP10 these days, mostly to use it as a visual generator for PSX, and spend most of my time playing IL2 CoD ( since 4 days ), IL2 BOS and DCS World, with Rise of Flight installed but awaiting time to study the weird systems on those amazing ww1 birds :-)

 

Aerofly is good and has potential, but from a glider pilot perspective the flight model of the default gliders is far from plausible on such simple things as turning flight. If we stalled and spinned so easily IRL, I wouldn't certainly be here writing this.... Yet, I do look fwd for v2, that's for sure! Anyway, I must say that I find turbulence modeled very well in this sim!

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I would say give me an aircraft which is flyable when I purchase a sim,  

 

 

BET = Blade Element Theory 

 

I share your sentiment but there's a lot of room for interpretation on what "flyable" means. I can take the default FSX Cessna around the circuit and get it back on the ground without destroying its virtual landing gear but I have to do a lot of controlling that wouldn't go on in the real thing. Arguably, it's "flyable", just not exhibiting realistic flight dynamics. Some of that is FDE, some the aircraft parameters.

 

Thanks for the deacronymistification btw! B)

 

Z

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I'm with "Z".

 

I'm with Z because indeed the absence of proper force feedback simulation in our simmer controllers is probably one of the worst limitations the use of a flight sim presents when it comes to realistic reproduction of flight.

 

 

Thank you!

 

I'm embarrassed to have to admit that I've never used an FFB stick with FSX, though I still hear people say good things about the MS one. I suppose it still requires that the aircraft developer dials in an appropriate amount of force but nevertheless this seems a fundamental requirement for fidelity. Was this technology just ahead of its time?

 

Interesting comments about IL2 and DCS, too.

 

Z

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I'd argue that without force feedback controls it is almost impossible to implement convincing flight dynamics.

 

I say "almost" because I understand some aircraft (A330?) don't provide physical feedback through stick & pedals. 

 

I'm an INexperienced PPL-holder and I haven't "flown" Flightgear but I don't find any of the usual suspects to behave like the few real world GA aircraft I have flown. Doesn't mean they don't have entertainment value but (as they might say on Airplane) it's a different kind of flying altogether.

 

Z

Dunno about that...... We have built an Avro Shackleton simulator (original seats, controls etc), using FS9. It flys 'by the numbers' & the immersion factor is such that when real pilots fly it & come in for landing, they actually anticipate the landing & brace themselves for the bump on touchdown.

So, in my humble opinion, we do not need a shaking stick to implement convincing flight dynamics. We are using the original yoke, by the way.

So, to put the cat amongst the pidgeons.... a shaking plastic gaming joystick used to fly a plane that should have a yoke? (Cessna's, Boeings etc)?

Or is it OK to use it with Airbus's, jets, Cirrus?

Oh, by the way, A shaking joystick with a twist grip? Realism or entertainment/gaming?

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Z,

 

honestly I don't really believe any FF joystick available in the market could do the job...

 

Hardware used on some FNPTs, very sophisicated, can approach the target though... 

 

I still find that the best way to do it is to program some sort of translation of force required into amount of deflection required and even inefficiency of the controller above some G threshold. 

 

In some simulators like MSFS this is designed into the code, and can even be disabled in FSX.CFG, while on others like X-Plane you can play with force feedback parameters if you're using a FF controller, and / or with Control Phase-Out, creating a sensation of force required for non FF devices.

 

I still prefer the approach followed by MSFS, IL2 CoD and IL2 BOS to that of either X-Plane or even DCS, although I repeat - X-Plane has tools to allow devs to program some sort of realistic feel of control forces required, and even to tailor them to specific models.

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Dunno about that...... We have built an Avro Shackleton simulator (original seats, controls etc), using FS9. It flys 'by the numbers' & the immersion factor is such that when real pilots fly it & come in for landing, they actually anticipate the landing & brace themselves for the bump on touchdown.

So, in my humble opinion, we do not need a shaking stick to implement convincing flight dynamics. We are using the original yoke, by the way.

So, to put the cat amongst the pidgeons.... a shaking plastic gaming joystick used to fly a plane that should have a yoke? (Cessna's, Boeings etc)?

Or is it OK to use it with Airbus's, jets, Cirrus?

Oh, by the way, A shaking joystick with a twist grip? Realism or entertainment/gaming?

Sorry Wobbie, you misunderstand me. I said force feedback, not Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback 2 (or any other model). I wholeheartedly agree that twisting a stick is nothing like pressing rudder pedals.

 

I'd agree too that simpits inherently encourage far greater immersion but my point was that control feedback is a very important factor in achieving fidelity. During training in a lowly Cessna 152 Aerobat, my instructor was trying to demonstrate stalling during tight turns, eventually both he and I had the aircraft banked at somewhere around 60 degrees and were both pulling as hard as we could without getting the thing to stall. Plenty of buffet alright, and you could certainly feel the work the elevator was doing. Same thing in a sim? Not even close.

 

Z

@jcomm: Agree and it's a shame since it doesn't seem as though it would be particularly hard to do better. Iirc, someone has recently started shipping a yoke with more realistic travel and powerful FFB capabilities. Big bucks though. 

FNPT = Full Something Procedure Trainer?

In your 3rd paragraph I'm not clear as to whether you are advocating this with or without FFB primary flight controls.

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An ex Indian Air force pilot once told me that even a FFB joystick does not give you the feel. This was just after my ground training in '97 but that way back and even though technology has gone mountains.

 

Get the NASA wind tunnel. 

 

 I am not saying that it's not at all flyable , but it needs some polishing.  

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In your 3rd paragraph I'm not clear as to whether you are advocating this with or without FFB primary flight controls.

 

 

Without, when using non FF joysticks. AFAIK, apart from some really expensive "Flight and Navigation Procedures Trainer", there aren't rudder pedals with FF available yet ( ? )

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ZG862,

 

Plenty of buffet alright, and you could certainly feel the work the elevator was doing. Same thing in a sim? Not even close.

 

.. So right, but we are flying a simulation/game, so unless we get someont to tilt our chairs for us... lol

 

I once read a story that some guy was not happy with the small movements of his joystick, so he bolted a broom onto it & stuck it onto the floor.

Problem solved! .. far better throw of the stick..

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I once read a story that some guy was not happy with the small movements of his joystick, so he bolted a broom onto it & stuck it onto the floor.

Problem solved! .. far better throw of the stick..

 

That sounds like a re-working of the John Farley story. In his role as chief test pilot, he was asked to consider the value of increasing the roll response on the Sea Harrier during vertical landing. He went out that day and flew a landing holding the stick half way down and reported back that he'd tried doubling the sensitivity and found it worked very well. The engineers (who had been contemplating weeks of modifications) were, um, grateful for this bit of lateral (or should that be longitudinal?) thinking.

 

I know what you mean about tilting chairs but I think it depends on the class of aircraft being flown as much as anything and I feel is less important than control feel. I've noticed that I for one tend to roll my head "level" in a turn, pretty much like my body thinks I'm flying well coordinated turns at 1g. I'm not saying I wouldn't like a motion platform, I just don't know where I'd put it!!

 

Z

PS/ When does a game become a recreational simulator? Is this not just a reflection of how realistic it is?

Without, when using non FF joysticks. AFAIK, apart from some really expensive "Flight and Navigation Procedures Trainer", there aren't rudder pedals with FF available yet ( ? )

 

Thanks!! And I think you're right about FF pedals. I'm hoping to build some though...

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First of all, thanks to everyone who took the trouble to respond to this topic. Since then I have purchased a core i7 all-in-one pc, and, on a whim, FSX, partly because I think available copies are disappearing fast. My experiences so far are as follows:

I now have FS9 and FSX running at a rock-solid 30fps locked to 1/2 display refresh rate. Most of the sliders in both are fully right, and FS9 looks stunning, everywhere.

FSX is impressive out of the box to start with, but the ground scenery and autogen in areas I'm familiar with are appalling! (I live on the Isale of Wight in England).

There is an eggs and apples issue here - over the years I have installed many improved sceneries and textures to FS9, and my FSX is sub-vanilla (I'm awaiting the Acceleration upgrade). It is clear that to get FSX to look as good as FS9 in Europe I'm going to have to spend some money. I would appreciate some advice on whether to go for ORB-X (it gets the most votes I could find on the web), or whether later packages are better.

Finally, getting back to my original post, is FSX more like real flight than FS9? I have absolutely no idea!

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