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Guest David Lee 2

My Birthday present! 3 hours in a Class D GIV Sim!

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Ever wonder if FS could prepare you to jump in a jet and take off? Well, I don't know about a real jet but the FAA considers a Class D simulator to be just as good as far as certification is concerned. For my 40th B-day :-eek my father-in-law, the Chief Pilot for a major corporate flight dept, got me some free time in a Gulfstream Simulator (3 hours to be exact!).Now to be fair, I have a PPL, have a home cockpit using Project Magenta software and learned a lot about Boeings using PS1.3 over the years. I familiarized myself with the GIV cockpit prior to the session using a poster from Simuflite so I more or less knew where the switches should be. The overhead panel is setup similar to a Boeing - compartmentalized by system and pretty logical. I was able to power up, including the APU with no problem. Starting the engines was no more complicated than in FS with a decent model. Literally, push the start button and flip the fuel control up when N2 reaches 18 (or thereabouts). Turning on the alternators and powering up the flight displays was pretty easy too, as was starting the FMCs.The Honeywell FMC is different from the Boeing Smiths but not that different. The progression and nomenclature is roughly the same. I was able to punch in everything I needed to take off from JFK with little trouble and the "numbers" for takeoff appear on a little screen above the PFD (the little screen can show a lot of different things too). Taxiing was really cool because the wrap around screen give a far better sense of motion than a monitor ever could. The full motion sim allows you to feel every crack in the pavement. The little tiller wheel is a pretty easy way to steer when going slow and I've already given some thought to how to implement it in my home sim.After being cleared on to the RWY (can't remember which one now) by the instructor I took a moment to take in the graphics. Definitely FS95 quality graphics. The airport environment is reasonable but the rest of it is a little cartoonish with big polygon clouds. I will say, though, that the framerates must be astronomical because it is smooth as glass!I setup the MCP properly and armed the AT. There is a TOGA button on the throttle that commands EPR thrust. The most unsettling thing about the Gulfstream is the airspeed tape is upside down from any other I've ever used. It takes some real getting used to! Another thing that I don't think a home sim can ever really copy (I say that knowing that there must be some diehards out there working on it right now!) is the movement of the yoke as the plane builds airspeed. At slow speeds it rest against its forward stops, almost out of reach. As you pick up speed it moves back with pressure on the control surfaces increasing. If the bird is trimmed properly it almost takes off by itself.VNAV and LNAV work just like you would expect and I chose to handfly the entire time using the FD simply because I could!! I was surprised how much back pressure was required on the yoke in a turn. Even a shallow one. Also, you can't forget the rudder pedals in a turn because an uncoordinated turn in a GIV feels just like one in a Cessna 152. After leveling off at 3000 ft I was on a left base for Newark and the instructor told me to try a visual landing to the east (again, forgot the rwy). Getting into approach configuration in the GIV is a little like driving an automatic. The flaps command the speed setting. The first notch of flaps takes you down to 185 or so, and each successive notch reduces the speed setting more until reaching an approach speed of about 145 (depending on weight naturally). I followed the VASI down and flared when I thought it seemed right and had a great landing! Honestly! Then I looked down to find the spoiler control and promptly swerved off the rwy. The resulting vibration knocked my camera off the instructor's desk and temporarily knocked out one of the outside displays (they had been having trouble with it).Then we proceeded to Aspen where I tried the new localizer approach over and over. My landings there were a bit more like carrier landings but I'm told that is not too far from the way they need to be. The instructor also egged me on to fly low through the valley, hanging a hard right to Ruedi Reservoir and then pulling up at the last second! I guess even sim instructors get bored once in awhile!One of the things I love most about FS is being able to try lots of different airplanes in lots of different situations. After my session the instructor showed me around the facility where they had dozens of different full-motion simulators. I asked him how many he had tried and found he had no interest in trying other planes. My father-in-law echoed the same sentiment. I guess anything can become a job after awhile! Well, I hope my exploits boost your confidence enough to reserve sim time at this year's Avsim Conference! I've seen far too many threads here where seasoned pilots tell simmers FS isn't going to prepare them to fly a real bird. I disagree entirely (as long as nothing goes wrong)!I'm going to try to attach two photos. One is me in the left seat of the GIV sim. The other is a mock up of the cockpit using flat panel touch screen monitors which I thought had some home cockpit potential. I've since purchased a touch screen but it's fallen short of my expectations.David

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Here's the other one. Man, I feel like such a newbie!

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Sounds like you had quite a bit of fun! The last pic is very cool. :) Thanks for sharing your experience. I enjoyed reading about it. :DCheers,Jim

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Sounds like a brilliant experience!!I've always been a believer that flying an accurately modelled aircraft in FS2004 can prepare you to fly a real aircraft, and your post proves that!Well done!!James

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You're a lucky man! I wish I could get some Level D-sim time :-) Can ya hook me up in Chicago ;-) :-lol

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They got left behind when Avsim moved my message to this forum. I should have also mentioned that this sim had the HUD and I got to give it a try. Now that was tricky! Despite having a lot of time in Falcon 4 it really is pretty overwhelming to have so much information thrown at your brain in addition to the 3d view out the front. Sensory overload!!Here are the pics... Oh, and simming adds about 30 pounds!David

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