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Virtual Cockpit vs. Hardware Cockpit

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We all have to decide at one point how far we go to equip our PC home cockpits with additional flight simulation hardware. Yoke, Rudders and Throttle Controls are mandatory (if you are not planning an airliner auto-land ;-).

 

Now, what options do we have:

 

1. We could spend $$$ and build a hardware cockpit of our favourite aircraft. Maybe the best option for haptic simulation, but then you would be limited to one particular aircraft type.

 

2. Exclusively fly within the virtual cockpit (VC) of your addon aircraft. On the plus side: every button is at the right place and you are part of a real looking cockpit. The negative side might be that buttons and knobs are often not so convenient to control with the PC mouse, and you do not get the haptic feeling of controlling switches, handles etc.. The solution would be to use speech recognition software such as multicrew experience (MCE), which gives you nearly full control over the cockpit (although it will not be you that touches the buttons and switches but the virtual co-pilot).

 

3. A combination of both.

 

I am in the 3. group using VC and yoke, rudder and throttle quadrant as hardware components, the most relevant parts that you touch during T/O and landing. I am currently struggling however whether it would be worth, for example, to buy a MCP control panel, which give you a more haptic feeling when using the auto pilot. 

 

However, given the fact that next year virtual reality (VR) glasses come on the market such as Oculus Rift, that would mean that hardware panels (such as the MCP) become obsolete. Everything could be done in the VC. Leap motion could also replace the PC mouse to control switches, buttons etc.

 

What do you think?

 

Regards,

Chris

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However, given the fact that next year virtual reality (VR) glasses come on the market such as Oculus Rift, that would mean that hardware panels (such as the MCP) become obsolete. Everything could be done in the VC. Leap motion could also replace the PC mouse to control switches, buttons etc.

 

What do you think?

 

I think, that VC with VR glasses is the future, and at some point will become something popular and common like Track IR.

 

However, until we don't have some VR gloves to track our hands and gestures, it isn't perfect solution and won't make hardware panels obsolote instantly. It will take some time to replace that.

 

Below, is the newest video of BunyapSims reviewing Occulus in DCS v1.5. He makes some few good points there regarding your thoughts.

 

 

Regards

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I think you are spot on, and while I agree with the need for core controllers, real ones, I suggest through an advanced HOTAS, ie, the TM HOTAS Warthog, you can through FSUIPC conditional assignments, emulate every button that needs to be pressed in the cockpit, no matter what craft you are flying.

 

I can't wait to get my hands on the production copy of Oculus Rift!..though as a caveat, I fear that the resolution still won't be what it needs to be to read the instruments.

 

Regards,

 

Chas

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With the amazing virtual cockpits of the newer models I would rather use them. With  a hardware cockpit you are stuck with one aircraft usually and I fly many different types. 

 

I went the complete opposite way and use only an Xbox 360 controller for civil flight sims. With airliners you really don't hand fly that much anyway. 

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One problem I see that VR glasses do not allow you to use real world flightsim charts (paper or tablet). EFB in the VC is not really an alternative to navigraph. That would mean that you have to take off the glasses for briefings etc.

 

I also fear that - due to a possible low resolution- one might get dizziness or eye problems because the eye will more or less constantly focus (possibly for hours) to one aera (the screen), whereas when you sit in front of a monitor you can still look around to relax the eyes at different distances.

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For me, VR is not the way to go for simming. I want to see my hands and hardware. Augmented Reality is perfect, however, since we can be selective as to which elements are projected in to view. Furthermore, moving an object in the VC (like a GPS) is as easy as moving a QR code printout to another location on your desk.

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For those who fly airliners, like PMDG, I find the GoFlight MCPPro and the EFIS very useful.

 

Bill Clark

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Very good points. I thought about buying hardware (SAITEK panels etc.) But i feel i will eventually become bored with them. When i got bored with my dc9 I bought Airbus X (completely different functioning VC) and my interest was renewed.

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I am torn, I feel like the VR is going to be the future and the way to go, however, I love the haptic feeling of an actual switch or dial. When flying the real aircraft, it is easy to change radio freqs, heading bugs, altitude selects etc, while in the sim it always seems like its an issue. You have to pause your TrackIR, make sure the mouse is exactly where you want it, and then scroll or click appropriately. The benefit of something like the Occulus rift is you can do a sort of hybrid. the switches would be the only necessary portion of the control. So you could make an MCP with all the correct switches, dials, and buttons, and as long as you assigned them the correct command, you would not need to have them have a digital display because you can see what it is supposed to say in the headset. That would making the controllers a lot simpler and more of a DIY or drive down manufacturing costs. I hope that makes sense.

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For what it's worth I am a real world C-130 pilot and I prefer the Virtual Cockpit. I of course have a hardware yoke, throttles and pedals but I'm limited by space because I live in Hawaii currently, however I also like the ability to cycle through different aircraft which will have every switch you need simulated unlike a hardware cockpit (unless you're willing to shell out some serious dough).  I still find the virtual cockpit to be very immersive and since I primarily hone my instrument skills in the sim its very functional.  I have written my own apps to extend a few things to my iPad just to make multi pilot scenarios more realistic.

 

Cheers!

 

-Matt

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I personally love my hardware cockpit almost to the point that it was more fun building it then now actually using it LOL, but I can always have virtual cockpit just move the yoke and rudders in front of single monitor and poof can use any other airplane.

Hardware cockpits can be configured to be use for other airplanes as well, so for example i can configure my MCP "Autopilot" to be used for 'most' any aircraft I want., this is of course for pmdg737 which i can also use for the pmdg777 easily  though I haven't bother with it yet

they are however a lot of work and a fairly expensive but depends on what you are into they are a lot of fun to build "for me it was"

to take on a project like this its not only "oh I like flightSim, one must like actually messing with wires, soldering etc. etc. like a hobby on top of another hobby :)

this one i built with minimum investment as I opted to make it mostly of MDF and wood only bought few per-assembled modules such as efis,mcp,cdu,nav,com,transponder and throttle other is made from scratch only buying pre-made panels so that it looks nice i don't do stickers LOL,  every switch and button and display i connected manually

 

but yes its a lot of work but i had fun doing it and there is always something I can add, thinking of finishing the pedestal next not shown on picture just have the ratios and transponder there for now

 

and yes every single gauge/display and switch works with the PMDG

 

12036704_10206128988321272_4577018826493

 

photo4.jpg

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Andy, your sim is excellent, I'm jealous! As soon as I'm not moving anymore I'm building a shed just for one of those. that looks great, must be a blast! Like I said, if you're going to go that direction you have to do it like that!  And as an Electrical Engineering grad I can appreciate all the work put into that beauty.

 

-Matt

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I believe you mean "this is a different way of viewing reality" The Microsoft Hololens is an AUGMENTED reality device. In another words, you see the real world through a partially transparent lens with images impressed upon it.

 

Oculus rift is "creating a new (VIRTUAL) reality", creating an entire world that otherwise does not exist. Both present the "realities" of your choice, but VR has the possibility of both because it can capture the real world with a camera or device like "Leap Motion", mounted on the display, and alter that combined, composite image, in any way you dictate, or create an entirely different 3-d world.

 

Chas

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Still worrying because reports state that VR cause nausea or dizziness. There are also some voices that state that VR will be a similar flop as 3D TV.

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In response to :

 

 "With  a hardware cockpit you are stuck with one aircraft usually and I fly many different types. "

 

In my PMSG B737 NGX Homecockpit setup I can just turn 90 degree around and have a 27 inch monitor to fly any airplane I want.

 

Also, flying your PMDG B737 NGX in a Homecockpit with "real OVH, MIP, Pedestal etc" and a 90 inch monitor is as "Real as it gets".

 

I doubt that any new virtual device can come up to that immersion.

 

 

I also agree with ANDY, building the Homecockpit is even more fun than flying.

 

 

 

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I am building an Airbus based on Jeehell FMGS -- with the cockpit commonality it allows you to fly the A319, A320, etc. 

 

I say go with whatever you're comfortable with -- don't think of building a home cockpit as expensive -- consider it a long term hobby where you are spending $xxx/year. Build slowly. Here is my project after 2-3 years, many more to go :)

 

IMG_1159.jpg

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I bought Google Cardboard and tried several apps for it. Ok, this is nothing like Oculus Rift but screen resolusion should not be so different (or could be better for newer phones?). I found myselfe that I got easily feel sick using VR. When I think of flying in a turbulance with VR....OMG!  Maybe it's real in a way :Tounge:.

 

 

   

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Yeah, I personally just can't get that excited about the Oculus Rift... I like being able to fly around and still be aware of what's going on the real world, multitask at times, chat with family members, etc.  Just too isolated with my head wrapped in plastic.

 

Not to mention, can't imagine the wife's reaction lol

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Not to mention, can't imagine the wife's reaction lol

 

She will get used to it as long as you do not have a VR girlfriend behind the glasses.

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Getting motion sickness from VR is going be a big deal and something that is not talked about enough with this technology. When the visual cues are there without the vestibular cues it's vomit city....or at least some discomfort. I'm sure there are some that will not be as susceptible but I think many will be.

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