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Newbie seeks general advice

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Guest cragwolf

My first experience with the Microsoft Flight Simulator series was in 1992 or so. I think it was either version 4 or 5. It was installed on a computer at my school. I flew with it whenever I could sneak in when the teacher was away. My next experience came several years later with FS98. But at that stage I was more interested in wargaming, and so I never really explored it much. A couple of weeks ago I visited a cousin's home, and he took me on a guided tour through FS2004 (with a bunch of good quality add-ons, e.g. Alaska Cinematic Volume 1). I was immediately hooked. I bought it, installed it on my computer, and now I'm ready to really spend some money:1) Controllers. I've spent some time thinking about this, and I'm leaning towards CH Products's Flight Sim Yoke and Pro Pedals. I was tempted by the Saitek X52 Flight Control System, but I have a feeling I'd prefer a yoke. Any opinions on this, yoke or joystick? Or is this just a personal preference thing? At this stage, I think I would prefer to fly the smaller planes like the Cessna 152, partly because I would like a closer (and slower) view of the scenery, and partly because jets (big or small) just scare me! ;)2) Add-ons. Scenery is important for me, especially natural scenery. What I was hoping for was a good global set (terrain mesh, landclass, scenery textures), which covers as much of the world as possible, and then I would get more detailed scenery for areas that interest me. So, for global, I'm leaning towards:FSGlobal terrain meshMyWorld 2004 landclassFScene World Pack scenery textures (4 seasons)What do you think of this choice? For specific scenery I'll probably get the Alaska Cinematic Volume 1, Switzerland Professional, Austria Professional, Misty Fjords (I like mountains). I've heard good things about Ultimate Terrain and there is also the BirdsEyeView scenery to be released very soon.I haven't decided what planes to get. I guess I'm a propeller-head. I've seen good recommendations here and on other forums so I probably don't need your guidance so much on this issue.Miscellaneous add-ons. I want traffic! Smart and realistic traffic. What are the best payware and freeware options? Weather and skies and related stuff. Yes, ActiveSkyV looks beautiful. Any other options? Umm, what other add-ons really add to the realism of FS2004? I've heard good things about FSPassenger.3) Books. I use simulations (wargames, racing sims in the past) to learn about subjects. I think they're a great way to learn things. So I usually end up buying books on the subject of the simulation. So, any good aviation books to recommend an almost-complete beginnner? History, photographic, encyclopedic, and how-to-fly books are what I'm looking for.Sorry for this long and unhelpful post!

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Guest deKoven

>Snip, snip:>>1) Controllers. I've spent some time thinking about this, and>I'm leaning towards CH Products's Flight Sim Yoke and Pro>Pedals. I was tempted by the Saitek X52 Flight Control System,>but I have a feeling I'd prefer a yoke. Any opinions on this,>yoke or joystick? Or is this just a personal preference thing?>At this stage, I think I would prefer to fly the smaller>planes like the Cessna 152, partly because I would like a>closer (and slower) view of the scenery, and partly because>jets (big or small) just scare me! ;)>> Also big snip here.Hmmmm, I can NOT agree with Jason here. I have and use both the CH pedals and yoke. I couldn't fly for beans with a joystick. When I got the yoke it made me a better flier instantly. I wouldn't be without one now.Yes, it's made of plastic. Sticks? Not so much that it's obtrusive. Really miniscule changes to altitude are more properly the province of trim so it hasn't been any problem for me. Having said this, I must admit that for some types of aircraft, notably heli's, the joystick is a must. I can't fly a heli with the yoke at all. I'd suspect that some of the mil planes would do better with a joystick also.Always remember that YMMV, of cuss. If you're going to try heli's or hot mil planes and even some of the real oldie models from early flight the joystick will do nicely. The Saitek you mention is currently "the bee's knees", the Mercedes of sticks.:D

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I'm a Saitek joystick fan, although mine is the older X-45. Use the right hand for simming & left hand joystick for most "full size" side by side seating, although right hand is most natural for single seat or tandem seating fighter or aerobatic types.I'd perhaps use a yoke for simming once and a while, if it was one of the heavy duty metal types, usually in the $400 range. But these day's, even 4-place training airplanes such as the Diamond DA40 use joysticks, so what the heck. Even the Cirrus SR20/22 is somewhat of a stick, with it's side sticks.As to scenery, I use a lot of FS Genesis mesh. My favorite type of real flight and simulated, is mountainous; although it doesn't have to be that low & slow all the time. Sometimes, the mountains look fantastic at 30,000' in a simulated freeware F-16 that I use quite often.For airplanes, most of mine are GA. Current examples are the Dreamfleet Baron, RealAir SF260, FSD 337, and Carenado Cessna 182. L.Adamson

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In defence of the CH yoke and pedals, I've had mine for four years or so now and hammered them daily ... and they work just fine, given the occasional dust off (and no lubrication, that can stuff things up badly). I would recommend you go for those if you can afford them - there are some real deals out there right now - and get yourself a cheaper, but good, joystick as well. I have the Logitech Wingman Extreme, which is only about $35 these days I think, and it's just great.I have all this set up together, so that I can fly Boeings, Cessnas, Pipers, old Douglas propliners and all those aircraft that require it with yoke and pedals; and newer Airbuses, helicopters, fighters and stick-driven oldies with stick and pedals. That covers all bases. My personal view, by the way, is to avoid Force Feedback sticks if you are looking for precise flight controls.Scenery? How long is a piece of string ....http://walhalla.mine.nu/fs2004.phpHave fun!MarkMark "Dark Moment" BeaumontVP Fleet, DC-3 AirwaysTeam Member, MAAM-SIM[a href=http://www.swiremariners.com/cathayhk.html" target="_blank]http://www.paxship.com/maamlogo2.jpg[/a]


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Mark "Dark Moment" Beaumont

VP Fleet, DC-3 Airways

Team Member, MAAM-SIM

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Guest cragwolf

Thanks for the advice and feel free to keep it coming. Already I've started compiling a nice list of products and links.

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Hi crag...1) If you don't plan to spend a whole lot of time with FS, a relatively inexpensive joystick with integrated throttle will do great. Just enable autorudder, and you're off. On the other hand, if you intend to stay with it for a while, it's possible to have both a joystick and a yoke. I use the CH yoke, joystick, throttle, and rudder pedals, and they work great together. You just set the null zone for the yoke at 100 percent when you're flying with a joystick, and vice versa for flying with the yoke. You can pick up the controllers one at a time as budget allows. I've heard that the PFC yoke that Larry Adamson alluded to is outstanding, but I haven't used it, and it's a big investment. (I'd love to try one though!)2) Mesh probably makes a bigger difference than any other scenery improvement, and FSGenesis is great. For weather, Active Sky looks tons better than the default, and Flight1's Flight Environment makes the weather and water a lot prettier to look at (the two programs complement each other very well).For a low and slow plane, instead of looking for a payware C152, try Alexander Metzger's revised aircraft.cfg and airfile for the default Piper Cub. Here's his homepage:http://homepage.iprolink.ch/metzger/index_e.htmlYou'll love it, and you can save your money for something a little faster like Carenado's C182RG... You'll love that one too!3). Wolfgang Langwiesche's "Stick and Rudder", and the U.S. Government's "Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge", "Flight Training Handbook", and "Instrument Flying Handbook" are all very good.

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Guest Shalomar

Donny AKA ShalomarFly 2 ROCKS!!!I am another, very happy user of the Wingman Extreme. It gives a lot of "bang for the buck" amd I like the ergonomics and how it's laid out. One advantage of the Saitek is the "paddle" rudder rather than twist, it (almost?) eliminates the possibility of putting in rudder inadvertantly. With my desk slideout properly supportting my elbow, I can do choppers with my twist. Not that it's as easy as it would be with a paddle though.I own them both, but personally I MUCH prefer the non feedback Logitech Extreme rather than the Force 3D. The sense of trim I wanted it for isn't totally there, and I prefer pushing against a spring with a known resistance rather than induced pressure that tends to stick or just is too easy to move. IFR is easier with the Wingman Extreme Digital Pro IMHO.CH users: How often do the potentiometers have to be cleaned, and how much trouble is it? A friend uses CH pedals, and his brakes were sticking last time I went over. Is the yoke the same way? I am interested in the product if I do move to a yoke.Best Regards, Donny:-wave

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Hi Donny,<>I got my CH yoke about the same time that FS2000 came out, and the other controllers followed at various times thereafter. I've never had to perform maintenance on any of the components, with the exception that I've lubricated the shaft of the yoke for smoother movement. That's it.

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