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scianoir

Rediscovering the joys of flying without modern technology

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Over the last few years, particularly when flying airliners in FSX, I have found my main activity seems to centre around 'programming' something prior to the flight, whether it be a PMDG FMS, a GTN 750 or a Proline 21 system, to subsequently link with the autopilot. Don't get me wrong, being able to do this correctly and complete a flight using this technology is extremely satisfying but then I find myself sitting there twiddling my thumbs while the autopilot flies the aircraft and even getting a little bored for much of the subsequent flight, to the point where I usually accelerate the simulation rate. Yes there is the satisfaction of flicking the autopilot off button at 500ft on final and landing the aircraft but you don't even have to do that with the PMDG Boeings! After doing a few of these flights, I would then revert to flying light aircraft on low and slow flight for a while to restore some sanity and remind myself why I still love flight simming!

 

Recently I thought I would add another vintage jetliner to my fleet and bought the Just Flight One-Eleven, knowing it wouldn't have any kind of FMS but expecting to make most flights on it using the autopilot. Surprise surprise however, the autopilot is not fully reliable although apparently there is a update planned at some stage from JF to correct this, which will be very welcome as this otherwise is quite a nice airliner. As a result of the unreliable autopilot, I unexpectedly found myself manually flying this aircraft on the short haul routes for which it was designed using the VOR/DME, ILS and ADF. Not only did this remind me that reliance on technology to do all the flying can make you become rusty when it comes to procedures using these instruments but it made the actual flying of airliners on FSX enjoyable again, rather than just being a programming exercise. Since then, I have gone even more retro and pulled the amazing Manfred Jahn freeware C-47 out of my hanger and have been thoroughly enjoying hand flying this, particularly in challenging bad weather scenarios. If you think manually flying an ILS approach in a bad crosswind, with low cloud and poor visibility is difficult, try flying a VOR or ADF approach under these circumstances!

 

So if you have mastered all the amazing modern technology now so well replicated in FSX and find yourself perhaps getting just very slightly bored with the autopilot and FMC doing all the work, switch them off and give yourself a challenge - you might be pleasantly surprised to find you enjoy this too or even slightly shocked to discover how rusty you have become!

 

Bill

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I know what you mean, Bill even though I don't have the advanced PMDG stuff, I still let my freeware heavy metal follow the magenta line on the GPS. I am lazy though and don't follow SIDs or STARS (don't print out the charts from the internet), nor program an FMS yet, just let the stock ATC vector me around (I know it's far from ideal, but I'm having fun by simming Lite as it were.

 

Back when I was using Flight Assignment: ATP by sublogic you had to follow appropriate SIDs & STARs, navigate along the jetways using VOR radials etc. contact ATIS before your arrival, manually fly ILSs on check rides :cool:

 

However, I do have a lovely little WT9 Dynamic for GA low & slow. It does have an autopilot, but hand flying it is very nice.

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I couldn't agree more. FSX has one big advantage over other sims I've played - you can get lost, which means that navigation can become quite a challenge if you're up for it; a hidden difficulty level, if you like. Without a GPS/FMS, I find that the flight becomes a bit busier and my concentration sharpens. Then you can throw the VOR and NDB gauges out and just go with timer and compass for a really challenge. 

 

You can model finally  giving up and asking ATC for help by clicking World...Map.  :smile:

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Me too, I know exactly, where you come from Bill. So get out the default Curtiss Jenny or better, the wonderful Alabeo Waco and do a bit of barnstorming  :wink: Alternatively go flying in the Alaska Denali Park in an old Cessna. You'll love it, especially if you have the ORBX South Alaska scenery 

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Good to see I am not alone! The great thing about FSX is that you can make it as complex or as simple as you wish. I personally find that I have to be in a certain disciplined state of mind to embark on a full blown flight in a complex airliner starting in a cold and dark state and setting up all the systems. Once that is done however the flight itself, particularly if it is a long one, can become a bit boring, but not if you abandon the GPS/FMS and fly the planned route manually, which will keep you busy and is also a great way to polish up your basic radio-navigation skills.

 

Sometimes however I just want to 'jump in and fly' and I will then often go for a fairly basic GA aircraft such as the Stearman, the Alabeo Waco or  the Real Air Scout and fly VFR using either a sectional or sometimes just a road map, compass and watch and navigate using features on the ground. The Orbx regions with their increased detail and accuracy certainly make this much more feasible in FSX and adding in a bit of bad weather can, as with all flights, add to the challenge!

 

Bill

 

 

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Yes, yes and yes again.  Grab your sectional and plotter, some real world weather and

build a flight plan / profile with time to climb, wind correction angel, magnetic correction

and go for it.  It is AMAZING how accurate the sim is in this regard.

 

N99WB

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If the FDE is well tuned, you won't even miss a FMC. And the lack of performance down low makes the old jets much more interesting to fly during departure or arrival anyway. Nothing like a noise abatement departure in a 727 at high gross weight with the weak -9 series engines on a warm day with the view anxiously alternating between the primary instruments and engine gauges annd you yelling at ATC when they tell you to expedite.

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I know the feeling well, which is why most of my flying is now low and slow using vfr navigation in GA aircraft over photoscenery.

 

IAN

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