felixflyer

Returning to Flight Sims. Is XP11 suitable?

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Hi guys

I am returning to flight simming after many years out of it. Previously I used FS2004 and FSX with the PMDG stuff. I like to use study level sims and am a RW pilot also.

I am doing some commercial training and would like to use a flight sim to help with my IR procedures and checks etc. I stress I will not be using it for any kind of general handling practice as I am well aware of the limitations of sims but for IR procedures and getting familiar with cockpit layouts it can be beneficial and save ££'s in the air.

That said I am unfamiliar with P3D or Xplane and these seem to have become popular since I have been away.

I would like a sim that replicates the UK navaids and airfields well, either standalone or with add ons and has a decent DA42 with G1000 available plus PMDG 737. I was thinking of using FSX but is XP11 a viable option?

I would be grateful for any advice.

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Welcome back felixflyer, 

You can try the demo and decide for yourself.

http://www.x-plane.com/

By purchasing XPlane 11, you will also get a serial key for XPlane 10.

Let me point out that XP is still in beta stage, so, if you want a stable version of XP then you can fly within XP10.

Here's a link to an outstanding 737 which is fully compatible with XP10, also works in XP11 but its not fully compatible yet.

http://www.x-aviation.com/catalog/product_info.php/take-command-ixeg-737-classic-p-122

 

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XP11 is a very viable option (and just to clarify: it is no longer beta, it is fully released), although you won't have the PMDG 737. The IXEG 737-300 (not yet fully compatible with XP11) is very good though and there are other very good aircraft (757, 767, MD-82, C172) available.

In a future update, XP11 will have a native G1000 so you could expect the Alabeo DA42 (not yet compatible with XP11) as well as other aircraft to use that. UK navaids and airfields should be up-to-date, but XP11 also has an updatable navdatabase by design (requires a Navigraph subscription). If you want maximum visual realism as well, I suggest you look at the free world2Xplane package "GB pro" which has accurate autogen for the entire UK I believe. UK2000 will also convert their payware airports to XP11.

You should definitely try the demo to get a feeling if it could be the right sim for you. It's generally considered better out of the box and thus cheaper to run than FSX/P3D, but the payware scene still has to catch up to provide the variety and quality addon that are available for P3D. I have switched from FSX to XP11 myself a couple of months ago despite having invested a lot of € into PMDG aircraft, but I couldn't be happier with XP11!

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I used to fly XP-10 and FSX, but since XP-11 it's very hard to go back to any fsx related platform. It looks cartoonish and doesn't feel as realistic as XP. And you can make it look better than FSX + orbx for free. And we're only at the beginning of its development.

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pretty sure xplane 11 is out fully now and you wont be able to get xplane 10. 

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To be honest, I would say that as it stands, XPlane 11 is not necessarily a great choice for IFR practice, but it would depend upon what exactly you mean by practice to some extent.

If you mean purely the handling and navigation stuff, operating GPS, nav radios etc, and flying IFR moves such as teardrop entries, procedure turns, instrument approaches in IMC etc, then sure, it will be fine and in fact might even be the best choice for a PC-based flight sim to practice on, since its depiction of poor weather and night time is probably the best of any PC-based flight sim and the runways in particular in XPlane are very well depicted.

If however, you mean IFR including the ATC transmissions one would be listening to and transmitting, filing of flight plans etc, then XPlane 11 is not quite so great for that, because frankly, the default ATC in XPlane is not great, and neither is the flight planning either, nor are any of the plug in add-ons you can get for it either. This is set to change, but it ain't going to happen overnight.

So if realistic ATC is an important criteria for you, to be honest, FSX, FSX-SE and P3D are far better choices if you want to practice ATC, notably because there are numerous very good add-on ATC programs for all those simulations, and many of them will allow one to use UK-specific procedures and nomenclature as opposed to the typical US-based stuff one finds in most sims by default (be aware however, that some add-ons will not yet be compatible with the very latest version of P3D since it only came out last week, so check that if you are considering P3D). Some of those ATC programs will even let you use voice command, which is not to be underestimated when practicing for real flying, as it helps to overcome being a bit 'mike shy' and so that kind of add-on will untangle your tongue where getting comfortable with ATC is concerned.

A limitation of most of those FS-based flight sims, is the database of UK nav aids and airfields, because much of the database is frozen in 2006, since that was the last time MS produced a flight sim, and all of the ones based upon that (FSX-SE, P3D) have inherited that pitfall. This can even mean that some airfield which no longer exist are still active airfields in the simulation, EGCD Woodford Aerodrome for example is still in them, in reality is closed in 2011, and EGVA RAF Fairford is still an active operational air force airfield in the sim, whereas in reality it is only a standby field these days.

It can be somewhat alleviated by updating things with Navigraph and the addition of payware add-on airfield sceneries, since those will generally be right up to date (check out UK2000 sceneries in particular for the UK, some of which are free), since you would want the correct frequencies and locations for nav aids and such, but it is something to be aware of and to watch out for.

As ever, one should be a bit careful using home-based sims for real-world training, they can be a big help in some ways, but there is a reason why the publishers of such sims plaster disclaimers about that all over them. Personally, I found FS95 was sort of a bit useful for some things when I was learning to fly, but only a little bit, and I tended to hit the books and study charts instead. One thing I do really recommend in relation to that, is what I did when learning to fly: I read two of the best books on it that I could find, and then I bought a little notebook, and every morning on a long bus journey to work, I literally wrote my own book on the subject in that notebook, basing what I wrote on all the stuff I had read, which really helped to ensure I had it all in my head. I know it worked because I got sent off solo after 7 hours and 15 minutes dual.

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Neither sim is great for ATC

For that you need Pilot Edge - a fantastic service!

  • Upvote 2

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5 hours ago, felixflyer said:

I would like a sim that replicates the UK navaids and airfields well,

It does this very well. A lot of airfields have generic versions (accurate in layout, but not necessarily appearance), but there are also some high quality freeware and payware airports such as (Manchester, Liverpool, Southhampton, etc). The navaid data depends on what plane you are using, however the default data is quite good and more up-to-date than P3D

For scenery, you can use free orthos covering the entire UK, with GB Pro for autogen. This will give you very accurate scenery, especially if you rely on the VRPs on the VFR charts. I fly in the UK all the time in the sim, and I can't get it looking this good in the other sim (even with payware)

As for aircraft, others have mentioned the IXEG 737. However, it isn't fully compatible with XP11 yet, but it will be. There is also a G1000 coming for free to X-Plane 11 at some point, and I'd expect this to make it's way into other planes as well.

For ATC, well IMO I think it's just really bad in all the sims, including the payware options I tried in the past (Maybe it's changed, I don't know). If you want ATC, then I think the only realistic choice you have is Vatsim or IVAO in the UK. Coverage tends to be pretty good, but the airports you want won't necessarily have coverage when you need it.

 

 

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Guys, please stay on topic. I've hidden a few posts

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3 minutes ago, domae001 said:

there are several people here telling you that XP11 is not in beta anymore, only the updates are

My point is that XP 11 is still in development and not considered finalized, as in the case of XP10 etc. OK? 

I agree, lets drop it.

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There is no sim that will provide with realistic ATC training. However, as far as instrument scan and navigation procedures both XP11 and P3D will provide reasonable training aid Of course I'm personally prefer XP11 at the moment  :)

 

A rant : G1000 for initial IR training? Really?! Go old school - 1 CDI and cross radials !  LOL

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57 minutes ago, sd_flyer said:

 

A rant : G1000 for initial IR training? Really?! Go old school - 1 CDI and cross radials !  LOL

Ikr! I wasnt allowed to use a GPS at all during my private pilot. It was inop for all practical purposes haha

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41 minutes ago, bgpearce01 said:

Ikr! I wasnt allowed to use a GPS at all during my private pilot. It was inop for all practical purposes haha

LOL When I did my IR, we simply didn't have many aircraft equipped with GPS in general (and IFR certified in particular). Some airplanes were equipped with LORAN, but they were obsolete and useless :)

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Thanks guys.

Just to confirm, my initial IR stuff was all done in my PA28. I will be using the DA42 for the commercial stuff. :-)

 

 

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The best ATC program that I've found that spans all of the sim platforms is Pilot2ATC. It works in X-Plane, FSX, FSX-SE, and all versions of P3D.

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