INTJ_Future_Pilot

Hello All - Brand new to all this, looking to save steps and time!

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Hello friends,

I'm a 31 year old male (husband, father of 3, business owner), on the cusp of being able to afford a real plane (and building a house right next to someone with a grass airstrip - woohoo!). 

I've been fascinated with flying my entire life. One of the very first computer "games" I saved up for was Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000. I used only my keyboard, but even as a 14 year old, I was captivated. I never tired of what my friends considered the peak of boredom. 

Since then I've flown commercials a hundred times, and I've got two friends with planes. One who has a share in an old beat up Skyhawk; the other who has a very nice 2-seat kit plate with excellent technology. 

Admittedly, the feeling of not being in control and the constant vertical shifting of weightlessness and over-weightedness is still something I am struggling to get used to - probably how an Amish kid feels the first few times he's in a car. (In general, I still assume I'm going to die every time we go up. I'm not stoked about the idea, but I am religious and carry a lot of life insurance, and flying is something I *really* want to do and get good at. Anyway: I am looking forward to getting over that.) 

If flying is anything like driving (I drive an M3 pretty hard, often much faster than a Cessna 72, haha), I think I'll be a natural and that I'll love it. 

 

Okay, anyway: I came here to learn, and to do as much ahead of time with real, top-notch Sim equipment so that as much intuitive skill as possible will transfer and translate when I make the move. I'd love to get an Icon A5, if/when they come down to $120k-150k, but will realistically probably get an older Cessna. I just love that angle of attack gauge. 

 

THANK YOU all for all the accumulated knowledge and wisdom here, and I can't wait to learn as much as I can. 

INTJ

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Welcome. NTJ

When you get the hang of your sim try Pilotedge. Many stories of the experience online helping massively in real life. 

Cheers Dean

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Welcome... I know several pilot / aircraft owners who have recreated their actual airplane in FSX.

Mostly C182 or Piper Warrior type airplanes.

Not sure what you are asking.. are you looking for a flightsim recommendation, computer hardware, controllers... ??

If you can be more specific about what you are looking for, I am sure there will be plenty of opinions as to what to get..

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INTJ

your best solution .... do an introductory flight with your local flying school & then decide what to do with the M3 etc. I know a Skyhawk can go backwards in a 60kt headwind, but it is still doing 120km/hr TAS legally !!

I'm sure your family will be impressed if you can do it for real .. & not in your ":lounge"

& when you go, you may experience zero g for a short while ... but no sim will "tell" you what you think you want ??

PS ... we are all insured & have a "god", mine's  called huey (the weather god)

 

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13 hours ago, INTJ_Future_Pilot said:

Okay, anyway: I came here to learn, and to do as much ahead of time with real, top-notch Sim equipment so that as much intuitive skill as possible will transfer and translate when I make the move. I'd love to get an Icon A5, if/when they come down to $120k-150k, but will realistically probably get an older Cessna. I just love that angle of attack gauge. 

Hi INTJ, and welcome to Avsim.  If I parse your comment, the above statement seems to imply you'd like to have a PC simulation setup that will get you as much bang for the buck in terms of training and overall light aircraft operations that you can transfer to a real cockpit.  If that's the case, I'd recommend you use Lockheed Martin's Prepar3Dv4 (released in late May 2017) and purchase A2A Simulations C-172 or C-182 "study-level" GA aircraft, and then dig in.  For real weather I recommend HiFi Simulations AS16.  There are many yoke/rudder pedal/throttle quadrant choices out there, and I recommend that over a joystick if your desire is the transfer your PC learning to an actual aircraft.

Just a few quick thoughts.  There are a host of opinions and ideas here, so I'm certain more will chime in.

Have fun!

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7 hours ago, dmiannay said:

....  If that's the case, I'd recommend you use Lockheed Martin's Prepar3Dv4 (released in late May 2017) and purchase A2A Simulations C-172 or C-182 "study-level" GA aircraft, and then dig in.

I would agree with this recommendation, and also add the a2a Cherokee, if Piper is your thing..

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22 hours ago, INTJ_Future_Pilot said:

Okay, anyway: I came here to learn, and to do as much ahead of time with real, top-notch Sim equipment so that as much intuitive skill as possible will transfer and translate when I make the move. I'd love to get an Icon A5, if/when they come down to $120k-150k, but will realistically probably get an older Cessna. I just love that angle of attack gauge.

Welcome to Avsim. Let the learning commence then... :cool:

What you will find is that it's a particularly good time to be getting into flight sims right now. In recent years that wasn't the case, all the popular PC-based flight sims were starting to struggle to run on modern PCs because, whilst the PC hardware and the add-on aeroplanes and sceneries etc went ahead in leaps and bounds, almost all the base platform simulations which those shiny add-ons ran with, were all stuck being 32 bit applications, which meant they all ran pretty badly even on modern hardware. But that's all changed of late. In recent months, all four of the main PC-based civil aviation flight simulator platforms switched to being 64 bit applications, and so now they all run great on modern hardware. Those four would be: Lockheed Martin's Prepar3d (aka P3D), Dovetail's Flight Sim World (aka FSW), Laminar Reasearch's X-Plane 11 (aka XP11) and IPACS Aerofly FS2 (aka AFS2). Of those four simulator programs, two are actually fully released (these being P3D and X-Plane 11), whereas the other two are available to use and mess about with as early access beta versions, but technically not finished yet and so they are likely to gain more features (these being FSW and Aerofly FS2). All four of them are certainly worth a look however, because...

What they have in common, is that all of them feature typical ab initio pilot training aircraft, most also feature a series of 'lessons'. Ironically, it's the two 'unfinished' simulators (FSW and Aerofly FS2) which have the best and most immersive lessons in them, with the ones in FSW probably being the best of the bunch, certainly the most comprehensive, since they are effectively a series of 'private pilot courses' ranging from total beginner up to learning how to fly on instruments and handle engine failures on twin-engined GA aeroplanes. So my recommendation for an inexpensive, hassle-free and useful starting point, would be to check out the early access version of Dovetail Games' Flight Sim World, purely for all the flying lessons and also because if your PC can run that one okay, it'll certainly run all the other ones well.

Of course you should check out all the other choices as well. In doing that, what you will find, is that the availability of add-on aircraft, weather and sceneries is likely to tip the balance ever so slightly in favour of Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D, this is not to say Laminar Research's X-Plane 11 does not have any merit, because it does, it's just that there are more add-ons for things such as air traffic control, realistic weather etc for P3D, and if you are aiming to transfer what you learn in a flight sim into the real world, realistic weather and ATC will be of importance to you.

As others have noted, you probably could not do much better than to have a look at A2A Simulation's add-on Cessna 172 for P3D, which is almost certainly the most realistic simulation of a Classic 172 Skyhawk available and will go a long way toward familiarising you with the aircraft and how to operate it properly. Oh, and if you are going to get some controllers for your PC to fly the thing with, get some which operate like the real controls (i.e. a yoke instead of a joystick and a proper throttle with a mixture control; search for CH and Saitek products). Needless to say, a pretty good PC is a requirement too; think 'expensive gaming PC' and you won't go too far wrong.

Not to state the obvious too much here, but is nevertheless worth noting here that whilst a PC-based simulation of an aeroplane is undeniably useful as a means to familiarise you with its avionics and controls, so much so that there is no difference at all in today's modern simulations of the equipment on board a simulated aeroplane and what you would find in the actual aeroplane. Nevertheless, desktop PCs can potentially also make you learn bad habits too, ones which can be difficult to shake off when you get in the real thing. The worst of this is, since you have nothing but visual and audio cues on a PC flight sim, it can lead to the habit of watching the instruments too much and not keeping your head up looking out of the window, so be aware of that. Looking out of the window is critical when learning to fly for real, not least because unlike with a simulator, the other aeroplanes out there when you fly for real, are also real and will hit you for real if you don't keep an eye out for them, and at training airfields, you are unlikely to be the only little Cessna flying around, so that's really important!

Ironically, the reliance on instruments which a flight sim can sometimes engender does actually come in handy for more complex real world flying though, because if you did an IFR rating, allowing you to fly in poor visibility, then relying on the instruments instead of looking out of the window, is exactly what you should be doing under those circumstances!

Oh, and don't worry too much about any fear of flying you might have, you will find that, as when you drive a car and feel in control, yet feel apprehensive when someone else is flinging a car around with you as a passenger, the same thing happens when you are the pilot of an aeroplane as opposed to being a passenger. Walking around your aeroplane and checking its integrity and readiness prior to starting it up you will find, also engenders confidence in the craft you are going to get on board, whereas you don't get to do that with an airliner, and that can contribute to feeling apprehensive about a flight. Trust me, if you like chucking a car about, you're gonna love flying an aeroplane yourself. either for real, or in a simulator.

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Chock.....

I want to thank everyone for the friendly welcome, but Chock: Your reply is simply brilliant. I can't believe you'd take so much time for a new guy, and to offer such pristine, balanced and practical advice... Geez, man. Thank you

A few notes, beginning from the bottom and working up: 

1) Thank you so much for the votes of confidence on 'fear of flying' and 'throwing the car around'. I definitely do love to get dynamic, but I'd never do it with a passenger for the exact reasons you state: the milliseconds of warning that my brain and stomach get as I begin to push on the inputs gives me the expectations I need to not feel any alarm, etc etc. I feel so bad every time I go up with friends - they can tell I am on edge, and I know they think I don't trust them. But it's just that sense of "not knowing what to expect". It's better when I can gently hold the yoke and feel the inputs, but it's still there. I think you're right: confidence will come when I'm doing the inputs, and when I know and trust the airplane (and of course, with repetition and successful flights). 

I've gone skydiving, and wasn't alarmed by that (granted, in my usual sardonic way, I had to make peace with death in order to do it). 

 

2) Thank you for your perspective on the limitations (and negative conditioning) of Simulators. This is very helpful. I'm actually a combat handgun instructor, and I spend a great deal of time considering and working to mitigate the negative affects of dry-fire and "Simunition" type combat. Very similar to what you talk about here, but of course, this is all new to me so it is different and I really appreciate your wisdom. 

 

3) I haven't heard of ANY of these Simulation programs - I'm using MS Flight Sim X, so these tips are extremely valuable. Especially because traffic and radio usage are still completely foreign to me - my friends always have me scanning, but we've never had any close calls to reinforce the importance (remote area), and they've always done 100% of the radio work. 

 

4) I was going to get the equipment from GoFlight, which seemed very high quality, but decided to go for the cheaper Logitech ~$200 each stuff. In our new house, I'll set up a nicer cockpit. 

 

Chock... again: thank you so much. I'm sure I'll have many questions, and now I have someone to reach out to. I really appreciate it, brother. At this point, I don't even know what I don't know. I hope to get a better idea of all these humbling things before long! 

 

TJ

 

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Nothing wrong with using Flight Simulator X as your simulator, however, you should be aware that there are several versions of it, and some versions run better than others.

Microsoft Flight Simulator X (aka FSX) originally came out in 2006, with some additional expansions available for it too under various names such as Gold, Deluxe etc, although the main one was FSX Acceleration, which added some extra aeroplanes and functionality to the sim, fixed some bugs and added better simulation of engines. Even so, FSX is now eleven years old, and being of that age it is of course 32 bit, so it is limited in its ability to use the GPU of a computer, instead using the CPU, thus even on a really powerful modern computer it can struggle if you turn the option sliders up and start adding fancy payware stuff to it. It can also completely crash if you have too much going on with it, since being a 32 bit application, it is subject to a hard limitation of a maximum of 4 Gigabytes Virtual Address Space (memory) being assigned to it regardless of how much memory a PC has, and there is nothing which can be done about that, hence the recenct move to 64 bit by most developers of flight simulations.

It's not all bad news though... although FSX was the last version of Flight Simulator which Microsoft made, in 2014 the licence for the computer coding upon which FSX is based was bought by Dovetail Games (who also make the aforementioned FSW). Dovetail then optimised and recompiled FSX, fixed some bugs, added a few bits and bobs, including all of that Acceleration stuff, and then started selling it through Steam as Flight Simulator X Steam Edition (aka FSX-SE), so if you are using the older boxed CD or original download version of Microsoft Flight Simulator X, then you might want to consider buying that more updated Flight Simulator X Steam Edition, which is not expensive, usually about 20 quid, although they sometimes put it on offer for as little as 7.99. You would need a Steam account to do that, but that's no big deal.

Whilst that Steam version is still a 32 bit application, it does nevertheless quite run a bit better than the original (2006) boxed version of FSX and uses its limited memory capabilities a little better too, and so it is worth the price of admission because of that (and the fact that any add-ons for FSX will work in FSX-SE too). But.... Lockheed Martin's P3D, and indeed Dovetail's new FSW are effectively both souped up 64 bit versions of FSX, in that they use the same basic background coding, that coding being known as the Microsoft Enterprise Simulation Platform (ESP), so ultimately, they are going to end up being better choices in the long run.

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Well, enjoy those lessons, there are certainly plenty of them to go at.

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