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General Avaition Sim Hardware & Add Ons

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Hello All,

I am a real world pilot S.E.L. of the Cessna fixed wing. I am building my simulator from the ground up. My system is entirely dedicated to the simulator only. No other games, software or programs (unless related to my sim). I am running Windows 10 64 bit. My computer has the Nvidia GTX970 with an Intel I7-6700 processor to make my simulator run smooth and fast. I am not by any means a computer programmer or builder, but from what I think I know, I can be quite dangerous. Having said that, here is the information I would like to consult the forum on as I continue to build my system.

I am using Microsoft Windows Flight Simulator X with the Acceleration pack. I also will be installing Prepar3d V3 and V4. I have both PRO license's. In building my simulator, I will be using mostly Saitek controls. I have the switch panel, autopilot, radio stack, throttle quadrant, and yoke. I was going to buy the 6 or 9 instrument panels used for the airspeed, altimeter, VS indicator etc., however I came across the VRinsight U-propit panel. Has anyone used this panel on a current system and if so what are your views of it? I want to plunk my money on the best I can afford. The VRinsight panel looks great, but I am concerned that it is "old-technology" and can be replaced with something more modern. (note: my simulator is going to be dedicated to the Cessna 172. I have no plans to convert to a jet or other so I want to get the hardware as close as I can to the plane I really fly.) Also, I will be using FSUIPC to connect my ForeFlight subscription so I don't need GPS built into the avionics hardware panel. Is this a good idea? Your thoughts?

My next question comes to add-ons. I want (free or pay) "upgrade" add-ons for my system. What do you sim'rs recommend? Weather & scenery? I heard activesky is the best. is this what I should go with for my two softwares fsx/p3d? What about ATC communication? This is a tricky topic. I want to have ATC as realistic as possible. I am in the Northeast USA. Cleveland, Ohio actually. Is there a realistic "online" ATC add-on for my area that works all the time? Vatsim is nice but controllers are not available all the time and they tend to favor IFR commercial rather than general aviation. I've also heard of VOXATC. Although a "simulated" program, it may be close to what I want. Your suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Lastly, in regards to the add-ons. I said in the beginning I was dangerous with computers but not a programmer. Can anyone direct me to or explain in plain English how to install and run the add-ons? By this I mean there are many you tube videos, forum threads, and tutorials on downloading and installing the add-ons. where I am having a problem is how and where to put the zipped/downloaded files. Overwrite the existing or not? Change file extension names or not? Create new directories or not? I have downloaded both FSX with acceleration and Prepar3d v3 & v4 where the downloads created and installed to their respective directories. In regards to the add-ons, where do those files (once downloaded) go? The last thing I want is to have a clean install of the simulator (fsx/p3d) only to corrupt it with add-ons that over-wrote or mucked-up the original program files. It is important to me to do it right the first time so I don't have to restore my system to an earlier date.

Thank you in advance for your advice, suggestions, and most of all feed back.

Happy Simming

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