Anxu00

What's the appeal(s) of Flying Heavy Airliners?

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All,

May be you all can help me appreciate the various PMDG planes that I have: NGX, 777, MD-11, 747.  I am always an enthusiastic guy when in comes to these birds, however, these are highly procedural sims, and the pilot fly the systems rather than the planes, so aside from getting the planes air born and land, with some very long cruise time in between, what's the real interests?  I "flew" these birds a few time, and admire the developer work going into them.  However, these days I found them interesting as collector items and have not flown them that often.  Partly due to the long prep times required.  So what is it that you heavy fliers out there like about this type of sim?

Thanks

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It's an excellent question, but one which the answer will vary from person to person.

I don't fly general aviation aircraft in flight sim as it's not nearly as challenging as flying commercial aircraft, and doing so there are many more doors to walk through in our hobby.  Learn the systems, procedures, and how to fly the aircraft, then do this on VATSIM where navigation, flight planning and operational procedures add the complexity of operating the aircraft.  Then do all of that in Shared Cockpit.  Transition to other, dissimilar aircraft and the learning curve mostly starts over again.  Add complex, realistic weather to the mix and the operational procedures become even more challenging as you seek out and fly in adverse conditions.

Always another door to open, which makes our hobby unique!

 

 

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I'd say that the OP covered my feelings on the topic quite well. The complex commercial airliners are just one facet in the flight sim spectrum that includes:

1. Helicopters - great for VFR low and slow VFR sightseeing. My favorite  example is the Milviz UH-1. Rotorcraft are the "Bizarro Superman" of the flight sim world. Just when you think that you've figured them out, you realize that you haven't.

2. Light GA fixed gear single piston aircraft. Any of the A2A planes are great for VFR short distance cross country flying with a dash of IFR thrown in variety.

3. Twin turbine prop planes like the RealAir Turbine Duke. These aircraft are good for flights of a couple hours or a bit more in a variety of both IFR and VFR settings. They combine moderate prep time with moderate skill level. I find myself gravitating to this type of middle ground aircraft.

4. Regional jets such as the Aerosoft CRJ and the TFDi B717. With these aircraft, the prep time is higher and the systems are almost fully automated.

5. PMDG NGX, triple 7 and 747. They require a lot of prep work and attention to detail. Personally, I don't fly them that often either. But they are a good change of pace when I feel the need to nerd out a bit.

6. Lastly, there are the various miscellaneous aircraft which are quirky and specialized like the VRS Superbug and the Aerosoft Twotter. 

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33 minutes ago, Anxu00 said:

All,

May be you all can help me appreciate the various PMDG planes that I have: NGX, 777, MD-11, 747.  I am always an enthusiastic guy when in comes to these birds, however, these are highly procedural sims, and the pilot fly the systems rather than the planes, so aside from getting the planes air born and land, with some very long cruise time in between, what's the real interests?  I "flew" these birds a few time, and admire the developer work going into them.  However, these days I found them interesting as collector items and have not flown them that often.  Partly due to the long prep times required.  So what is it that you heavy fliers out there like about this type of sim?

Thanks

Yeah, they're highly procedural up to top of decent but, coming down can be a real challenge!  There are all kinds of things that can mess you up and you have to be on top of the airplane, be able to recognize the situations and correct them.  Most people hand fly them down the approach.

I completely agree with you on the prep time.  You get it down some with experience but it's an airliner so there is that.  It's nothing like cranking up a GA airplane, poking in a flightplan and taking off...which I love.

For me, I fly big-iron when I'm just wanting to do something different.  I mostly fly GA...just alone, high up in the sky, enjoying the trip and the views.

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I think for many, it's the complexity and the need for something different.  I love all kinds of aircraft, probably too much as I often find myself buying far too many aircraft and not having enough time to explore them to their fullest ... it's as if I'm planning for retirement 10 years early :)

Reading the manuals can be very interesting ... making time to read the manuals is difficult, but the manuals offer so much more that one would miss entirely if not read.  I rarely do flights longer than about 3 hours unless I'm testing out something specific.  Typically aim for a 1 hour hop be it GA or Commercial ... but it's easy to fly just about anything, but flying it by the book/numbers is an entirely different reward system.

I'm a big fan of weather, nasty weather and manual landings/flight ... crosswinds, low visibility, turbulence, etc.  ... the most challenging is definitely the MJC Q400 "so far" but very rewarding when you get it right.

Cheers, Rob.

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1 hour ago, DaveCT2003 said:

I don't fly general aviation aircraft in flight sim as it's not nearly as challenging as flying commercial aircraft

 

1 hour ago, Gregg_Seipp said:

It's nothing like cranking up a GA airplane, poking in a flightplan and taking off...which I love.

Well, actually if a simmer wants to keep things as close to real as possible, flying a GA becomes definitely more challenging than flying complex airliners. An airliner pilot receives a scheduled flight plan, flies above the weather for most of the trip, has a much more performing (and, in RL, reliable) aircraft, lands on ILS capable runways most of the time, and has a copilot.

On the other hand, a GA pilot has to create a flight plan on his own, is alone in the cockpit, flies in the weather almost all of the time, is more likely to crash if an engine fail, if he's taking off high or hot, or if he flies VFR into IMC. etc. etc.

Most of these aspects can be recreated in a flight sim as well. So the concept that simming in an airliner is more challenging that simming in a GA is a sort of skewed impression of us flight simmers. :-)

I'm pretty sure that an airliner pilot has a higher probability of having an accident when leisurely flying in a GA aircraft, than when flying in his heavy metal office.

 

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46 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

often find myself buying far too many aircraft and not having enough time to explore them to their fullest ... it's as if I'm planning for retirement 10 years early :)

This, oh sooo this.

 

 

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The appeal can come from a mission accomplished, gate to gate. With immersive add-ons and no outside distractions its like I'm there. Whether a 2 hour hop in the 737-700 NGX or a 16+ hour haul in the LR, one has to acquire the love or be born to it.....its not for everybody.  

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I guess for me it's really understanding the systems. Reason based on the physical facts, why certain things need to be done. I like understanding complex systems and an airliner is very complex. I will never fly 16+ hours or something like that. I'll do short flights even if they are not absolutely realistic in the 747, to understand how it handles. Also play with the amount of fuel and weight to understand the actions required based on the fuel configuration, and also sometimes train failures. Jobwise I'm a programmer, so the failure system is like fixing bugs in software. You see the outcome but the reason why something happens might not be obvious, and I love the challenge.

So really I love flying GA, but for playing with a system airliners are amazing, even if I might not use the long-range ones in entirely realistic scenarios.

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Let's not overlook what this "addiction" is... it's flight simulation.  The most attractive part of this hobby is that the platforms [Prepar3d, FSX, XP-11, etc.] provide individuals (possessing a vast array of interests and capabilities) the ability to coexist in an integrated environment where they can enjoy whatever type and complexity aircraft they desire.  There is absolutely no right way or wrong way to enjoy this hobby.  We should consider ourselves fortunate that, whatever our inclination, the available platforms provide us the opportunity to "scratch the itch".

For me, simulating real-world commercial operations is where it is at.  I do like GA from time to time, but 80% of my hours are in tube liners.  It is truly remarkable how much enjoyment one can get from a PC -based simulator.  We've come a long way...

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I do both almost equally.  I prefer part 121 simulation though.  I don't personally think the prep takes much longer in an airliner than a GA though.  You still have to find a flight plan, check weather, and set up the plane.  Unless you are just taking off and flying aimlessly.  I can get the PMDG 737 in the air in about 20 minutes, which is almost as fast as I get the A2A Comanche up.  I pick a flight plan from Flightaware and run PFPX with the parameters I want and use it for fuel and other calculations.  Takes like 5 minutes.  Then open the sim, load a short state and program the FMC, push back, start, and fly.  I suppose you could spend a great deal more time planning and simulating procedures if you wanted.  The Dash-8 (Q400) takes a slightly bit longer just because the plane is more complex to set up.  Either way it's maybe 10 extra minutes of prep.  I load the boarding phase on the Q400.  In the A2A Comanche you still have the walk around, GPS setup, and other little things to get it going.  Not much faster IMO.  

I personally like the complexity of them, but in reality they aren't that complex IMO.  I don't do flights longer than 2 hours, 3 at the most.  It just takes too long.  My time of real enjoyment is takeoff and landing.  During cruise I monitor but also look at other things on my laptop.  I think they're both equally as challenging in their own way.  The GA is a simpler aircraft usually, but the actual flying phases are the same.  You just go slower into smaller airports. 

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Fantasy life. Come on now, who among us has not been at an airport and not envyed those guys strutting by in their fine blue suits with those gold strips dripping with an air of self confidence ? On the sim that's who you are until the wife hollers for something.

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I buy all the heavies after months of waiting for them to be released and it gets the anxiety out of my system once I have them, but in most cases I never do a full flight with any of them. 

 

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GA can take more prep than Commercial when you factor in weather elevation and limited route options.  Fuel planning for GA is critical, bad winds and you can’t  make your destination and have to navigate to alternates.  Commercial that’s much less of an issue.

GA has less redundancy and real possibility of having to navigate old school.

Both provide a level of interaction that can be as complex or as simple as one wants to make it. 

Cheers, Rob

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