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auburntsts

Which SIM for an IFR simulator?

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OK I've searched and searched and quite frankly I've got info overload so I'm in dire need of advice.  First of all, I'm an instrument rated Private Pilot and not looking to game or sim VFR flights. What I am looking for is a sim to use to augment, but not replace, the IFR currency and proficiency training that I do in my own plane.  So here's the wish list:

-- 2-screen setup.  The main screen would be a forward out the cockpit view, and the second would be dedicated to the instrument panel

-- Has an add-on available to include a Garmin G500/600 with a GTN 650 in the panel (this combo most closely emulates what I have in the real world which is a 2-screen Garmin G3X EFIS with a GTN 650)

-- The 2nd monitor is a touch screen to keep mouse/keyboard inputs to the minimum

-- No other interface hardware other than a yoke/stick (and maybe rudder pedals)

-- Ease in terms of implementing and configuring the above (IOW, don't have to have a computer science degree, a MS cert, or have an unlimited budget, etc).

I've been looking at FSX, P3D, FSW, and X-Plane 11 and simply can't make heads or tails as to which one can get me what I'm looking for the least amount of money.  Bear in mind that I'll need to buy a new computer and monitors too, so I'm also looking at minimum system requirements at the same time.  Ideally, the least expensive the better.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Todd Stovall
PP ASEL-IA
RV-10 N728TT
WAR DAMN EAGLE!
 

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Well, you've described a very through laundry list of wants. There is unfortunately no simple plug-n-play that will meet all of your requrements.

The closest would be the Redbird Jay, which is about a simple as anyone could want:

Quote

The Jay was designed to be the simplest to use desktop simulator ever built. In fact, you’ll be flying in 10 minutes or less

Start-Up Procedure:

  1. Put it on a table.
  2. Plug it in.
  3. Turn it on.

https://simulators.redbirdflight.com/products/jay

It comes complete lacking only rudder pedals. Those are available as an option.

You can add additional peripherals as needed, such as a second monitor for the instruments, et cetera. Also, Flight1 has recently released their authentic G500/600 gauges, which will interface with their GNS530/430 or GTN750/650 GPS. Since they are based on the actual Garmin Trainer(s), they are as authentic as the real world expensive devices!

A caveat is in order though. The JAY is not approved or certified by the FAA or any other foreign government or entity for use in flight training to satisfy required proficiency time, instrument experience, training for certificates or ratings.


Fr. Bill    

AOPA Member: 07141481 AARP Member: 3209010556

Interests: Gauge Programming - 3d Modeling for Milviz

Many Thanks to All That Donated To Our Server Drive!

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38 minutes ago, n4gix said:

Well, you've described a very through laundry list of wants. There is unfortunately no simple plug-n-play that will meet all of your requrements.

The closest would be the Redbird Jay, which is about a simple as anyone could want:

https://simulators.redbirdflight.com/products/jay

It comes complete lacking only rudder pedals. Those are available as an option.

You can add additional peripherals as needed, such as a second monitor for the instruments, et cetera. Also, Flight1 has recently released their authentic G500/600 gauges, which will interface with their GNS530/430 or GTN750/650 GPS. Since they are based on the actual Garmin Trainer(s), they are as authentic as the real world expensive devices!

A caveat is in order though. The JAY is not approved or certified by the FAA or any other foreign government or entity for use in flight training to satisfy required proficiency time, instrument experience, training for certificates or ratings.

 

 

Hey thanks -- I'm familiar with the Jay as I did part of my IR training in a Redbird FMX, but that's not really what I want (at least hardware wise).  I guess I should amplify my "wants" a bit as I have overstated the turnkey aspect I think. I don't mind getting my hands dirty installing add-ons and doing configuration, I just don't want to spend countless hours doing it, preferring to go down a proven path based upon others experience.  So, the 2-screen requirement (one of which is a touch screen for the instrument panel) is where I like to get to, but it's not a showstopper to get up and running as long as the platform is capable of supporting that feature when I'm ready. 

I also don't need a large screen for the main display.  This is an IFR trainer build so I'll be IMC most of the time so a big screen is just a waste.

My quandary is trying to understand which platform can do this the easiest while not breaking the budget.  Speaking of which, all in I'd like to try and keep the package (software and hardware) in the $1500 to $2000 range (I have a yoke and a 24" monitor that I can repurpose). . I don't want to build a bare minimum system, but don't want a top of the line gaming machine either.  Not sure if that's doable

Oh and I'm not trying to build an FTD, BATD, or AATD so there's no intention of logging anything. 


Todd Stovall
PP ASEL-IA
RV-10 N728TT
WAR DAMN EAGLE!
 

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Hi...

I'd think you would want P3D as it's the most widely used... I use it myself to practice instrument procedures and it's the one aspect of flight training that carries over well to the sim - procedures... If you use Foreflight on an iPad - it can connect to the sim as well... If you want a free EFB - FltPlan GO does the same...

The expenses add up quickly - I'm building a decent but not bleeding edge system now which I average every five years or so... If you build it yourself with a budget in mind you could probably put one together for $1,500.00 or so - add another $500 to $1000 if you want an off the shelf box (someone else assembles it)... Then monitors $350, controllers $300, and software... To jump in with both feet - the learning curve and expense could be considerable... Maybe - try downloading P3D and load it on whatever you have and just to see if you like it first ?

We're here to help - but you're definitely jumping into the deep end of the pool...

Regards,
Scott


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2 minutes ago, scottb613 said:

Hi...

I'd think you would want P3D as it's the most widely used... I use it myself to practice instrument procedures and it's the one aspect of flight training that carries over well to the sim - procedures... If you use Foreflight on an iPad - it can connect to the sim as well... If you want a free EFB - FltPlan GO does the same...

The expenses add up quickly - I'm building a decent but not bleeding edge system now which I average every five years or so... If you build it yourself with a budget in mind you could probably put one together for $1,500.00 or so - add another $500 to $1000 if you want an off the shelf box (someone else assembles it)... Then monitors $350, controllers $300, and software... To jump in with both feet - the learning curve and expense could be considerable... Maybe - try downloading P3D and load it on whatever you have and just to see if you like it first ?

We're here to help - but you're definitely jumping into the deep end of the pool...

Regards,
Scott

Thanks Scott.   Right now all I have is a an iPad mini (and I use GarminPilot as my EFB) and an old laptop that can't really run any of the platforms.  Building my own PC has always been the plan as I did it for my son a few years ago.  I already have a CH yoke and one monitor (albeit it could replacing), so beyond the touch screen monitor I don't want any additional controllers or hardware (beyond the PC itself). Do I need something else?

And for those wondering why I'm hung up on the touch screen, I want to emulate my real plane's cockpit as much as I can so the procedures and flows are as similar as possible.  I can live without it, but it would make for a more realistic environment. 

Si here's the big question.  Assuming FSX, FSW, P3D, and X-plane can all do a 2-screen setup like I want what's the advantage of P3D since it's the most expensive software package?  Also looking at X-Plane 11, can someone confirm that to do the 2-screen implementation that I want, that I'd need go the 2 copies of x-plane running on 2 networked computers route?


Todd Stovall
PP ASEL-IA
RV-10 N728TT
WAR DAMN EAGLE!
 

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4 minutes ago, auburntsts said:

Also looking at X-Plane 11, can someone confirm that to do the 2-screen implementation that I want, that I'd need go the 2 copies of x-plane running on 2 networked computers route?

No, X-Plane 11 supports multi monitors. But you should first check if there's an available add-on product suited for your needs (with a 2D panel usable with touch screen, I'm not an expert on that).

X-Plane at the moment has some issues with the runway lights being visible above clouds in certain situations, if that is a factor for your IFR training.


"The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." [Abraham Lincoln]

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As you are probably aware, the Redbird does in fact use P3D as its simulator, so it's basically a reasonably decent PC (although not exactly a brilliant one, i.e. only 4Gb of RAM, an AMD 3.4Ghz processor and a Radeon 4250) with some control hardware and a copy of P3D installed on Windows 10, which is a bit steep for a price tag of over two and a half grand unless one is completely inept at setting stuff up, in which case it might conceivably have some merit, but I should think anyone who is going to learn how to fly an aeroplane is going to struggle with that if they can't understand the basics of plugging a few bits into a PC. In other words, you are paying for the convenience of buying something ready to go with some (admittedly fairly robust) hardware controls, so of course you can do that yourself a lot cheaper by building something yourself, although how cheap you want to go is up to you. 

P3D comes in a few flavours, with attendant different pricing for those versions, the main two being the Pro and Academic versions with the Academic version being the cheaper of the two. The licensing is a bit nebulous in some respects, but the gist of it is that if you are a student, or are using the academic version for any sort of training/learning experiences, then you are good to go with it, and your requirement would on the face of it seem to fit that bill. Still, it's 60 quid (200 quid for the Pro version), and if you want it for IFR practice there is a problem in that as it comes, it only has some preset weather themes, some of which are potentially suitable for IFR, but if you wanted to vary the weather a bit, and use real metar settings, then you'd be looking at adding a payware weather program to it in order to be able to do so, and that's gonna be another 40 quid or so at least, taking it up to a minimum of 100 quid. 

If however you went with FSX-SE, which is the Steam Edition of FSX, that is currently on sale for a considerably more palatable 7.99 (it is normally 19.99), and it does include the capability to use downloaded real-world metars from Jeppeson data. This means you're already saving a few quid and have a more relevant weather capability without having to spend any additional cash.

You have also got XPlane 11 available, but the ground handling and torque in XPlane is rather suspect in my opinion, and I suspect that would add to the difficulties of IFR practice, plus it too is 60 quid like P3D is for its academic version. On the plus side XPlane 11 does run on a Mac and it does have some decent frame rates, but I'd still say FSX-SE is more up your street for the purpose you want specifically.

There is also FSW, but it's currently a paid beta and so it's not optimised and the availability of suitable add-on aeroplanes for your IFR practice would be extremely limited. It is going to end up being a good flight sim, but right now it is difficult to recommend it for your intended purpose although it is inexpensive, so you might want to give it a look anyway.

It's worth bearing in mind that the only real advantage of going with P3D over FSX is that P3D is 64 Bit and FSX is 32 Bit, so being 64 Bit, P3D is less inclined to run out of virtual memory if you start throwing everything including the kitchen sink at it (note that XPlane 11 is also 64 Bit, so the same applies with that). Thus using FSX can be a problem when simulating a fully realistic Boeing 747 with fancy add-on airports, add-on ATC, add-on weather, add-on traffic, photorealistic scenery etc. But for FSX running a GA aeroplane in IFR, where it's not going to have to draw the view for miles, it's going to be no problem whatsoever, and so I'd say go with FSX-SE off Steam for £7.99.

Then of course you'd  want to add some hardware controllers, and this is where you've got a lot of choice. As with many things, you get what you pay for, but it is entirely possible to get a yoke (or stick if you fly using an aeroplane which has a stick for real and don't want to use the one you already have), throttle/mixture/prop lever and some rudder pedals for around about 200 quid all in (typically that's going to mean going with Saitek ones, but they are reasonably okay and easy to set up). You can pay more, but figure on at least 200 quid and you'll be in the ballpark (be careful here though, some sticks, pedals and yokes are not Windows 10 compatible, with only drivers for earlier versions of Windows, and whilst you can usually get them working with a bit of faffing around, it isn't always easy and sometimes won't work as well as it might).

So, that leaves you (if you are comparing this to the acquisition cost of a Redbird system), with well over two grand left to play with, and you can get a pretty decent PC which is capable of running FSX or P3D for a lot less than that. But more to the point, you would want to ensure that the graphics card is either capable of outputting to twin monitors, or powerful enough to support an additional hardware add-on which can add that capability, (be careful with this, most graphics cards have multiple connector outputs, but this does not necessarily mean you can connect two monitors at the same time, so definitely look for one which supports dual output if you are set on having twin monitors).

You should bear in mind that this is also where you will have to be careful with the aeroplanes you choose for your simulator. All the main flight sims will allow you to use dual monitors to display stuff, however, not all aeroplanes which you can get for FSX and P3D feature 2D panels, and you would likely need these is if you wanted to drag things about and place them on various screens to emulate a blind flying panel. This is where you can also make use of a tablet such as your Ipad, so this is worth a look by the way if you want to use that apple device:

http://remoteflight.net/

So when it comes to adding the simulated aeroplane of your choice, you might want to make sure it has some 2D panels rather than just a 3D VC. There are ways around this with camera view utilities to be fair, but it's a bit less hassle to simply use a 2D panel view.

Last but not least, another thing which tends to make FSX-SE a better choice for you is the cost and availability of add-ons aeroplanes. They are often cheaper for FSX than for P3D and there are undeniably many more of them available for FSX than P3D, so the chances of finding something with a panel similar to your real world aeroplane is better with FSX-SE.


Alan Bradbury

Check out my youtube flight sim videos: Here

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Alan, the only thinga I need to correct is that the Redbird "Jay" is preloaded with Win7 x64 and an Intel 3.3GHz Quad-core.

Quote
  1. Visuals27-inch LCD monitor (1920 x 1080 pixels).
  2. CPUIntel 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor.
  3. Memory & Storage8GB of RAM and a 240GB SSD.
  4. Operating SystemWindows 7 Professional (64-bit).
  5. Flight Simulation SoftwareLockheed Prepar3D Flight Sim (the next generation of Microsoft Flight Simulator X)
  6. Primary Flight ControlRedbird professional-grade yoke system.
  7. Throttle Quadrant"Boat style" controls for throttle and mixture

I would recommend buying a prebuilt computer from Amazon (for the warranty, exchange, and refund features), and add a touchscreen monitor and pedals to complete the hardware. The OP already has CH Yoke and a good main monitor.

Flight 1 is currently the only developer to offer the G500/600 PFD/MFD that he wants, as well as the GTN650 that works directly with the former units.

The only missing information is the aircraft he owns, so recommending a third-party sim version is not possible at this time....:cool:


Fr. Bill    

AOPA Member: 07141481 AARP Member: 3209010556

Interests: Gauge Programming - 3d Modeling for Milviz

Many Thanks to All That Donated To Our Server Drive!

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Alan,

Thanks for that awesome post!  I have a way ahead now.

17 hours ago, n4gix said:

The only missing information is the aircraft he owns, so recommending a third-party sim version is not possible at this time....:cool:

I own an RV-10 -- here's me and the plane in Homebuilt Camping at Oshkosh during AirVenture 2017.  Although the plane will fly approaches at 90 KTS just fine, I typically shoot my approaches at 120 KTS as I find this speed a bit more stable, particularly when coupled.  ATC likes that better too.  In fact over Thanksgiving, ATC asked me to maintain best forward speed on the ILS 07 into KORL to sequence me in between jet traffic so I kept it at 150 KTS until I was on short final (it's nice to know you can if you have to). Anyway, so any low wing model (fixed gear preferably 2500- 3000GW category, but not a showstopper) that is stable at on approach at 120 KTS should work.39497918651_eb18ba33c3_b.jpg


Todd Stovall
PP ASEL-IA
RV-10 N728TT
WAR DAMN EAGLE!
 

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The only suggestion that honestly comes to my mind is ELITE IFR

It's on version 8.7, but 9 is under work with GNS News...

ELITE is 2nd to none for professional IFR proficiency. Have been using it since v7.

See:  www.flyelite.com  or www.flyelite.ch  home versions: http://flyelite.com/home-version/   and   https://www.flyelite.ch/en/home-version/

P.S.: There's a disclaimer at their site about compatibility not guaranteed for Win 8 and following, but I've been using it with 7, 8 and 10 with no problems...


 

 

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11 minutes ago, jcomm said:

The only suggestion that honestly comes to my mind is ELITE IFR

It's on version 8.7, but 9 is under work with GNS News...

ELITE is 2nd to none for professional IFR proficiency. Have been using it since v7.

See:  www.flyelite.com  or www.flyelite.ch  home versions: http://flyelite.com/home-version/   and   https://www.flyelite.ch/en/home-version/

P.S.: There's a disclaimer at their site about compatibility not guaranteed for Win 8 and following, but I've been using it with 7, 8 and 10 with no problems...

The problem with Elite is I can't customize it to match my avionics.  I already have a steam gauge IFR trainer, but there's significant imitations with it in that I can't update the nav database (it's over 10 years old now) and there's no auto pilot.  While it's still usable, as I have a completely glass panel in my own plane, I'll get more training bang for my buck by having the same panel as close as possible to what I fly with in the real world.  Practicing things like buttonololgy, operational modes, and failure modes are just as important to operating a TAA as attitude flying is to basic IFR operations.  .


Todd Stovall
PP ASEL-IA
RV-10 N728TT
WAR DAMN EAGLE!
 

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19 hours ago, Chock said:

You should bear in mind that this is also where you will have to be careful with the aeroplanes you choose for your simulator. All the main flight sims will allow you to use dual monitors to display stuff, however, not all aeroplanes which you can get for FSX and P3D feature 2D panels, and you would likely need these is if you wanted to drag things about and place them on various screens to emulate a blind flying panel.

So is there a way to determine which 3rd party aircraft have 2D panels?  I took a quick look at random aircraft from Carenado and Alabeo and there's nothing in the descriptions as to whether they support 2D panels or not, as far as I could tell. 


Todd Stovall
PP ASEL-IA
RV-10 N728TT
WAR DAMN EAGLE!
 

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23 minutes ago, jcomm said:

Just in case, here's a review I made sometime ago, still on v8.6

There's an E40 HSI module also available, and ELITE v9 brings news :-)

 

http://www.simreviewshouse.com/?post_type=reviews&p=1112

 

Problem is, it doesn't come with a similar module to your Van's RV-10... 

I have ASA IP Trainer and On Top software and both are descent IFR sims, they just don't offer an option to switch between aircraft, much less anything akin to modern avionics (plus they aren't updateable or supported anymore).  At the time they were probably the best "affordable" options.  Packages like Elite were combined hardware and software packages back in the day and were prohibitively expensive.  In the end, any aircraft package that doesn't emulate close to what I have, (full-up EFIS and IFR WAAS GPS) simply won't cut it. Otherwise I'm really no better off than using my old outdated programs.


Todd Stovall
PP ASEL-IA
RV-10 N728TT
WAR DAMN EAGLE!
 

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