Some questions for VR flyers

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On 5/13/2018 at 12:17 PM, Paraffin said:

I don't fly VR, but that last paragraph doesn't fit my expectations when I finally try it.

Do you never touch any cockpit controls besides the yoke, throttle, and pedals when flying GA? I guess it depends on what kind of plane you fly, but you'd need a heck of a lot of assignable buttons and switches to never need virtual hand controllers in many GA planes. Especially if you're dealing with ATC.

The GA plane I fly the most in X-Plane is the Carenado PC-12. I have a Warthog HOTAS and pedals, and there are many switches assigned to things like trim, landing lights, prop reverse and basic autopilot functions. But I don't have enough rotary switches for functions like setting altitude capture or vertical speed change in the autopilot. I need to mouse over the cockpit displays for that. I don't do much with ATC, but I would also need it for changing radio frequencies if I did. I don't have enough buttons for page-switching and operation of the GNS530 either. That's usually set-and-forget, but one of these days I want to start practicing more advanced GPS approaches.

The other GA aircraft I fly frequently is the Bell 412, which has its own set of essential controls that can't all be mapped to the HOTAS.

So I don't think virtual hand controllers are just for airliners. I could probably fly a Piper Cub with just a few controls, but GA means more than that.

The sensation of flying, the dimensions, the size of your plane these are invaluable characteristics of VR. It's one thing to fly in 2D a big 747 it's another thing entirely to experience it in VR. That will run it's course though because bringing windows in, examining charts, etc. all these are compromised in some fashion including the visuals. FI was the best at bringing that functionality - windowing into the cockpit though not always wieldy it allowed a very nice mixture of visual satisfaction, functionality and fps.

To make the handcontrollers work (touch for Oculus) , you really need to have a clean front desk so the sensors can pick up your lower movements, throttle, mixture, prop and other panel controls. I find if I leave my Saitek stuff there I'm hitting it with the handcontrollers. The whole thing is unwieldy. I much prefer a decent mouse arrow which can be easily tracked and therefore to control all the buttons and switches. This becomes more acute when using the GPS. Both DCS and AFS2  are to me the best implementations of VR for flying right now. As a civilian VR it still needs ATC, weather, traffic AI but 'out of the box' as it were the look and functionality is better. IMHOP

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