Jump to content

Brenchen

How to balance desktop simming with RW flying training?

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Hello everyone,

I'm keen to hear how you have used desktop flight sims to complement and positively help you with your ab initio (pre-navs) stages of flying training in the real world?

I am currently undertaking real world flying training on a Cessna 162, and am up to the early stages of circuits.  To nail down the procedures on a circuit, I am trying to get on the sim at least once a day to do a few rounds with the A2A C172 (closest accurate ACFT I can find for P3D to my training C162).  However, I start to suspect that overtraining on a C172 on a Sim may result in some bad habits or wrong type of muscle memory for when I fly the C162 IRL, which negatively impacts my progress?  Hence why my question above.

No doubt simming, if used the right way, is going to be able to positively enhance your training, making every minute in the sky more productive.  But what has been your experience with balancing the right amount/method to train at home without overtraining?

Thanks in advance 🙂

Edited by Brenchen

Brendan Chen

 

Learning to use and getting use to FSX!

Share this post


Link to post
1 minute ago, Brenchen said:

Hello everyone,

I'm keen to hear how you have used desktop flight sims to complement and positively help you with your ab initio (pre-navs) stages of flying training in the real world?

I am currently undertaking real world flying training on a Cessna 162, and up to the early stages of circuits.  To nail down the procedures on a circuit, I am trying to get one the sim at least once a day to do a few rounds with the A2A C172 (closest accurate ACFT I can find for P3D to my training C162).  However, I start to suspect that training quite profusely on the C172 on a Sim may introduce some bad habits or wrong type of muscle memory for when I fly the C162 IRL?  Which brings me to my question above.

No doubt simming, if used the right way, is going to be able to positively enhance your training, making every minute in the sky more productive.  But what has been your experience with balancing the right amount/method to train at home without overtraining?

Thanks in advance 🙂

The most important thing about simming for me was to try to simulate real world air dynamics and VFR flying, with some IFR training just in case I would have flown into IFR conditions which can come up suddenly where I live (thankfully almost, but never did).  I use photoreal scenery in Xplane11 and P3DV4.x in addition to manually setting the wind conditions to be gusty and variable, with some shear.  For me this gives the air dynamics in either sim the closest representation to the real world, and it works better than real weather because I can know the challenges for each flight training epic I wish to fly. 

I am a low time Light Sport student and my goal is to complete my basic training by next year, but I might delay since changes may be afoot in the Light Sport aircraft category that might allow for training in heavier aircraft.  P3D and Xplane are essential with photoreal scenery to keep my VFR navigation skills up.  I find with Ortho (Xplane) or MSE (payware-P3D) scenery, it is as close to real world flying as sims allow today, although it appears Microsoft's upcoming entry next year will also use photo scenery for the same reasons. 

I am happy I have two sims now, with add on aircraft to choose from, that keep me from being bored and teach me new navigation skills.  My CFI told me best, a chap half my age, Jason Bullard who taught for Falcon Aviation--he said anyone can fly, but it takes a special someone to be a pilot--i.e. dealing with traffic, and navigation, and having a good time while doing it.

I am also an ultralight trike pilot, but I have not flown in years having no way to store a trike even though I can afford one, it is the hangar rentals that are killer in the metro area of Phoenix, 4 million plus folks now, where I live.  One has to store a trike 150 miles away, which makes flying not quite so fun if one has to drive that far to fly.  I prefer to rent fixed wing and fly with a CFI, cheaper, and someone to talk to and learn from always.

John

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for sharing your experience John.  I am still a bit below where you're at, quite a bit lol.  But even though you do raise some valid points, controlling your own weather!  I have always used RW weather, that way I can get use to the workflow of dialing up ATIS, making calls, taxiing to ever-changing runway etc..  Unfortunately, even with high quality payware scenery, I am still not getting a very accurate photoreal representation, which makes flying VFR and looking for inbound points difficult.  I am trying to find a way fly on the sim to keep current, do/learn everything I can from the ground, so I can focus on the things I can't do on the ground when I'm in the air (hence my comment about maximising productivity when the dollars are burning).  And I am concerned about training on a heavier aircraft impacting on my muscle memory for an LSA?


Brendan Chen

 

Learning to use and getting use to FSX!

Share this post


Link to post

As a RW pilot, I think you're over thinking this.  These two aircraft are pretty similar overall.  Just pay attention to the different numbers, you'll be fine.


Eric Anderson

Share this post


Link to post
30 minutes ago, Brenchen said:

Thanks for sharing your experience John.  I am still a bit below where you're at, quite a bit lol.  But even though you do raise some valid points, controlling your own weather!  I have always used RW weather, that way I can get use to the workflow of dialing up ATIS, making calls, taxiing to ever-changing runway etc..  Unfortunately, even with high quality payware scenery, I am still not getting a very accurate photoreal representation, which makes flying VFR and looking for inbound points difficult.  I am trying to find a way fly on the sim to keep current, do/learn everything I can from the ground, so I can focus on the things I can't do on the ground when I'm in the air (hence my comment about maximising productivity when the dollars are burning).  And I am concerned about training on a heavier aircraft impacting on my muscle memory for an LSA?

I do not change weather once I set it for a scenario, I set it first before I do anything else, such as my intended aircraft or origin.  Then like Ron Popiel, the infomercial man, I "set it and forget it", lol, and like you dial up ATIS, etc.  Also as the other responder suggests, do not overthink it.  Overthinking is the drag in flying in real life, which is why some accidents have happened.  My CFI literally taught me to "go with the flow", to fly the air instead of letting the air fly me, and in a larger perspective, the aircraft.  I have also driven that way, defensive driving, and defensive flying go hand in hand....

John

Share this post


Link to post

Things the sim is good at:

- Procedures (e.g. practicing cockpit flows, learning checklists, non-normal drills etc).

- Demonstrating the basic principles of flight and allowing you to experiment with them (e.g. the relationship between pitch attitude, power setting and airspeed/performance, the effect of induced drag in a turn, etc). Turn on the G display and watch the effect of different bank angles, try flying straight and level at different airspeeds and note the position of the nose cowling in relation to the horizon and the power setting required (note: don't expect the numbersto translate to the real aircraft, it's the principle), and so on.

- Practicing navigation techniques - if you have reasonable scenery you should be able to at least pick out towns and other large features. Distance/speed/time, the relationship between IAS, TAS and GS, and drift are all modelled accurately. You can take your whizz wheel, chart and the real weather, plan a route and fly it. See what effect wind has on your track and heading and how the techniques you learn from your instructor can be applied to make corrections. Practice doing this stuff (e.g. filling out a plog, diversion planning and calculations etc) whilst 'flying'. (Edit to add: also it is worth playing around with the weather. Change the wind speed/direction and see the effect on drift and ground speed. Change the visibility to legal VFR minimums and see how you feel about navigating and keeping the right way up in that and what you think about the relationship between 'legal' and 'safe', etc).

Things the sim (any sim) is not good at:

- Feel

- 100% accurately replicating the performance characteristics of a particular aeroplane (pitch and power settings, handling etc)

- Depth perception (read: landing)

-  Fine detail on visuals (albeit with modern scenery some excellent general results can be obtained).

- Fear!

My overarching advice would be to broadly use the sim retrospectively (I.e. let your instructor demonstrate the correct technique/procedure first and understand how it is applied in the real aircraft and practice those techniques and explore those principles in the sim rather than 'teaching yourself' in the sim in a hope to 'get ahead' and potentially learning the wrong technique which may to some extent have to be undone (and thus take longer).

  • Like 2

Simon Kelsey

sig_FSLBetaTester.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, skelsey said:

Things the sim is good at:

I like your last mention, Fear, so true, something that you do not feel until you have to land in real life, especially, where chop can cause unscheduled course and altitude changes, lol.  Once, when I was a passenger (thank goodness), we were warned by our United pilot that we might encounter some clear air turbulence due to high winds over the Rockies and lenticular clouds he had spotted plus ride reports ahead.  He ordered us and the flight attendants to hunker down, just in case.  His warning was not a false prophecy, about five minutes later I experienced the longest free fall feeling I ever experienced in an airliner, although the pilot humorously came on the horn and said we'd only lost one thousand feet.  I saw people's drink glasses and food trays floating in the air weightless, then coming down with a slam, my seatmate had not secured his drink, so I was wet with some type of cocktail, I think, lol.

As a student pilot I was warned, since I lived in Phoenix, to get as many lessons done in the spring as possible, since I was flying lightweight aircraft under light sport.  The reason being that chop increased the level of discomfort in flight, and my Allegro 2000 trainer did not have a lot of headroom, so sudden chop would cause me to hit my head on the ceiling of the cabin or one of the cross braces, which hurt worse.  My CFI would complain I was moving the stick too harshly and I replied "'tis not my fault, blame it on the chop!". 

I learned to keep a feather touch on the stick (the Allegro did not have a yoke, just a center stick) in order to avoid unplanned movements of the aircraft in the chop.  The restricted Light Sport "flying season" as we called it is why I gave up lessons, since I wanted to fly year round.  That is why I am waiting for the FAA to clear heavier, more chop resistant aircraft for Light Sport, since LSA pilots have complained their options are too limited making the available aircraft more expensive than promised.

Oddly I have found that the lighter trikes, based on the Rogallo wing, handle chop a bit better than fixed wing aircraft even if they are heavier.  I have also heard that Light Sport gyros handle chop quite well, though they are in the expensive category.  VSkylabs models a good ultralight gyro quite well, a great flyer for low and slow flight in Xplane11.  The next best low and slow aircraft for P3D is ANT's payware drifter ultralight, a fun little aircraft as well.

I find that sim aircraft can model feel well if, as I mentioned earlier, weather is tuned to simulate chop as real as possible.  Real weather does not cut it for me, too random for the type of flight feel immersion I want, to simulate the choppier Arizona skies I have flown in, in real life.  I feel Xplane11 does arguably a better job in the Microlight and smaller category than P3D, at least for a couple of freeware titles I have tried, and the VSkylabs payware titles I also enjoy which were brought to my attention by a member in the screenshots forum.  My FSX trike, which works in P3D but requires a mod for version 4.4 and beyond because of something that was done related to legacy textures, flies like the real thing, since as a trike pilot I worked for some time to get the feel exact, or about 90-95 pct as close as can be since P3D does not model extremes all that well with lighter aircraft like my trike.

As far as muscle memory mentioned by the OP, that is a good point to consider when selecting an aircraft to emulate whatever you train in.  What I found in many older aircraft is the MOI values, especially on roll and yaw, were too low and thus made one feel like they were flying on rails when the aircraft was flown.  But those can be increased moderately if a sim pilot wants a better feeling of the "lag" that sometimes exists when one moves the yoke or stick vs. the aircraft's movement.  Carenado used to put terribly low MOI values in their aircraft but they have since changed that and their lighter aircraft fly closer to what I was used to in flight training, like the Alabeo Piper Sport. 

People used to complain Xplane aircraft had the same "rails" issue until it was revealed they too had adjustable MOI values, although it is called something different in their air dynamics settings.  That led a lot of simmers to Xplane during the dark ages after Microsoft dropped MSFS and while we were waiting for P3D, I remember reading the discussions here.

John

Edited by n4gix
REMOVED EXCESSIVE QUOTE!!! John, please stop quoting the entire post you are replying to!

Share this post


Link to post

Have you considered trying VR (E.g. Rift S)? Maybe it would subdue instrument fixation and other limitations of simming on a monitor. But that would cost a few hundreds bucks (and you would need a decent GPU too).

And also using ortho scenery for better VFR navigation?


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

Share this post


Link to post
On 6/14/2019 at 9:14 PM, Murmur said:

Have you considered trying VR (E.g. Rift S)? Maybe it would subdue instrument fixation and other limitations of simming on a monitor. But that would cost a few hundreds bucks (and you would need a decent GPU too).

And also using ortho scenery for better VFR navigation?

I don't think I really need VR, rather save that for another hour of dual!  But ortho scenery sounds interesting.  At the moment I have Orbx and toposim for my area, which isn't very accurate, doesn't have the major features I need.  Anyway, I can only use it to practice circuits at the moment.


Brendan Chen

 

Learning to use and getting use to FSX!

Share this post


Link to post
On 6/14/2019 at 4:26 PM, skelsey said:

Things the sim is good at:

- Procedures (e.g. practicing cockpit flows, learning checklists, non-normal drills etc).

- Demonstrating the basic principles of flight and allowing you to experiment with them (e.g. the relationship between pitch attitude, power setting and airspeed/performance, the effect of induced drag in a turn, etc). Turn on the G display and watch the effect of different bank angles, try flying straight and level at different airspeeds and note the position of the nose cowling in relation to the horizon and the power setting required (note: don't expect the numbersto translate to the real aircraft, it's the principle), and so on.

- Practicing navigation techniques - if you have reasonable scenery you should be able to at least pick out towns and other large features. Distance/speed/time, the relationship between IAS, TAS and GS, and drift are all modelled accurately. You can take your whizz wheel, chart and the real weather, plan a route and fly it. See what effect wind has on your track and heading and how the techniques you learn from your instructor can be applied to make corrections. Practice doing this stuff (e.g. filling out a plog, diversion planning and calculations etc) whilst 'flying'. (Edit to add: also it is worth playing around with the weather. Change the wind speed/direction and see the effect on drift and ground speed. Change the visibility to legal VFR minimums and see how you feel about navigating and keeping the right way up in that and what you think about the relationship between 'legal' and 'safe', etc).

Things the sim (any sim) is not good at:

- Feel

- 100% accurately replicating the performance characteristics of a particular aeroplane (pitch and power settings, handling etc)

- Depth perception (read: landing)

-  Fine detail on visuals (albeit with modern scenery some excellent general results can be obtained).

- Fear!

My overarching advice would be to broadly use the sim retrospectively (I.e. let your instructor demonstrate the correct technique/procedure first and understand how it is applied in the real aircraft and practice those techniques and explore those principles in the sim rather than 'teaching yourself' in the sim in a hope to 'get ahead' and potentially learning the wrong technique which may to some extent have to be undone (and thus take longer).

I like your summing up, thanks!  Fear is definitely one of the things that makes RW flying completely different.  I take the flight characterstics with a grain of salt at the moment, but learning more about workflow (i.e. stuff that happens in a circuit), overtime, slowly work towards a complete circuit doing everything from checks to radio calls.  Hopefully when I jump in the plane next time, I can just focus on flying and being scared! :D


Brendan Chen

 

Learning to use and getting use to FSX!

Share this post


Link to post

If you can get a detailed terrain mesh and photoreal overlaid of your area (well, the area you will be doing most of your flying IRL) then that should help VFR navigation at least from a couple of thousand feet up  - topographical features, major roads, landmarks etc (you may even be able to see your house :) ).

All the best in your aviating endeavours. :cool:


Mark Robinson

"What's it doing now?"

Greenbrier Aero Club former member

I made the baby cry - A2A Simulations L-049 Constellation

Sky Simulations MD-11 V2.2 Pilot. The best "lite" MD-11 money can buy (well, it's not freeware!)

Share this post


Link to post
14 hours ago, Brenchen said:

I like your summing up, thanks!  Fear is definitely one of the things that makes RW flying completely different.  I take the flight characterstics with a grain of salt at the moment, but learning more about workflow (i.e. stuff that happens in a circuit), overtime, slowly work towards a complete circuit doing everything from checks to radio calls.  Hopefully when I jump in the plane next time, I can just focus on flying and being scared! 😄

For my real life training, my most enjoyable times were takeoff and landing, being taught to work with ATC and the "Any landing you can walk away from..." feeling I would get after a nice training flight with my equally cool and enthusiastic CFI, Jason Bullard.  Falcon Field where I trained at is a quite busy GA field, one of the busiest in the world.  Me, in my little Allegro Trainer, waiting to take off because of a B200's wake turbulence ahead of me, wake turbulence is the one thing missing from our sims and it is a real factor.  Not only that, but when I was practicing engine out situations in a desert wash in my CFI's trike, he cautioned me about wake turbulence from our previous landing, even though it was a few minutes before while we were taxiing back to our takeoff point into the wind.  And I did feel it on takeoff, not too strong, but it was present and distinct from the choppiness of the warm air that morning.

I loved takeoffs just because of the feeling of success--going from preflight to takeoff, getting the aircraft in the air, though takeoffs for me were much easier than landing.  I did not like landing at stall speed because burbles would sometimes catch me in ground effect and lift my aircraft five or six feet higher, not a great place to stall from.  Microlights can be easily picked up that way.  For stall landings I feel Xplane11 mimics that better than P3d.  I have never heard the stall horn go off in a P3D landing, but in many Xplane11 landings I can get it to chirp right as the wheels touch down, which is so reminiscent of my real training flights. 

Anyway, I appreciate your thread, it gets me to thinking about how sims are useful for not only entertainment after a flight, but instruction before a flight.  Our sims are not "toys" but they can be thought of as that in the hands of those younger childhood age pilots that we want to woo into the sport and recreation of flight.

John

Share this post


Link to post

Presently for me the most important use of a flightsim would be to as close as possible render the areas I fly over, and preferably the weather too...

I gave up on expecting our hardware ( cheap ) to allow for proper force feedback.

It's also very good - flight sims - for IFR and navigation traning.


Flight Simulation is the Virtual Materialization of a Dream...

 

Share this post


Link to post

I completely stopped simming back when I was into flight training. Mind you this was before all the cool add-ons we have today (circa 2004-2005). XP11 + ortho experiences was totally out of reach.
While my FS experience was to some great advantages, it also was my greatest enemy. us simmers pick up plenty of bad habits and tend to treat every moment as an IFR-flight, eyes fixated on the gyros and ASI, chasing longitudal stability by trimming away like an id*ot 🙂
 


nw67ik-6.png

i9 9900K , Cooled by Dark Rock Pro 4 | ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2080 Ti OC | 16GB Corsair DDR4 RAM |
EVGA Supernova G2 850W | Fractal Design ARC XL | 4 x Corsair ML140 | NZXT Sentry 3 |

PFC Saab Yoke w. Warthog throttle | 32" Philips 4K Monitor

My Youtube Channel with 4K P3D content

Share this post


Link to post

@skelsey hit it the nail on the head. Stick to all 3 on his "good at" list. Procedures, checklists, flows. Using the sim fly a dead-reckoned VFR flight you plan using a paper map, plotter, and e6b is great practice and keeps those skills sharp in a time when it is just too easy to pull out Foreflight and let it do the mental work for you. 


Chris

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...