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From Boeing to Bus?

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Lately I've been eyeing the FSL A320 which is odd because I've always considered myself a confirmed Boeing guy.  Maybe it's because I finally feel so comfortable flying the NG and Queen and I miss that uncomfortable excitement and near panic when I didn't really know if I could pull off a landing.  Philosophically, I prefer the Boeing approach to flying: the feel of the control surfaces, the cowboy pilot who is in control, not a sidestick and a bunch of cold computers.  Taking some time to admire the FSL Airbus I can see it's fantastically well done. Reviewing the FS2Crew SOP and I'm completely baffled, it's a totally different way to fly.  It seems so foreign and would be easy to just thumb my nose at it and go back to my comfortable Boeings, but that wouldn't be very sporting would it?  Maybe I should learn this other way?

And there's something else that's affecting my sim mindset.  The MAX fiasco is weighing on my mind and my conscience. As bizarre as this may sound, I almost feel embarrassed to be pretend flying a Boeing right now.  Maybe this was once a highly innovative engineering driven company but its behavior lately has revealed it to be yet another shameless global corporate entity whose only concern is stock price and executive parachutes.

To add to the mental conflict, I like to fly with Scandinavian, and they've recently announced that they'll be moving to an all Airbus fleet and retiring their NGs over the next few years.  So in the long run, if I want to keep flying SAS, I'm going to have to learn the Airbus way!

Given that I only have a few weekends left in my summer sim season, I know if i take the plunge now I'll just end the season frustrated because there's no way I'll get to any kind of proficiency in the Airbus in a few weeks time.  But alas it's still there in my mind, challenging me to grow up and give it the old college try.

Any other confirmed Boeing pilots face this dilemma? What are your experiences crossing over to the other side?

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I was similar in that “my airline” Air New Zealand switched from 733 to A320s.

grab the FSLabs A320. I’ve been pretend flying it for some years and it’s great. Can feel more “alive” than the PMDG 737 sometimes.

I mostly use the Airbus now.

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Posted (edited)

I've always been a big fan of the 737 and certainly number it among my favourite aeroplanes of all time. Not only this, the 737 would always be the suggestion I'd make to anyone who was keen to give airliner operations a try in flight sims, as I think it is probably the ideal 'learner airliner'. But having said that, in real life I work for Aviator, which means I work on quite a lot of different aeroplanes, including Scandinavian's airliners which come into Manchester, so that'd be 737 NGs, A320s and 321s and their CRJs, and of all those Scandinavian aeroplane types, and in spite of my liking for the 737, I have to say that the Airbus A320 and A321 are definitely nicer to work on than the B737 in almost every respect, which is hardly surprising really, since at the end of the day the A320, particularly the NEO version, is a more modern design.

So as much as the 737 is a classic and one of my all time favourites, the fact is, it's an old airframe design which Boeing should really have retired instead of ill-advisedly trying to shoehorn those LEAP engines onto. From an economics standpoint, it did sort of seem to make sense for Boeing to do that rather than go for a clean sheet design, since doing so would allow them to keep the same type rating for the MAX and that appeared to be a big plus point for airlines considering buying the MAX when they already had NG-certified pilots. However, Boeing should have admitted to themselves early on in the proceedings that any advantage a similar type-rating might have conferred, was going to come at the cost of too many compromises in an attempt to maintain type commonality, most notably, but not limited to, that MCAS system and some of the very obvious economy with the truth which Boeing have indulged in with regard to it.

Beyond the appalling tragedy of the two 737 MAX fatal crashes which have led to not only its grounding, and worse for Boeing, is the demand that its certification process now be audited as part of the investigation into what led to those crashes. This has not only tarnished the reputation of the 737 as a whole, which is a shame, but also the reputation of Boeing itself. It will take a long time for them to recover from that damage, but it has to be said, they've in large part only got themselves to blame for having this occur.

We know this kind of mud sticks for a while too: Airbus went through almost exactly the same thing with the A320, which upon introduction was so radically different, that its very different piloting philosophy was at the core of some fatalities. Some of that was indeed the fault of Airbus designers, because beyond the operational differences on the A320's flight deck to that of more conventional types, the haptics and ergonomics of the A320's avionics layout were determined to have contributed to some crashes and were subject to a redesign as a result of that.

Now to be fair to Airbus, since they were pretty much the first manufacturer to place so much pioneering reliance on FBW, glass cockpits and a lot of FMC control, it's not too surprising that their aircraft types copped a lot of the blame for the difficult birth of such a methodology when they elected to shoulder that responsibility pretty much alone, however, it's with more than a little irony in the current media climate for Boeing, that we can look back upon that difficult time for Airbus as the catalyst for two things - the nickname 'scarebus' and the phrase, 'If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going'.

How things turn sometimes. Writ large in the mind of the public we have an A320 making a perfect touchdown on the Hudson river with no fatalities, contrasted with the news that Boeing are dropping the name MAX from their newest type in an attempt at damage limitation as a result of passenger surveys which have suggested that for a very large percentage of them, if it IS BOEING, they ain't going.

Now of course the saga rolls on, but in the interim for anyone who was considering dipping their flight sim toe into the Airbus waters, the sad tale of the MAX and the maturity of the A320 NEO is as good a reason as any to do so, and the detail which the FSL version of the A320 offers is another. So in short, I'd say go for it. It's a challenge, but if you are interested in airliners, knowing 'both types' will give you a much more balanced and bipartisan perspective of commercial aviation, such that you'll have a better understanding of not only where Airbus is at, but where Boeing is going too.

Edited by Chock
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I can't imagine having a principle of life that would have such an impact  on your flight simming? Aren' you over-exaggerating a tiny bit?  Either way you are flying in front of a monitor at home, you don't "feel" any control surfaces regardless. 🙂

FSL A320 will blow you away. Can highly recommend it. 

And as always, fly SAS 🙂

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8 hours ago, captain_adf said:

Any other confirmed Boeing pilots face this dilemma?

Negative. I've always stuck to flying the Boeing jets. Lately only the Boeing 747-400 and -8 since that's all I have for P3D V4.

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Using X-Plane 11, I fly about equal time between the A320 and B737.

The only drawback being that I keep forgetting until the last minute to dial in the ILS frequency and course in the 737. The Airbus does this automatically. (mostly).

 

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I fly both 737's and have the FSL A320 and give them almost equal flight hours:  But the Lab's A320 is way too temperamental to both install updates, and to fly in general - cost me many extra hours over the past few years. But I like still like it so much, so I'll keep plugging away.   

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7 hours ago, NZ255 said:

Can feel more “alive” than the PMDG 737 sometimes

Totally agree.  The FSL Airbus is, in my opinion, the best airplane for ANY flight simulation platform!

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You're making too big a deal about it, it's just an aeroplane.

I spent 10 years on the Airbus and I've been on the Jumbo for the last 3. I fly with many guys who have your issue for real, they all "hate the Airbus" or "fundamentally disagree with the design philosophy". I'm no Airbus shrill but Boeing's and Airbus's are more alike than they are different. Don't get me wrong, they all have their quirks, neither is perfect and both will happily kill you if you fly it 'wrong' but they are both large tubes with wings and engines, pull the controls back, trees smaller, push it forwards, trees bigger.

And don't kid yourself, since Airbus paved the way for FBW to be deemed publicly acceptable (there were some before them, Concorde notably, but for mass awareness they were the first), every other manufacturer has followed suit. Boeing have been doing it (rather well, so I've heard) for years (show me the control runs or hydraulic lines in a 787) but the whole MAX problems show just how hard it is to properly integrate FBW features into an aircraft without scaring (or killing) people.

A few of the myths I often hear...
"The Airbus will overrule you if it doesn't like what you're doing".
In a sense, it's true, but if it's overruling you, you are so far out of the normal envelope of operations or doing something so monumentally reckless, the chances are it's helping. In 10 years it never overruled me; and I'm no ace of the base, in fact, I'd barely make average of the base these days.

"You can never take manual control of an Airbus".
I think it's two button pushes to dump yourself in Direct Law (side stick deflection = control deflection). Still electronic signals to the control surfaces but no computers. Two FACs, if you're interested...

"Everything's backwards and makes no sense on an Airbus".
That's only because you're so comfortable and experienced with a Boeing. A Bentley has buttons in different places and that work in a different way to a Datsun, I don't really think you would say the Bentley was backwards and makes no sense, even if you'd been driving your Datsun for 20 years.

Like all new types, there is a period of adjustment and it is quite a big change but I felt the same going from a "backwards and nonsensical" Airbus to a (by their definition) "logical and sensible" Boeing, it still took me a long time to get used to it and oh, how I miss my table and drinks holder... The irony here is that most guys can never predict what VNAV is going to do next, despite it's sensible and logical nature.

I'm not slagging Boeing off here, just pointing out that it's the change that people don't like and, as Airbus have been the 'newcomer's' here, they're considered to be wrong rather than different.

So I would say, if you fancy a change, try an Airbus, it's going to be different and it's going to be a bit confusing for a while as you get used to it, and you never know, you might like it, but ultimately you'll learn a new way of doing things and about a whole new bunch of aeroplanes.

And if that's not what simming's about then I don't know why we bother...

P.S. Couldn't comment on the best Airbus to buy, FSL seems to be very well written about but I have the Aerosoft one and it flies/operates just like I remember it.

 

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Any loss of life is a tragedy and the aerospace and airline industries have worked hard to make it safer to fly than to drive our own cars or ride on a train.  I'm sure this applies equally to Airbus and Boeing.  However, you can't escape the fact that that accidents do tend to happen when technology changes. 

The first jet airliner, the Comet, suffered crashes due to a previously little understood phenomenon: metal fatigue due to repeated pressurization and depressurization of high-flying aircraft.  An early glass cockpit B737 NGX suffered a terrible accident at East Midlands Airport when one engine failed and the crew misinterpreted the new instrumentation and shut down the other working engine on approach to an emergency landing, crashing on the M1 motorway at Kegworth.  Even a captain with in excess of 10,000 hours couldn't prevent a crash on the A320's first passenger flight at the Habsheim Air Show when he got too low and slow, ironically trying to demonstrate the aircraft's flight envelope protection systems, and then couldn't overcome those same stall-protection systems to recover the aircraft before it hit trees.  Modern turboprops including the popular ATR series, have had a number of crashes apparently caused by propensity to ice-up due to the propwash passing over the airframe, requiring new instructions to be issued to pilots.

What's happened with the 737 Max is dreadful and it does seem Boeing are at least partly to blame, at least in not ensuring pilots were well enough aware of its new systems.  That shouldn't happen to a company with their outstanding track record but they aren't the first to do this and regrettably they won't be the last.

Anyone for the first hypersonic or sub-orbital flights?  

 

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Since this is a thread primarily of yoke versus side stick let me ask what does it matter in a simulator what kind of controls the real aircraft has?  Whatever aircraft I fly in my simulator I am flying with a side stick.  The Saitek X52 which I have had for almost a decade has a stick which I place on the right side of my keyboard and a throttle which I place on the left side of my keyboard.

So it doesn't matter whether I am flying an Airbus or a B737 or an F/A 18 or an F-16 or a J-3 Cub or a Quest Kodiak Amphibian or a sailplane or an ultralight.  I use the same stick/throttle for all of them even though they all have different controls.. 

FSX and P3Dv3 or 4 are games.  Hobbies.  Simulators.  Not the real thing.  And the reason we play with these games is to have fun.  Allowing the Boeing problems to creep into the hobby we all enjoy is, to me, ludicrous.

Noel  

 

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It's not like Airbus hasn't pulled its share of dumb over the years. What Boeing did was abysmal, but that shouldn't take away from the excellence they used to display.

The 747 is still a great plane, both real-world and sim. So is the 737 non-Max version. As usual when a corporation puts dollars ahead of common sense, bad things happen and their reputation gets sullied. But it's recoverable.

Ford got caught deciding not to fix the design flaw that made gas tanks catch fire on the Pinto because they judged that they'd spend less on wrongful death claims than they would fixing the problem and not killing people. You'd think the market forces the anti-reg crowd talks about would have forced Ford right out of business because what fool would buy a car from a company that literally killed people in order to save a little money?  But that was several decades ago, and Ford is still going strong.

Boeing can and most likely will survive this. Hopefully it will come out the other side with a recommitting to the old Boeing way and will stop listening quite so closely to the bean counters.

In the meanwhile, I'll keep flying my sim-Boeings without a smidge of guilt because 1) it's not real and 2) the ones in my sim are, real-world- well-made and safe.

 

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Guys,

Worried the tone my get a bit rough here. Let's remember to be polite and civil. In real life, I'm an Airbus guy, but have thousands of hours flying Boeing metal as well, and I'm very disappointed in them right now. The original poster is entitled to his opinion, without ridicule. 

@captain_adf I'm an Airbus captain in real life, currently on the "short bus" moving to the 330 in August. Happy to answer any airbus related questions you have. 

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, captain_adf said:

Any other confirmed Boeing pilots face this dilemma?

Sort of. I was already disappointed about Boeing's decision to ask for 300% penalty taxes for Bombardier's C-Series, with which Being does not even compete. Since that time, I simply do not enjoy flying Boeings anymore, and that feeling increased a lot after the MAX accidents. It is not a moral dilemma or a boycott, I just feel reminded of the bad decisions their management has made over the last few years any time I see a Boeing cockpit, so I just avoid it. 

As for the transition from Boeing to Airbus, it is not that bad. There are a few things that work differently, but by and large it is another plane that needs to be flown safely, and one with a large degree of automation. I would compare the A320 experience to a B777, which is also fly-by-wire. Not that they are the same, but once you get used to the throttle quadrant and the autopilot, the experience in a routine flight is comparable: lots of setting up things before takeoff, then the plane flies itself.

As for the make: both FSL A320 and Aerosoft A320 are very good models. The FSL is more in-depth, but you need a good CPU for it. I would avoid the Blackbox A320. That was my first bus and I thought I was too dumb to understand the Airbus logic since I never got the autopilot to do what I wanted. Then the (first) Aerosoft A320 was released, and suddenly I was able to fly the plane :). That happened 5 years ago or so. Maybe the BB A320 is now more reasonable, I just never looked back.

Peter 

Edited by qqwertzde

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19 hours ago, captain_adf said:

Any other confirmed Boeing pilots face this dilemma? What are your experiences crossing over to the other side?

Since you don't have very much time to learn the FSL Airbus, and it seems to be a concern whether you will or will not enjoy the challenge, you have another option; the Aerosoft Airbus is much less expensive, it also has an FS2Crew option, and it should sufficiently satisfy the challenge. 

But if you want the realism/depth of FSL, just be sure to read the manual and don't try to take shortcuts, because if you fail to read the manual and decide to take shortcuts you may as well just get the Aerosoft version. 

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6 hours ago, birdguy said:

Since this is a thread primarily of yoke versus side stick let me ask what does it matter in a simulator what kind of controls the real aircraft has?  Whatever aircraft I fly in my simulator I am flying with a side stick.  The Saitek X52 which I have had for almost a decade has a stick which I place on the right side of my keyboard and a throttle which I place on the left side of my keyboard.

So it doesn't matter whether I am flying an Airbus or a B737 or an F/A 18 or an F-16 or a J-3 Cub or a Quest Kodiak Amphibian or a sailplane or an ultralight.  I use the same stick/throttle for all of them even though they all have different controls.. 

FSX and P3Dv3 or 4 are games.  Hobbies.  Simulators.  Not the real thing.  And the reason we play with these games is to have fun.  Allowing the Boeing problems to creep into the hobby we all enjoy is, to me, ludicrous.

Noel  

 

Noel, 

A perspective for you to consider,

One could ask you; why don't you just use a keyboard to fly your planes? Its just a game for crying out loud! Why spend the money on an X52? What a waste, its just a stupid game!

One could tell you; Just go make paper airplanes, why buy a PC and game to fly? Paper airplanes are the same thing, a.k.a., "not the real thing"!  

But anyway, this thread is not about controls, its about learning Airbus flight operations and the transition from Boeing to Airbus, but since this is all a game to you, this should not interest you in the least.

I do agree with you about the Boeing bashing going on here, I had hoped Avsim would shut that down quick. Maybe some Airbus bashing is what it will take.

🙂

 

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22 hours ago, captain_adf said:

Lately I've been eyeing the FSL A320 which is odd because I've always considered myself a confirmed Boeing guy.  Maybe it's because I finally feel so comfortable flying the NG and Queen and I miss that uncomfortable excitement and near panic when I didn't really know if I could pull off a landing.  Philosophically, I prefer the Boeing approach to flying: the feel of the control surfaces, the cowboy pilot who is in control, not a sidestick and a bunch of cold computers.  Taking some time to admire the FSL Airbus I can see it's fantastically well done. Reviewing the FS2Crew SOP and I'm completely baffled, it's a totally different way to fly.  It seems so foreign and would be easy to just thumb my nose at it and go back to my comfortable Boeings, but that wouldn't be very sporting would it?  Maybe I should learn this other way?

And there's something else that's affecting my sim mindset.  The MAX fiasco is weighing on my mind and my conscience. As bizarre as this may sound, I almost feel embarrassed to be pretend flying a Boeing right now.  Maybe this was once a highly innovative engineering driven company but its behavior lately has revealed it to be yet another shameless global corporate entity whose only concern is stock price and executive parachutes.

To add to the mental conflict, I like to fly with Scandinavian, and they've recently announced that they'll be moving to an all Airbus fleet and retiring their NGs over the next few years.  So in the long run, if I want to keep flying SAS, I'm going to have to learn the Airbus way!

Given that I only have a few weekends left in my summer sim season, I know if i take the plunge now I'll just end the season frustrated because there's no way I'll get to any kind of proficiency in the Airbus in a few weeks time.  But alas it's still there in my mind, challenging me to grow up and give it the old college try.

Any other confirmed Boeing pilots face this dilemma? What are your experiences crossing over to the other side?

Hello Andrew, sounds like you may be a prime canidate to consider the in depth prop liners like the PMDG DC6 or A2As fantastic Captain of the Ship Constellation and some of the other offerings of that genery. Man are they fun as well as challenging. Break away from programming an FMC and instead managing four tempermental Cyclones. I've ruined a few. Learn to crank those beast with realistic start box checked. Lots of hand flying with autopilots that are not set and walk away, at least not for long. Try flying a massive airplane instead of a computer. Sometimes I feel old Earnie's ghost looking over my shoulder and smiling. 

Just a friendly suggestion.

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Posted (edited)

Wow, thanks everyone for chiming in. I appreciate everyone's opinions and suggestions here.  I certainly don't want to cause any bashing, nor would I ever criticize or discredit anyone's choice of aircraft to fly in the sim (or in the real world!)

I think what I fear most is frustration at feeling like a noob again, since I now feel pretty good with the 737 and 747.  I love flying them!  But at the same time, it was exactly that same frustration that led me to want to conquer these planes back when I first started.  And that led to many years of fun getting to know how to fly a Boeing.  And before I put myself on too high a pedestal, I'm still very very far from being able to claim I've conquered them!

So I think I'll approach the Airbus with that same curiosity and drive.  It's going to take quite a bit of ground school! Thanks for the suggestion to look at the Aerosoft version, I will have to consider that as it's definitely a less intensive price tag and gets plenty of good reviews.  While I'm at it I'll look at some of those fire breathing rotary birds too.  It's all about having fun right? It certainly is in my case since I know I'll never be a real pilot. It sure is fun to pretend, and I'm so lucky to have a hobby that has so much choice.  "I'm for whatever gets you through the night", as ole Frank Sinatra once said.

Thanks again everyone, and I am sorry if I stirred up any trouble, I meant no offense.  Boeing and Airbus both make fine planes and I hope both firms can survive, thrive, and innovate since the aviation world is better with both.  Not the least, they give us sim pilots loads to gripe about, but also a ton of valuable learning.

Edited by captain_adf
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Posted (edited)

Who said anything about a 'stupid game' Paul?  I said game.  It I not a stupid game, it is a computer game.  If it were stupid I wouldn't be spending my time on it.

I use the Saitek for control inputs because it is easier than using the keyboard for flight controls.  However I do use the keyboard to bring up many of the popups.

I do make paper airplanes.  Some pretty good ones too.  Before my hands started shaking I used to build and airbrush plastic model airplanes.  And before my glaucoma kicked in I flew real airplanes instead of standing on the ground and looking at them fly over.  But then I've always done that too.  Who can hear an airplane fly over and not look up?  

Noel

Edited by birdguy
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Gee Whiz guys.  Can't we have just one topic on Avsim that someone doesn't get their nickers in a twist about?  The OP's question has been answered.

If you wish to regale the members more with your simulator experience with Boeing/Airbus proficiency and which one you think is the best go ahead.  But no more of this schoolyard "mines better than yours" arguments. They are starting to get a bit tedious and are bordering on personal insults. Let's not go there.

And Thank You Busdriver for adding your professional input as to the differences

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1 hour ago, birdguy said:

Who said anything about a 'stupid game' Paul?  I said game.  It I not a stupid game, it is a computer game.  If it were stupid I wouldn't be spending my time on it.

I use the Saitek for control inputs because it is easier than using the keyboard for flight controls.  However I do use the keyboard to bring up many of the popups.

I do make paper airplanes.  Some pretty good ones too.  Before my hands started shaking I used to build and airbrush plastic model airplanes.  And before my glaucoma kicked in I flew real airplanes instead of standing on the ground and looking at them fly over.  But then I've always done that too.  Who can hear an airplane fly over and not look up?  

Noel

I simply meant to communicate that you calling P3D a game (with more emphasis than necessary) is offensive to some here, you know this to be true. So I gave you an example of one who could take it further and call it a stupid game...their opinion, that you don't like or agree with.

This reason this is important is because MS in the past tried to make MSFS a "game" specifically. The majority of Avsim members did not tolerate that at all. Also, If we see the current version of P3D as a game, what would it take for P3D to become a "simulation"? Many real life schools use P3D/XP or the like, to save on many things, including fuel, time, and also to reinforce concepts. If the FAA suddenly called all these "PC flight games" unacceptable for training, I wonder how that would affect real life.

If we read just the feature lists (let alone the manuals) of PMDG or FSL add-on aircraft, there is no way a gamer will be able to just figure it all out in a month. These are complex simulations of real aircraft. There should be some respect for the work and effort that go/went into them.

My response is not designed to be a "me against you", but more a "please think about others".🙂   

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It’s quite an interesting thread this. I’m battling with this Airbus or Boeing question a lot just at the moment. After flying it for nearly 23 years my beloved real world machine, the magnificent 747 is up for retirement shortly so I’m presented with a choice. Stick with Boeing and go on the  787 with a 200 mile motorway drive before and after a flight at a distant base , or switch to the Airbus A330/A350 and stay where I am with a 30 mile drive through countryside.

I must admit the Airbus does look sort of fresh and appealing certainly from an ergonomics point of view.

Its funny as I have the QW 787 and I find I can just fire that up and go without having read the manual. I’ve also invested in the FSL 320, JAR design A330 and FF A350 but I just sit and stare at those confused, I suppose I should try reading their manuals that might help 🙂

The Airbus vs Boeing debate rages on in real world flying also , I’ve heard of at least one drunken bar fight years ago between Boeing and Airbus pilots started by a my aeroplane is better than yours routine.

My airline operates both types and there is always inter fleet banter.When we had A340-300s the standing joke was that they were powered by 4 hairdryers due to their rather small, (in comparison to the 747 )engines.

Our 747 fleet manager for many years was a Fantastic, really nice guy, called George. He once told me the story that when we placed an order for the new A340-600 he received a taunting email from the Airbus fleet manager with a photo of the much larger RR engines hanging on the wing with just the words “ Big aren’t they” to which George quickly  replied “ very nice.....are they dual voltage?’

 

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I am awed by the power and work that went into flight simulators from the very beginning to what we have now.  And no doubt some of them are used by serious flight students.  In fact I was watching an episode of Ice Pilots the other day and they use one for training.

But for every flight simmer I personally know, and there are several, it is  pastime.  It's a game.  A very enjoyable game.  An addictive game for some.

Aa far as complexity goes for PMDG or FSL I play other computer games that have degrees of complexity.  Chess and Scrabble.  I can make them as easy or difficult as I choose.

For me it is a pleasant pastime and a reminder of days gone by.  But it no way does it put me back into the cockpit of a real airplane.

Noel

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1 hour ago, jon b said:

so I’m presented with a choice

Can you’d a ‘ride along’ before choosing?

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6 hours ago, birdguy said:

For me it is a pleasant pastime and a reminder of days gone by.  But it no way does it put me back into the cockpit of a real airplane.

Noel

Just my words, I never understood the problem with game versus simulator, I enjoy it whatever it is called.

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