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sd_flyer

Thoughts about MSFS and RL training/currency

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So after reading all those endless debates "sim vs game" that pops out once in a while, I decided to share my personal experience here.

Last year I  opted to suspend my CFI activities due  to covid situation. Having one immunocompromised and another cancer survivor members in my family I didn't think twice about my decision. I only flew for currency and  occasionally did some BFR for my friends, but wasn't as active as before. However, as long time sim addict I didn't want to remain idle. Jumping a boat of newly released MSFS I have spend tons of my free time keeping myself busy in virtual skies. Not ideal but better than nothing!

Back in my private pilot years I had periods in my life when I was forced to quit flying for some time either due to financial strains or family situations. So I'm  well aware what it feels to be rusty as well as how long does it take to come back to feel comfortable and proficient again.

As time went by,  things US improved, I got vaccinated and time for my rusty flight review came! (at the place I fly each CFI must do review every year)

I knew MSFS should have helped me to be afloat, I just didn't know how well. So day came and my fellow CFI had to evaluate my rusty state! Bringing back my currency (instrument and flight review) took two flights in two different airplanes 172 and Bonanza. I did pretty much everything from instrument approaches, holds and stalls to maneuvers  including commercial ones like chandelles and lazy eights. Well, to my surprised I nailed everything except chandelles (oh well). My fellow CFI was a bit confused because I warned her in advance about my super rusty state, and according to her I had nothing of that sort! LOL

I have absolutely no doubt the major factor me performing well my virtual  flying in MSFS. As seasoned simmer and real world CFI I knew what benefit sims can bring, so I took full advantage it. Yes, actual result exceeded my expectation, and even surprised me.

While I'm currently prefer MSFS I believe any games like XP, DCS  abd etc are easily convertible to a sim( and yes I consider all of them: MSFS, XP, DCS and etc as games!). However, the magic is in usage not in the name! I have no doubt people with real life flying experience can take full advantage of MSFS and accept its limitations while compensating  with "still doing things right" ! For folks who never touched a yoke MSFS is great gateway to real aviation or just opportunity enjoying  flying along with other and feel part of greater aviation community that united virtual and real pilots together!  I feel that future of flight summing games is pretty bright. We have great simmer enthusiasts, talented modders and open minded developers! So despite bumpy ride  thank you Asobo for a great sim. I can't stop  enjoying flying over and seeing my house! In fact, this is the first sim in my life that I can actually do it! And yes this a big part of realism for me LOL

 

P.S. Guess what I did after my flight review ? Came home jumped back in MSFS and started practicing chandelles! LOL 

 

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flight sim addict, airplane owner, CFI

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Yes it can help but I suspect it's more because you are a great pilot friend


Wayne such

Asus Hero 64 GB, I7 8700K Asus GTX 1080TI

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About 2 decades ago, I had a chance to spend about 5 hours in a brand new 767-400 ER full motion sim that was delivered to the Delta Training Center in Atlanta. I was a trainer for the company that made the projection systems for the CAE sim, worth at the time around $22 million. I had a friend who was a Delta check pilot and he ran the sim for me. Anyway, my only experience in anything except C 152-172 and Warriors, was the Level D sim on my PC, which I had hundreds and hundreds of hours in. He had me take off from KATL, and fly a traffic pattern and land. He had me hand fly the 767, and I was surprised how heavy the controls were.  A couple of full stop landings, is all I thought I would get. Turned out I made 9 landings and takeoffs. I flared too high on the 3rd landing, and bounced pretty hard ( my copilot winced when we hit) , but all the rest of the landings were pretty good, smooth and pretty close to the centerline. He had me use the A/T on shirt final, and slight heading corrections using the rudder. 

When it was over, he asked me "How much Turbine Time I had". When I told him, "Zero", he was surprised. Then I told him about all the time I had with the Level D Sim in FS9. He was pretty impressed. 

 

 

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Bob Cardone         MSFS 2020     PMDG DC6  JF Arrow, Carenado Seminole , Mooney

TrackIR   Avliasoft EFB2    ATC  by PF3    FlyVirtual.net  CLX PC

 

 

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I'm almost in the same boat. Hit that pre covid 500hr mark, interviewed in Alaska, then covid hit. Haven't flown in over a year. I'll need an IPC when returning which I hope is soon. So in the mean time, I'm practicing on the sim when I can. I've been eyeballing the FS Academy IFR addon course...

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/ CPU: Intel i7-9700K @4.9 / RAM: 32GB G.Skill 3200 / GPU: GTX 1080ti 11GB /

Kyle

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I wish MSFS was around when I did my PPL! I had a tough time learning how to fly by reference to the ground, I was so used to flying PC sims and had time in 777 level D's that I was probably too advanced for the PPL stage. I had to park a lot of the stuff I had used for navigating and learn to read the ground/chart and I struggled for some time with this part. FS2000 taught me bad habits, like staring at the gauges but my FI soon drummed that out of me lol. 

I think sims are a great learning tool for aviation provided the learning path is managed  

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Same could be said for most previous sims.

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David Porrett

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17 minutes ago, Bobsk8 said:

About 2 decades ago, I had a chance to spend about 5 hours in a brand new 767-400 ER full motion sim that was delivered to the Delta Training Center in Atlanta. I was a trainer for the company that made the projection systems for the CAE sim, worth at the time around $22 million. I had a friend who was a Delta check pilot and he ran the sim for me. Anyway, my only experience in anything except C 152-172 and Warriors, was the Level D sim on my PC, which I had hundreds and hundreds of hours in. He had me take off from KATL, and fly a traffic pattern and land. He had me hand fly the 767, and I was surprised how heavy the controls were.  A couple of full stop landings, is all I thought I would get. Turned out I made 9 landings and takeoffs. I flared too high on the 3rd landing, and bounced pretty hard ( my copilot winced when we hit) , but all the rest of the landings were pretty good, smooth and pretty close to the centerline. He had me use the A/T on shirt final, and slight heading corrections using the rudder. 

When it was over, he asked me "How much Turbine Time I had". When I told him, "Zero", he was surprised. Then I told him about all the time I had with the Level D Sim in FS9. He was pretty impressed. 

Did a sort of similar thing years ago. I was working on making some of the S.O.P. manuals for the Airbus A320, 321 and 330 and the B767 for a few European airlines. As a result of that I got the chance to have a go in a full-on A320 simulator for a couple of hours or so one afternoon. After I'd done some stuff in that, the instructor asked me a similar sort of thing concerning how much time I had in various aeroplanes, supposing that i had a fair bit. He was not entirely surprised when I said that I only had real stick time in small GA aeroplanes, but had done a bit of flying with some of the better add-on airliners in MS flight simulator. I don't think it was the first time he'd found that someone with flight sim time on airliners was fairly clued up on what to do.

One of the things which I found a bit weird whenever I got in a real A320 cockpit, which was a fair few times when working as a rampie at Manchester, since we had to power them up for the cleaners which meant sticking a GPU on them on the remote stands and then going up in the cockpit and switching the bus to that and putting the lights on, was that most of the time this tended to be at night since I worked late shifts which started at about 6pm. Virtually all my real world flying in gliders and such is daylight. So it does seem a bit closed in and cosy in that Airbus cockpit slotted in alongside the central pedestal with all the switches which surround you glowing away, as compared to having the big glass canopy of a glider giving you a virtually unrestricted view of things and just a pretty simple panel with a few round gauges up in front of you. That took a bit of getting used to and flight sims on a PC monitor don't really prepare you for that. I think most people who know flight sims on a PC would probably find themselves taking a little while to relate moving a view around on a PC screen to actually looking around a cockpit for real to locate things, especially at night, because I know I certainly did.

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Alan Bradbury

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Had similar situation with slightly different outcome....

With a recurrent and re-quals coming up, decided to try MSFS to practice, primarily checklist items and approaches etc. Lots of procedures and memory items.

Unfortunately it fell right on a update cycle, so the WT mods were not compatible with the release yet. As such, some of the functions were limited and the A/P was as well, specifically for IFR work.

Serendipitously the actual plane ended up having INOP A/P and electric trim, so had to hand fly everything. You can't make this stuff up. Gave the same standard pax briefing: "I am going to be really really rusty so be prepared to die slowly at 100kts on the wrong heading to wherever we are supposed to go"

First landing was lousy but the subsequent ones were good. Approaches were good. Was definitely faster around the Garmin panel thanks to MSFS and Foreflight practice.

 

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SAR Pilot. Flight Sim'ing since the beginning.

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18 minutes ago, kand said:

I wish MSFS was around when I did my PPL! I had a tough time learning how to fly by reference to the ground, I was so used to flying PC sims and had time in 777 level D's that I was probably too advanced for the PPL stage. I had to park a lot of the stuff I had used for navigating and learn to read the ground/chart and I struggled for some time with this part. FS2000 taught me bad habits, like staring at the gauges but my FI soon drummed that out of me lol. 

I think sims are a great learning tool for aviation provided the learning path is managed  

One day on my dual cross country with my CFI, we were flying from Vero Beach back to Ft Lauderdale, about 2000 feet. He handed me the Sectional Chart all folded up, and said " Your engine just quit, where are you going to land". I looked around, and saw nothing around me except houses, roads and heavy auto traffic. I began sweating,   so I  started to unfold the sectional, and he grabbed the yoke and rolled the C 152 into about a 60 degree bank, and said, " How about down there?"  I looked straight down , and I was right over an airport.   LOL 

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Bob Cardone         MSFS 2020     PMDG DC6  JF Arrow, Carenado Seminole , Mooney

TrackIR   Avliasoft EFB2    ATC  by PF3    FlyVirtual.net  CLX PC

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Chock said:

That took a bit of getting used to and flight sims on a PC monitor don't really prepare you for that. I think most people who know flight sims on a PC would probably find themselves taking a little while to relate moving a view around on a PC screen to actually looking around a cockpit for real to locate things, especially at night, because I know I certainly did.

Enter VR…… 😉 

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Interesting post.
 
From my perspective as an (ex) airline pilot that I retired 3 months ago and for the last 25 years flying only heavy, doing check rides every 6 months on million-dollar simulators I cannot call any of them "simulators". Despite of that some of them get close to a fixed motion simulator, I'm thinking like P3D, XP11 and DCS. Now all the above have acceptable to good flight dynamics for the airplanes and for that reason they are an excellent choice for brushing up some of the requirements related for IFR and less VFR unless you buy additional sceneries. Unfortunately, this is sitting in front of one or a few monitors that cannot resemble a cockpit environment.
Now, my opinion on MSFS2020 it is different than many. I will start with visuals; they are astonishing but still there is lots of work to be performed on rendering and quality. Hopefully it will improve with DX12 performance wise and some other tweaks.
Re keeping currency and practicing, it can be achieved, but because of airplane dynamics and reaction to different wx conditions and unrealistic behavior especially to the rudder control in crosswind conditions and constant movement even at 3 knots of wind changes makes it very unrealistic. Even you remove any wind the airplanes still bounce around, especially the small ones. I remember many days when flying my 182 many times it was smooths as silk and the airplane will not bounce not even an inch, not on MS2020. So, for that reason practicing any maneuver with this bouncing around makes it unnecessary challenging and unrealistic and difficult to achieve properly any task. Of course, for someone already qualified it is a different situation (still annoying) but for a beginner that needs to develop a certain scanning and understand of the system it is overwhelming and unnecessary to deal with unrealistic flight characteristics.
I will speak now just about 2 developers that achieved a high level of accuracy (both still need some improvement) are FSLABS and PMDG.
There is another one Aerowinx but it is a stand-alone product only for the 744, very good.
Going back to FSLABS and PMDG, on these products you really have very good airplane dynamics (on P3D) and they fly very realistic, plus acceptable systems that you can follow with a checklist and very close to the basic airline SOPs. Unfortunately for me the FSLABSs Airbus was not an issue anymore but I used the PMDG 744 and 748 for refreshing and even practicing certain tasks that I couldn't do in real life unless I was in a simulator.
I see some positive improvements on FS2020 but still far away from what it should be.
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Br,

Vlad Tepes

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I think flight sim has always been really good for IPC practice or even BFR (or whatever it's called now I think Flight Review).

MSFS just isn't great at RNAV(GPS) IAP'S.  So I'd use XP11 or P3D for that if I needed.

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3 hours ago, killthespam said:
 
Re keeping currency and practicing, it can be achieved, but because of airplane dynamics and reaction to different wx conditions and unrealistic behavior especially to the rudder control in crosswind conditions and constant movement even at 3 knots of wind changes makes it very unrealistic. Even you remove any wind the airplanes still bounce around, especially the small ones. I remember many days when flying my 182 many times it was smooths as silk and the airplane will not bounce not even an inch, not on MS2020.

I agree about airplane reaction on wind. And I think it's rooted into ground friction model. One can tell that during taxi in MSFS light GA airplane goes pretty fast even on idle power! However, I have not noticed light GA in MSFS bouncy only airliners.

I used to own 182F, and it was very stable instrument platform and way easier to fly or land  than 172. But flying on the right seat I have witnessed  people bounce  literally any aircraft from 171 to  Beech and Mooney you name it! LOL Some airplane will take a beating some are not! For example, bouncing in Mooney I can very quickly turn into prop strike. In contrast, PA28-200R will take a lot no problem . 172 and Cherokee 180 are simply beats one can abuse them for a long time !  In our 172 fleet we fix and  oleo starts seal  and rebuild  shimmy damper quite  often! But that part of training cycle - so called tear and wear! 🙂

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flight sim addict, airplane owner, CFI

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In 2007 (when I was young) I flew a Cessna 152 on a 30 minute intro flight. After a few minutes at the controls my soon to be CFI asked "Have you flown before??" and I said No... I think I mentioned Flight Sim after we were on the ground. Even though I was a very casual flight simmer not really knowing anything outside of the 6 pack, I found the transition from flight sims to doing maneuvers in real life to be easier. Not using a POV hat to look around and actually feeling the airplane were the biggest factors I think. I also flew RC airplanes alot before then so I had a good idea of why and how airplanes flew.

When we got back on the ground my CFI was telling my dad and a couple others in the FBO how I held heading and altitude better than some of his students with 8-10 hours. The one thing that did not transition to real life, was landing. I did more slam and goes than I will like to admit before my first solo. 😛 


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9 hours ago, ryanbatcund said:

I think flight sim has always been really good for IPC practice or even BFR (or whatever it's called now I think Flight Review).

MSFS just isn't great at RNAV(GPS) IAP'S.  So I'd use XP11 or P3D for that if I needed.

I agree!

One of the reasons why @sd_flyer did so well on his FR & IPC is because flying the plane is only 10% of what a pilot needs to demonstrate to achieve PIC status. 😀 If you have a COMPLETE flight simulator and know the other 90%, when you get to the real airplane, things should go smoothly.

The rusty pilot who doesn't have a sim, will need hours to get back on track. From pre-flight to tie-down, they will more than likely be lost.

MSFS is a lot of fun, especially for flying VFR/IFR in the tropics. But for serious training, I prefer XP11. I use it and as a CFI I swear by it. It's very convenient and affordable to be able to stay home and simulate VFR/IFR flights.

 

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