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Guest jonasbeaver

Real life flight and FSX

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Last week, my wife and I were planning to take a nice day trip flight to Luray, Virginia from Tipton Airport (FME) which is just outside of Baltimore. Since this would have been my first time heading west over some mountains (I'm used to flat land), I spent a while longer than usual doing my flight planning last Friday night. The weather forecasts weren't looking too great, however. Clear skies, but a lot of strong winds... I figured I'd wait till morning to make a final decision. Saturday morning, the winds on the surface were dying down pretty nicely, but were still strong aloft. I figured it may be a bit bumpy while we're climbing out, but I don't mind. We decide to drive to the airport to see what other people who may have been up there already thought. We walk into the FBO where several pilots had just come back from flying. All of them were talking about how bumpy it was up there. One shaken up student looked at me and agreed. That convinced my wife and I that we should wait to go another time... Disappointed, we left the airport in hopes next week would have better weather (unfortunately, it's even windier today, so I'm posting this instead of flying).When I got back home, I decided to fire up FSX and fully carry out the entire flight that I had planned. I had never seriously done this before in flight sim. I brought my flightbag to the computer, strapped my kneeboard on my leg, got my TAC and Sectional ready and opened up the navlog I had just printed up that morning intending to use in real life. What happened over the next hour completely took me by surprise. The entire experience felt so real that when I landed in Luray in FSX, I wanted to get my logbook out and put an entry in. The Garmin GPS functioned almost exactly like the panel-mounted Garmin I have in the real plane I rent. I usually monitor VORs as a backup, which I did as well. The most impressive part -- in real life, even though I have GPS / VOR and a handheld backup GPS, I like to still primarily fly via pilotage (looking out the window at landmarks and following along on the chart). Every single landmark I correlated from my chart, I could find in FSX by panning around in the virtual cockpit. Slight bends in rivers, the small rolling mountain ridges, even smoke stacks with antennas around it on the chart and little towns along the way. Basically, I was able to find all the landmarks I expected to find when I was doing my flight planning. While arriving in Luray, I entered the pattern as planned and had a smooth touchdown. Everything was where I expected it to be. I'd like to add a note here that I am using Cloud9 XClass USA, which probably helped the arrangement of towns, etc.I still had a flight plan in my kneeboard from a flight I did a few weeks ago in real life. I decided to recreate that flight in FSX to validate the experience... I wanted to compare the experience of a flight I had never done (Luray) to one I've done several times. I departed Tipton airport and headed up north to a small airport in New Jersey. Again, I was amazed at how real the entire experience felt. There's a cooling tower in NJ sitting on the Delaware Bay that you can see from 50 miles away on a clear day... sure enough, it was there in FSX. Just about anything interesting enough to be on a TAC or Sectional chart was there in FSX. I flew the entire flight to NJ in FSX via pilotage based on my real life experience. Again, I wanted to log the time... too bad I can't.For my flights, I used the default 172 SP, which is one of the planes I fly in real life. The performance and handling was close enough, although I hate the ground handling in FSX (only real complaint). I'm using a CH Yoke and rudder pedals. Also, I've made several tweaks to FSX and am getting decent performance, but I look forward to SP1.A little more background info for those still reading :) I've been flight simming since FS2. I recently obtained my Private certificate last year and am coming close to my 200 hour mark. Before flying in real life, I used to just fire up flight sim and do whatever I thought was realistic. During my flight training and up until recently, for some reason, I took a break from Flight Sim and never fired it up. Now that I've been flying for a little while, it is amazing to come back with such a different perspective. Since FS2, I saw flight simming from the perspective of someone who just wonders "is this realistic?" ... the answer is... it's as realistic as you make it. The problem I see is that someone really needs to experience real life flight training to get the most use out of FSX. I don't mean just going up in a Cessna and going home to compare the experience. It's the entire experience of being a pilot, from obsessing over the weather, to drawing lines on your sectional chart, pulling all the radio frequencies together, and so on. For the first time ever, I did all this and then used FSX as my tool to tie it all together. All this provided such a real experience for me, that once I do actually fly to Luray, I'm going to feel like I had done it before. In fact, I'm going to make sure I recreate any new flight in FSX just to familiarize myself with a new area before I go (in addition to my other planning, of course).Anyway, after years of "lurking" on the Avsim forums, I thought I'd just share this experience.

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I enjoyed your thoughts on this subject, and read the whole thing! :) With real life data-bases for topography, navigation, and airports; FS is a great tool for taking pre-flights to un-known areas.In the future, what we see on your desktop screens, will be making it's way to PFDs & MFDs as an artifical window in IMC conditions. It's already here, on a limited bases. L.Adamson

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>Last week, my wife and I were planning to take a nice day>trip flight to Luray, Virginia from Tipton Airport (...The problem I see is that someone really needs to experience real life flight training to get the most use out of FSX. .....>Anyway, after years of "lurking" on the Avsim forums, I>thought I'd just share this experience. >>For a long term lurker thats an awesome post. And I couldn't agree more. I have enjoyed simming a lot more after my real world license than before.I had similar experince like yours..when I got the first So cal Megascenery for FS9. I flew the flight in their tutorial... sectional, plight planning and pilotage etc... It was real world flying for me. Even today..when I look back, I have to remind myself..that was actually flight simming that I did across so cal..and not real.Again it was a good read.:)Manny

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It's nice to hear something nice about FSX every once in a while. While I am not a real life pilot, I enjoyed reading your experience. Thanks for posting.

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Excellent post, always good to read how close FS is coming to real world flight despite the negativity over FSX. Ian.

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You can have the same experience with FS9 too.Manny

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>You can have the same experience with FS9 too.>True, however, since you brought up MegaScenery.......The stuff sparkles in FSX with it's much higher resolution! :7 L.Adamson

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Hi Great post. I too read the whole thing. I have been simming since about 1990. I finally solo'd (for real) this summer. I am just waiting for the weather to break so I can complete my night cross country and check ride.I used FS9 to "prefly" my first cross country solo. I was pretty nervous. To build a little confidence, I plugged in the current weather data and flew my flight plan from start up to shut down. The weather on the day of the "real deal" was similar, so my headings and times were pretty close. Everything went perfect. I had an idea what to expect with no surprises.Before the weather went south, I flew my last required cross country in January. Although I preflew the course, things did not go as planned. The airplane had an equipment failure, and a few other things did not go as I would have liked. It made for just one of those bad days that everybody experiences in their training. Anyway, I allowed myself to become distracted and made a mistake at my destination (the tower personnel were very forgiving). When I got home, I recreated the flight. I was able to see what I did wrong. It should not happen again. Bottom line, FS is a very useful tool as well as being quite entertaining. As with anything we have to know it's limitations. I know I will contiue to use it to supplement my real flying.NickP.S.I have both FS9 and FSX and like L Adamson, I use both of them.

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Ah, real flight simulation at its purest, well done. I just wish that flightsim had been around when I came to fly my first cross country solo. Although I have replicated that flight since in both FS9 and FSX. This is certainly one of the more positive posts in recent times a few more like this and the forum will start reading like a flightsim forum again.

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Thanks for that Perigee. I really enjoyed reading it.BlairCYOW

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Oddly enough I meant to add that to my post, but since he was using FSX I left it out. I should have stated current flightsims. Irregardless, it's nice to see a positive on FSX.Ian.

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Here,here. Great post! Have to agree that one who has experienced real world training, solo cross country flights, or new flights as a new private pilot will be able to relate to your story very well.Flightsimulator is great aid in "pre-flying" a new real world flight plan especially if the real weather is close to the weather in FS at the time of the "pre-flight"A new flight always presents new challenges even when you have a "296" along and FS "pre-flying" a new flightplan sure helps in the familiarization and relaxation department:-)

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I fly for a living, and this reminded me of how jealous I felt with those in the FBO who can just decide that the weather isn't quite good enough. Outside a tough sigmet or icing, I am going... and some of the mountain conditions you are describing brings back some pretty intense memories of the past few months...fly safe!jonasbtw that picture is just east of montrose colorado in 55kt winds, my second real experience with mountain waves... STAY HIGH! (thank you to the oxygen masks)

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