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michal

Questions regarding Microsoft Flight Simulator for my U...

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Hello everyone,My final year dissertation is looking into ways how we can teach second year students the fundamentals of flight dynamics and performance, but also on the fidelity of the simulator.If anyone has any real world flight experience and a few minutes, could you possibly please help me out with the following three questions. They don't need to be any more then a few sentences per answer.Question 3 is a question that is seen all the time, and always receives a wide variation of responses.If you would also like me to acknowledge you in my report, then please post your name as well.Regards,JPQuestions:(1) Briefly, how would you describe the overall accuracy of Microsoft Flight Simulator compared to real flight?(2) How accurate is Microsoft Flight Simulator in simulating stall manoeuvres?(3) Question that is often seen everywhere and always open to debate... If you had no real flying experience and were very competent at Microsoft Flight Simulator, had detailed aircraft add-ons, read all the manuals thoroughly and you were on-board an airliner and both pilots were incapacitated... could you land it?

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"My final year dissertation is looking into ways how we can teach second year students the fundamentals of flight dynamics and performance, but also on the fidelity of the simulator."Aren't these questions a bit broad for a dissertation? No way can they be answered in a few sentences, although there's been many threads on all three questions. Such threads are usually heated and it 'oft seems on one can agree on anything. But if you want a rich and varied set of answers, simply search the forums and you will find enough to fill a thousand pages.In my own experience, I think MSFS captures about 90 percent of the flight envelope well. But at the fringe of the flight envelope, it doesn't capture things well IMHO. I can't answer the last question and by your own observations it's been answered to death. My hunch is if I could somehow have complete manual control of an airliner, and be able to get the gear down and operate the reversers/brakes at touchdown, I'd stand a better chance than someone who spends their time glued to the inflight movie. Yet I still suspect I'd bend the aircraft quite a bit if I made it thru the experience at all.Where MSFS helped the most in my flight lessons was in getting me to my first lessons knowing what the gauges in the cockpit were for. And to a lesser extent, knowing how to control speed and altitude. My CFI was a flightsim nut and as soon as he heard I flew the sim, he gave me the aircraft thru the entire first flight. What I didn't handle well, he provided input for.Regards,John

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Hmmm...(1) I'd give MSFS itself a 50% accuracy rating in regards to real world flight. Default aircraft flight dynamics are not realistic. Different weather situations are not correctly simulated and the effect they have on aircraft are unrealistic as well. Some aircraft addons fly similarly to their real-world counterparts which would simulate real flight more appropriately. Howeverm in my opinion, one area where MSFS simulates real flight quite well is in aircraft gauges, and in that respect I feel that MSFS could be a quite efficient instrument training aid for real world pilots.(2) In the simulating of real-world stall maneuvers, MSFS fails, plain and simple. As an example, try inducing a spin in the sim and you will not get the correct results. Again, however, some addons have been programmed well enough to simulate stall maneuvers quite accurately. (3) I have no airliner experience, but I dare say that if you have learned through the use of airliner addons how to fly several different real-world approaches, I would expect that it wouldn't be much of a problem to land a real airliner.JeffPPL-ASELComplex, High-Performance, Instrument Student

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With regards to question three, I need clarification:How many separate pieces is the airliner allowed to be in upon completion of this hypothetical landing?It's kind of a dangerous question. Flight Simulator is entertainment software, so you're going to be on shaky ground in an academic setting suggesting that it could be used to circumvent real-world aviation training. It would be a bit like learning police procedure from watching the "Naked Gun" movies.As long as you ask that question for entertainment purposes, I don't see much of a problem. But if you want to use that information in the real world, well, as I said, I think that's tricky. Your mileage may vary, of course. And this is just my own personal opinion, and may or may not reflect any official opionion that AVSIM.com has on this topic, if any.Jeff ShylukAssistant Managing EditorSenior Staff ReviewerAVSIM

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1) I honestly have to say that the dynamics of the default aircraft are dumbed down so that the average idiot can fly the plane without troubles. The add-on aircraft, especially the payware tend to fly much better. Having flown many hours in a Piper Warrior III and the Cherokee line in general, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised with Australia Simulations' Piper Warrior II/III package as all my real-world flying experience worked in their Warrior III. My scope is rather limited though by the fact that the only aircraft I have flown often enough to become familiar with are the Cessna 150 and 152 and the Piper Cadet and Warrior III which are both Cherokee aircraft and amazingly different in handling.2)It's not very good at it at all. Though so much of the stall is experienced in things that the sim just can't easily replicate: The mushy unresponsiveness of the controls, the feeling of being stalled and the sudden who-the-####-pulled-the-floor-out-from-under-me drop.3)I can't answer this accurately as I am not an airline pilot, nor have I flown anything that the airlines fly (as stated above). I will say though that all planes are subject to the same fundamentals, so at least they will leave less of a crater than someone that is unfamiliar. They may have the sense to use flaps more properly, drop the gear, and try and hold a speed they may even be able to hold a course and follow a glideslope. However, it's like going from using a racing sim with a computer steering wheel and going racing.It also depends on the user. If the user spends all his time trying to slam the plane into things then he's not going to be much use. If they actually strive to do everything the right way, by-the-book, then they stand a better chance though by the book fliers in the real-world kinda scare me when something happens that isn't covered by the book.----------------------------------------------------------------John MorganReal World: KGEG, UND Aerospace Spokane Satellite, Private ASEL 141.2 hrs, 314 landings, 46 inst. apprs.Virtual: MSFS 2004, MIDCON P-401"There is a feeling about an airport that no other piece of ground can have. No matter what the name of the country on whose land it lies, an airport is a place you can see and touch that leads to a reality that can only be thought and felt." - The Bridge Across Forever: A Love Story by Richard Bach

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>1) I honestly have to say that the dynamics of the default>aircraft are dumbed down so that the average idiot can fly the>plane without troubles. The add-on aircraft, especially the>payware tend to fly much better. I somewhat disagree here. The statment is too generalized, as if all default aircraft have the same faults. It just isn't true. I remember a few years back when some Caravan pilots actually thought the model was quite good, despite some that thought it should act more like a bus.And the default Cessnas? What is so awful? And the same with the Maule. Where MSFS fails these days is the simulation of air over the tail surfaces while still on the ground. Slips and spins don't do near as well as a few specific addons, but pilot inputs from point A to B flying are quite realistic.My favorites are definitely the addons, yet I don't dismiss all the defaults as completely faulty.L.Adamson

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Thanks for all your responses!Just to clarify, as I wasn't to clear in my initial post.The report is split into two sections; the first part is creating tasks on the simulator to help teach students the fundamentals of flight dynamics and performance, and the second part is on the fidelity.The three questions is for the second part (fidelity) of the report, and will fall under a chapter called accuracy. There doesn't seem to be a finite answer to the accuracy of Microsoft Flight Simulator, so to get many different peoples opinion in just a few sentences is ideal for my report.The third question is purely for entertainment purposes, and just to see your initial response. There is obviously no right or wrong answer, but the wide variety of answers I have already received is very interesting!If anyone has any spare time and would like to answer the questions, then please do so as it would be a great help for my report.Regards,JP

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My answer for question three is that if you put a 8 inch wide plank that was 50 feet long on the floor and had me walk from one end to the other (without falling off) would equate to flying a commercial jet in MSFS.The real life equivalent would be to put the same plank across two buildings several hundred feet in the air.Yeah, I can walk the plank just fine when it is on the ground but it is an entirely different plank when it is that high in the air!

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MSFS isn't great for Flight Dynamics.Instead have a look at FlightGear or XPlane.

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Books serve as a tool for training pilots and I always equate the PC sim as such

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1. I'd say the default Cessna 172 is pretty much right on the money. In terms of the relationships between power, speed, attitude, and pitching moment, it's pretty true to life. The instruments and systems are all very accurate, too.2. Stalls and spins are worthless in MSFS.3. A real FS geek would have a slightly better chance than someone else. But I think someone with even a small amount of real flight training would do better.I think the main strength of MSFS as a training tool is in the realm of instrument training. As an FS geek, I didn't do any better than my peers in contact training, but once we got on the gauges, I started to run ahead of the pack. I shoot a lot of instrument approaches in FS just for fun, and I've found that about nine times out of ten, I can use real approach plates in the sim with no problems. Once in a while MS will have the wrong frequency for a navaid or ATIS or something, but only once (so far, at KHXD) was the airport in the wrong place entirely.MSFS is a great way to learn how to use navigational instruments to build situational awareness while maintaining a good scan of the flight instruments to avoid crashing.Dave(Commercial Pilot, ASEL, Rotorcraft Helicopter, Instrument Airplane and Helicopter)

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>MSFS isn't great for Flight Dynamics.>>Instead have a look at FlightGear or XPlane.I'll take some MSFS third party aircraft over X-Plane any day in regards to flight dynamics. X-Plane never has come close to the RealAir SF260.Haven't used FlightGear, but haven't heard of any thing sensational.L.Adamson

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>And the default Cessnas? What is so awful? Larry,Compare the default Cessna with Cessna say from Flight1. It is like a day/night experience. You are not going to tell me that both feel the same to you. As to the exact 'faults' of default Cessna's model - care to read some of my earlier comments on the subject, I don't want to repeat myself and for some reason the subject keeps coming back like in a carousel.Michael J.http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/9320/apollo17vf7.jpg

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>My final year dissertation is looking into ways how we can>teach second year students the fundamentals of flight dynamics>and performance, but also on the fidelity of the simulator.Mr. Researcher,Any serious research on the fidelity of flight simulator should expand way beyond just realism of flight dynamics but also examine such key topics like out-of-the window visuals (2D/3D, field of view, eye focus, etc.). Sitting/flying inside a big commercial quality simulator with a well separated cockpit from outside visuals gives you a completely different simulation experience/challenge though the flight dynamics can be identical in both cases.Michael J.http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/9320/apollo17vf7.jpg

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