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thrakete

When will Microsoft FS get FAA Approval?

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Hello,As we all know MSFS versions and it's payware addons are getting better and better each day.We see PMDG 747-400 which resembles almost everything in a real aircraft and it's almost like a CBT for 747-400.So my point is,having all these great planes and simulators,specially the upcoming FSX,when will the new FS versions will get approved by FAA as a training platform rather than a game?We all know very well that X-Plane is being approved for pilot training,so why can't Microsoft do something about it,and remove it from the game catagory.Hoping to hear your views on this.Thank youNeevin (Maldives)

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As I explain in detail in my new book, Microsoft Flight Simulator as a Training Aid: A Guide for Pilots, Instructors, and Virtual Aviators (see URL below) the FAA doesn't approve flight simulation software.The agency, like most aviation authorities, approves flight training devices (FTDs) and simulators, devices that include software, displays, controls, and other features.(As a side note, it's interesting to review the requirements for the various levels of FTDs approved by the FAA to see the minor role that flight models play in the standards. Almost all of the requirements for approval of FTDs focus on the displays and physical controls, not the flight modeling. Many levels of FTD require only a generic flight model, which may be based on fictitious data; a Level 4 FTD doesn't require any type of flight model.)That said, Microsoft Flight Simulator, X-Plane, and other PC-based simulations have all been included as the simulation engine in several approved FTDs, both in the U.S. and in other countries.In the U.S. (and most other countries), you can log simulated flight time spent "flying" those devices only when they are used under the direct supervision of an instructor (see, e.g., FAR 61.519(g)(4)).It's interesting that the topic of FAA approval of Flight Simulator pops up as often as, say, questions about frame rates. But no one doubts the utility and value of many training aids, such as GPS simulations, online courses, and DVDs, none of which are "FAA approved" (with the exception of some courses that may be used to meet requirements for the pilot proficiency program or the flight instructor renewal process).The experiences of many individuals and organizations over the years demonstrate that such aids, including Flight Simulator, can make your training or proficiency flying more efficient and less costly, even if time spent using the tools doesn't count toward the minimum logged flight or simulator time required for a certificate, rating, or currency. As I often say, "It's about learning, not logging."You can find the discussion of this, and many related topics, in Chapter 2 of my book.Note that the FAA has just released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for an update to Part 61 of the FARs, which governs pilot certification and training. The proposed rules, which must go through an extensive review and comment period, would allow the wider use of PC-based training devices in initial training and proficiency sessions. But all such use would still have to be under the direct supervision of an instructor and "flown" on an approved training device. Again, a typical home setup with PC-based simulation software such as Microsoft Flight Simulator does not meet the requirements for approval as an flight training device.http://www.bruceair.com/fsastrainingaid.htmFor more information about the requirements that flight training devices and simulators must meet in the U.S., see the Web site for the FAA's National Simulator Programs office at:http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiat...light_training/For more information about many flight training organizations that use Microsoft Flight Simulator in aviation training programs, see:http://www.bruceair.com/microsoft_flight_s...iation_Training

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Good information there... thanks.

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Neevin,The P.C. version of X-Plane is of course not approved for pilot training, and that is stated in the intro screen.Information on approved simulators using X-plane software is available on the X-Plane home site. According to their explanation, a complete simulator, including all instrumentation and controls is necessary before approval can be granted. The approved version of X-Plane (not the home PC version)is just the software portion of this assembly, and is quite expensive in itself. They state that costs range from a few thousand up to $500,000 dollars for an approved simulator using their software.I am not sure Microsoft wants to get into that field, especially not with their gaming software.Regards,Thrakete

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MS to my knowledge does have an FAA approved version called ESP, which is based on the FSX engine, but for commercial use. I could be wrong about this however, so take that with a pinch of salt. To my knowledge though, X-Plane can actually be used for training with the right hardware, including a 1500 dollar usb dongle off the x-plane website, at least for v9. The catch is though that all that hardware gets very expensive. I personally use V9.21 of X-Plane, and can tell you it feels much more realistic as far as handling goes, but to get it to be approved for training, you need to get a massive amount of hardware and set up a cockpit and all that stuff for it.

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>I>personally use V9.21 of X-Plane, and can tell you it feels>much more realistic as far as handling goes, but to get it to>be approved for training, you need to get a massive amount of>hardware and set up a cockpit and all that stuff for it.I also use V9.21 of X-Plane, but prefer the handling aspects of FSX with a few of my favorite 3rd party aircraft....far more. I seriously don't get the "more realistic" part that I always read about. My FSX planes are more realistic heading down the runway & climb, in regards to the left drift tendencies & use of right rudder. They slip better, spin & recover better; and most of all --- "feel" better. IMO, X-Plane still lacks in senses of mass, dampening, inertia, power to weight, and a few more. It seems to react to control imputs like a puppet on a stiff string. For some reason, that I don't fully comprehend, I get tired of X-Plane flying after about five minutes. It doesn't matter how many addon aircraft, I download either. Perhaps it's the constant bouncing around, which I can tune out with sliders, only to dumb down other sensitivies; or just the lack of feel as explained above.Yet, the "demo" X-Plane 9 RV6 doesn't fly anything like my real RV6. I need lots of constant right rudder on the takeoff and climb. X-Plane requires little, and might even drift to the right on it's own. My nose pitches down with flap extention, and doesn't require a trim change. X-Plane balloons up like a Cessna, and requires down trim. My airspeeds are also a lot quicker, and X-Plane doesn't simulate the braking power of a constant speed prop at all. But to be fair, most MSFS planes don't do well on the C/S prop aspects either.So,,,,,,,,,,,,,,so much for the realism part, I don't buy it.L.Adamson

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I agree also Larry-I haven't found the increased realism in xplane either-otherwise I'd be running for it. I have bought about 4 versions of it and the 5 minute factor also goes for me too. For all the flight model hype there hasn't been a plane I've flown that comes close to a plane I've flown.My theory is some equate "smoothness" which is caused by limiting visibility and a couple other factors, for flight models.I do like to support it every once in a while though as the more flight sims the better for us all.Going past the "realism" I can't get past the cockpit instrumentation that looks like something from 8 years ago...GeofaMy blog:http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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>I agree also Larry-I haven't found the increased realism in>xplane either-otherwise I'd be running for it. I have bought>about 4 versions of it and the 5 minute factor also goes for>me too. For all the flight model hype there hasn't been a>plane I've flown that comes close to a plane I've flown.My>theory is some equate "smoothness" which is caused by limiting>visibility and a couple other factors, for flight models.>If it was better, I'd be running for it too! Afterall, we both junked Microsoft's FS98 for Pro-Pilot.........didn't we! :D L.Adamson

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The ESP version has been approved by the FAA this past fall for a company called Redbird. I'm a CFII and flew the full motion simulator at Oshkosh. Very well done and very reasonably priced for what it is yet still alot of $$$ for home use. For flightschools though, they can chage $30-$50/hour for the time so they can justify the price.http://www.redbirdflightsimulations.com/I'm not affiliated with the company. Just follow this forum and finally had something of value to add. Enjoy the link!

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