Any aces stink at flight sims?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by LongRoadBob, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. LongRoadBob

    LongRoadBob Cleared for Takeoff

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    When I went to my clubs clubhouse first I talked with a pilot. I asked him about flight sims, and he said something like "man, they are way harder than actually flying".

    Just curious, how many of you experienced pilots get frustrated, maybe even do terrible at flight sims?

    As a student pilot, I have never been very keen on flight sims, but I did buy an Xplane 10 sim, and relatively new laptop to try and have a way to practice when like now, it's bad flying weather and shirt days here in Norway.

    I don't think it is a substitute for actually flying, but I am working out what kind of maneuvers, procedures I might be able to practice at home to help me learn.

    But even though it is a relatively new laptop, and newer version of Xplane (10) the fps rate is,deteriorating, and it is almost useless now. I have only a cheap joystick, trimming is not with feedback s it is with a real airplane, etc. and I hate spending so much time trying to get it right.

    The cockpit view for straight and level flight, the sloppiness of the joystick no trim...

    So, what experiences have you had with flight sims? Uses? What re they good for?
     
  2. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Only useful for instrument procedures. Not at all for basic flying skills.
     
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  3. Hacker

    Hacker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Unfortunately even a good simulator is only really useful as a procedures trainer. Even the Level D sims, on which you can receive a type rating, really only work because the guys getting the type rating already have a substantial flying basis to begin with.
     
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  4. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Really depends on the particular sim and airplane it trying to replicate.

    I have flown a lot of different sims from full motion Level D jet sims to desktop PC sims. Some do better than others at realistic simulation.

    In my experience, it seems that most of the time when people say the sim is harder to fly than the real thing is with regards to sims like Red Birds and PC ATDs used for instrument training. I have found that most of those are indeed harder to fly well than the real airplane. They tend to be less stable in flight and I find myself using a lot more flight control inputs doing instrument approaches than in real airplanes.

    On the other hand, I disagree somewhat with what Hacker stated about Level D sims. When I do my recurrent training for the Citation in the sim, I find that it does a pretty good job replicating the aircraft. The only difference I notice is that in the real jet, the controls are heavier on takeoff/climb-out than they are in the sim. Other than that it handles very much like the real thing.
     
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  5. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    I’ve really only found them useful for instrument procedures and emergency procedures.
     
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  6. UngaWunga

    UngaWunga Cleared for Takeoff

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    You have no feeling when "flying" a sim. I found my 5-10 minutes in the sims at Oshkosh to be weird. Fun to try landing on the carrier, though.
     
  7. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Desktop sims may not be useful for much, but they do teach you a lot. I played around with FS2002 for several years before I ever began taking flight lessons and I was heads and shoulders above the average student—my CFI’s even said so.

    For example, they teach you what all of the instruments do and I feel like it helped with learning how to land as you get the technique down pat through trial and error.

    So, some will argue that they’re pretty well useless, but I would disagree.
     
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  8. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    I spent a little time on a Frasca recently to simulate G1000 failure modes. Flying wise it was not realistic
     
  9. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Only thing I’ve seen that’s more difficult is depth perception in judging altitude on landing. Most other things replicate the aircraft well. Instrument fundamentals, good but the sims I’ve used are too perfect on the way stabilization / autopilot devices operate. Real world, those systems are never that accurate.

    Obviously good for EPs that you can’t do in the aircraft. Pretty much a crapshoot if I knock out an auto without getting a “red screen” or not. :D


    5C0D1073-39B8-44C1-B5C5-37EE68EE3C9E.jpeg
     
  10. JonH

    JonH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I use X-Plane 11 to play with FF on iPad. It's a great way to learn new features and try stuff without worrying about being fixated on it.
     
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  11. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Sim helped me on crosswind landings. I dialed in. 90 degree wind and slowly bumped up the speed. When I got comfortable with that, I added gusts. But it is harder than the real thing.

    My first solo flight was in a 10 knot direct crosswind. Instructor reluctantly endorsed me and sent me off because I’d done 6 good landings in a row in that wind. I think that was because of the sim practice.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
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  12. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Totally disagree. I found use of MS flight sim very helpful during almost all of my private training and I'm convinced my use of it was a factor in being ready for the checkride at just over 40 hours instead of the usual 75-100 hours that's typical for hours before checkride. No, it won't help with learning how to land. But VOR and NDB navigation works exactly the way it does in the plane. So does the effect of wind on ground track and speed over the ground. So I could get real world weather, flight plan cross countries basing on that weather and fly those cross countries to check my flight planing work and navigation skills for $0/hr. Made doing it for real in the plane much easier on my cross countries.

    I also used it to practice almost all the basic flight maneuvers. Just like not helping to learn how to land, it did nothing for the stick and rudder portion of the learning. But it did wonders for helping me get the mechanics of the procedures down cold which made the hours spent in the plane during my lessons more productive. There are several things that have to happen during a go-around that don't involve stick and rudder; power settings, flap managements, carb heat, cowl flaps etc. Flight sim can be used to practice getting those items down cold so they're second nature for $0/hr. Then you've got that much more mental bandwidth available to focus on learning the stick and rudder parts of the maneuver when you practice in the plane.

    Due care must be taken to make sure the procedures you're practicing are correct and done in the correct order. But assuming that's done, I think its use can be very beneficial for primary students.
     
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  13. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have a MSFSX with saytiek yoke, throttle, radio/com. and found it to be useful and easier to control flight. It is helpful in practicing instrument procedures if you can find something that matches your plane and avionics. When I got hurt I found I was using it more just for fun. Admittedly i didn’t use it much when I got it initially.
    I did a lesson in a Redbird sim recently and while the teaching was great, the sim itself I found very hard to control. Plane was near impossible to trim for straight and level flight, leaving you to chase altitudes near constantly. I would not do again.
    The MSFSX setup I have is not like that at all. I see myself using it intermittently going forward. Flying for real is easier and more fun!!
     
  14. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    So what you are saying is the sim helped you with instruments and procedures but did absolutely nothing for stick and rudder flying?

    Just checking...
     
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  15. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    I find trimming in Xplane 11 is a pain, but otherwise it's very high value for instrument practice, especially approaches. I use a cheap yoke, and cheap rudder pedals, and find the sim has some, but lessor, value for VFR practice.

    I added a graphics card to a desktop class machine, to get an adequate frame rate for a viable, realistic simulation. The 172 in Xplane 11 has a Garmin 530 and 430, which is close to our real airplane.

    One other useful feature is Xplane will push GPS position over your home network to a tablet - in my case, FF on my iPad, so I can muck with FF just as in the real airplane. You can also download the most current IAP from the FAA web site into a Xplane directory. International ones are sold by an outfit in Germany, and someone else, as well.
     
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  16. overdrive148

    overdrive148 En-Route

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    During a contract in Turkey building/demonstrating a Redbird FMX:

     
  17. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Just the opposite actually. I'm saying my stick and rudder skills improved faster because of my use of the sim which allowed me to get the steps and mechanics of each maneuver down cold out of the airplane thereby allowing me to be better able to focus on just the stick and rudder learning while in the airplane. Bottom line: Using a sim helps private students achieve their private in fewer logged hours.
     
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  18. tlglenn

    tlglenn Line Up and Wait

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    I've had different experiences with sims. USAF F-16 sims are awesome and pretty realistic. A 172 sim, however, used by the FAA in Oklahoma City let me stall and spin too easily (in reality, I've had to hold pro-spin inputs in a 172 to prevent it from recovering on its own). While practicing an engine out after takeoff in a Baron on a Redbird sim I found that I was losing altitude at blueline, but climbing at redline.
     
  19. TCABM

    TCABM Cleared for Takeoff

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    That’s the definition of a procedures trainer.
     
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  20. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    I don’t see how. I finished min up in 40ish hours without a sim and I ain’t special. Just a honky ass redneck that likes airplanes.
     
  21. redtail

    redtail En-Route

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    Well, I'm no ace, but I'm currently having a heluva time ground pounding in the DCS A-10C in VR! As well as learning the F/A-18C in DCS (Digital Combat Simulator).

    As for MSFS/FSX, X-Plane, I've used all of them (on and off) for decades. In fact, 16 years of flightsims prior to ever stepping foot in a real Cessna, taught me a tremendous amount of things! When I finally took a week of ground school and then actual flight lessons, I was way ahead of other students in the class. Stick & rudder skills weren't too shabby but definitely needed work. The sim gave me a pretty solid understanding of the avionics by the time I got into the real thing.

    One thing I had to get used to was turbulence (even light chop), because sixteen years of sitting in front of computers had me fooled. I thought flying was smooth most of the time, lol.

    I finished up a little beyond the average time frame due to my rotating work schedule, which includes weekends and holidays, and not being able to fly as much as I would have liked. But flightsims helped a whole lot, plus it's a very rewarding hobby of mine! I build my own high end PC every few years for dedicated flightsim use. Building, overclocking and tweaking them for maximum performance, is equally rewarding as well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
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  22. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I didn't know what was involved in landing a plane until I took my first few flight lessons, even though I'd messed around a lot with early versions of M$F$. I did spend a lot of time trying to ram the Sears Tower in Chicago after taking off from Meigs field.

    I still am pre-solo, due to family responsibilities. I had some lessons in Wichita while I was working at Cessna. Two years after my last instructional flight it Wichita, I had a familiarization flight in an Evektor SportStar. I had been flying my home simulator with rudder pedals and control yoke, and the instructor was surprised at how much I had retained. He also said he was surprised at how much I looked outside, as most of his students who had a lot of flight simulation experience spent most of their time looking inside. I expect I'll continue my training in a SportStar, so I have a flight model of it.

    I'm more of a lurker on this board than an active poster, but I am learning a lot about flying, and learning to fly here, and my simulator helps me practice what I've learned. Also, I've learned, from AOPA Pilot, about how to place my feet for optimum steering during takeoff in a tailwheel plane. I didn't even get that from my ab inito instructor in the Citabria.

    Last year, I had a chance to fly a RedBird Flight simulator during a local FBO's open house. I was last in line, so I got a lot of time on it. Overall, it seemed like it was easier to fly than my home flight simulator. It was running some version of Prepar3D, and I have M$FSX:SE, which are both derived from M$FSX. I don't think it had a force feed back yoke.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
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  23. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    Maybe I never figured out how to set up the controls right(it shouldn't be that hard, you'd think), but after I started training, i tried a couple of different sims, with a couple different controllers, an xbox style controller(fail) then a supposedly decent joystick(extreme 3d pro) and wasted hours and it was completely unusable (uncontrollable basically). SO sensitive and unstable in every way. The only way I could use it was to try and use autopilot from takeoff to landing.(by clicking the autopilot gui buttons with the mouse and hopefully get it set before I crash.) gave up

    never tried with a higher end yoke and pedal type setup, maybe that is the key.

    So either I stink at flight sims, or my flight sims stink.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  24. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    I'm actually embarrassingly bad at air combat games.
    Better at simulators, best in the real thing.
     
  25. Rebel Lord

    Rebel Lord Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I tell people all the time flying is WAY harder in games. I think I can probably land without crashing 6/10 times and I think that’s pretty good but then again I’m flying with WASD
     
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  26. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    Us cool pilots credited with destroying five or more of enemy aircraft in combat don’t use sims at the club house.
     
  27. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    As I said before, I use Microsoft Flight simulator. My controls are from CH Products. I think my rudder pedals are the pro series. They've been problem free for at least 10 years. I have their Eclipse Yoke. It has a lot more functionality than I need. It also has a throttle, a mixture, and a prop speed control.

    The main problem with it is plastic slides on plastic, so it sticks. I put some refrigerator hinge grease on it and that freed it up a lot. However, the yoke tube bends when you move it one handed, so it's hard to make delicate movements. And, if you don't have it clamped well enough on the table, it will pull loose just when you need it to stay put - the landing flare. Also, it's difficult to trim.

    There is a settings page where you can set the realism, from easy to "realistic". I've never had a problem with the controls being too sensitive. I've seen recommendations that you set the controls to maximum sensitivity, and no null zone to solve the problem, and that is how I have my controls set, but that's because I want to make flying the simulator as hard as possible.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
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  28. sarangan

    sarangan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Flight sims are useful. Don't let the others discourage you. Yes there are significant differences, but no two airplanes are identical either. For what it costs, it is definitely worth spending time on it, even at the private pilot level.
     
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  29. redtail

    redtail En-Route

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    I was busy trying to ram the Goodyear blimp that hovered over Soldier Field.:D
    Funny how much the sim actually teaches you. I learned how to fly a traffic pattern and all of the cockpit instrumentation from MSFS, so by the time I saw the panel of a real Skyhawk, it was not a strange sight. VORs, NDBs, the ILS system, etc.

    Do you remember Solo Flight? When you mentioned Wichita, it brought back memories because that was one of the three or four airports included in that program.
     

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  30. redtail

    redtail En-Route

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    BINGO!
    Pedals are good, but a good quality yoke and/or joystick are essential.
    I have a Saitek Yoke and pedals (Pro combat pedals).

    Bought a Thrustmaster Warthog hotas set right after it came out several years ago and it has been one of the best pieces of hardware that I've ever used!
    Spent around $500 for it back then:eek:
    Not too long ago, I took it apart and removed the huge spring. That made a tremendous improvement in precision. Now I can finally fly sim helicopters in X-plane and DCS World without fumbling all over the virtual sky :D
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
  31. redtail

    redtail En-Route

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    I had the same issue with my first yoke (CH). Used to grease that thing up like it was a gear, lol. It lasted several years, but when the Saitek (now Logitech) yoke came out, I got one and never had that issue again. It has a stainless steel shaft, which moves very smoothly. My only issue was with the springs and arm, which gave it a return-to-center detent.
    I hated that, so I modded the yoke by removing that mechanism and replacing it with some large rubber bands. That solution worked wonders!
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
  32. redtail

    redtail En-Route

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    Flying with a keyboard was about the lamest control I've ever used, haha. That was back when I bought my first computer for the sole purpose of getting a flightsim.
    The Commodore-64 (later an Amiga-500). Immediately, I knew I'd have to invest in a joystick if I was going to take it seriously.
    But you are right, just maintaining altitude, straight and level flight is harder than it is IRL. Even with no wind. Ground handling is horrible in most sims.
    After getting my TW endorsement several years ago, I remember buying a taildragger for X-Plane, because I'd never been interested in one for the sim before flying the real deal (Super Decathlon). So I found one for X-Plane. It was soo much harder to control on the ground than the real one!
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
  33. redtail

    redtail En-Route

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    After giving more thought to your situation, I realize how similar yet different it was for me twenty years ago (with less capable PC hardware/software). I had been using flightsims for roughly 16 years prior to becoming a student pilot. However, for me it was a hobby/entertainment (as it is to this day). So my approach was different once I started taking lessons. It transitioned from just a game, into a training tool as well. But that's when I realized it's limitations. So, during my training, I rarely touched the sim, except to rehearse an upcoming XC flight (with Sectional and TAC charts) and to practice VOR, NDB navigation, dead reckoning and instrument flight (with autopilot). As someone said, a procedures trainer.
    I did try practicing steep turns, landings and other maneuvers, but gave that up because I didn't want to do myself more harm than good, while taking lessons. Chair flying most maneuvers was actually better.


    One thing I will say. If you're having difficulty maintaining high FPS with X-plane, the sim will behave much worse than it should, which will lead to more frustration. The flight model degrades in performance under low FPS.
    A 'relatively new' laptop is vague and means very little when it comes to flightsims. You need a fast CPU/GPU combo (particularly CPU at a high clock speed). 16 to 32Gb of RAM to avoid stutters when the sim loads terrain. If it's not a "gaming laptop", it probably lacks the horsepower to handle X-plane. I tried it on a few laptops awhile ago and gave up the thought. I built a dedicated desktop PC with an Intel i7-7700k CPU, base clock is 4.2GHz. Overclocked it to 5GHz using a closed-loop CPU water cooler. 32Gb of RAM and a GTX-1080ti GPU. and all of my flightsims are installed on a SSD, which performs much better than HDD. Mechanical drives contribute to frame rate inconsistencies and stutters during read/write operations, such as loading new terrain files as you fly from one location to a new area.


    Also, don't expect too much from a cheap joystick in the way a realism. The cheapest flightsim yoke will give you a better experience based on what I've experienced and trimming will never be realistic. I have a dedicated trim wheel (with gear and flaps handle) and trimming with it feels nothing like any trim I've used in real aircraft. It is either too sensitive, or not sensitive enough. Same thing with the trim button on the yoke/joystick.


    Hey, I see you are from Norway. Have you ever heard of a combat flightsim called EF2000?
    Released in 1995, it was based on the Eurofighter Typhoon (EF-2000) based in Oslo. You had to fly sorties to defend Norway and Sweden from Russian attacks. Loved that game!
    The graphics were great at that time for a PC game.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
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  34. Hacker

    Hacker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you are a Viper guy, then I'll ask if your critique of the Redbird's unrealistic stall/spin performance wouldn't also apply to the F-16 sim in things like high-AOA or post-stall maneuvering, such as in a single circle fight or flat/rolling scissors.

    I never did any of that in the Viper sim, but I know the F-15E sim was completely useless in simulating flight near the edges of the E-M diagram, and didn't have the same tendency to depart at high AOA (or depart in the same types of modes, e.g. autoroll or Bitburg roll) that the actual jet does.
     
  35. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I learned to just fly the simulator by the numbers (give up on seat of your pants or visual). Fly an instrument approach at the speed that works well down close to the ground and flare at the last minute. Never been in an FTD that had a realistic energy model. My neighbor, on the other hand, has her PhD in simulators. Did her thesis work in a glider simulation (she's a glider pilot). She's expanding her system to powered flight and hoping to get FAA approval. We'll see how that goes. She's working on her instructor certificate as well.
     
  36. tlglenn

    tlglenn Line Up and Wait

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    Not a Viper guy. The 172 sim seemed to be older than Redbird. I don't know who made it.
     
  37. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I only saw Flight Simulator after Microsoft got it from micro-prose.
     
  38. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Something that will help eliminate frame stutter and allow you to have higher frame rates is DX10 Scenery Fixer. It's about $30 and moves most of the graphics processing from your CPU to your GPU. It essentially does for the DX 10 Preview in FSX that the next version of Microsoft Flight Simulator was going to do. I can attest to the fact that it does what it is advertised to do.
     
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  39. redtail

    redtail En-Route

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    Two totally different companies and different flightsims.

    You made me look up Microprose. Funny thing I noticed as I looked over their list of games. I've had practically all of the flying ones and none of the others, lol. :D

    Falcon, Falcon 3.0/4.0 were a few of my favorite!
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_MicroProse_games

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MicroProse

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Flight_Simulator
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
  40. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
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    Display name:
    Fearless Tower
    True.

    The Microsoft Flight Sim was originally developed by Sub Logic for Apple. Sub Logic created the Flight Sim 1.0 for the original Apple computer (the one built in a briefcase).

    The first truly mass produced version was Flight Sim 2.0 for the Apple II line. I don’t recall the details, but MS essentially was able to start producing that program for PCs.

    Eventually Sub Logic disappeared and MS started producing Flight Sim for both PCs and Macs.
     
    redtail and Hacker like this.