Flight simulators for IFR training

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by Blueangel, Sep 24, 2015.

  1. Blueangel

    Blueangel Line Up and Wait

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    Hi all,

    I have toyed with the idea of buying a nice BATD flight simulator called Fly This Sim to use for training and afterwards to maintain IFR currency. Basic unit costs about 5K and wanted to find out if you think it is worth buying or just an expensive toy?

    An alternative would be to buy a cheaper non BATD simulator like AOPA Jay which would be helpful but not FAA approved. I had bad experiences with Saitek flight sim products breaking and not being that accurate when I used them on my old now defunct simulator.

    I want to add Live ATC and PilotEdge to the sim to make it realistic for flying and training in mastering ATC communications.

    Thoughts? Or should I just save the money spent on an expensive sim and use if to fly real plane and rent the club simulator?

    My CFII and I had a chat about it and he mentioned that sims are best used ONLY once the core basic attitude skills have been mastered such as constant rate turns, and constant speed climbs and descents and best for practicing procedures like holds and approaches.
     
  2. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    They are real nice for practicing instrument failures, too. It's hard to fail an airspeed indicator realistically in a real aircraft, and covering up instruments is not at all realistic (especially if your AI slowly loses its attitude as it spins down)

    It only counts for currency if you have a CFII present.

    $5000 will buy dozens of IPCs. I think it's an expensive toy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015
  3. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    I wouldn't buy something like that unless I was going to have a way to rent time in it to people. Maybe there's a flight school you could arrange with who doesn't have a simulator.
     
  4. mryan75

    mryan75 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    FSX is just as good. It costs $30.
     
  5. Blueangel

    Blueangel Line Up and Wait

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    Have FSX just need a new yoke. I'll hold off since flight school wasn't interested in lease back.
     
  6. mryan75

    mryan75 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The Saitek stuff is great, I have the yoke, throttle quadrant and rudder pedals.
     
  7. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The yoke does you no good for this (or anything else, for that matter). The feel is wrong, and that's not the point.

    A $15 joystick will do. It has no bearing on your instrument scan.
     
  8. taters

    taters Pattern Altitude

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    +1000...a good stick is all you need and you can easily get a decent feel with proper trim setup

    ...the computer yoke might as well represent flying a unicorn.
     
  9. mryan75

    mryan75 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I don't disagree that a $15 joystick will do, but I think the yoke is great. It does give you the opportunity to ingrain muscle memory. I have a throttle in my right hand, yoke in the left, feet on the rudders. The feel isn't perfect, but it's not that bad either.
     
  10. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My experience is quite different from yours. The feel, response, and feedback are totally wrong, and the "muscle memory" is the wrong muscle memory.
     
  11. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    Don't bother spending $5000 for a BATD. I practiced in a full motion Red Bird sim (an AATD), which is simply based off of Microsoft Flight Sim X. The flight mechanics don't compare to real thing any better than just flying on your PC. There were more screens, and better presentation of the instruments, and its a great learning tool, but it doesn't feel like flying the real thing. If you are looking for the flight mechanics to feel like the real thing, it won't.

    For instrument practice, the PC is good enough. You can't use the BATD to log practice approaches without an instructor anyway. So you will disappointed by the additional utility you get for your 5k. I'd just buy flight sim x, a good joystick and throttle, and I would get Track IR, and save yourself several thousands which you can spend in a real cockpit with a real instructor.
     
  12. mryan75

    mryan75 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Okay.
     
  13. mryan75

    mryan75 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Amen to TrackIR.
     
  14. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Sims are great for IFR.

    Did quite a bit of work in a frasca (no screen) for my intial IFR.

    Freshened up for my ATP with FSX with a few add ons, like the bag database update/fix, satec yoke and pedals off craigslist, all in I was out like $75.

    Highly recommend.
     
  15. Blueangel

    Blueangel Line Up and Wait

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    Ok what do you think of X Plane compared to MFSX?
     
  16. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    To each his own. I prefer the yoke to the stick as well.

    Neither has an accurate control force, but the yoke in the left hand and throttle on the right feels more natural to me.
     
  17. Blueangel

    Blueangel Line Up and Wait

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    I also prefer yoke and after bad experience with poor Saitek quality will look into a good model or just get a joystick and throttle.
     
  18. OkieAviator

    OkieAviator Cleared for Takeoff

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    Here's a post on my setup... http://www.pilotsofamerica.com/forum/showthread.php?t=79881


    It's good fun and helped me on my instrument training. Even post checkride I still do a real time flight or two a week, complete with flight planning ect. I don't use PilotEdge anymore since once you get your comms to a proficient level doing it on the game is annoying.

    It however will not make you a better stick and rudder guy... I got extremely annoyed fllying the $80k Full motion Redbird in training.
     
  19. JimNtexas

    JimNtexas Pattern Altitude

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    X-plane has far better physics than MS. I haven't used the Lockheed sim, but it may be good also.

    I have an old Logitech joy stick that twists for rudder, and has a bunch of buttons you can program with X-Plane. I paid $30 for a simulated Bonanza that has a fair simulation of a 430W with Aspen in it.

    The thing that I wish I had was a box with knobs on it that I could assign to the 430 and Aspen simulated knobs. Using the mouse to turn knobs is a giant PIA.

    I do think that hand flying X-Plane on a more or less real GA profile helps me keep my scan current.
     
    wayneda40 likes this.
  20. OkieAviator

    OkieAviator Cleared for Takeoff

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    I read that too, but in reality all these flight sim lack in the 'physics' department. You can do unrealistic stuff on either of them. I went with Prepar3D mainly because it was based off MSFS and had better scenery. I've sense bought a number of add-ons and feel it's at a good place now.

    I'm using it now for gliders too... not sure how realistic that is but I paid $20 for a glider, broke out the joystick and put the throttle quadrant on the left to deal with the airbrake/spoiler. It's a blast playing these things.
     
  21. Blueangel

    Blueangel Line Up and Wait

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  22. coloradobluesky

    coloradobluesky En-Route

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    Yes, fly a lot of different approaches. Learn to use a lot of different instruments.
    Fly Aspen and Juneau approaches. Aspen has a weird missed. Juneau, you dont get the ILS signal when you turn onto the ILS course for quite some time and pilots expect it. Fly other known unusual approaches. Fly the usual ones too.

    There is all this GPS and RNAV to learn. Those boxes have a LOT of capability. Learn how to use an autopilot.

    All that can be learned on a sim.

    Any controls are ok on the sim. I tried a yoke and liked it better than a joystick or arrow keys, but I didnt have to pay for it, just used someone elses. Ive done a few sims I could log that I paid for. I think the instructor learned more than I did on those.
     
  23. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou En-Route

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    Okay, now that the bickering over stick-vs-yoke is out of the way, let's discuss the options for sim devices in maintaining real world IFR currency.

    What does it take to get a sim system approved by the FAA? I realize there are multiple different categories like FTD etc so if a school or individual wanted to get a sim device approved, what would it take?
     
  24. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC_61-136A.pdf
     
  25. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou En-Route

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    Thank you for the link. But I am way too lazy to read through 31 pages, especially on a Friday afternoon when I am just day-dreaming of flying after work. LOL

    I'll give it a read later, thanks.
     
  26. Blueangel

    Blueangel Line Up and Wait

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    My understanding is that the FAA provides a certification letter for approved BATD and ATD simulators.
     
  27. OkieAviator

    OkieAviator Cleared for Takeoff

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    Correct, I have a copy for the trainer I used in case it ever comes up.
     
  28. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I have both. X Plane 10 is great! BUT.... it takes FOREVER to load. It's checking for updates every single time you launch the app. To accomplish this, it SCANS the install directory and compares every single file against new ones on their server! That's right! It doesn't go out and pull down an update file/package and apply it, it scans one file at a time (takes a LONG time) and then it pauses at a modal screen waiting for you to approve installation.

    So, if you have 30-45 minutes BEFORE you want to actually fly to get X-Plane launched, go for it.
     
  29. Blueangel

    Blueangel Line Up and Wait

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    I have also considered buying a new Jay Redbird simulator since it has everything ready to go. Does anyone have experience with it?
     
  30. OkieAviator

    OkieAviator Cleared for Takeoff

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    Is your goal to have a sim you can log time to?
     
  31. Blueangel

    Blueangel Line Up and Wait

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    Not necessarily as I can use the one at club with a CFII more to practice in between lessons. I don't think the Jay is FAA approved.
     
  32. Rykymus

    Rykymus Line Up and Wait

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    I struck a deal with my CFI to trade hours of use of my plane for hours training my nephew for his PPL, so it's only costing me a few thousand (fuel, study aids, testing fees) to get him licensed. Then my nephew gets to fly in exchange for keeping the plane clean and services, and for flying right-seat while I'm under the hood.

    I also have a sim setup using FSX and Saitek products, but I only use it to practice approaches to unfamiliar airports before I actually fly to them.
     
  33. OkieAviator

    OkieAviator Cleared for Takeoff

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    Then I wouldn't waste my money on any of those. Assuming you have a computer, just spend some money on some controls and other things.
     
  34. mikea76

    mikea76 Pre-Flight

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    The satiek yoke is a lot better if you do one of the elevator axis mods... Instructions are on Google. That and using the satiek trim wheel feels a lot closer to a real plane to me... It's far from perfect butwith these mods and what I am going to list below fsx or p3d is probably about as close as your going to get

    1. Track ir
    2. Pick a A2asimulations GA plane..... I have all of them but I like the Cherokee and the Comanche the best
    3. Active sky next for weather

    Optional is orbx scenery... I have their Northern California scenery and bought all the add on airports for the area, this has nothing to do with realism but. It makes it more fun with good scenery
     
  35. JimNtexas

    JimNtexas Pattern Altitude

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    Wow. Even on my old 'duo core' box X-plane never took more than a minute or two to boot. On my new Core i5 box with SSD it takes about 30 seconds.
     
  36. Blueangel

    Blueangel Line Up and Wait

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    Does extra memory and quad core help with X plane performance? I'll get a joystick and Xplane this week to use in between lessons.
     
  37. NickC99

    NickC99 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    For loading time, I would recommend getting a solid state drive and putting X-Plane on that. And, yes, a faster processor would help.

    I recently build out a brand new machine (quad core with 16 GB mem and SSD) and X-Plane loads reasonably fast. On my old MacBook Pro (2009 model), it takes a bit longer, but still runs nicely with lower graphics settings.
     
  38. Blueangel

    Blueangel Line Up and Wait

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    Cool I've been looking to upgrade from my old MacBook to a new system.
     
  39. mryan75

    mryan75 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Exactly my point.
     
  40. mryan75

    mryan75 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I was underwhelmed with it. It's a $3000 basic computer/FSX-with-no-add-ons setup. You could get the same thing on your own for $400. We have that and a 20-year old, FAA approved sim at our flight school with 20-year old graphics. We use the 20-year old sim. The Jay just sits there.