Home IFR training sims?

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by G-Man, Dec 6, 2016.

  1. G-Man

    G-Man Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Recommendations and realistic expectations for a flight simulator to practice IFR?

    Won't log the time, just practice and build skills. Windows 7 64 bit, 8 GB Ram, 3 Ghz processor desktop. 20-inch and 24-inch LCD monitors. Have an older joystick controller, no pedals or throttle.

    Cessna 172 steam gauge or similar is fine. CONUS airports is great, less is fine.

    Don't want to spend a lot since don't plan to use it beyond training.

    Thanks for the help and recommendations!
     
  2. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If money is no object, I'd be looking at it TouchTrainer.

    For free/open source, FlightGear may be your best bet.

    Note, that neither is probably ideal to LEARN on. Best to have an instructor for that.
     
  3. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    find MS flight sim either 2004 or later.
     
  4. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    FlightGear has a decent physics engine. Weather was a bit unrealistic last I looked, but it's been a while. Particularly, descending out of clouds was much too abrupt, the effect of cloud turbulence was very different, and it was much too easy to spot the airport.

    If all your "practice" is with the autopilot, it will be fine. The feel is totally wrong for hand flying, as are any other sims you can afford.

    A big one on a sim is to get the "numbers" right. MSFS' 172 is much too powerful compared to real life.

    VOR navigation is substantially more realistic than GPS navigation. There are no good desktop Garmin sims out there (excepting the ones Garmin wrote -- but they are not good flight simulators), especially for G1000. If it behaves differently, it's not useful as a trainer. But you do get a decent zone of confusion and even false glideslopes (on FlightGear).

    FlightGear's default 172P has an OK KAP140 autopilot and coupled VOR navigation.
     
  5. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    I think I used MSFS X and got a yoke a rudder pedal. It helped during the IR as I was able to fly approaches and holds.
     
  6. iamtheari

    iamtheari Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I use X-Plane 10. I don't have a yoke or pedals, just a stick with a twist grip for rudder control. So flying is not very realistic. The simulated ATC is atrocious. But it is a useful tool to get comfortable with procedures, and if your choice for the hours you can't fly an airplane is between playing Angry Birds or playing X-Plane, the latter is probably a better use of time.
     
  7. Jim Rosenow

    Jim Rosenow Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I use X-Plane 10. I got an add-on airplane (Carenado T210 with the 'reality pack' enhancement...don't worry about all that until/if you start geeking it) that, if I use the power settings I would on our 182RG, matches performance pretty close. The add-on airplane comes with a couple of 430's in the panel and a nice autopilot....I am able to load/activate GPS/ILS approaches in the sim, and the thing will actually fly the approach, including the vertical component, by itself. Careful tho....it's addictive.

    Jim
     
  8. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    As long as you have enough time with the instructor doing it for real, even "chair flying" works to work out flows and single pilot techniques to split your attention properly.

    At times the sim is just a distraction.
     
  9. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou En-Route

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    Agreed, you don't need anything expensive to supplement training "in the soup". One monitor that shows your gauges is plenty. You won't be flying to "feel" the airplane anyway, you should be practicing procedures, such as VOR tracking, approaches, holds etc.
    FSX (Microsoft Flight Simulator X) used to be cheap and is useful enough for such home practice. P3D (Prepar3d from LM) now costs $60 for an academic license, IIRC.
    For better simulation, you can either sign up with Vatsim (free) and use half-way decent controllers or you can pay for simulated ATC services such as PilotEdge (they are limited to CA, though).

    One thing that you might find the most lacking in any on-screen sim is controlling all the dials and buttons. Mouse left-clicks and right-clicks are not ideal. You can find some add-on SW that allows you to use keyboard (example: for Com frequency change to 123.45 MHz, type C12345; for Nav frequency change, you type N11110, transponder goes by X1200 etc). Or you can dump money into HW that puts radios, switches, A/P panel etc on your desk.
     
  10. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The physics and pretty graphics are more for the game part of it, for IFR training it doesn't really give you much, you just need a panel which works right and matches somewhat what you're flying and nav aids, think there even a nav aid free enhancement someone made for MS flight sim.

    Computer wise most anything built in the last decade will probably run most sims with a half decent graphics card.


    I used MS flight sim X, I've heard good things about X plane too. Ether of those two programs costs between nothing and next to nothing.

    The only thing I'd really look into is a yoke and pedals, satek makes em I think, I got my set, yoke with throttle and pedals off Craig's list for 70-80ish bucks, sold them a year or so later for more than I paid lol. seen em on eBay too.

    Worked great to prep for my ATP.

    As a instructor and a professional IFR pilot, I can't say enough about simming it, between the cost, or lack there of, the ability to pause, analyze, and drop the plane any portion lf the flight, so long as you have a instructor helping you, or already have the foundation, it's really a great idea :)
     
  11. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    MSFS works only windows, Xplane works windows and mac.
     
  12. Jim Rosenow

    Jim Rosenow Pre-takeoff checklist

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    ....and Linux, Murph... :) Here's a screenshot I got a few minutes ago. This is the 172SP that comes standard with X-Plane sitting on KBJJ. I concur that a yoke and pedal are almost a must-have. I believe Logitech bought Saitek out, and they are in the midst of a transition currently. Screenshot from 2016-12-07 13-48-54.jpg
     
  13. Badger

    Badger Pattern Altitude

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    note: X-plane 11 is expected very soon. The beta version is out. I believe they are hoping for a release prior to the holidays.
     
  14. iamtheari

    iamtheari Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you buy 11 now, you get 10 immediately. I tried the 11 beta and my machine can't quite handle it, so I'm sticking with 10. But if you can handle the new version, it looks pretty nice.
     
  15. Sundancer

    Sundancer Cleared for Takeoff

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    MSFX works well for me, for simulating approaches and other IFR training. I have the cheapo yoke and pedals, but ptobably could do without the pedals. . .
     
  16. Bonchie

    Bonchie Line Up and Wait

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    I'd say XP10/11 because their default 430/530 are actually modeled right so you can fly RNAV approaches correctly.

    FSX's defaul GPS is terrible and the Nav database is way off.

    They both do most all the other kinds of approaches fine.

    If you want to actually practice power settings, etc. then buy an A2A plane with FSX/P3D or with XP10/11 buy one if the Carenado planes that also has a REP pack. They are modeled almost perfectly to the last detail.
     
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  17. Arob16

    Arob16 Pre-Flight

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    Only bummer thing about FSX is a lot of procedures/approaches in the sim are way out of date. i.e. RNAV procedures. I tried a few suggested solutions to update navaids and fixes, but doesn't seem to work well.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. Arob16

    Arob16 Pre-Flight

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    Anyone running XP11 beta with good performance, mind sharing your hardware specs? My relatively good system is also having issues running 11.
     
  19. labbadabba

    labbadabba Cleared for Takeoff

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    IR training in a home sim to me is less about the flight physics (tho important otherwise it's totally frustrating) and more about procedure and scan.

    I'm a HUGE fan of PIlotEdge.net. The controllers are top notch and it's as close to real IFR flying that I've found. It's given me a huge leg up on my IR training and has really eliminated any anxiety surrounding flying "in the system." My IR training has been focused on the flying rather than the regs/procedure since I was about to effectively practice and learn on my own. I've been able to fly some really oddball IFR scenarios which builds confidence and experience. The network is run by a POA'r @coma24, if you IM him he'll give you more deets.

    As for platform, I run FSX. Having a the basic rudder, TPM, and yoke is nice but a good joystick will work since you're just working on procedure. (I went a little nuts with my set up, see my avatar) I would also recommend getting a radio or two and something to run the AP. Dialing in that stuff with a mouse is a PITA. Xplane works better on PilotEdge and using XPlane you can request the controllers give you an in-flight failure of some sort I believe...
     
  20. Ryanb

    Ryanb En-Route

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    I have MS flight sim with a joystick and it serves as a pretty good IFR tool.
     
  21. Arob16

    Arob16 Pre-Flight

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    If you are using FSX with pilotedge, and a controller gives you direct to a fix or navaid that doesn't exist in FSX (since there have been a lot of navaid updates in 10 yrs), how do you handle? Or do they only use the navaids in the current version of FSX?
     
  22. labbadabba

    labbadabba Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have a Garmin DB in my 530. It's a little outdated but not bad. My preferred iPad app also syncs with the sim so I'm using updated charts so it's not been an issue. I generally fly /A because it's more of a challenge.

    I do need to switch over to X-Plane at some point. I just don't want to reconfigure my hardware...
     
  23. iamtheari

    iamtheari Pre-takeoff checklist

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    How much do you want for it? :)
     
  24. Blindrage

    Blindrage Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Running XPlane 11 at almost full max settings with no add-on planes or scenery at this point. Everything installed on an SSD drive to increase texture load speeds when needed.

    Nvidia GTX980 with 3 monitors for total screen of 7814x1440 (This is with bevel offsets, 7680x1440 real). Using Warthog HOTAS for flight controls, and Slaw device RX Viper pedals for rudder control. Add in TrackIR so you can turn your head to look out all the windows on the plane and it is almost like sitting in a real cockpit. Entire system is about a year old. No stutters, falters, or issues.

    I had seen some crashing issues early on, but have done multiple flights around Colorado in the Skyhawk that comes with the setup without issues. Do the Leadville run out of KAPA for some nice mountain flying practice, and do it at night with marginal weather for some real fun.
     
  25. PilotRPI

    PilotRPI Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Got X Plane 9 for $15 used on amazon. The steam gauges in the 172 model my plane closely, and I just throttle back to simulate speeds closer to my older 172. X Plane 11 looks amazing, but for IFR, you shouldn't be looking at the scenery anyway. I'd need a newer computer for X Plane 10 or 11.
     
  26. Jim Rosenow

    Jim Rosenow Pre-takeoff checklist

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    CPU? RAM? Thanks!
    Jim
     
  27. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The scan isn't quite right, either. You have to remember to include things outside the six-pack in it. Sometimes it's way outside the field of view. Like partial panel G1000 requires a wacky-*** scan. Do you scan your engine instruments? On a six-pack, they are usually far away. Skipping those = bad habit.

    If the point is procedures, why not use a flight deck trainer, rather than a flight simulator? That's what they are for. I've been able to find a decent one for every GPS I have access too, even the Apollo GX-55. Most are free, except for Garmin's G1000 trainer. And some of them can have their databases updated "unofficially" with a used Garmin update chip. Unlike FSX, these sims work very close to the real thing, with a few notable exceptions (FLCH on the G1000 being an unfortunate example).
     
  28. Jim Rosenow

    Jim Rosenow Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Please clarify...using post #12 as a reference....help me understand the issue you see with scan? Position/location of view are infinitely variable per taste/need in modern sims.

    Again, please help me with terminology... 'flight deck trainer'..? Are you referring to Garmins PC trainers packaged with the GNS and GTN series radios, or something else that I'm missing? The 650/750 plug-ins for X-Plane actually require the trainer be installed on the sim PC, as the plug-in uses it's logic and database, and interfaces them to the sim.

    Thanks!

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
  29. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Position may be "infinitely variable," but it's decidedly unrealistic to be screwing with the hat switch to look at your engine gauges. Real life has a much wider field of view than a computer monitor. And there is NO WAY you can be using the GPS properly with the zoom out as far as you have it. You have to push the CDI button prior to final on an ILS. IRL, you reach over and push the button. How will you do it in that sim? You can't even see which button it is. It is NOT the same button on all GNS models. It's remote on the Garmin 400, for instance, because that GPS doesn't have a nav receiver.

    There is some sort of trainer available for every GPS, somewhere. Even among Garmins, they sure seem all different. There is a good GTN trainer that runs on an iPad. GNS is PC software, and needs a bit of help to get running (it really wants XP, but it will run in a more modern OS). G1000 is a standalone product that sells for around $20. You run two instances, one for each screen. It's quite close to the real thing (with GFC700), except for missing FLCH functionality and an out of date database.

    If procedures are the point, you don't need much for flight dynamics and next to nothing for graphics. But you do need a very good avionics model or you're wasting your time.
     
  30. Jim Rosenow

    Jim Rosenow Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I could easily refute everything you say regarding sim limitations, with logic and examples. Instead I choose to concede you your opinion, which appears firmly set. Have a nice day!

    Jim
     
  31. labbadabba

    labbadabba Cleared for Takeoff

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    I see what you're saying, but if you look at my set-up I have a full 6-pack, engine, fuel, suction on my screen. I also have the GarSim GNS 530 http://www.emuteq.com/GNS530.html in my stack which fully emulates the GNS530 using the Garmin GNS trainer and database to drive the unit. I have rotary encoders for OBS, Baro, HDG, CRS. I have a second nav/com, full audio panel, XPDR and AP. I also have a full secondary panel with all switches, carb heat, gear, cowl flaps, flaps, and trim wheels. I'd love to have a vernier throttle/mixture and a wet compass I could mount on top of my glareshield but other than that, there's nothing that I'm missing in terms of IFR flying other than a moving platform.

    Granted, I went full out with my set-up but I could still bare-bones and set up my panel with everything needed for the scan. Using eBay, I built my simpit for about $1,500 and it's been probably my best investment in my flying.

    I'm planning another build at some point using this: http://www.emuteq.com/G1000.html but don't tell me wife....
     
  32. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    $1500 for $20 or less in functionality?

    I don't think I need a better example about why the point of a flight simulator is other than training.

    If you want it to be a game, that's great; knock yourself out and have fun. But why is it that simmers always seem to need to justify their game with some kind of training bonanza?

    Sims DO have a place, but speaking as a simulation professional, the sims under discussion don't fit the process they are intended to simulate.
     
  33. labbadabba

    labbadabba Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'd be happy to have you over to come fly my sim someday. It rivals any AATD short of the full-motion simulators. I'm not sure where you get $20 of functionality? I use the sim seriously, I treat it like I do any aircraft. I hone skills I've learned and work on weankesses that are exposed in my real-world flying. In terms of my training it's paid for itself twice over and is a fantastic proficiency tool.

    As a simulation professional, I don't doubt that you know more than I; but from my experience it's been invaluable (and fun to boot).
     
  34. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm sure it's a real fun sim.

    But if the point is to learn procedures, getting the airplane "realistic" is not relevant. You need very good avionics, and not a whole lot else.

    I'm not too impressed with AATDs either, especially the ones that try to add "motion." Those are glorified carnival rides. And full motion level D sims are not called for for this purpose. It's cheaper to rent a jet, and substantially more effective to rent a 172.

    When engineering a training device, you start with the requirements, not the solution. When engineering a game, it's the other way around, at least sometimes. The most cost effective training solution is quite different from a $1500 flight simulator. The most fun solution is a different answer, but then, it's a game.

    You can't claim your sim is "better" than anything without a requirement, and you definitely have no idea it's paid for itself twice over.

    As an engineer, it's really obvious that this is a case of the solution dictating the "problem." That's not a rare error, but it is an error.
     
  35. Blindrage

    Blindrage Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The game seems to pretty video intensive as opposed to CPU intensive, so I left those out.

    Running 16GB DDR3 on an Core I7-4790 CPU.
     
  36. labbadabba

    labbadabba Cleared for Takeoff

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    Which is exactly what I have. You referenced that the only good avionics simulators are the ones written by Garmin specifically for their products. That's precisely what's driving my GNS530. FSX is only the physics engine for my set-up. Other than that, from my radios to my instruments, nothing is stock.

    What makes you think I didn't have requirements? What I've put together was purpose built from the beginning to be a training aide. I suppose I could produce some User Stories if that would address some of your concerns. Many here advocate chair flying to reinforce procedures and flow; what many simmers have is just that but instead of using the imagination there's a tangible element. If I were just looking for a toy, I'd go old school and fire up X-Wing and go blow up a TIE Fighter.

    Thanks to my sim I've been able reinforce real-world skills that I've taken from my training. I'm a 100 hour pilot in real life and I have a TON to learn yet as I progress. The sim in conjunction with services such as PilotEdge has accelerated my learning and have presented me with situations I would never have been able come up with while working my 40 hours under the hood. It's these scenarios and the amount of hours of real-world flying I would need under my belt to experience them is what has saved me money. I have no delusions that what I'm doing is 'real' flying but that doesn't mean what I do on my sim doesn't positively affect what I do when I AM flying for real.

    For example, when transitioning to IR training. I needed zero instruction (other than one-off pointers) on how to function on an IFR flight plan, dealing with ATC, copying clearances, en route charts, IAPs, DPs, programming and using a GNS 430/530 and other Navaids, etc. As a result, my real flying was devoted to precision flying, partial panel, scan techniques, maintaining glide slope during a configuration change, checklist discipline because I wasn't worried about the procedure of flying IFR.

    I respect what you're trying to say but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss a 'game' that if used in a particular way can be an extremely effective training tool.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
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  37. jeremyk13

    jeremyk13 Filing Flight Plan

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    As someone very interested in setting up a home sim, I'd appreciate hearing some of those stories.
     
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  38. labbadabba

    labbadabba Cleared for Takeoff

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    As a cash-strapped but serious pilot, I need an effective training aide that will allow me to practice instrument flying
    As an instrument student, I need something to simulate real-world flying in an ATC environment
    As a pilot with an aircraft using an IFR GPS, I need a way to practice using the unit without going to the airport
    As flight simmer, I need instruments that are more accurate than what is provided out of the box
    As an aspiring pilot, I want a simulator cockpit that emulates a Cessna 172 to assist in muscle memory and flow checks
     
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  39. Jim Rosenow

    Jim Rosenow Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks....mine should be OK then. I've got XPX running just the way I want, so will probably wait til the production version of XP11.

    Jim
     
  40. Jim Rosenow

    Jim Rosenow Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Anybody else notice G-Man hasn't been back since the original post?....probably walked off shaking his head by now... LOL

    Jim