Using X-Plane 11 VR and VATSIM for IFR Practice?

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by Buck Rizvi, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I built a gaming machine awhile back and recently purchased an Oculus Rift + Touch Controllers to go with it.

    I got my Instrument rating back in July and fly my own Cherokee Six 300 about once a week.

    That said, it’s been fun using the game machine to launch X-Plane VR, login to VATSIM, and practice approaches at unfamiliar airports.

    I realize it doesn’t count for currency, but with the VR, simulated GTN 650, Aspen 1000, plus Navigraph data, I get a very close approximation of the real thing.

    I thought using VATSIM would be daunting, but it turned out to be relatively simple since I’m already an IFR pilot.

    Anyone else doing this? Maybe we can use this thread for tips, tricks, favorite plugins, etc.
     
  2. sonopoa

    sonopoa Pre-Flight

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    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
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  3. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I know what you mean re VATSIM. How would you grade pilotedge? Are you already instrument rated?
     
  4. sonopoa

    sonopoa Pre-Flight

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    I have FAA and Easa full instrunent ratings. I cannot recommend pilotedge more highly. It is excellent. The quality of the training workshops, the professionalism and skill of the controller's and the flight ratings they have it all..
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
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  5. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Perfect. I was getting a little frustrated with the spotty ATC coverage and variable quality on VATSIM. Don't mind paying for a quality solution to help me keep proficient!

    BTW, if I want to fly IFR when visiting my wife's home country of Lithuania (in the EU), do I need an additional EASA rating to do so?
     
  6. sonopoa

    sonopoa Pre-Flight

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    I havent flown in Lithuania, but it is the EU union and EASA, so if your airplane is not based in the EU and is on the N reg there wont be any problem providing you have all the regular FAA required paper work for plane and pilot. (ramp checks etc) You should also check for PPR at your destination and alternate airports. If you fly an N reg airplane that is based in the EU, the various EU NAAs are imposing additional requirements on pilots to complete EASA training. Also if you are planning on having a USA based aircraft in EU for a long time (not sure what the time period is) I have heard that the plane can be considered eligibile for VAT duty!

    Edit: update - I checked on the VAT - it may be EU country specific UK and France are 180 days.. I guess you wont be staying that long (i.e dont!)
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
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  7. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Agree. I didn't use it much but I just stopped as it was very difficult for me for some reason.
    Need to check out pilotedge.
    Overall I really like the xplane\VR set up. For IFR I don't really use the VR that much.. just the instrument panel and lots of clouds with the CH yoke.
    For some real fun turn the weather to stormy (or even one notch below) and try hand flying an IFR flight.
     
  8. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks. I’ve used Pilotedge twice now on their trial and really like it.

    It’s nice to go through the freq change flows of clearance->ground->tower->departure->center. On a night flight, they even gave me a traffic advisory, which was very cool.

    I’ve enabled traffic on Foreflight using PilotEdge’s config file, so it closely resembles the setup I use in my Cherokee Six.

    I’ll give the clouds / stormy weather a try.

    I also like that they have KAPA, KCOS and KDEN covered in my backyard! I just flew a live IFR flight to KFLY yesterday, which is in Springs Approach’s service area.

    I have the CH Yoke and Pedals. I agree that I like non-VR better for IFR practice. Much easier to stay ahead of the airplane during an approach.
     
  9. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I was planning on renting an aircraft during a visit to LT. Not sure how visiting pilot privileges work.
     
  10. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    Hello - was semi-lurking - I've been using XPlane 11.26 as an IFR proficiency tool, and getting a lot of good use from it; just cheapo CH yoke and pedals, almost exclusively for IFR and shooting approaches. Are you using a relatively up to date XPlane version with PilotEdge? I'd like the ATC interaction, but I don't want to make a career of resolving issues to get there.

    I've been OK with the on-screen Garmin, though it doesn't translate muscle memory well into our real airplane - you're pleased with the desktop Garmin box?
     
  11. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I found pilotedge much easier to setup and use with XPlane than VATSIM. One plugin to install in your X-Plane plugins folder and you’re done. They seem to have streamlined the setup process. Also, you’re guaranteed ATC coverage for a 15 hour period each day. Nice to not have to use 3rd party apps to go hunting for airports with someone “on duty.”

    I’ll let @sonopoa comment on the physical device. If I know what to touch and where to look, I’m OK with the virtual gps nav/com.
     
  12. sonopoa

    sonopoa Pre-Flight

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    I am on the latest public release of xplane 11. (it self updates). As others have said setting up the PilotEdge plugin is really simple. For xplane 11 just download the plugin zip, extract to the xplane 11 plugin folders and you are done. The following link describes everything you need to do.

    https://www.pilotedge.net/pages/getting-started


    The onscreen garmin is a pain to use the knobs with the mouse, and those knobs are heavily required to be used. Once you have a hardware box it will transform your use of gps to be much closer to real world.
    The desktop aviator box I linked in my earlier post above is really simple to setup - just plug it into a spare USB slot (it doesn't need an additional power plug) and each of the buttons and knobs is just mapped to a function in xplane 11 which xplane 11 has a devices setup page for that (same place you map your joystick buttons..)
     
  13. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Definitely agree if you're using a 430/530.

    I bought the RealityXP GTN650 add-on and it's a joy to use with the mouse because of the touch screen interface. It also works very well in VR. I think I paid $35 for the add-on on sale. The GTN650 sim is much closer to the features of the Avidyne IFD550 I have in my Cherokee Six,
     
  14. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I am new to X-Plane. I am hoping you can explain how the add on GPS works. If you buy the add on gps and you use a stock airplane can you display the add on GPS on the stock airplanes? I used to use FSX and older versions but just recently bought X-plane and trying to get up to speed so I can go through some of the procedures again.
     
  15. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hi Jim,

    Welcome to X-Plane! It’s extremely powerful, but there are a lot of knobs and dials. But, hey, we’re pilots! :)

    Once you install the Reality XP GTN650 sim (http://www.reality-xp.com/) for X-plane, you can access it’s menu via X-plane’s plugins menu. Any stock X-plane aircraft that supports their built in 430W simulator should now be swappable with the GTN650. You may be able to “pop up” the GTN even if the airplane doesn’t have room in the panel. Since I run with 3 screens, I always keep the GTN “popped out” and on the right screen as it’s easier to see.

    If you’re using a plane with an HSI, you may need to experiment with the RealityXP settings to make sure course data is being sent correctly. Those are quick on/off toggles in their config menu.

    Warning: Once you’ve experienced the GTN sim, it will be extremely hard to go back to the 430W. Just the simple process of loading a flight plan into the GTN’s FMS is super fast with the touch screen.

    I’m thinking about also buying the GTN 750 sim as I’d like the additional screen real estate, but the 650 is still very usable.

    Buck
     
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  16. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Thanks Buck
    I am guessing no one has an Avidyne add on available or you would have it.
    I wish our 172 panel was only $50 to upgrade! I will download the 650.
     
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  17. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hey Jim, I would LOVE to have an Avidyne IFD add-on, but haven't found one yet.

    Let me know what you think of the Reality XP 650.
     
  18. Jim Rosenow

    Jim Rosenow Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    I'm running 3 screens also for XP. One of them is an 8x12 (or so) touchscreen that I drag the pop-out GTN's to....makes it literally touch for touch realism. The RXP stuff is amazing!

    A Different Jim
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
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  19. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Awesome! What do you recommend for the touchscreen? Maybe something like an ASUS VT168H? I have a NVIDIA 1080 card with at least 1 extra video port. Maybe I could drive a 4th screen!
     
  20. Jim Rosenow

    Jim Rosenow Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Mine's an ASUS touchscreen, but I'll have to check the model number. Will PM you.....

    Getting ready to up the ante on my sim. Currently running a Win10 PC that was XP state of the art 2 years ago (Windows mostly because the Garmin GTN Trainer that supports the RXP units is windows-only software). Putting specs together for another computer home-build. Will put Linux on the new one and have it do the XP heavy lifting, and use the current Win10 unit to support only what absolutely, positively has to be Windows-based, on it's own copy of XP.

    I've done proof of concept with some stuff I have lying around, and it all plays nice together. Should be interesting!

    Jim
     
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  21. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Perfect. I built a 3-headed, Windows 10 machine with my teenage son with an i7 processor, SSD, plenty of memory, and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card. Even with Oculus Rift VR and relatively high graphics settings in X-Plane, we haven't maxed it out yet. I think the components cost us $1,500 (not including the displays).

    I did the PIC accelerated IFR training earlier this year and they brought an X-Plane-powered Aviation Training Device (ATD) to my house ( a flythissim, I think) that had touch screens. It was nice, but my system was A LOT faster! :)

    Now, if I can get my son off of it! :)
     
  22. OkieAviator

    OkieAviator Pattern Altitude

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    I used P3D quite a bit for my instrument. Tried to set it up as close to my actual plane at the time, even used Pilotsedge. It helped me quite a bit throughout the training process. I swapped to XP11 a year or so ago.

    I’ve now grown extremely lazy with my game play. Typically I’ll start at the end of a run way, fly 99% via autopilot and use it more as a procedural trainer just zoomed into the PFD. I don’t use trackIR, the pedals or anything like that. If anything it forces me to work with my EFB, read charts and mess with buttons.
     
  23. sonopoa

    sonopoa Pre-Flight

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    You are going to need to complete an EASA conversion in that case.
     
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  24. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I need a little help from you hardware guys. I am trying to squeeze a little more performance out of my old PC. It has 8 MB RAM and I am wondering if adding more RAM would help. I already added a GeForce GTX1050 dedicated graphics card. The motherboard had an integrated graphics chip would barely run X-Plane until I put in the dedicated graphics card. It now runs X Plane pretty well on a single monitor - about 30 FPS I am not looking for gamer performance - but I would like to run dual monitors without choppy performance. Do you think adding more RAM will help with performance?
     
  25. OkieAviator

    OkieAviator Pattern Altitude

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    It’s really old if you only have 8 megs of ram!
     
  26. rocketflyer84

    rocketflyer84 Line Up and Wait

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    I assume you mean 8GB. If so that’s not all that small. While more wouldn’t hurt if you are looking to have multiple monitors and such then that’s really the realm of the video card and GPU, which is what’s doing the heaving lifting of drawing all those images.
     
  27. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Yes - I meant 8GB. The machine is old - but not that old! The graphics card helped a lot. I know the pc is is limited, I just don not want to go through the hassle of starting over with a new machine.
     
  28. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Filing Flight Plan

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    Xplane 11 does use a lot of horsepower and pushes all aspects of your hardware; not sure how P3D or FSX compare, I suspect favourably. I do not think you mentioned what cpu and speed your existing machine has ?
     
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  29. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Yeah I use a GTX 1070, and it's pretty much maxed out with 3 screens.
    But, for IFR training, you can cut down on scenery and other settings, and even unplug a monitor or two, and that helps a lot.
     
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  30. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    The machine can run FSX maxed out. FSX has not been updated in so long I decided to try X-Plane. I am struggling a bit, but getting used to it.
    I found some memory on line - 2 x 8GB that I will try. I don't want to sink tons of money in an old machine.
    I am 15+ years removed from doing any real hardware support so I appreciate the input.

    The machine specs are:
    Other OS Description Not Available
    OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
    System Manufacturer ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC.
    System Model M11BB
    System Type x64-based PC
    System SKU SKU
    Processor AMD A10-6700 APU with Radeon(tm) HD Graphics, 3700 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)
    BIOS Version/Date ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC. (Licensed from AMI) 0307, 8/7/2013
    SMBIOS Version 2.7
     
  31. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I just did a benchmark on your AMD processor with integrated AMD Radeon graphics.

    An older generation NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 dedicated graphics card is over 60X faster than your built-in AMD Radeon. I would say that the 1070 is probably the minimum you'd want to run X-Plane 11. I have the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 and am already looking at the newer generation of cards, which are 2x faster than mine. With a 1070 or better NVIDIA card, you can upgrade to VR later.

    A previous generation Intel i7-7700 processor is 2.6x faster than the AMD A10-6700 in your system. This processor may be OK for X-Plane, but I would seriously looking at upgrading to at least a fast Intel i5 processor.

    Memory is cheap and I'd recommend at least 16GB to run X-Plane. I have 32GB on my system and am not running into any issues.

    This may be a situation where it's cheaper to by a new system configured the way you want it. When I do that, I tend to max out things like the processor, graphics, and memory so she'll last a good long time. Compare this to renting an aircraft at $150/hour and spending a little more money on a competent sim is well worth it.

    Cheers!
     
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  32. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Thanks Buck. I did replace the graphics card about 2 months ago with a GeForce 1050. It helped a lot. The frame rates went from 10-12 up to 30. I looked around on the web and some people with this motherboard had issues putting faster cards in this motherboard so I went with the 4GB 1050 graphics card.
    After I posted about adding RAM Friday night, I bought another 16 GB on Amazon. It came this morning and I put it in. It now has 24 GB. It did not help much with frame rates but the pc runs great.
    All in - I spent about $200 on the graphics card and memory. I pleased - I think I can get a few more years out of this machine. It still struggles when I run both monitors but is fine running one.

    Thanks to all of you for your help.
     
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  33. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Cool! Also never underestimate the perceived boost you’ll get from an SSD, if you don’t already have one. Like lasik, is life changing! :)
     
  34. coma24

    coma24 Line Up and Wait

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    We just added ATIS support to PilotEdge a few days ago, it seems to have been received well.

    For instrument pilots looking for scenarios, I'd suggest checking out the I-Ratings and Sky High Charters programs. The I-Ratings is a series of 10 IFR flights, whereas the Sky High Charters program is a new scenario each month (we're up to 8 so far).

    For those who are looking to manipulate the GPS in hardware, the Desktop Aviator unit is a low-cost option. One step up from that would be the RealSimGear Garmin 430 or 530 (or hell, the G-1000 PFD/MFD for that matter): https://realsimgear.com/collections/all

    The difference is build quality and the fact that it has a working display.
     
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  35. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Good stuff. I’m keep flip flopping over using VR with PilotEdge. Even though I can bring my iPad with Foreflight into the VR cockpit, it’s still a hassle to try and manipulate it.

    I own the RealityXP Garmin 650 and will check out the RealSimGear device. Another reason to not go VR! :)
     
  36. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Are you guys running flight sim with VR goggles? Sorry for the newb question.
     
  37. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yes. X-plane 11 works great with Oculus Rift + touch controllers. A fast gaming pc is needed for good perf.
     
  38. sonopoa

    sonopoa Pre-Flight

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    No. I invest enough in my sim hardware to achieve the purpose. I am also not confident that VR would help with the "buttonology" for things like GNSx30W sat nav. (I use a desktopaviator unit for that, coma mentions that and more expensive options above)
     
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  39. Jim Rosenow

    Jim Rosenow Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Not me...I'm using it for ^^^ "buttonology^^^ also. I've got some decent flight controls, a couple of large TV's, and a 15" touchscreen that I view/interact with the GTN's on (the software actually uses the 'real' Garmin Trainer package in the background, and so far matches touch for touch). Last year I built ver 1.0 of a 'Cessna single' switch panel, and working right now on ver 2.0. When it's too crappy to fly, I go to the basement.

    Jim

    PS- I also use the capability Xplane has to 'talk' to Garmin pilot, and run Pilot in the sim on the same tablet I use in our 182.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
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  40. olasek

    olasek Pattern Altitude

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    I have another newbie question, do you get proper perspective in this "VR", namely do you see outside scenery in "infinity" whereas the cockpit panel is right in front of you, in other words do you get a sort of pseudo 3D effect? This would be helpful during landings to get the proper 3D effect while flaring, etc.