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Desktop Simulators ?

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Good Afternoon,


I was wondering if anyone had any perspective on desktop flight simulators as a training tool. I know that there are several programs out there which claim to cater to realism as opposed to being games (FSX, X-Plane), I have been considering getting one to help with my training.


A little bit more on my situation; I am working towards my PPL (in an R-22), but it's likely that before I deploy to Afghanistan for 9-months, I won't be ready to finish or solo. I don't want to regress over that 9-month period, and would like to keep learning as much as I can ... granted that I wouldn't be getting the feel of the aircraft, nor working on my "hover button". It is my eventual desired endstate to retire from the Army with my PPL and a good amount of part-61 flight hours, and then attend a part-141 flight school, and go up to CFII, and begin an aviation career however hard work and luck will allow me.


If I were to get X-plane, with the relevant controls and track IR, would I get any real training benefit ? Any thoughts or opinions are most welcome, thanks !



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My desktop simulator, combined with USB helicopter controls (full cyclic, pedal, collective with twist grip combo) have definitely helped keep the muscle memory. Moreover, I've noticed students that use the home simulator pick up the skills faster than those that don't. Some would argue that flying the desktop builds bad habits, but I have not seen this to be the case, as long as you keep in mind that the simulator is not an entirely accurate representation of how a helicopter really behaves.


I recommend x-plane. Helicopter flight dynamics in FSX stink. In X-plane they are very close to the real thing. There are quite a few companies that manufacture helicopter controls for the home computer. If you want more info, feel free to PM me.

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Simulators all suck, full motion or desktop. There is no substitute for actual flight experience.


The best sim I ever flew meant I had to learn to fly the sim itself before I could learn from the simulator experience, a sim presents very different cues and subtle but significant differences in response no matter how carefully and exactly modeled. The real world is just more random than a machine world. Sim flight touch has almost no utility in a real seat.

The procedures and physics in a simulator do relate to real world useful knowledge, especially as that knowledge can be gained in carefully controlled and repeatable scenarios (beyond the hover). If you can apply head-work and analysis to the sim or aircraft, it carries over to the other.


Convenience and control is more important than duplicating aircraft ergonomics, in my experience. It's just as hard to learn to fly an aircraft sim that exactly duplicates my line aircraft as it was to learn to fly a desktop joystick. The joystick's much more portable and easy to set up, which means more use.


I would rather have sim time than no time at all. I use it to learn, and practice theory and application of it.

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I kicked ass in instruments because of my time flying in Flight Simulator. It's a fun thing to play around with and it will certainly help keep your head in the game.


Side question: I see you're in Watertown and flying R22s. Where are you renting an R-22?

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Hi everybody, thanks for the feedback ! It seems that the general opinion is that (desktop) simulators are a limited but useful training tool ... So I guess I'll be pulling the trigger on my Amazon shopping cart tonight ! I appreciate hearing from y'all.


SBuzzkill, a friend of mine knows a CFII in Ogdensburg (on the St. Lawrence, E of A-Bay) who has access to an R-22, that's where I've been taking lessons ... long drive, but totally worth it to me.

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That's awesome. I'm in Carthage and have been looking around for choppers out of curiosity. A guy down the street flies a 300 out of his own hangar next to his house. Haven't gotten to talk to him yet though.

Edited by SBuzzkill
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