Jump to content

FlightSim reliable?


Recommended Posts

MS Flight Simulator is what many FAA certified sim's use as operating software. Given, most are instrument ground trainers but a decent sim with good controls can definitely help a new student pilot get a handle on coordinating movements and resisting overcontrolling. Since a good joystick with throttle(easily converted into a collective by turning it around and attaching some kind of dowel to it), CH Pro pedals(a must have), and flight sim software costs less than an hour in a heli its definitely worth it. I use it to practice instrument approaches and procedures all the time. My answer to your question is an unequivocal 'yes'.

P.S. Make sure you remove or disable the centering spring on your joystick.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MS Flight Simulator is what many FAA certified sim's use as operating software. Given, most are instrument ground trainers but a decent sim with good controls can definitely help a new student pilot get a handle on coordinating movements and resisting overcontrolling. Since a good joystick with throttle(easily converted into a collective by turning it around and attaching some kind of dowel to it), CH Pro pedals(a must have), and flight sim software costs less than an hour in a heli its definitely worth it. I use it to practice instrument approaches and procedures all the time. My answer to your question is an unequivocal 'yes'.

P.S. Make sure you remove or disable the centering spring on your joystick.

 

 

Peaked my interest.....can you tell us more about a good joystick with throttle and how to turn it around? Any good places that you know of to get all the things for this to include the pedals?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sure, I have a Saitek x45 joystick and throttle. The throttle is the kind you'd find in a fighter jet i suppose but if you turn it around backwards and to the outside pivot arm attach a stick of some sort with duct tape or something it makes a decent jury rigged collective. The stick and throttle come together for about $70 and the pedals you can get from CH products for about $80 online. If you want to save money, steering wheels are cheap axis controllers that can be rigged to make pedals or a collective with a little imagination. There are a ton of downloads for FS2004 too, you can get helicopters, jets, oil rigs, aircraft carriers and scenery improvers on sites like hovercontrol.com and simviation.com.

You'll be an arm chair heli pilot in no time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sure, I have a Saitek x45 joystick and throttle. The throttle is the kind you'd find in a fighter jet i suppose but if you turn it around backwards and to the outside pivot arm attach a stick of some sort with duct tape or something it makes a decent jury rigged collective. The stick and throttle come together for about $70 and the pedals you can get from CH products for about $80 online. If you want to save money, steering wheels are cheap axis controllers that can be rigged to make pedals or a collective with a little imagination. There are a ton of downloads for FS2004 too, you can get helicopters, jets, oil rigs, aircraft carriers and scenery improvers on sites like hovercontrol.com and simviation.com.

You'll be an arm chair heli pilot in no time.

 

Arm chair pilot............LOL I like that, but actually just want to keep sharp and work on some instrument stuff.

 

Thanks for the tips.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A warning!

 

To anyone who is planning to learn to fly helicopters for real, do NOT spend a lot of time using a flight sim first (and this includes the FAA-certified types like FlyIt). You WILL develop bad habits which will end up costing you $$ in the aircraft to "unlearn". Take a discovery flight first, or at least do your sim training under the tutalage of a CFI.

 

It is too easy to develop overly aggressive collective and cyclic movements, as well as developing inappropriate scanning patterns. Yes I have heard the stories of simmers who hovered on their first flight, but I suspect the sim had little to do with it - I've had high-school cheerleaders hover on their first flight too.

 

As far as a good setup goes, the CH pedals, stick and throttle works pretty well - you can reverse the throttle in the FS software. Definitely worth the price of a PC, the software and the controls when you get to IFR training - it will pay for itself if you use it regularly to do your homework. (I would guess for every hour I flew IFR in the helicopter, I had 3 - 4 at home on the sim. I did the Pt141 ride at the minimum 35 hours.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A warning!

 

To anyone who is planning to learn to fly helicopters for real, do NOT spend a lot of time using a flight sim first (and this includes the FAA-certified types like FlyIt). You WILL develop bad habits which will end up costing you $$ in the aircraft to "unlearn". Take a discovery flight first, or at least do your sim training under the tutalage of a CFI.

 

It is too easy to develop overly aggressive collective and cyclic movements, as well as developing inappropriate scanning patterns. Yes I have heard the stories of simmers who hovered on their first flight, but I suspect the sim had little to do with it - I've had high-school cheerleaders hover on their first flight too.

 

As far as a good setup goes, the CH pedals, stick and throttle works pretty well - you can reverse the throttle in the FS software. Definitely worth the price of a PC, the software and the controls when you get to IFR training - it will pay for itself if you use it regularly to do your homework. (I would guess for every hour I flew IFR in the helicopter, I had 3 - 4 at home on the sim. I did the Pt141 ride at the minimum 35 hours.)

 

Great point Fling..............thanks for bringing it up. Hope those who have never flown will read this and not try to learn that way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hey

 

I am a soon to be student pilot and I have been using x-plane as training tool. My question pertains to Heliboys comment about removing the centering spring on the joystick . Is the reason for this that there is no center point on a real cyclic? If so any kind of feed back on a real cyclic must only be caused from blow back or turbulence etc. is this correct?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are lots of things that can cause the centered position of the cyclic to change, center of gravity is a biggie and yes blowback, wind, translating tendancy, and inflow roll must be corrected for but sim's dont really do a good job of modeling these forces. Every power change you make is also going to affect these forces. There is a completely centered position for the cyclic but its never going to be in the same place for very long, especially in a hover.

The reason for removing the centering spring is beacause the force it takes to move the cyclic away from the center on a joystick is much more than you'd ever use on the real thing and the real thing isnt going to center itself like on a fixed wing. Air pushing ailerons, elevators, and rudders tries to neutralize the controls in a plane and thats what the centering spring on a joystick is trying to recreate. You can usually control a cyclic with one or two fingers. Remember: pressures, not movements. Like fling said, its okay to use a sim but dont expect it to truly recreate the real thing and dont expect your first hover to be rock solid. I certainly wouldnt refer to it as a 'training tool' for a student pilot either, but it can help give a basic understanding of coordinating movements.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are lots of things that can cause the centered position of the cyclic to change, center of gravity is a biggie and yes blowback, wind, translating tendancy, and inflow roll must be corrected for but sim's dont really do a good job of modeling these forces. Every power change you make is also going to affect these forces. There is a completely centered position for the cyclic but its never going to be in the same place for very long, especially in a hover.

The reason for removing the centering spring is beacause the force it takes to move the cyclic away from the center on a joystick is much more than you'd ever use on the real thing and the real thing isnt going to center itself like on a fixed wing. Air pushing ailerons, elevators, and rudders tries to neutralize the controls in a plane and thats what the centering spring on a joystick is trying to recreate. You can usually control a cyclic with one or two fingers. Remember: pressures, not movements. Like fling said, its okay to use a sim but dont expect it to truly recreate the real thing and dont expect your first hover to be rock solid. I certainly wouldnt refer to it as a 'training tool' for a student pilot either, but it can help give a basic understanding of coordinating movements.

 

Thank you for the insight heliboy I appreciate it. The reason I refered to x-plane as a training tool is because I have been using it to do exactly what you said, orientate my body to the type of movments I will need to master the controls of a real helicopter. This may or may not have payed off when I went for my first ride in a S300CBI in that I was able to hold a pretty steady hover. Although I know there a little heavier and and less touchy than say an R-22.

 

As far as x-plane goes I have heard more than once that the program blows MS flight sim out of the water in the way of general physics and the way X-plane simulates forces like the amount anti torgue required to hold your heading in a hover which is almost non existent or simulated poorly in (most MS helos).X-plane also fully simulates auto rotations and other hazardous flight situations like LTE, rotor droop, and it is suppose to simulate the vortex ring state although I havent been able to induce one. I know my knowledge is obviously limited on real world experience being that im not a pilot yet, But I thought this was worth mentioning due to the fact that x-plane may be a much better alternative to MSflight sim for future pilots if siming does any good at all other than for IFR training.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

This is my first post so I thought I would help contribute to those who are looking to develop a good home Heli cockpit without breaking the bank. Im new to the forum as you can tell and have found some great information here in my quest to become a Heli pilot...Thanks to everyone. Unfortunately until that day comes I must continue to hone my skills on FS9 and the PC.

 

I have used FS9 to gain a general understanding and coordination but the only way to experience heli flight is the real deal. I have taken 3 intro flights with different schools in SoCal (not SSH) in my search to find the lucky recipient of my $50K. Im still up in the air with details but will get thru it soon.

 

Not sure who posted the suggestion about "showing up and not making an appt so that you get a good feel of the day to day ops without them being prepared" was right on the money...thanks!

 

My home setup (similar to AdamSTL)

1. Thrustmaster HOTAS Cougar (X45 or X52 will work as well)

Throttle is turned backward with a Mag light handle attached for the collective (works very well I might add)

2. CH Pedals

3. Office chair converted to hold the cyclic and collective in respective position.

 

11317481623-thumb.jpg

 

11318095967-thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I recently went back to X-Plane because I felt like I really didn't give it a fair shake. Upon closer inspection it makes the rotorcraft model in FS2004 look stilted at best and down right embarrassing really. If you have any interest in Helicopter Sims you must try it - they have a demo available for download. Some of the models are not as good as others. The Sirkorski, and both the Bells are pretty impressive. I recommend getting the ec-120 model available at x-plane.org if you want to be blown away. This is the sim fly-it should be using. The 8.4 version added numerous improvements not the least of which is better scenery in some areas and dramatically improved graphics overall. Turn on the 3-d Cockpit on that ec-120 model and marvel at all the details.

 

 

http://www.x-plane.com/demo.html

http://www.x-plane.org/registry/114_Helicopters.shtml

 

"X-Plane is the world's most comprehensive, powerful flight simulator, and has the most realistic flight model available for personal computers."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recently went back to X-Plane because I felt like I really didn't give it a fair shake. Upon closer inspection it makes the rotorcraft model in FS2004 look stilted at best and down right embarrassing really. If you have any interest in Helicopter Sims you must try it - they have a demo available for download. Some of the models are not as good as others. The Sirkorski, and both the Bells are pretty impressive. I recommend getting the ec-120 model available at x-plane.org if you want to be blown away. This is the sim fly-it should be using. The 8.4 version added numerous improvements not the least of which is better scenery in some areas and dramatically improved graphics overall. Turn on the 3-d Cockpit on that ec-120 model and marvel at all the details.

http://www.x-plane.com/demo.html

http://www.x-plane.org/registry/114_Helicopters.shtml

 

"X-Plane is the world's most comprehensive, powerful flight simulator, and has the most realistic flight model available for personal computers."

 

If you really want to have some fun try a full power out autorotation in the "Props" EC-120 on to an oil rig or a frigate . Now thats hard and you deff. cant do this in MSflight sim because it doesnt simulate full autos.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I've been using x plane through many versions and it seems very accurate to me regarding the flight model. The autos feel fairly accurate as far as energy management. However because there is poor depth perception , an accurate flare is a bit dicey. Hard to judge your altitude when close to the simulated ground. I usually run it on. I have a flight link collective, ch-pro pedals and a simple microsoft joystick. Great idea about removing the centering spring in the joystick, I'll take mine out when I get a chance.

 

Richard

 

videos at http://www.broadbandtvnow.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 11 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...