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Flight Simulators. Do they help?

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Geoff Smith 107/04/2012 12:05:34
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545 forum posts
88 photos

Hiya all. I have now had Phoenix for a while and I have to say that my flying skills have improved (returned) but is it enough, does it work when to 'do it' for real?

Geoff............Not so panicky dept.

John Privett07/04/2012 12:25:55
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6020 forum posts
239 photos

Geoff, flight sims weren't around (OK, neither were PCs!) when I learnt to fly fixed-wing. But I did find them invaluable when I expanded my repertoire a few years back to include helis.

To my mind where they help greatly is in training ourselves to respond to a situation without having to conciously think about it. When I fly a model towards me I don't have to think which way to move the sticks - though 30-odd years ago when I started learning I most certainly did have to! Now going through that initial learning phase with the "real thing" you are prone to making mistakes, and that can potentially be a bit expensive. So get that bit out of the way on the sim and you're a step ahead in the game.

When I started with helis I put in a lot of time on the sim, and always tried anything new on the sim before risking it for real. For instance I did a lot of nose-in hovering on the sim before I dared try it with the actual heli. Later on I found I was very uncomfortable transitioning between nose-in and tail-in when turning the nose to my right, but was OK with it to the left. This meant that when flying for real I avoided the right-hand transition and so practiced the left-hand transition more. This obviously made the difference between the two even worse, so I went back to the sim and spent an hour or two just practicing the "difficult" right-hand transition. The following afternoon flying for real the improvement was remarkable.

So yes the sim can help, but certainly won't teach you everything. There are still diffierences - but it can give you a good head-start.

Bob Moore07/04/2012 15:10:57
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736 forum posts
124 photos

Yes. But ok, not perfect as most people are far more anxious when flying a real model if a beginner, but they do help get some orientation I think. Or at the least, make people realise that model flying takes practice.

I found practicing flying inverted on my sim very useful before trying the real thing. I'm getting better at it but on one occasion I reacted completely the wrong way and stuck the model in the ground. (Pulled back instead of the other way.)  Luckily it was an easily repaired lightweight depron model. I'm even risking flying my Wot4 inverted now , but at a safe height!

Edited By Bob Moore on 07/04/2012 15:14:29

Ernie07/04/2012 16:54:46
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2518 forum posts
21 photos

Hi Geoff, They certainly do help...BUT you don't get oily hands, verbal abuse, muddy knees, broken models, lacerated fingers....all the good bits

ernie

Paul Marsh07/04/2012 17:18:51
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3814 forum posts
1102 photos

I've been teaching a lad today at the club, only 10 or 11, he's a son of a recently re-entered hobby dad. We used to go flying after college years ago. I started flying then. He had a family, got married, but recently took it up again.

This kid has only had one go before today. But has had some simulator experiance. He has doing left/right hand circuits figue 8's, etc, and actually listening to what he needed to do. One the second flight, he landed the model, after several touch-an-goes, and taxied back. After two flights wants something more responsive!!!

Edited By Paul Marsh on 07/04/2012 17:19:31

David Bess07/04/2012 18:14:17
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135 forum posts
19 photos

I have just got my first TX and Phoenix Sim ,I have zero experience it took me 4hrs. to get a nice take of and do a circuit ,landing is tricky but I hope to do better tonight ;I spent an hour with the landing tutorial so I think I should manage to takeoff ,circle and land tonight ,I think it's going to get my hands trained so I won't have to think about the controls and it will become 2nd. nature , but I wouldn't take a real plane up with out a buddy plugged into my TX while I get the confidence to solo yes

Ben B07/04/2012 18:16:29
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1419 forum posts
4 photos

They absolutely do help. Because of my job I had to move around quite a lot post university so never really settled down long enough to join a club, learn to fly etc. Even when I did I only had a few lessons before I had to move on again. Then I bought a G3 Realflight off Ebay. About a year later I moved to London and got out the old Hi-boy and went to my local r/c flying site. It's very informal so no instructors, no membership, no lessons (you get the picture). But thanks to my practice on the sims I was able to take off, fly around and do a dead-sticks landing all without a problem. I am absolutely certain I would not have been able to do this before my simulator hours.

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator07/04/2012 19:28:58
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15748 forum posts
1460 photos

Yeap, like most I believe simulators can help a lot. But to get maximum benefit I think you need to use them with some "self discipline" at least some of the time.

OK like everyone else I like flying the turbine powered Red Arrows Hawk around and putting the smoke on - but I try to "give it to myself" as a reward for at least a bit of serious practice on whatever it is I'm trying to improve at the moment - better consecutive double and triple slowish rolls, in both directions (I tend to prefer rolling to the right!) are my current project!

It doesn't matter what your current project is - for a beginner it might be landing, for the "expert" it might be flying the F4C schedule - what ever it is you will improve for some intensive simulator practice - but always have that "aim" - something specific you are going to work on. Then when you've had a bit of that you can get on with the "daft stuff" smile

BEB

PS Also personally I'd avoid flying in the sim with the same weather fixed all the time as well!

Geoff Smith 107/04/2012 21:45:58
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545 forum posts
88 photos

Hiya all. Many thanks for all this input. I do feel that I am learning (remembering) with Phoenix but have now come to the point of practising something new. Done circuits and bumps, landings and inverted low passes, rolls etc. I think I'll take BEB's suggestion next and input a bit of weather.

Geoff

avtur07/04/2012 22:23:03
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883 forum posts
20 photos

I'll give another thumbs up for sims. I'm the (not un-typical it seems ...) returning modeller ... after a break of more than 15 years. When rejoining I found this website/forum, which has been invaluable. On the basis of what I read here I went out and bought a Speccy DX6i and Pheonix .... certainly helped to rebuild my confidence as well as helping me to convert from mode 1 to mode 2 (though it best to do it all at the same time)

It is very easy on the sim to 'indulge' and play a little but I found that plugging away at circuits with the Mentor was a great help, as has been said earlier just little things like mentally defaulting to the first person view so there is no problem with orientation flying away from you and flying towards you. Hammering away at circuits for hours on end really gets this home to you so that when actually flying, which in the early stages can be quite nerve racking, orientation just isn't an issue.

I'm back in the air now and getting my confidence back, two models and now many, many happy hours of flying under my belt, and both models still intact ... But I'm always mindful of my limitations at present, so don't take chances on windy days, I'm simply grinding away at the A certificate requirements and practising circuits and landings ... I just love getting landings right .... I've allowed myself the odd loop and barrel roll, but for now I just want to be sure that every landings is a good'un.

Gordon Bushell17/04/2012 23:26:15
99 forum posts
26 photos

I approached flying alone, with a secondhand model, and as soon as it was airborne, I knew I was in deep trouble. Within what felt like a long time for a single circuit, I had inverted the plane and powered it into the ground. I

Then I discovered the cheapest realitycraft simulator. I spent many many hours doing circuits and bumps with the the trainer, in all the different weather conditions, and gradually reducing the strength of the various parts (especially undercarriage) which really encouraged smooth gentle touchdowns.

I like to think this shows in my flying now, although I've only recently started flying real models regularly, after the best part of a year on the sim, with occasional flights with the original model and an ultra micro.

I don't think there would be much benefit in just blasting around on a sim as a beginner, but in a structured way it is useful I think, and I still often use it when there is nothing needing work, and the weather is not good for flying.

Incidentally, the repairs to the first model cost more than it's purchase, which in turn was more than the sim. Now, had I bought the sim first...

Keith Simmons18/04/2012 08:23:37
449 forum posts
9 photos

I had practised on the sim before starting to fly on a buddy lead. A big difference, On the Sim it was calm, or very little wind, and out on the field, a good breezy turbulent day. my attempts was all over the place. blush. Tried again on the sim but with the settings as I had on the day and it matches what I had on the field. Now I know what to aim for and feel better practising on the sim so to to be ready for the next field trip I had.

Olly P18/04/2012 08:31:22
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3215 forum posts
181 photos

Yes.

I always try something new on Pheonix before I try it at the field - It is a lot cheaper that way.

Regards weather I try something for the first time in perfect conditions, and gradually worsen them and then randomise it once I'm confident in all conditions - a graduated structured approach will almost always yield better results than just hacking away.

Allan Bowker18/04/2012 22:29:28
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1626 forum posts
227 photos

Yes, they are good to teach the basics. Nuff said teeth 2

Rusty C18/04/2012 22:46:23
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452 forum posts
29 photos

Geoff

I pretty much learnt on the sim, It helped now end with the finger training. My first flight felt like i had been at it for much longer and defo removed a ton of nerves.

I wouldnt worry at all the pheonix is brill

rusty

Cyclicscooby19/04/2012 10:44:48
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874 forum posts
531 photos

In short.... YES... Worth every penny, before, during, and after you learn to fly..

I learnt to fly my Heli on XTR..

They appear to be expensive, but really, it's only 2-3 mild heli / big ARTF plane crashes worth..

If you just buy an aircraft and go fly it, you WILL ding it / crash sooner or later... Without a buddy lead, its part of the learning process.. If you can replace that first plane with an infinately replacable virtual model, all the better, and your chances of crashing a real one, through pilot error, are greatly reduced

The only downside, if it is one, is the lack of adrenalin.. There's nothing like flying the real thing, which you HAVE to land when the timer beeps, and could be smashed to bits in 5 seconds..

You dont get that on a screen with a reset button.. !!

 

Luv

Chrisie.. xx

Edited By Cyclicscooby on 19/04/2012 10:45:43

Foxfan05/09/2013 21:56:07
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903 forum posts
7 photos

I've just downloaded R/C desk pilot late last night and got on with it straight away. Within half an hour I was doing circuits and bumps and even landings. I am using the buttons, too, while I await a lead for my DX5e, so once I'd found the throttle button I could do decent landings where the 'plane actually stopped!

Today I've even been flying the gliders and the Extra, landing that too.

The trainer is a very nice experience and I've done loops and Cuban eights with it, then landed.

The trouble with buttons is when you want to type e-mails you keep wondering what the model's doing!!

I'm hooked and can't wait for my real one's batteries to finish charging, then maybe I can get on the field outside with my Ripmax Relection birthday present.

I'm too tight to buy Phoenix and can recommend R/C Deskpilot completely. (For button flyers, anyway!)

Cheers,

Martin

scott finnie05/09/2013 23:44:57
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756 forum posts
95 photos

I do like them but i miss the smell of the sewer nearby , the wind in my face, the sun hurting my eyes and the smell of fuel, i only use the simulator now to try out certain manouvers before i head to the field, its far easier hitting reset than building a new model, I have had a few newcomers fly pretty well straight off Phoenix though, but then have had a few that find it over complicated with the real life enviroment around! I still believe the easiest way to learn is go down to you're local club , watch someone flly then buddy box it, you can then practice from there at home smiley

scott finnie05/09/2013 23:47:40
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756 forum posts
95 photos
Posted by Foxfan on 05/09/2013 21:56:07:

I've just downloaded R/C desk pilot late last night and got on with it straight away. Within half an hour I was doing circuits and bumps and even landings. I am using the buttons, too, while I await a lead for my DX5e, so once I'd found the throttle button I could do decent landings where the 'plane actually stopped!

Today I've even been flying the gliders and the Extra, landing that too.

The trainer is a very nice experience and I've done loops and Cuban eights with it, then landed.

The trouble with buttons is when you want to type e-mails you keep wondering what the model's doing!!

I'm hooked and can't wait for my real one's batteries to finish charging, then maybe I can get on the field outside with my Ripmax Relection birthday present.

I'm too tight to buy Phoenix and can recommend R/C Deskpilot completely. (For button flyers, anyway!)

Cheers,

Martin

I have the bmi simulator aswell and fly it with both joystick and dx18! it is realistic in many ways, a really good FREE simulator

bouncebounce crunch06/09/2013 04:43:40
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1739 forum posts
212 photos

I don't own a simulator but have had a go at the hobby store , i can see that for orientation in regards to those early stages of learning to fly towards yourself it would be very helpful and cost effective, but there is no substitute for the real thing.

good luck

bbc

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