[font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON Jan-02-02 AT 04:18AM (EDT)[/font][p]I've been following the Capt's interesting thread about solving the control force problem in FS. Whilst the Capt and I have not seen eye to eye in the past, I do warmly welcome this discussion as I think it may bring together many people who otherwise did not agree on some fundamental issues about Fs2002.
At the moment there are two main alternatives when designing a flight model in FS. One is to assign the aircraft absolutely full control potential, thereby allowing theoretically extreme control inputs which in normal circumstances might break off the wing of a real aircraft if attempted at high airspeed.
The other is to compromise on the above by allowing sufficient control to attain normal, and sometimes marginally extreme manouevres outside the "normal" envelope. Without decent force feedback this in my view currently provides for more acceptable and smoother control in most airliner types going about their "normal" flights, but of course this is not ideal.
The other problem is trim. Trim on a real aircraft only has one principle function: to relieve stress to the arms of the pilot, by means of a trim tab which nullifies control forces and keeps the control column in the desired position for a given flight envelope.
FS, and many other sims, are unable to truly emulate the trim tab and instead the trim routines in effect change the Centre of lift, and weight, forward and back according to settings. In effect, trim in most home sims becomes another, extra, powerful elevator.
The problems this causes are obvious. Trim becomes a way of actually directing pitch, rather than relieving arm pressure. There are other unwanted side-effects, the most serious of which is that aircraft tend to become very twitchy if given generous elevator control authority AND a full trim range.
The force-feedback mechanisms provided by some manufacturers of control devices have not yet really solved the problem, since their implimentation is crude and rather un-refined.
If FS sim aircraft are to be given absolute and real-world control surface potential, then we need two vital things:
1. A joystick which has sufficient total movement to allow the user to control with finesse and subtelty.
2. Force feedback which progressively introduces resistance, commensurate with actual forces building as airspeed and other G related forces increase.
The other thing that needs to be fined tuned in flight models, (and many of us involved in this are increasingly finding ways to emulate this), is the vertical inertia of an aircraft when for instance a dive recovery is executed. When an aircraft is pointing down (and here I do not include high performance aircraft with very high G tolerance) and increasing in airspeed, no amount of elevator is going to suddenly get that aircraft to travel upwards. It might succeed in pointing the nose up but the vertical inertia of the aircraft needs *time* to be overcome. In this cases extreme stick movements merely add enormously to the already increasing G force and this is where wings would be in danger of snapping off.
A well-designed piece of force feedback software, custom made for each type of aircraft, in combination with a joystick which had accurate control and correct forces, would go a long way to discourage the PC pilot from heavy handed control and if that was the case I would completely redesign my flight models to fit.
So in essence I am all for what Joe is proposing to achieve, and at the same time I'm posting this in a spirit of new year goodwill!