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Okay, I initially 'messed' flight simulation about 7 years ago when I stumbled across Flightgear. Didn't have much time to commit it and after a few months I stopped flying. I never really learned to properly fly, simply taking off and landing, but never understanding the technical side and really enjoying the simulation.


I would like to actual learn to fly (in simulation) and perform the proper technical steps, take off, landings, ILS, utilzing ATC, etc. That said I started looking around for what simulator I should learn with. To my surprise flightgear is still out there and looks like a fairly current release. I am looking for something that will have a large support base and loads of information to keep my learning curve up to sped.


As I continued to research I was shocked to find out that FSX isn't a current build. Shocked to hear they stopped development years ago.


So my question is, how on earth do I determine which simulator I should start with. I have loaded FlightGear again, however the information is quite dated and I am not sure there is any type of 'flight school' add on available. I noticed that another simulator, X-Plane, has a type of flight school add on - is this something that would walk me through the training to teach me to fly within a simulator?


I am hoping to avoid A vs B, but rather looking for insight to which would provide what I am looking for - something that offers a newbie a learning path to flying, using the equipment properly. At this point I simply want to fly a single engine prop (slowly) and casually to get the basic down.


Any insight appreciated.




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I don't know about X-Plane and a teaching package (that must be fairly new), but FSX comes with a flight training "instructor" and courses -- you can get what it calls a Private or Commercial, perhaps more (I've not explored it). Prepar3d (from Lockheed-Martin) is a strong enhancement of FSX, and is still under development.


Larry N.

As Skylab would say:

Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

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..So my question is, how on earth do I determine which simulator I should start with..


That's easy, the answer is FSX, I've been happily playing it for 10 years..:)

The latest version is FSX:SE (the SE stands for Steam Edition) which was released in 2014 and includes performance-enhancing tweaks, and that's the one everybody is buying nowadays, look-



If you glance at the 'Viewing' figures for each forum here at FlightSim.com, you'll see the figures are always much higher for FSX than all the other sims combined, which indicates its popularity. I just glanced and there are currently 160 people viewing the FSX forum, 50 viewing dear old FS2004, but only 5 viewing X-Plane and 3 viewing P3D.


The nearest contender to FSX in the popularity stakes is X-Plane, I tried X-Plane 10 last year but it's single engine prop planes had no natural stability and kept slowly developing a bank. They admit it's a longstanding issue that's never been fixed so I gave up on it.


Remember too, FSX has got a rich mother lode of 10 years of addon aircraft and scenery etc behind it, much of which is free, and new items are still being added all the time, plus of course you're always guaranteed to get a fast reply from the experienced FSX hotshots here if you need help and advice, and there are dozens of youtube vids out there of FSX pilots strutting their stuff.


One last thing- don't be scared at the thought of "having to learn" FSX, as it can be just as easy or as hard as you want it to be. I'm a "fun" simmer myself and like to simply jump in the cockpit, slam open the throttle and I'm away, having easily memorised less than a dozen key presses to get around the sky, and like real-world flying it's so easy that even stewardesses can do it..:)


Airport 1975

Kennedy- "She's flying it herself!"

Heston- "Climb baby, climb!"


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In flight school they teach you what it takes to fly SAFE. Procedure (ATC), limitations (Fuel Load, Weather, etc) and what NOT to do. In Sim you start by getting and printing out the FSX Commands and keep it handy. Then you read Check Lists (Pre Flight, Take Off, En Route, Descend, Landing) to learn what you have to know about the type aircraft you are flying before you even taxi to end of runway. It is good to use the FSX Lessons. It's organized by difficulty. You need this to get confidence so you can enjoy your flying.


Here is a typical 'Load & Go' scenario to fly the C-172. Check wind and direction then taxi to the appropriate runway (pointing into the wind). Make sure you have fuel, then set 1 of flaps and up pitch trim. Full throttle, attain rotation speed, pull back on stick, climb, remove flaps and retract gear, turn to heading you need, set your RPM, establish cruise speed and set pitch trim (or engage auto pilot). You are on your way.


Landing is into the wind. Every airport has either right hand or left hand pattern for approach. You pick your runway, turn to it, set flaps, reduce power, extend gear, give it some up pitch trim to aid in attitude, add more of flaps as needed to reduce speed, time speed to land at 60 kts, gradually reduce speed (brake as needed), go to 1st exit, taxi and find a spot to park. You are back down. Can you do all of this? Sure you can. Easy (if you know how).

Chuck B


i7 2600K @ 3.4 Ghz (Turbo-Boost to 3.877 Ghz), Asus P8H67 Pro, Super Talent 8 Gb DDR3/1333 Dual Channel, XFX Radeon R7-360B 2Gb DDR5, Corsair 650 W PSU, Dell 23 in (2048x1152), Windows7 Pro 64 bit, MS Sidewinder Precision 2 Joy, Logitech K-360 wireless KB & Mouse, Targus PAUK10U USB Keypad for Throttle (F1 to F4)/Spoiler/Tailhook/Wing Fold/Pitch Trim/Parking Brake/Snap to 2D Panel/View Change. Installed on 250 Gb (D:). FS9 and FSX Acceleration (locked at 30 FPS).
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Microsoft stopped development of FSX, with it's service packs, many years ago.

They 'sold' the DISTRIBUTION rights to Dovetail Games, who modified slightly to run on more updated computers, & is being sold by Steam as FSX:SE, probably the largest gaming distributors out there. Dovetail, or DTG, will, it is said, be releasing their own flight simulator during 2017 (maybe) & has already released 'Flight School' that is aimed at new users. This cannot accept any add-ons.

So, FSX discontinued & FSX:SE's development has been frozen by Dovetail.


So we get to Prepar3d, or P3D. In 2009, Microsoft sold the intellectual property (including source code) for the Microsoft ESP (Enterprise Simulation Platform) product to Lockheed Martin. Microsoft ESP is the commercial-use version of "Flight Simulator X SP2.


Lockheed Martin are now on their 16th version of P3D, as compared to FSX with their Acceleration add-on pack, their 2(?) service packs & the FSX:SE edition.


Note all the above sims, FSX:SE & the P3D's are all based on the original FSX core.


So which to buy? As far as P3D goes, the versions are all the same..

The Professional version: The license is available to those that are training, instructing, simulating, or learning.

The Academic License contains a watermark signifying the acceptable use of the license. The Academic license is provided at a discount for students. The Academic license enables the exact same functionality of the Professional version of Prepar3D. This watermark is very unobtrusive.

There is a 60 day refund policy on all the products.

Prepar3D is not to be used, offered, sold or distributed through markets or channels for use as a personal/consumer entertainment product.

So, it's not a game!


What version to buy? Academically speaking.... your choice..





Cape Town, South Africa

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Can you elaborate on what you mean by "strong enhancement"?


Better shadow, including cloud shadows, better water representation, an "avatar," that is, an on screen person that you can move around away from aircraft and investigate the "world" more easily, making heavy use of the graphics card (GPU) for computations, in addition to the CPU, just to name a few things.


From their web page:

    Microsoft© DirectX 11 rendering engine takes full advantage of modern day graphics cards
  • Increased performance, increased realism, and offers the full control over what is displayed
  • Dynamic shadow system, including internal virtual cockpit shadows, terrain, and cloud shadows.
  • HDR lighting system brings increased immersion when training in all times of day.
  • Volumetric fog and increased fidelity of clouds and weather.
  • High quality graphics support texture limits as high as 4096 x 4096.
  • Different times of the year or different times of the day will change how you simulate with our real-time weather system, continuous time of day, seasons, and a variety of lighting effects.

http://www.prepar3d.com/ is the P3D main web page, and you can get a LOT more information there.


I see much better performance in P3D (frame rate, lack of stutters, etc.) than in FSX, as do many folks.


Larry N.

As Skylab would say:

Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

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I am going to fly with FSX:SE for now and hope to learn basic principals of flying. Honestly, as this point, I am simply wanting to fly a single engine prop (Cessna is fine) and understand the equipment and how to use it. Stumbled upon a site called Angle of Attack last night and watching the videos. Fingers crossed I get some good information.
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I am like you. I just started playing with Microsoft 2000 that had been collecting dust in my basement. Now that I have enough time I find it to be a lot of fun. I don't think an instructor would let me solo yet but I getting better. My long range plan is to be flying a Cessna 310 or 340 with a yoke, and pedals, and a new computer, but until I learn to use what I have it is fine.


Gook luck and have fun.



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