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New to sim, built a system, need some initial guidance


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Hello sim community!


First post here, I’m so glad there are resources like this one.


I am currently taking private pilot lessons. My primary goal of simulation is to practice at home the skills I learn in the air, and start doing more complicated things like flight planning, etc. I am training in a Piper Cherokee 140.


I just finished building the following system:


RTX 4090

64 GB 6000mhz ram

Honeycomb Alpha Yoke

Thrustmaster TPR rudder pedals

FlightSimStuff TPM throttle/trim wheel

I have an Alienware 34” OLED but am hoping to use my Quest 2 to fly in VR.


Here are my initial questions:


1. MSFS vs X Plane. I have seen people say MSFS is better looking/realistic but that the physics in X Plane more closely resembles reality, any objective data on this? I love the look of MSFS (and with this hardware I think I can really get a lot out of it), but if X Plane is more transferable into the real plane I would want to know.


2. Hooking up VR. I have seen videos showing people using Steam, Virtual Desktop, Air Link, etc. What I am looking for is the best performance with the ability to switch back and forth to the monitor if I desire. I want to avoid a wired connection. What would be your suggestion, and is there a preferred “how to” guide on settings for this community?


3. I am hoping to fly in and out of my local airport which is small (KORK), and obviously fly in the same aircraft. Will this be a problem?


4. Do either simulations have flight lesson functions?



Thank you all so much in advance for any advice.



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No matter which sim or what controls you have, don't expect a desktop sim to replicate the feel of a real aircraft. Whether one sim is "better" in matching responses to the real thing, is dependent on, among other things, which specific "aircraft" model you are using, which set of controls you have, what settings you have in the sim, and how cleanly/quickly your computer reacts to control inputs, along with what you can see, whether you use VR or TrackIR or just mouse/keyboard switching to change views. AND, there will be no seat of the pants feel, along with other differences.


That being said, procedures of various kinds (including VOR/ILS and GPS use), along with general techniques for many maneuvers (how many depends on your viewing, among other things) can be beneficial, especially if you throw a little imagination into the mix, as well.


One other thing: After your instructional (or solo) flight, but before getting on the sim, you might do what I told my students long before such sims existed (it worked for me, too), and sit at home in your easy chair, relax, close your eyes and (mentally) put your hands and feet on the controls, then relive the flight you just had. If you're moving hands and feet along with the mental pictures and memory, this will help develop the muscle memory that is needed for flying.


Once you've done the above (perhaps more than once), then using the sim to also redo the flight can be even more help.


As to choice of sim, that is personal preference. I've heard the claim that flight characteristics are more accurate in Xplane, but that has not been my experience- there may be some individual models that are better than MS, but there are others that are worse- depends on who made the flight model and what real world experience they had, how painstaking the work done on it, etc.


So whatever makes you more comfortable is the way to go.


Larry N.

As Skylab would say:

Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

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Thank you:)


I have 7 hours of actual flight so far in the P140, and I totally understand what you mean.


I am just hoping to supplement at home some of the more academic work as well as just practice hand eye, and also become very familiar with the cockpit.


I just need some initial advice to get going on the best setup options with the gear I listed

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  • 1 month later...

How did you get on with your Sim experience? I'm in a similar situation - about 20 hours into my private pilot's licence lessons and want to set up a sim for practice.


I have a similar setup with Alpha yoke, TPR pedals, but not sure whether to get the bravo throttle or something like what you got for TPM experience to better simulate the Cessna 152 I'm learning in. Would you recommend the throttle quadrant you purchased? For me in Australia, it works out cheaper to buy the Bravo and it's reassuring having a warranty and a retail shop I can return it to if anything goes wrong.


How have you found the experience with the Quest 2? I have the same headset and was hoping to use it for simming.


Thanks and hope your training is going well!

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Why not acquire both. I have MSFS, X-Plane 11.5, FSX, and FS2002. all on this computer. I use some a lot more than others, but each has a place as I use them.
I7-9700K, RTX-2070, Asus Strix Z-390-H MB, 32gb G Skill 3000 CL15, Corsair Obsidian 750D case, WD Black 1tb M.2, Crucial CT500MX SSD, Seasonic Prime 750W Titanium PSU
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about 20 hours into my private pilot's licence lessons and want to set up a sim for practice

The PC based sims are the most useful for procedures such as hood time, VOR navigation, etc, rather than for practicing maneuvers such as lazy 8s or turns about a point or even takeoff and landing, since the sim has no seat-of-the-pants feel and the feedback through the controls is basically a spring, and only vaguely similar to a real aircraft feel, and even the noise response leaves a bit to be desired. Even the visual leaves a bit to be desired, though it's not too bad if you're using the virtual cockpit, rather than the so-called 2D one, especially if you have something like the TrackIR to let you move your head around for view changing, rather than keyboard or mouse movement.


Even the "flight dynamics" in the sim leave a bit to be desired since few model makers take the tremendous time and effort to get it right -- it's more than just the right speed and rate of climb with the right power setting, and even a level turn is often visually mis-represented.


The above is true in all of the PC sims I've tried, so get the one that seems best to you.


I realize I'm repeating some of what I said above in post #2, but it's important to keep this in mind when deciding what to do- and I've found that sitting in your easy chair, closing your eyes and reliving the recent flight(s) contributes as much as using a sim, more in some ways., though not quite as good for procedures as the sim.


For me in Australia, it works out cheaper to buy the Bravo and it's reassuring having a warranty and a retail shop I can return it to if anything goes wrong.

With your 20 hours I expect you've soloed, or are nearly ready, so you're sufficiently used to the C-152 setup that I suspect the Bravo will work fine, and shouldn't appreciably affect your procedural practice. It also may be better for many other sim aircraft when you want to use them after you're done with your initial training.




Larry N.

As Skylab would say:

Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

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