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Thread: I want to learn but so overwhelmed

  1. #1

    Default I want to learn but so overwhelmed

    I'll try to keep it short... but probably won't.

    I am 48 years of age and have played computer game all my life. For about the past 10 years my tastes have grown towards "deeper" games, or simulators. First with racing, then into more realistic shooters like the Arma series. The whole time I have always been interested in flight sims but other than Microsoft's Combat Simulator, many years ago, it just never stuck with me. I've half assed tried but the frustration builds and without a community or any friends interested in it I unplug my stick where it collects dust.

    So I am trying to give it a go again. My interests lie in combat so I went to DCS. It's free... why not. Yet here I am again wondering why I can't make the SU-25T hit those darn waypoints. I miss the mark, curse a few times, give it another go, rinse, repeat. I search the internet for videos, read manuals, but the more time I spend looking into the flight sim world the more dejected I get. THERE IS TOO MUCH STUFF!! Having dreams of flying in squadron of F-18s but here I am struggling to land on the runway.

    I am thinking of just going back to prop planes instead of trying to learn all the crazy systems in a current fighter. But even then, I am wanting a group to fly with. So where do I go for that? Most of what I found with squads sounds like you have to be pretty learned in flying before you even join. Maybe I am just not cut out to be a virtual pilot or I just don't know how to go about doing it. What platform to use, which planes to learn first, what group would be willing to put up with a new guy who doesn't know what he's doing.

    I want to learn but not sure where to go to do it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Westminster, CO
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    6,973

    Default

    Most of what I found with squads sounds like you have to be pretty learned in flying before you even join.
    I suspect that is because they're flying together, rather than being in a learning stage, and would be heavily hampered by one who doesn't yet know what's going on. After all, flying is a complex skill, even in a PC type simulator, so it does take some time and effort and even some study to learn to do it right. Learning in a light aircraft where things don't happen nearly as quickly as they do in the jets, and where the aircraft is more forgiving of mistakes, and developing your skills there first will make it easier. Learning the basics, as is required in real world training, will work into more complex things as you progress. It's much like doing the scales when you learn to play the piano -- rather basic, but needed if you want the skill.

    The four basic fundamentals are climbs, descents, turns and straight and level. Doesn't sound too hard, but then you have to be able to do them at various power settings, speeds and altitudes, then combine them into climbing and descending turns, turns while changing airspeed and much more. Since all the basic controls interact, it's not a straight forward pulling back goes up or pushing forward goes down -- there's more to it. That's why the FAA requires a bare minimum of 40 hours in flight (plus ground school), all this under the guidance of a flight instructor, in order to get a Private Pilot certificate.

    Probably the simplest thing for you to do at this point is to get FSX-SE and utilize its built in flight lessons. You can also read the Real Aviation Tutorials & FAQs on this site to learn some things about flying and, once you have a sim, to find some practice procedures similar to what real life students get.

    You can also go to the FAA's website and read various training publications they have there, such as the Airplane Flying Handbook and the Pilot's Handbook Of Aeronautical Knowledge.

    There are many other resources on the web, too, such as Wikipedia, where you can look up all manner of things aeronautical.

    And when there are some things there that aren't clear to you, or you have certain things that need clarification, then you're more than welcome to come back here and ask more questions. You'll generally find a helpful community here.

    Larry N.

    As Skylab would say:
    Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

  3. #3

    Default

    DCS is utterly the wrong choice. It has a demonstrably chaotic `behind the scenes` development that sees leaps and bounds enhancements followed by long periods of tiny incremental steps. It also has no `training mode` as such.

    You're better off looking for a sim such as FSX which offers an inbuilt Learning Center which integrates step-mode incremental training starting with simple props and gradually increasing complexity until you master the (albeit simplistic) addon jets.

    There is no easy path. Never has been. Never will be. So many users have never even heard of the Learning Center. More fool them.

    The first recognition is that you never know it ALL. And that learning never stops. It's the same in Real Life where a Cessna 172 pilot can't contemplate flying a regional jet without hours and hours of training.
    Being `overwhelmed`simply demonstrates you reached too far, too soon...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Westminster, CO
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    6,973

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    Being `overwhelmed`simply demonstrates you reached too far, too soon...
    An excellent thought that Fuelin (and other newbies to aviation) needs to take to heart. Take things a little at a time.

    Larry N.

    As Skylab would say:
    Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lnuss View Post
    An excellent thought that Fuelin (and other newbies to aviation) needs to take to heart. Take things a little at a time.
    Hold that thought!

  6. #6

    Default

    I've learned that some of the frustration, for me at least, came from the fact that I didn't know how much work has to go into it. I was nowhere near prepared for what I was getting into. I think there's a misconception out there that since we can technically do this with an Xbox controller and because flight sims can be found next to video games in the download aisle, that flying a simulator is merely a game. Give me an hour or two with a new video game and I'll have pretty much mastered the controls.

    Not so with flight simulation. Not if you want to do it right. It helps to know history and theory. It helps to understand the physics behind flight. You have procedures to learn, and they're different for every aircraft. You need to understand what the markings are on airport runways and taxiways and what air traffic control means when they tell you to "make left traffic runway 19L."

    I think, especially for the new flight sim student, you need to know that it's going to take a commitment. A strong commitment. I started learning flight simming about 5 months ago. And I literally had no idea what I was getting into.

    I want to eventually simulate the flying of jumbo jets with 100s of passengers aboard. I want to sit in the left seat and be in control the whole way. I want to understand the systems and procedures. Maybe do it all using Vatsim. But right now, and really for this entire time, I'm still trying to master my C172. I've tried moving on to larger aircraft, even just slightly larger, but I find myself coming back to the C172 because I'm just not yet ready to progress. There's still more I need to learn and be able to do before I can move on. And I'm very much looking forward to each new thing I learn in order to reach my goal.

    I don't want to be critical, that's not my goal. But I do wonder if you're not trying to run before you can even walk. I think that's where your frustration lies. You're not learning what you need to learn before trying to hit those waypoints. You have dreams of flying in a squadron of F-18s but you're struggling to just land on the runway. So my suggestion would be to learn to land on the runway first. And when you do, and you feel confident in it, celebrate your accomplishment! Then move on to learning the something elses that will eventually lead to your goal of flying in that squadron of F-18s.

    Do keep us posted with your progress!!
    Last edited by Kirk; 03-21-2019 at 02:31 PM.
    Prepar3d v4: HP Omen Desktop. Intel Core i7-8700K (6 Core, 3.7GHz), NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (11GB dedicated GDDR5X), 16GB RAM, 2TB Hard Drive, 1TB SSD, 512GB SSD, Windows 10.

  7. #7

    Default

    I have been simming for 12 years. Started serious simming with FS98. I crashed everything, C-172 and the helicopters many times. I kept at it. Now I have FS9 and FSX. I fly both. But I still learn something new every day! That's what you can expect. 10 years and still learning. I am 78 yrs old now.

    First you need a good DESKTOP computer (not a laptop!!!). I had slow pc at first. Kept upgrading. Now I have an i7 that can handle FSX (but just barely). So I would recommend you have a PC that runs at 3.5 Ghz to 4.0 Ghz. Maybe $1200 to $1500. I built mine from parts and assembled it myself. You can do it.

    So unless you have a lot of money for a $3800 PC I would get a 3.5 Ghz CPU, $150 GPU, 16 Gb of ram and a good LCD OR LED monitor around 25 in. Then I would get FS2004 as it runs VERY good on a system like that. You can then spend a year or so in that and move up (PC and Sim wise) when you can afford it, got skill, and are sure you will be simming the next 5 to 10 years. Otherwise stay with FS2004. You will find that starting up will involve a lot of reading (Windows, Sim, FSUIPC, Sim Connect, tweaking FS9 config, etc) which you can do by going to forums and looking up the subject. Good luck.
    Chuck B
    Napamule
    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).

  8. #8

    Default

    Well I'll go to fsx and readjust my goals. I guess a big part of what I love about online anything is the communities. The people you meet, sharing information, comraderie. I can study by myself for so long but sooner or later i want to get in the air with somebody to do something even if it's crashing into a mountain. While I appreciate the depth of flight sims (thats why i am here) sometimes I just want some fun. Thanks all for the replies.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles
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    Default

    + what they said about working your way up from a Cessna-172.

    Over in the Race-Car-Sim forums you can find discussions about where “insert your brand here” belongs on the continum of Dumb-Arcade-Game -to- SimCade -to- Very-Serious-Study-Simulator that drivers use to learn about the track at their next race. In the world of flight sims an F-18 from DCS ranks in with the Serious-Study-Sims. The MicroSoft-F-18 might be less complex and easier to handle.

    You might also look for sims with “Career-Mode”; look at IL-2-Sturmovik where you need to graduate from cadet/trainer, then to lieutenant ground attack, then to dog-fighter; or Freight-Hauler where the more you fly (delivering freight) the bigger the airplane you get to use. I am sure there are many more sims with career-mode.

    If you want to talk with real people in real-time (as opposed to AI air traffic control), then also look for Virtual-Fly-Ins in with the virtual flight clubs, virtual airlines.

    Good Luck
    JD

  10. #10

    Default

    I was hoping you picked FS2004. It's $80 at Amazon but much less on EBay. FSX Gold Edition (with Acceleration) is $158 at Amazon. Don't pay $300 for it on EBay!!

    And for a good joystick (I've had mine for 10 years, still works perfect (NO issues!) get a USB (no drivers needed, Windows installs in 20 seconds) Microsoft Sidewinder Precision 2 (not a 'Pro' or Force Feedback (which doesn't work in sim anyway) for $35 at Amazon. Other sticks suck!

    I also recommend a USB Keypad, which I put to left of keyboard, and use for F1 - F4 (throttle), trim, view changes (2D panel, locked spot), etc, which I can work with left hand and by 'feel' (no need to look down and seek) which I can put aside when not simming. Reaching for the F1 to F10 keys, and keypad 7 & 1 keys, makes simming too much HARD work (it's hard enough already).

    I also have a button mapped on joy stick for 'Top Down' view. The Sidewinder 2 has this 'extra' button by your thumb - other sticks DON'T have it. Press it to bring up Top Down view, then press it to go back to view you were in. This alone saves a lot of work 'looking' for runway, etc. You can zoom in to where you can do circuits and KNOW exactly where you are in realtion to runway. Use this will all aircraft, including helicopters. I drive vehicles on roads and can look to see where a curve is coming up or where the road intersections are yet not take hands off controls. Good luck.
    Chuck B
    Napamule
    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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