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Thread: Some real-life aviation experiences and milestones today

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by chicagorandy View Post
    And to bring this all back to the core structure of this forum -

    The ENORMOUS expenses involved in real-life aviation are why MSFS 2020 is an absolute bargain and 'cheap' thrill even at the Premium version price, and just IMHO even including what it DOES cost to get a good enough PC rig and accessories to use it. YES, VR is also 'expensive' and having a good graphics card is spendy, and a yoke/throttle quadrant/rudder pedal setup isn't free either but for that one time entry fee you get a world of global flight sim experiences.

    Just imagine how much you would have to spend to experience in real life any of the adventure flights folks have taken in MSFS for 'free' outside of their home State/Country.
    Absolutely true. I am digging into my first several hours of real ground school coursework, and am pretty fascinated by the idea that many of these concepts make complete sense within the game alone. I have not been climbing in the sim correctly. I have not been descending or landing correctly. Dealing with cross winds? hahaha! My knowledge level about the engine: about the same as my fluency in the Greek language. Didn't even know what a magneto does--much less what two of them do--until this course.
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  2. #22
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    Just an update that some of you might find interesting:

    I've connected with a local CFI and will be doing an introductory flight with him on Sunday. We will take off from KFFZ (Mesa, Arizona) and weather permitting head for KSEZ (Sedona). I believe the plane will be a Cessna 172. Meanwhile, I am about 25% finished with my ground school coursework, in addition to doing some extra reading assignments from the various FAA handbooks that were suggested to me by this CFI.

    It will be pretty surreal actually flying a route that I have taken in MSFS multiple times in the past couple of months. Will post pictures.
    Intel Core i7 10700KF (8-Core 5.1GHz Turbo Boost), RTX 3070 8GB, 32GB Dual Channel at 3200MHz, 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. Monitor: Samsung C49RG9x. VR: Oculus Quest 2.

  3. #23
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    Hey, that's great Neil! Lookin' forward to your report.

    Larry N.

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

  4. #24

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    Congrats on taking the big step! You won't regret it.

  5. #25
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    Default My first real-life flight experience

    Exhilarating.

    My real-life airplane for my first actual flight lesson today was a 1969 Cessna Cardinal 177. My CFI performed the take-offs and landings. While at a comfortable and safe altitude, he then turned the controls over to me to perform several controlled turns, ascents, descents, and work on maintaining level flight. I also got lots of introductory practice to taxiing, which seemed harder for me than actually flying the plane. We flew from KFFZ (Mesa, Arizona) south to KAVQ (Marana, a suburb of Tucson), back up north to land at KCGZ (Casa Grande), before heading back to KFFZ. I also got plenty of excellent instruction and demonstration of pre-flight inspection procedures, fuel management, flight briefings, and more.

    Did almost 40 years of flight simming help me?

    Probably not except at the most introductory level for purely academic concepts. Sure, I know what the throttle does already in concept, but I had zero muscle memory on whether pulling it or pushing it increases or decreases power. In fact, I increased when I wanted to decrease and vice versa several times in the beginning. Use of the rudder is another stunning difference between simming and flying, because in the sim you can almost forget that there even is a rudder. A novice simmer who is not intentionally trying to fly realistically will never, in fact, bother using the rudder while turning. You just point the joystick in the direction you want to go and the ailerons do their thing. The average non-pilot simmer will not notice the effects of adverse yaw, and therefore will not care about it, ever. Although the sim does force you to use the rudder to taxi, the average simmer hits a button to automatically appear on the runway ready to take off. The rudder is an after-thought. Now, suddenly, I can barely maneuver the airplane without figuring out how to operate it, much less with my feet.

    Most jarring is the feeling of flying that simming can never compete with, except I assume for high-end professional simulators used to train real pilots. Although the air was moderately good today in Arizona, there were enough "bumps" to get my attention. Keeping the plane straight and level required constant attention and input, far more than what's needed with an MSFS flight, most of which we sim fans fly heavily on autopilot anyway. I also barely use the trim when simming, thanks to over-use and being spoiled by autopilot. That is another area of weakness if you ever want to transition from simming to flying. I was surprised to see how much muscle--literally, muscle--I needed to exert to move the real plane the way I wanted it to move. A simming joystick removes that effort completely, making it artificially easier to turn, ascend, descend, or fly straight.

    MSFS is a huge help in a couple of regards that might give me advantages over other student pilots. From the moment I climbed into the plane I was instantly very much at home with the entire dashboard, especially of a Cessna Cardinal which is very similar to the classic Cessna 172 used in MSFS. An airplane dashboard is intimidating to most non-pilots, and would probably freak me out if I'd never seen it before. But everything was immediately familiar and recognizable. One of my favorite aspects of simming is using old-school navigation techniques, so I sim a lot using ADF, DME, and VOR technology even when flying planes with glass cockpits. So there were my old friends, right where I expected them to be: the VOR dials, communication and frequency panels, the numbers on them, etc.

    There's no turning back now. I will definitely keep on simming, but the PPL is certainly a firm goal now.
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  6. #26
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    Congrats on the first flight. It’s a blast isn’t it.

    While I agree that your can’t perfectly transfer operating the throttle, mixture etc from sim to real life, the thing that transfers very well is something you probably didn’t even notice. It’s the instrument scan while trying to maintain level flight, turning, landing etc. In the sim you don’t get the real engine noise, wind noise, feeling of Gs that you get in the plane. This means that in the sim you’ve already developed a good scan of altitude, airspeed, bank.

    Congrats again.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by HornetAircraft View Post
    nice! welcome to the club! I started with flight sims and got my PPL at 18. 19 now working on my instrument rating! if I can take one thing away from my PPL training, this is to learn to fly without a GPS.
    I'm not on track to transition from simming to real-life flying. But I think you're right about GPS. I last "flew," sim-wise, in the '90s, when radios and steam gauges were state of the art. I didn't get deep into MSFS back then, but I learned something about flying to, and on VOR radials, using DME, and so forth. Back then, MSFS came with a thick manual that included information about VOR frequencies and the like. I wish I'd hung onto my last one. I didn't know anything about the GPS revolution in avionics until I began "flying" in MSFS 2020 in January. It took a while to get used to the Garmin screens. I can see their value over traditional gauges, of course, but I don't like following magenta lines in MSFS unless the plane's on autopilot--and the autopilot is working.
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  8. #28
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    Hey, great! And thanks for getting back to us with a report. You're very perceptive and mentioned some details that many would not have noticed. Good job.

    This means that in the sim you’ve already developed a good scan of altitude, airspeed, bank.
    Depending on the individual, often they use the panel Waaayyyy tooooo much, at least at first. Almost anything you do in VFR flight needs only a brief glance at the panel once in a while. But I suspect that most simmers will do more than a glance and do it way too often. You can get roughly the same info out the window (and with your ears and backside) once you learn how (much of it with greater precision than with the gauges), and very much time spent looking at the panel degrades your performance. His CFI should soon break him of any of that, though.

    The average non-pilot simmer will not notice the effects of adverse yaw, and therefore will not care about it, ever.
    Learn to feel the sideways motion in your bottom, not just on the ball. To do that you must be relaxed in your seat. Sometime in the first couple of lessons, if your CFI doesn't do this, have the CFI fly the airplane with you sitting relaxed, then have him add some right rudder (while telling you what he's doing), then relax the rudder to center the ball. Next have him do the same with left rudder, then relax it to center the ball. Go through this a few times. If you are sufficiently relaxed in the seat, you'll feel yourself sliding sideways then back to more comfort. Doing this a few times (maybe again later, if needed) will help you learn to FEEL how much rudder you need to keep it coordinated, that is, "fly by the seat of your pants."

    The reason I suggest the above is that a lot of CFIs don't go through that specific exercise, so it takes longer (sometimes a LOT longer) to recognize and be able to use that feeling -- some never do get it (and they're sloppy).

    Although the sim does force you to use the rudder to taxi, the average simmer hits a button to automatically appear on the runway ready to take off.
    One thing that might help a little (in no wind) is to sit on your hands while taxiing (clear this with your CFI), just to help you overcome what we term "negative transferrence," that is, it's a carryover from driving to try to steer with your hands, but sitting on them will emphasize to you that you need to use your feet. My first CFI had me do that and it helped a lot (I was in an Aeronca Chief, the one in my sig).

    Most jarring is the feeling of flying that simming can never compete with, except I assume for high-end professional simulators used to train real pilots.
    Not ALL real pilots, just those in airliners, most biz jets and some military stuff. And though those multimillion dollar full motion sims give a great deal of realism, there are things they can't duplicate, so they don't QUITE make it real, but very close in most flight regimes. Also, the difference between flying a tubeliner and a light aircraft means that the feeling you are talking about is quite a bit different in a jet, and in the sim of course.

    Now I'm going to give you one more piece of advice here: When you get home from the lessons, DON'T go to the sim to practice, at least at first. Instead, sit in your favorite easy chair, close your eyes, get your (mental) hands and feet on the controls (yes, the throttle too), and relive that flight in your mind, moving hands and feet as needed (remember, though, it's PRESSURE, not MOVEMENT). Do this at least a couple of times that same day before even thinking about FSX or such. It'll help you with the muscle memory you need to develop.

    Again, congratulations and enjoy!

    Larry N.

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

  9. #29
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    Excellent advice and valuable tips, Larry, I appreciate it.

    Although the CFI and I did talk about a possible over-dependence on panels, I don't know if I actually worked on breaking it in this first session (I realize there are plenty of more sessions to go). Maintaining the same direction seemed to come pretty comfortably, but maintaining the same altitude made me pretty nervous, causing me to constantly glance at the altimeter. There's no magic to this though, I guess. The same reason stable direction was relatively easy is probably the same reason stable altitude will be.

    I also should mention that the one maneuver that made me the most anxious by far was climbing, because (a) I couldn't see in front of me with the nose up, and (b) goofing on MSFS has shown me how to stall, so I was worried about the climb rate getting so high that I would reach that point. I never actually did but the fear was there. Practice will make perfect.
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  10. #30

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    Stalls are not to be feared in a light plane.

    Get up to altitude and pull the yoke back until you slow down gradually into a stall; then hold the yoke all the way back and aggressively use the rudder to keep yourself pointed straight ahead. You'll feel the plane trying to charge off to the left and the right; this of course is the beginning of a spin. You'll gain confidence when you get used to the fact that letting the yoke go forward drops the nose almost instantly and regains normal flight control just as fast, no throttle necessary.

    The sim will do an approximation of it on the 172. But I have to use ailerons, in a Citabria as I remember it, it is done with rudder alone. (The sim has the stall speed about 10 kts too slow)

    Spins are also nothing to be feared if you have some altitude, but I doubt that you'll be offered spin training in a Cardinal.

    What do you plan to do with your flying "career"? I quit flying because I know that a low time pilot is a dangerous pilot and I didn't have enough money to support becoming a high time pilot. (I found out in the physical that have a color blindness which prevents me from being permitted to fly at night, therefore getting a commercial license and so on was out of the question.)
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