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How 'real' is a simulator?

Furiou5

Junior Member
#1
RC flight is a hobby that I have been wanting to partake in for a very long time, and after finding Flite Test I decided to abandon my previous apprehension, spend some money and get a simulator to start with. I decided to get Phoenix 4 with the Spektrum Dx5e, and I after a few days I have become fairly comfortable with fixed wings.(Especially the Parkzone Radian, I could fly that thing in game for days)

My only question is: Will my simulator skills actually translate to real life skills, or will I give my plane a dirt nap first time out?

Thanks for any help!
 

earthsciteach

Moderator
Moderator
#2
The simulator will help, but chances are that your first plane will take several dirt naps. Its all part of the learning curve. If you are flying foam planes, repairs are easy and you can resurrect one from what seems to be the smallest of foam bits. I still fly the first plane that I bought (Hobbyzone Super Cub). It has taken many a dirt nap, tree nap, mid-air collision nap and still keeps coming back for more. It still is my "grab and go" plane when I just want some relaxing flying fun.
 

Furiou5

Junior Member
#3
Thanks for the quick reply. I do expect to take them from time to time, I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't playing Mario Kart to get ready for a Nascar Race. The Super Cub was the first simulated plane I took up, then took into the ground and saw the cool crash physics in the Phoenix Engine. :)
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#4
The way I look at it , it won't reliably teach you every nuance of keeping wind under your wings, but it will teach how to keep/regain orientation. Intuitively knowing which way to move the controls when the plane is pointed away or toward you will help you know which wing to prop up when it drops in a stall -- not having to think "which way" is one less thing fighting you.

Not all sims are equal, but even the cheap sim can teach you this.
 

FlyingMonkey

Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
Admin
#5
I tried for a while to fly rc airplanes, but had very little success. I went out and bought Real Flight 3.5, and practiced with it over and over.

It was a huge help.


The key thing isn't that it's "realistic" in the visual sense. This mostly helps with keeping your interest up.

The most important thing about a flight simulator is building muscle memory. If you've ever driven a car with a standard transmission (has a clutch) then drove a car with an automatic transmission, you've likely caught yourself moving your hand where the gear shifter should be, or moving your foot to where the clutch should be.

This is muscle memory. When your body reacts to a situation without you having to consciously having to think about it.

Why this is important, is when flying, you often have a limited amount of time to make corrections. By the time you see the plane has turned a way you didn't intent, and you think about having to correct for that movement, then you think about which stick to move, and in which direction, you've crashed.

The simulator helps you learn physically which control input to use even if the plane is coming towards you, or is upside down, or whatever.
 

colorex

Rotor Riot!
Mentor
#6
I practiced a lot on the simulator. By a lot I mean some three months 5 times a week. The first time I took out my Bixler, I landed upside down because I got overly confident and tried flying inverted the first day. Aside from that I didn't crash at all.

However, a very stubborn friend of mine has a different story. I spent 2.5 hours getting the sim to work on his laptop, and he spent 45 minutes on the sim. I told him to do more, but he didn't want to. Then he went out to crash his Bixler 2 - the whole nose crumpled into a ball.
 

Liemavick

New member
Mentor
#7
When you can fly the plane/helo on the screen without thinking what your hands are doing you are getting closer to flying real R.C. planes. I set the timer on my radio and make it a point to try to fly without crashing until it hits zero. Having unlimited crashes it's easy to forget your training and start stunt flying and crashing. Is it fun? Of course, but your not learning good muscle memory in your hands that way. I love my Phoenix 4. When I first got it I couldnt fly a lick, now Im able to keep a helo in the air for the allotted time. The sim will make your real flying that much more enjoyable, oh and you will crash, its part of the game. :)

RC flight is a hobby that I have been wanting to partake in for a very long time, and after finding Flite Test I decided to abandon my previous apprehension, spend some money and get a simulator to start with. I decided to get Phoenix 4 with the Spektrum Dx5e, and I after a few days I have become fairly comfortable with fixed wings.(Especially the Parkzone Radian, I could fly that thing in game for days)

My only question is: Will my simulator skills actually translate to real life skills, or will I give my plane a dirt nap first time out?

Thanks for any help!
 

tramsgar

Senior Member
#8
Phoenix is a great preparation for the real learning, as stated above - directions, muscle memory etc. But it lacks a lot of details like small defects and inaccuracies in real models (batts and trims are perfect, servos are super strong and never accidentally reversed etc). Also, I haven't noticed that torque is simulated in any model. The turbulence is too predictable and the ground too forgiving... Also, you are not nervous when you fly "free" models in a simulator. When you're on the field and your left foot starts working out on its on while your hands are shaking, that'll affect your skills...

When you think you're ready to take out your somewhat expensive real model for a maiden, first make an equally somewhat expensive bet with someone that you can fly a sim aircraft for five minutes in bad weather and land it safely. That'll simulate the tension =).
 

Toddy

Junior Member
#9
I was always crashing my MCPX heli when doing slow turns, could hover it and all the rest but slow turns got me on the ground every time. I was killing some time down at my local hobby store, short for down there using there simulator.. and two hours latter went to the park and flew my heli like it had never been flown before. all it was was that i wasn't giving enough authority on the ailerons. jobs a good one, still crash it like there is no tomorrow but at least my turns are better...