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Transition from simulator to "Live"


Knower of useless information
Sims are a great way to bone up on practice.

That said, simulators, even though they may say they replicate real world flight characteristics, they don't actually do that. Things like random wind gusts, trimming for a plane, even landing in grass vs. on a runway - the sims don't really cover things like that.

Can you learn to fly from them? Heck yes. I put in over 40 hours on Liftoff before ever flying anything, and jumped into FPV flight right out of the gate. I was doing barrel rolls and powerloops my first day. albeit my landings were a little harsh (and still are; when the camera's pointed up at the sky and you have nothing for reference on how close you are to the ground, it happens).

I think what the sim is good for is getting a feel for the sticks. It will help improve muscle memory, give you a good feel of flying; I just feel that as soon as you get the equivalent of 50 feet up in the air, it feels like the plane is at 500 feet up and it's a speck in the sky, and for that, you're not getting an accurate representation of actual flying at the field. But, you get a feeling for it, you get your mind used to one of the hardest things to work with - dealing with "left is right and right is left" when a plane is flying the opposite direction, something a lot of people have an issue with initially when learning to fly.


I know nothing!
I, too put a lot of hours into Phoenix before my first RL flight. It paid off. Nope, I didn't land successfully on that flight, but I flew! My experience was lacking and the adrenaline was up, but I didn't have to think about what my thumbs were doing. Not once did I have to remind myself that pulling back on the right stick made the plane go up. My thumbs knew that, and I was able to concentrate on just keeping the bird in the air.

What everyone has said about the shortcomings of flying in a sim is true. There are others as well. @Hai-Lee once said "It can't teach you how to handle a bird strike!" (That one still cracks me up! :LOL:) He's right. It can't. It can't teach you most of the variables that happen when flying RC in real life.

It can't be beat as a tool for building muscle memory, though. Crashing over and over in a sim beats the heck out of learning the same thing by crashing over and over in real life, with the added benefit of knowing that there ARE no variables. The plane is perfect. The weather can be perfect. The set up can be perfect. Then the only variable is you and your thumbs. :)


Well-known member
...I put in over 40 hours on Liftoff before ever flying anything...
For quads in particular, I think it would be nuts to jump into flying them for real without doing some sim practice. They fly so non-intuitively and crash so expensively compared to airplanes, especially in ACRO.

The theory of how they fly is fairly simple, the practical implications are totally different. Now that I have the instincts down fairly well, I can start looking at how the thing actually flies, and it makes no sense at all. I realized a couple days ago that I'm often applying back pressure on the pitch stick while flying forward at high velocity. But the way you get the thing moving forward is with forward pitch stick! And sometimes I have to coordinate the yaw and roll sticks, and other times cross-control them. I couldn't tell you what makes the difference, but there seems to be a critical speed.

A saying in the game of Go is to lose your first hundred games as fast as you can, for quad piloting it would be your first hundred crashes at least before you stand a chance of staying in the air!
I just got back from my first flying session and although I don't have the video to prove it I had 4 successful flights and my airplane has no scars. I did hit a T-post on one landing but it must have caught only the landing gear because I can't find any damage from that.

I ended up cancelling my order for the FT speed build kits and got instead a Hobby King Trainstar Tough Trainer (1400mm). For the radio I got a FrSky Taranis XD9+. The park I flew at was big enough (just barely), and there was only the occasional light puff of wind, but it was the many, many hours I spent on RF8 over the past month and a half that taught me enough skill to keep control of the airplane and avoid crashing.

The park has nothing to use for takeoffs and has tall but rough grasses for landings, so I am planning to remove the landing gear from the Trainstar. I'm already thinking about my second plane; something a bit smaller and better suited to landing in rough grass.


Elite member
Like an FT mini?
Well done on getting the first flights safely completed, it’s always daunting. Longer grass is quite useful, it protects things like props from getting damaged and does a good job at slowing the plane down.