Monday, July 31, 2017

SIMULATIONS - X-Plane Flight Sim (updated)

Finally done something I've been thinking about for years.  Got me a flight simulator and joystick.

Way, way back I did try Microsoft's flight sim but I had only keyboard-mouse.  Flight sims are almost impossible to use with keyboard-mouse.

So, finally, I got X-Plane 11 fight simulator and the Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X Flight Stick.

X-Plane 11

Example Cockpit View
You can change your view from the cockpit including exterior like looking at the airport tower.

You can use your mouse to click on most controls and switches.  Like when starting engines, turning on lights, etc.

Where you chose your aircraft and customize for your flight
Usually the first screen you go to after launching X-Plane is to start [New Flight].  This gets to  the "Flight Configuration" window.  This is where you choose your aircraft and customize it, set weather conditions and Time of Day (includes a checkbox to use your system time).

The 'stock' aircraft:
  • X-15
  • Beechcraft Baron 58 
  • Cessna Sky Hawk 
  • McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender
  • Boeing 747-800, 747-400, 747-100
  • Boeing 737-80
  • Stinson L-5, L-5G, L-5G Uurated Sentinel 
  • ASK-21 glider 
  • Boeing B-52G Stratofortress
  • Skorsky S-76C  helicopter
  • Beechcraft King Air C90B
  • Lockheed SR-71
  • Blackbird F-4 Phantom II
  • Space Shuttle Orbiter
  • Beechcraft Baron 58
  • Cirrus Vision SF50
  • Beechcraft King Air C90B
  • Cessna 172SP
  • McDonnell Douglas MD-82
You can buy/download more aircraft from X-Plane Org.

Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X

This version can be use for PC or PS3 via USB.  Features:
  • Wide hand-rest for optimal comfort
  • Programmable:  The 12 buttons and 5 axles are entirely programmable
  • Dual-system aerodynamic control, by rotating handle (with integrated blocking system) or by progressive tilting lever
  • Internal memory, to save all of your programming, even with the joystick disconnected
  • High-precision joystick with adjustable resistance
  • Programmable:  12 buttons and 5 axles are entirely programmable
  • Detachable, real-size, ergonomically-designed throttle control
  • Exclusive "MAPPING" button:  All functions may be instantly switched around between each other
  • High-precision joystick with adjustable resistance
  • Exclusive "PRESET" button to switch, while playing, instantly from one program to another
  • Plug & Play for ultra-simple and fast installation with all functions pre-configured for immediate takeoff (without worrying about configuration)
  • Trigger for brakes (civil flight) or for rapid fire (military flight)
  • Multi-directional Hotas button to change views (panoramic view)
  • Weighted base for greater stability
This is my setup

This pic was taken while going to "Flight School" sims included in X-Plane.  Note I have Thrustmaster 'detached' for easier use.

The things I learned while using X-Plane:
  • This is a simulation, which means if you fly from San Diego International (aka Lindbergh Field) to Las Vegas and your route takes 2hrs, you spend 2hrs at the sim.
  • To fly, you need a Flight Plan.  X-Plane comes with just one default Flight Plan.  You have to go to various WEB sites to get a flight plan:  Online Flight Planner , SkyVector (professional flight planer not for sims, but easy to get basic info, including airport charts and info), SimBrief (this is for sims, use it to actually produce a Flight Plan file for X-Plane)
  • Flying ain't easy.  Really.  Especially landings.
So far, I've spent 3 consecutive days on X-Plane (Fri-Sun).  Now it's time to give it a rest.


I made/published a Flight Plan via SimBrief from KSAN (San Diego International aka Lindbergh) to KSDM (Brown Field Municipal Airport) with routing.

I actually made it!  The full flight in a BeechCraft Baron 58 (twin prop).  OK, very sloppy landing but I didn't crash.  It only took me several weeks (only 'flying' weekends), with much frustration.

I also created the reverse Flight Plan, KSDM TO KSAN (same routing).

My next challenge is to figure out how to use the Baron's autopilot.

Found an outstanding site for Sim training videos:  WEH Videos
Provided many of the answers I had about Sim flying.

Today 8/20/2017, I completed a Flight Plan "Montgomery Field" to "Palm Springs International Airport" and landed without crashing.  Although I missed the designated runway.

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