Winwing Airbus FCU Finally

You might remember I first mentioned my interest in the new Winwing Airbus FCU back in May when I posted about my brand new purchase of the Thrustmaster Airbus Captains Pack.  Well I had placed my order for the Winwing FCU way back on 23 April and had all but lost hope that I would ever receive it.  Roll forward 2.5 months and I finally have it in my hands.

The Winwing Airbus FCU arrived nicely packaged to my address via Fedex.  The package shipped directly from China and spent nearly a week in Japan, before finally making it to Memphis and then on to Denver. The box you see below had an outer layer of white plastic protecting the box and where the labels were attached.

Upon opening the box, everything inside was protected in styrofoam.

Removing the top layer revealed the included USB cable and hardware to mount the included plastic stands.

and finally the well packaged and protected FCU

Installation and Setup

Unfortunately, the package contains no documentation.  I was already expecting this as I had watched several YouTube videos showcasing the unboxing and setup of the WinWing FCU prior to receiving my unit.  I realize we’re all trying our best to reduce the amount of paper waste, but WinWing hasn’t even bothered to put together an online user guide that I could locate on their website.  But like I said, there are a few YouTube videos which will help walk you through the steps of what needs to be done.  The best video to watch is by Easyjetsimpilot and the link to that video is is here.

While I followed step-by-step-by every excruciating step of the above mentioned video, I ran into issues which I struggled to get around.  My hardware setup is fairly massive, but certainly not unique.  I have over a dozen USB peripherals which I use just for flight sim.  These include of course my newish Thrustmaster Captain’s Edition stick, throttles and other side devices, my rudder pedals, my yoke and multiple GoFlight hardware modules I use when flying the PMDG aircraft.  I also have a Razr keypad I use for controlling my views along with many other devices.  Some are directly connected to the PC and others are plugged into powered USB hubs.

While it is true some of these devices aren’t all used on every flight.  Example, I don’t use my yoke when I fly an Airbus and I don’t use the majority of the GoFlight hardware in the same scenario, the thought of having to disconnect and reconnect these devices just to keep the Winwing FCU happy was frustrating.  After stepping away from my system for a few hours, I finally figured out that somehow there is a conflict between the Winwing FCU and my Logitech Racing Wheel.  OK, I can live with not having the racing wheel connected when running flight sim.  So to keep the Winwing happy and allow me to enjoy some Fenix Airbus A320 flying, it’s disconnected.

Overall Opinions on the product

Other than the frustrations I mentioned above, I am mostly pleased with the Winwing FCU.  Having it, along with the Thrustmaster Captain’s Pack has greatly reduced the amount of use needed from the mouse and keyboard and I’m very excited about that.  Flying the Fenix A320 is just as enjoyable and immersive as flying the PMDG 737-800.  For that reason, I’m very happy with the product.  The FCU appears to be well made. I have it installed just under my monitor and while this is working for now, I want to do something a little different, but haven’t quite figured out what that will be just yet. Most likely this will be pushed out as I plan to have a much different setup once we move and can live with the way it is for now.

I must admit that I was shocked to learn that upon initial connection with the FCU and their SimAppPro software that a firmware update was required.  I could certainly understand if my FCU had been sitting on a shelf in some obscure warehouse for months prior to be ordering it, but I assume with the 2.5 month wait I experienced that my FCU was “hot off the presses” and should have arrived to me ready to go.

But I also think what is seriously lacking with my Winwing FCU experience is their SimApp Pro software.  In my opinion it seems to be very clunky in use.  But it is what it is and I will live with it.

Final Thoughts

After learning about their future plans during FSExpo to release more hardware devices for the sim, I was excited.  But this excitement (at least for now) has been taken back a few notches.  But we’ll see what happens over time.  If a new product were to be announced (example their EFIS panel) I most likely would wait before ordering it.  Especially if the wait for that product is going to be 2-3 months as we’re most likely moving to Texas later this year (read more about this here) and wouldn’t want to place an order while I’m still in Colorado.

So far I’ve flown about 3 flights with the Winwing FCU and as previously stated, I’m really loving the added immersion of not needing to use my mouse to control the functions contained within the FCU hardware.  As I have no experience with the other available FCU hardware options, I honestly can say that I’m 100% happy with the Winwing FCU.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Lossless Scaling App with MSFS

While I was traveling last week, I was trying to stay in touch with all the related Flight Sim news breaking both from the FSExpo and elsewhere.  In my American VA, one of our members posted some information about a newish application that has been released called Lossless Scaling.  In all honesty, I really didn’t pay much attention to it.  I was fortunate enough that when I built my current gaming machine last summer, I added the Nvidia 4090Ti GPU.  The details from what I could find regarding this Lossless Scaling application mentioned how it helped non 4000 series GPU’s gain a few more FPS.  But I figured for a mere $7 I would try it and see what it could do with my 4090.  While I didn’t gain much in the FPS category, I did gain enough to say it was worth the small investment.

If you’re interested in trying out the Lossless Scaling App, it’s only available on the Steam Store.  So you’ll need a Steam account both to purchase and also to run it.  Launching the Lossless Scaling App will launch the Steam client each time, but like I said many have found the benefit from using it both in MSFS as well as other games.  So it’s worth the effort.

As for the settings, well I’m still tinkering but have left most settings at default for now.  But I’ll show you what I have set and you can use that as your own benchmark to start.

So if you have a few dollars burning a hole in your pocket and you want to see if you can squeak out a few extra FPS, then give the Lossless Scaling App a try.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

PMDG 777-300ER Long Hauls

Hello ladies, gentlemen and boys and girls….the past few days I’ve really been giving the new PMDG 777-300ER a good workout traversing across the North Atlantic a few times.  While I spent the first few days of ownership of this awesome aircraft flying some of the shorter domestic routes which American Airlines still operates such as DFW – ORD I felt the need to see how she handles on a much longer route.  After all, this is exactly what this aircraft was designed for.

My first long-haul flight in the brand new PMDG 77W was DFW to LHR, simulating American Airlines Flight 50.  AAL50 holds a very special place in my heart as it was the first time flying on an American Airlines 777.  Back in early 2001 this flight was operated in the Boeing 777-200, but today it uses the 777-300ER.  This business trip was also responsible for allowing me to meet my wife and was also the first of many transatlantic flights I’ve made in the real world to London.

Anyway, I loaded up the B77W in DFW.  It was a full load of passengers and plenty of freight to make the flight profitable.  A mere 8 1/2 hours later I touched down on runway 27L.  The following day I debated picking up a British Airways flight towards the Middle East and just continue eastward around the globe, but instead decided to fly back to the US in time for the US Independence Day holiday and what better place to be than in Philadelphia.


AAL50 PMDG Boeing 777-300ER Catching the sunrise over the North Atlantic.


Descending along the eastern coast of the US headed for Philadelphia (PHL).


PMDG 77W on approach to KPHL RWY 09L and passing the Commodore Barry Bridge along the Delaware River.

I honestly couldn’t be any happier with this new aircraft from PMDG.  Yes, I truly can’t wait for the 777-200, but for now I’m going to be doing all my long-haul flying in this beast.

Until next time….

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

PMDG Boeing 777-300ER is Amazing

But of course, we knew it would be right?   The wait is over…PMDG finally released their very highly anticipated Boeing 777-300ER on schedule just a few days ago.  Due to my traveling schedule, I was actually down in Texas at the DFW Airport when it released so I didn’t get to take part in all the fuss in trying to get my download codes like so many did.  I’ve heard dozens of reports from fellow simmers who tried to purchase the new PMDG 777 on release day and heard horror stories of the long wait.  Hopefully PMDG will invest in a better e-commerce platform as it’s very clear what they are using now is not capable of holding up to the demand.  But I digress…

As I type this, it is Thursday, 27 June and I’ve had time to get a few flights in the new Triple 7 and she flies wonderfully.  While I’ll admit that I favor the shorter Boeing 777-200 over the -300, she’s still an amazing aircraft and after getting a few more shorter flights under my belt, I will be embarking on some serious long-hauls which this aircraft is designed to handle.

Missing GoFlight Functionality

Of course, as the PMDG 777-300ER has only been recently released, it’s currently not yet working with my GoFlight hardware.  But I know in time the folks over at PollyPot will update the GoFlight Interface Tool and I will be able to control much of the MCP, EFIS and Radios via my external hardware just as I can with the PMDG 737.

Some Screenshots

If you already own the new PMDG 777, then you already know what she looks like.  If not, here are a few screenshots I’ve captured in the past few flights.

Not sure what’s going on with those ULD’s appearing at the top of the fuselage. I’m sure this will be resolved when GSX Pro gets updated for the new PMDG 777 functionality.  Speaking of GSX Pro, if you experience an issue with a tail strike on pushback, then make sure you disable the “lift aircraft” option, at least until a GSX update appears that may or may not correct this issue.

Final Thoughts

As I said above, I really much prefer the shorter 777-200 model….but until that is released it’s just a really great thing that we finally have a solid, long-haul aircraft in our virtual hangars.  We now have much better options in the longer range category and I’m looking forward to the release of the 777-200.  Of course, we also believe at some point during the release stages of the 777 that we may get the 737 Max from PMDG.  I also suspect the wait before Fenix releases their A319 and A321 shouldn’t be too awfully long from now.  I believe the expectation is that we’ll have those before MSFS 2024 releases later this year.  Fingers crossed anyway….

Well…until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Are Virtual Airlines Still Relevant Today?

I became first acquainted with a virtual airline or VA for short in the 1999 or early 2000 timeframe.  During these past 24-25 years, with exception for a year to two when life was so busy that I didn’t spend much time at all with flight sim,  I’ve belonged to one or more VA’s.  Today I fly exclusively for a popular VA that mirrors the day-to-day operations of American Airlines.  More about this in a minute.

The Competition

But the question at hand is are VA’s still relevant today?  Without any hesitation I say, absolutely YES!  But in recent years the virtual airline concept has been met with some strong competition from various 3rd party add-on products which simulate your own airline career.  One of the more popular of these add-ons is called “A Pilot’s Life” by SimBitWorld.  I actually wrote a review back in 2019 which you can read here.  Since that time, Simbitworld has released an even more popular “A Pilot’s Life – Chapter 2” which I’ve also used from time to time.  There are a few others that have come onto the scene since MSFS2020 was released.  I’ve used a few and in time I’ll probably write up a review of these standalone applications for your consideration.

It’s Fun until the loneliness sets in

A Pilot’s Life and other standalone products are great until the loneliness sets in and what I mean by this is a good virtual airline will also have a vibrant community of virtual pilots to interact with within their forums or Discord channels.  They may also regularly schedule VA group flights, but generally there’s almost always someone willing to fly with you if that is what you like.

Like I stated previously, over the past 24+ years I’ve been involved with virtual airlines in the capacity of just a pilot all the way to operating my own fictional virtual airline for a number of years.  For the past three years I’ve belonged to American Virtual Airline.  At this VA I’ve served as pilot, Hub Manager, VP of Operations and Chief Operating Officer (COO).  Today, I serve as the Chief Training Development Officer.  I oversee our new hire training academy where new applicants will spend their first 15 days or so.  Our training academy is brand new and allows new hire candidates to receive training on not only our VA systems/tools including our website, ACARs system and an all important overview of our policies and procedures followed by an overview of the Boeing 737.  Additionally, all new pilot candidates will submit a Boeing 737 check-ride flight before graduating into the mainline airline operations.

In Summary

Yes, I still believe all these years later that joining a good virtual airline is a great way to enhance your virtual aviation experience.  Keep in mind that most VA’s will require a minimum level of participation.  This is generally 1-2 flights per month to remain active.  At American Virtual Airlines we require just one flight every 30 days to remain in active status.  Many of our pilots fly daily as we’re a very airline.  If you’re interested in joining American Virtual Airlines, just go here and submit an application.  Upon submitting your application, it will be reviewed and approved in a timely manner.

If you have never experienced a virtual airline, I encourage you to join one. Regardless if it’s American Virtual (which I mentioned above) or any which represent your prefer airline…try it.  I think you’ll like it.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

The 777 Is Coming….The 777 Is Coming!

Well….blow me down and shiver me timbers.  Yes, PMDG broke radio silence on Sunday to announce a tentative release date for their Boeing 777-300ER.  This anticipated release date is Tuesday, 25 June.  PMDG also mentioned in that same announcement that should a delay be needed (for whatever reason) then provisional backup days extending out to 30 June might be necessary.  So with any luck, we’ll finally have what I’m sure will be an awesome version of the Boeing 777W before the end of the month.  Unfortunately, there was no pricing info provided in this announcement.

An Absolute First

As they say, there is a first time for everything and this is no exception.  PMDG broke a life-long policy which has been in place for years where they never provided a product release date.  Today, that policy has been changed and as I said above, we should have the PMDG 777-300ER this month.

In Streamers Hands Soon

The PMDG announcement also mentioned that within a few days we should start seeing the PMDG 777-300ER in the hands of those carefully selected and just downright lucky streamers and content creators.  Of course the only problem with this is many of the big names in the flight simulation content creation space will be attending FSExpo which takes place this coming weekend.  But hopefully there will be plenty not attending and will stay home and tease us with some great video and streaming content.

I Can’t Wait

Like you, I just can’t wait to have my hands on the PMDG 777-300ER.  I haven’t decided just what will be my first flight.  As I do much of my airliner flying for an American Airlines based VA, I may just do one of the shorter flights such as MIA – LAX or I may just bite the bullet and head across the Atlantic towards London Heathrow. What are your plans for the PMDG 777-300ER?  I’d love to hear them.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

MSFS 2024 Thoughts

Hello and welcome back to my blog site.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably already watched the brand new release trailer which Microsoft released over the weekend regarding their brand new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024.  The announced release date is 19 November 2024.  I’ve watched this trailer now about a half dozen times and very much like what I see.  Of course, I liked what I saw from the very first teaser from last year.

Backing up the Truck

Before I dive into a few things that I’m thinking about after watching the new trailer several times, let me just point you all to a blog article I wrote earlier this year on the subject of MSFS 2024.  This article covers the why behind Microsoft’s decision to release a brand new sim only four years after MSFS2020.  Of course I also talk about a few other things and if you missed it, now would be a good time to go read it.

Thoughts and Concerns

Over the past few days I’ve watched many videos from other flight sim content creators breaking down the new trailer video.  From what I’ve seen across many videos, the concerns of these content creators can be broken down into these following categories.  #1 Flight Model, #2 Old add-on compatibility and #3 new projects slated for MSFS 2020. Let me break these down and provide my thoughts for each.

Flight Model

I’m not a real world pilot of any sort.  Over the past 4 years I’ve heard many complain about the poor flight modeling in MSFS.  Many state that this is the primary reason they do not use MSFS 2020.  Microsoft have stated that there will be an advanced flight model in MSFS 2024.  As for how advanced it will be compared to MSFS 2020, well….we’ll just have to wait and see.  But I believe Microsoft and Asobo have listened to us and will deliver a better flight model in the new sim.

Old/Existing MSFS2020 Add-on Compatibility

Microsoft have stated multiple times that old/existing add-ons for MSFS2020 should work in the new sim.  Of course, what we don’t know is whether this is day one compatibility or whether it will take the 3rd party developers some time to work on.  I think with scenery, it should only consist of minor tweaks to make it compatible.  However, for 3rd party aircraft….this could take some additional time especially if the flight model changes between MSFS 2020 and MSFS 2024.  It is worthy to note that 3rd party developers are just as much in the dark as we are when it comes to MSFS 2024.  At the present time, Microsoft have not released any details which could be used to help speed up the process of getting 3rd party add-ons into MSFS 2024.

New Projects

As the sun is starting to quickly set on MSFS 2020, there are concerns by many that un-released 3rd party add-ons (specifically aircraft) which were slated to be released in MSFS 2020 will be bumped to MSFS 2024.  Many are pointing towards the news that Aerosoft’s long awaited Airbus A330 which was supposed to come out for MSFS 2020 is now being delayed and will only release for MSFS 2024.

To be perfectly honest, the example of the Aerosoft A330 is the only project I’ve heard about that is being delayed to MSFS 2024.  Bluebird Simulations still plans to release their Boeing 757 for MSFS 2020 with a free update to MSFS 2024.  The PMDG Boeing 777 is on short-final and should release sometime this summer for MSFS 2020.  Considering for me personally….I’m not planning on buying the Aerosoft so their decision doesn’t impact me at all.

Final Thoughts

As I’ve stated before, MSFS 2024 most likely will be a day one purchase for me.  However, I have low expectations that my favorite 3rd party aircraft (specifically the PMDG 737 and Fenix A320) will be ready to install in the new sim on day one.  No one knows at this point in time the level of effort needed for the 3rd party developers to make existing add-ons ready for MSFS 2024, nor do we know with any level of accuracy how much these updates/upgrades will cost us.  For me personally, I’m willing to pay a small update price for existing add-ons for MSFS 2024.  But I’m not willing at this point in time to re-purchase at full price.  My investment in MSFS 2020 at the present time is in the thousands of dollars.  But it’s waaaaayyyy too early to get the cart ahead of the horse at this point in time.  So I invite you to join me in just sitting back and taking a wait and see attitude with this.  Because that’s really all we can do at this time.

One more thought

One more thought came to my mind as I was wrapping this all up.  It truly is in Microsoft’s best interest to have developed MSFS 2024 in such a way that requires minimal 3rd party development work to make add-ons compatible in the new sim.  The reason I say this, is many will wait before purchasing MSFS 2024 until some time has passed to see how 3rd party developers react to the new sim and what level of effort is required AND what, if any upgrade cost might need to be passed along to consumers.  If the level of effort is high enough for developers to have to charge full-price for add-on upgrades then I think most will just stay on MSFS 2020.

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I’ve discussed here today.  Leave a comment and let me know.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

PMDG 777 and MSFS 2024 Release Rumors

I hope everyone is having a great start to the summer season.  While it’s still a few weeks before summer officially arrives, the weather is warming up across the country and in most places school is out.

PMDG Boeing 777

In recent days PMDG have broken their silence and informed everyone via their forums that they are busy undertaking a few web enhancements to their e-commerce platform to better handle the upcoming release of the much anticipated Boeing 777.  Specifically the Boeing 777-300ER.  This is great news, but still leaves us wondering just how much longer it will be before we can all get our hands on this awesome aircraft.  We’ve been reminded that PMDG will provide a two week notice before the 777 will be available and at the time of this writing, this 2 week notice has not been made public.  So until then, we wait and wait and wait some more.

We are about 3 weeks away from the 2024 FSExpo, so many are speculating that the availability might coincide with this event.  But who really knows.

MSFS 2024 Release Rumors

In addition to the PMDG 777, the flight sim community is working overtime to try to second guess when Microsoft will release the new version of the sim which we know as MSFS 2024.  The big Microsoft XBox Summer Showcase on 9 June.  This is where Microsoft unveils many of their new projects expected to release throughout 2024 and early 2025.  We have had confirmation that a new trailer will be for MSFS 2024 during the event.  There have also been rumors of leaked information that a date for release will be mentioned in this new trailer video and the rumors are this date will be sometime in November, just in time for the holidays.

I know many were thinking, hoping, dreaming etc. that MSFS 2024 might release in August as that was the month MSFS2020 released.  But I’m actually OK with a later release.  While I have plans to purchase and move to the new platform, I’m also not in any big hurry.  I believe it will take some time (perhaps a few weeks or even a few months) for MSFS 2020 add-ons to be ready for MSFS 2024.  So other than using MSFS 2024 for GA flying, my expectation is that it will be some time before we can do any serious airliner operations.

Well…that’s about all I have for now.  Naturally I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open to any news coming from the XBox Summer Showcase and of course anything from PMDG.  So we must just all stay tuned.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Thrustmaster Airbus Captains Pack

Those of you who know me and have been reading my blog posts for the past 13+ years, know that I enjoy the immersion which the flight simulation hobby provides to us.  I’ve spent time, money and a lot of effort to build up my home simulator with various controllers from GoFlight (which sadly went bust a few years ago) and when flying my PMDG 737 I rarely need to use the mouse and keyboard during any phase of flight.  However, the same can’t be said for the Fenix A320.

Immersion Killer

Yes, ladies and gentlemen….I’ve been flying my Fenix Airbus A320 (and even the FSLabs back in P3D) with a yoke versus a sidestick or joystick controller.  But this is about to change as I recently gifted myself the Thrustmaster Airbus Captains Pack which contains the sidestick controller, the throttle quadrant plus to two additional add-on quadrants which control the speed brakes and the flaps.  Additionally, for the record….I did attempt to use an older Logitech Extreme 3D Pro joystick, but just found that I preferred the feel of the yoke versus the stick.

Finally, while I’ve spent the better part of the last 5-6 years flying an Airbus with a yoke, as I’ve been flying computer based sims for well over 40+ years….I only purchased my first yoke about 25 years ago.  Before that I had always used a joystick to control whatever aircraft I was flying as yokes really weren’t available way back when.

Why Change Now

Good question!  I suppose the really honest answer to this question boils down to the simple fact that I really wanted the same level of immersion with the Fenix A320 (and someday soon the Fenix A319/A321) that I have with the PMDG 737.  In addition, a few weeks ago I signed up for the pre-order release of the new WinWing FCU unit which once that is setup I’ll be more immersed into the world of Airbus and not need my mouse and keyboard nearly as much.

But there’s another reason

I’ve found I need to use different sensitivity settings on my old CH Products Yoke when controlling the Fenix A320 than what is needed with the PMDG 737.  Half the time I forget to adjust them and when they are setup for the 737, I really struggle with the flare in the Fenix and usually slam harder than I would like onto the runway.  The reason I’ve put up with this so long is I tend to fly the PMDG 737 about 75-80% of the time.  But I have a feeling I’ll fly the Fenix A320 a lot more now.

Unboxing, Setup and first Use

I must say, I was really impressed with the packaging.  The simulated “Red Tape” that reads remove before use made me chuckle.  I quickly unboxed it and began setting it all up.  In the box you’ll find two long USB cables and two shorter ones.  The shorter cables, about 3 inches in length will connect both the flap controller and the speed brakes controller to the main center throttle quadrant.  Then one of the longer USB cables can be used to connect this complete unit to your PC and same with the sidestick.  Depending on your configuration, you can use the sidestick as somewhat of a USB hub and connect the throttle quad to that.  But I have plenty of USB ports and just connected both to the PC.

Once that was done, it was time to download the drivers from the Thrustmaster website.  I initially had difficultly getting Windows to recognize the sidestick as by default it is set to work with an Xbox.  But there is a switch on the back to change that to PC and once done, Windows detected it just fine.  I quickly went through the calibration steps in Windows just to make sure everything worked.

Fenix Calibration

This caused me to pull a few hairs out at first.  Obviously I’m only going to use this setup when flying an Airbus.  I’ll revert back to my yoke and other hardware when flying a Boeing.  But it took me a few minutes to get the throttle quad to function correctly with the Fenix.  Thankfully, they have some good documentation on the Fenix website to assist in this effort.

After some additional time in removing some of the mappings which automatically get applied and which I don’t need, it was time for my first test flight.

Pros and Cons

Naturally there will always be some pros and cons to any hardware add-on.  While the Thrustmaster TCA hardware is plastic, it does appear to be well made.  The sidestick is the heaviest of the kit and does have a nice feel to it.  The buttons and leavers all appear to be smooth in their operation.

However, there are a few drawbacks that I’ve discovered after a few flights.  For example, the speed brake is just a lever and will not pull up as it does in the real aircraft to arm the spoilers.  However, I just mapped one of the buttons on the engine start panel to arm the spoilers.  Also, not really sure what the engineers had in mind when they planned the auto-brake switch as it is a rotating knob versus the push button controls found in the real Airbus A320.

Finally, if you suddenly lose all your Windows and MSFS sounds, it’s most likely because the sound settings have switched over to the TCA Sidestick audio device.  This is because the TCA Sidestick has a built in audio device where you can attach a headset if you desire.  As this is not something I’ll use, I just changed my audio devices back to my PC soundcard.

Final Thoughts

I really didn’t mean for this to become a review of the Thrustmaster TCA Airbus Captains Pack, but I guess in a way it turned out to be just that.  So far I’m pleased with the purchase and am certainly looking forward to receiving my Winwing FCU.  I believe the combination of these two pieces of kit will allow me to enjoy the Fenix A320 as much as I enjoy the PMDG 737 from an immersion point of view.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

P.S. I’ve actually been looking very closely at the Thrustmaster Boeing Yoke to replace my 25+ year old CH Products yoke.  When/If I do decide to pull the trigger on this purchase, I’ll certainly let you all know.

Reader Question – Help Me Please!

Hello to all my wonderful readers and followers of my blog site.  I hope you are doing well.  I received the following message from a new, young sim pilot who received Microsoft Flight Simulator for Christmas.  This is his first introduction virtual aviation and simulation and he’s desperate to get some help.  The reason I’m sharing his email and my responses with you is I believe the trap he’s fallen into is one that many others who are new to the hobby also fall into.

Hello Jerry!  Can you help me please?  For Christmas I received Microsoft Flight Simulator.  I’m 14 years old and hope to one day become a real world airline pilot. But my hopes and dreams are somewhat being smashed in my inability to fly in the sim.  I just can’t seem to control the airplane like I see others on YouTube and Twitch.  While I can takeoff semi OK, my landings are really all over the place.  Can you help me?  Peter

For added context, over the past few days I’ve been having an email exchange with young Peter to try to understand his dilemma better.  During this exchange of emails I’ve learned that he is mostly flying the default 747 as that is what he dreams of doing and this back and forth has allowed me to provide both Peter and anyone else in his situation some much needed, solid advice.  So here goes…

Walk before trying to run

While I do not remember my parents teaching me to walk and certainly don’t remember my first steps, as infants we must first master the slower art of walking before we can ever attempt to run.  The same concept is important to remember when attempting to fly an aircraft in the sim.  The Boeing 747, while she’s an awesome aircraft to fly…the Queen of the Skies requires isn’t very forgiving towards brand new pilots.  Just as in the real world, someone who decides they want to fly a Boeing 747 doesn’t just go out to their local airport’s flight school and say please teach me to fly the 747.

Learn the Basics First

Peter, or anyone like him should first learn the basics of flight in a much, much smaller aircraft.  What I advised Peter to do, and this is solid advice to anyone else who is new to the world of flight simulation is to start with the Cessna 172.  While there are other default aircraft such as the Cessna 152 or the CubCrafters XCub which would certainly be suitable to learn the basics in, I just really prefer the Cessna 172.  After all, most likely this type of aircraft will be what he begins with when he goes out to his local airport to sign up with a flight school.  Spend the necessary time to learn this aircraft inside and out.  While the Cessna 172 may not initially scratch the itch Peter has to learn the 747, it will make the process much, much easier and much, much less stressful.

A Recommended Tutorial

Way back in 2017, I wrote a tutorial article which titled Your First Flight.  While it’s a pretty basic tutorial in nature, I provide some information in that article which I’ve discussed with Peter.  The reason why I suggested this route with Peter and suggest the same to anyone new to sims is because the Cessna 172 is a very forgiving aircraft and it will allow the new sim pilot the opportunity to learn the basics.  These basics will carry forward to any other GA or even tubeliner aircraft one may want to fly.

Peter’s Progress

As is the case with a lot of the blog articles I write, it does often take me a few days or so to write, polish and publish.  This one has been no exception, and from the time I first received Peter’s email to the point in time I’m wrapping this article up and publishing, it’s been about 3 weeks.  I’m truly happy to report that Peter is taking my advice to heart and is spending time in the Cessna 172 and seems to be progressing well.

Additionally, on my advice Peter installed Volanta by Orbx.  Volanta (if you’re not familiar with it) is a free flight tracker which is super easy to use and Peter has shared a few of his circuit training flights with me and he’s really doing a fantastic job.  Over the next few weeks I’m going to provide Peter with some short cross country routes I’ve come up with and he’s excited to try these.  While I’m certainly not a flight instructor, I’m capable of serving as a mentor to help Peter and others in situations like this and certainly enjoy doing so.

Final Thoughts

Yes, I almost always have a few words to close out my posts and this one is certainly no exception. The discouragement Peter experienced with his struggles of trying to fly a complex aircraft like the Boeing 747 almost caused him to stop using his new sim.  The progress he’s making in the C172 has revigorated his new found love for virtual aviation and I know this basic knowledge he’s learning now will certainly corelate into other aircraft I’m sure he’ll also enjoy flying.  I think the same will apply to anyone else new coming into the hobby.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

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