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PC simulator vs the real thing?

Old 04-25-2008, 07:56 AM
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RevToTheRedline
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Default PC simulator vs the real thing?

Can one really properly learn how to fly a heli with Real Flight PC Sim? I'm interesting in entering the world of 3D helicopters and don't really know where to start, I don't want to be like any other person with more money than brains though, and just go out, buy a kit and crash it within 5 seconds. I have been eyeballing the E-Flight Blade 400 3D RTF, looks like a good value and nicely made.

So should I buy the RealFlight G4 first, or go for the Blade 400 and just take it slow, maybe find someone that can teach me to fly it.
Old 04-25-2008, 08:50 AM
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archiebald
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

100% get the sim - but not realflight. You want Phoenix. http://www.phoenix-sim.com/welcome.htm
Old 04-25-2008, 08:54 AM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

Yes, get a sim. Phoenix is recommended by many as a better sim than Realflight, but many have used Realflight successfully.

The B400 is a decent heli. But what you lose by getting a RTF kit is knowledge from builing one.

Skarn
Old 04-25-2008, 10:05 AM
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techrtr
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

I started to learn how to fly helis with a Blade CP Pro before I got a simulator. I took my time, crashed a lot, and found that my progress was really slow. Got hold of Real Flight 3.5, practiced with it a lot, and my flying skills immediately got a lot better with the real heli. In my case, it probably would have been a lot cheaper for me to buy the simulator before starting to fly the real thing.

A simulator can't completely take the place of flying a real heli because it doesn't duplicate the psychological factors that you experience when flying a real helicopter. There are things that I can do easily on the sim that cause me to freeze up when I try to do it for real. Just one of those things that you have to get over if you want to take heli flying to the next level.
Old 04-25-2008, 12:25 PM
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René N.
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

You can even do the first and dont let it stop the second.
There are several free and not so bad sims, you know.
So you could practice on the the sim and try it out on the real thing.
Have a google for FMS or Heli-X.
I use FMS and there's a lot of models for this one.
Generally speaking: a sim is worth the money.
That's why they aint cheap.

René
Old 04-25-2008, 02:16 PM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

Hi,
I agree, get a sim. Pheonix is the current sim that is considered the best, but I have G3.5 and it is excellent too. If you do decide to go with a Real Flight sim I would suggest G3.5 if you can get it for two reasons, one-it will be cheaper now G4 is out, and two- you can download loads of free models from Knifeedge's website. There are some for G4, but G4 won't work with models made for G2 and G3.5 and there are loads of these. (this is info I have read online, I can not confirm that G4 won't open G3.5 models)
Both Pheonix and G3.5 give you a virtual instructor to teach you how to fly both helis and planes. Excellent feature.
These sims are so good that top heli pilots use them to practise their moves before doing them on the real heli, and to get stick time when the weather is bad. They really are that good.
As techrtr said you don't get the "I'm flying an expensive model that I really don't want to crash" nerves that hold us all back to some degree, but on the up side, you get a reset button for when the worse happens. That happens a lot at the beginning.
Welcome to the madness, enjoy.
Old 04-25-2008, 02:38 PM
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Druss
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

I do have G4 and while there are some issues with G3.5 imported models the majority of them work fine. As to Phoenix over G4, I've played on both and in reality there is very little difference. Phoenix has better graphics but either will be a load on a good computer. Make sure that you've got a computer capable of handling high end games.

I also like the fact that G3.5/G4 has it's own controller, some like to use their own but I prefer to reduce wear on my expensive transmitter.
Old 04-25-2008, 02:46 PM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

Druss,
Good to know about the G3.5 - G4 model downloads, I happily stand, err, sit, err, type corrected.
Old 04-25-2008, 03:19 PM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

So Phoenix sim requires a real radio, hook it via a USB adapter right? So maybe I should buy the B400 and the sim, so I can have both to practice with?

Is the DX6i the same as a DX6 that you can buy retail? It can hook up to the Phoenix adapter correct?
Old 04-25-2008, 07:39 PM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

The DX6i is a better radio than the original DX6. For one thing it's full range while the DX6 is not (classified for park flyers only).

If you do decide on the Phoenix then get the JR adaptor for it, JR and Spektrum use the same.
Old 04-25-2008, 08:23 PM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

One more question I got before I start purchasing, is the Blade 400 going to be something I am going to enjoy long after I really learn how to fly these things? What I'm asking is it a good investment in smallish RC choppers, without going over the top with a fully decked out Trex 450SE or something.

I know the B400 isn't all carbon fibered out and all that, but it looks good to my eyes, and has a great set of included electronics.
Old 04-25-2008, 08:51 PM
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Druss
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

not to be a nay sayer but I don't really like the electronics, the radio (tx and rx) are good but the servos and gyro are not. if you want to get the most out of the blade 400 you'll end up replacing all the servos and the gyro with better.

I doubt that the blade 400 will be the last heli you own if you really start to enjoy it.... it's ok but really is meant as an entry level trainer which can be upgraded to fly pretty well.
Old 04-25-2008, 09:02 PM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

What is your take on training for over a month on a simulator and jumping in to a nicely equipped T-Rex 450SE? With electronics designed to last. Even with sim time is it bad to jump in to a high dollar chopper?
Old 04-25-2008, 10:21 PM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?


ORIGINAL: RevToTheRedline

What is your take on training for over a month on a simulator and jumping in to a nicely equipped T-Rex 450SE? With electronics designed to last. Even with sim time is it bad to jump in to a high dollar chopper?

In my opinion, if you can afford it, that would be a great way to go. You build it thus learn a LOT more about it especially for when you have to rebuild after a crash. And you will never outgrow a TREX 450 SE v2 with your own electronics and gyro.

Don't get me wrong, the B400 is a decent heli for the price...

Skarn
Old 04-25-2008, 10:28 PM
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RevToTheRedline
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

If i was to pick up Real Flight G3.5 or G4 tomorrow from the LHS would I be disappointed that I didn't get phoenix which is kinda limiting to me right now since it requires a real radio.
Old 04-26-2008, 12:49 AM
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archiebald
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

I understand your excitement, but IMHO any sim is best used with the radio that you are going to fly with. The feel and switch location will be identical, and you can learn how to program your Tx on the sim, adding to your skills.
Old 04-26-2008, 07:01 AM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

To answer the original question, it depends on a couple of factors.

Bigger helicopters are easier to fly and thats duplicated pretty well on the sim.

What makes flying a model easier than the sim? The visual cues are much better. You aren't dependent on a little screen and with full peripheral vision you always know where the ground is, something thats easy to loose track of on a sim depending on your view settings.

What makes flying a sim model easier? The first is simple, your reset button isn't labeled VISA, you can piro flip a foot off the ground with impunity. The weather is always perfect unless you tinker with wind and stuff (which you should). The tuning and setup are always perfect though RF lets you induce failures which is also a good idea but its more perfect than not.

So whats that all mean? A simulator is a great tool. It teaches you visual orientation, and allows you to develop muscle memory. When you can know what corrections or controls to apply without thinking (use the force luke) you are well on your way. It won't teach you how to fly, how to be safe, how to know when something doesn't feel or sound right with your heli. I personally think its a waste of time trying to get it to fly exactly like your model, I think the more different models you try the better off you will be.
Old 04-26-2008, 08:59 AM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

I must be the only one but I don't think the sim is any real help except for orientation. I got the free version of Aerofly and I am glad I did or I would be kicking myself if I spent enough money to buy a heli... on a game. There is NOTHING like flying the real thing. Get yourself a durable CHEAP heli and use it as your learner. Take it slow... I got a Honeybee FP and that thing is tough as nails. I crashed it a thousand times and total repair cost is below $20. I try my new stuff on that heli. I am just starting FF. But to me the sim is just a game. Yea you can practice 3d on the sim but that is back to orientation and that alone won't get you to hover.

So my suggestion is get a free sim and a cheap starter $100 heli and $20 in spare parts.
Old 04-26-2008, 09:08 AM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

I'm gonna jet out to the LHS after lunch and talk to them about choppers, most likely they have a floor demo trainer I can try to see how good I really am from the get go.
Old 04-26-2008, 09:34 AM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

If you do decide to go the T-Rex route, there's no need to spend over $500 on an SE. You can probably still get an SA for about $200, or under $300 with motor and ESC. As you crash, you can always upgrade to SE repacement parts.
Old 04-26-2008, 09:38 AM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

While 20 people could tell me not to get the SE, I probably still would, cause I'm overkill like that.

I just put molded carbon fiber stone guards on my Mugen Seiki 1/8 race buggy, that were $80 and not even really needed, just because I wanted them and nobody could stop me
Old 04-26-2008, 09:41 AM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

ORIGINAL: Speedfrek

I must be the only one but I don't think the sim is any real help except for orientation. I got the free version of Aerofly and I am glad I did or I would be kicking myself if I spent enough money to buy a heli... on a game. There is NOTHING like flying the real thing. Get yourself a durable CHEAP heli and use it as your learner. Take it slow... I got a Honeybee FP and that thing is tough as nails. I crashed it a thousand times and total repair cost is below $20. I try my new stuff on that heli. I am just starting FF. But to me the sim is just a game. Yea you can practice 3d on the sim but that is back to orientation and that alone won't get you to hover.

So my suggestion is get a free sim and a cheap starter $100 heli and $20 in spare parts.
Not true. A simulator is not a game. If it were just a game, I doubt that the top pro flyers would use them to practice their moves and refine their skills. You're flying an FP heli which is pretty limited in what it can do. When you start to fly CP Helis and want to try aerobatics, you really appreciate being able to practice on the sim before trying it for real. Even fast forward flight is way different on a CP heli than it is on an FP (oh wait a minute, you can't really do fast forward flight on an FP. Try getting disorientated while your heli is clipping along at 60 mph. Flying an FP won't prepare you for that). You notice the payoff when you start flying a high performance CP heli and you have to react instantly without thinking about what you're doing with the sticks. To me, about all an FP heli is good for is learning orientation. It doesn't really prepare you to fly a CP heli. A simulator will. You'll never outgrow the sim. It will take you from hover to full on 3D.
Old 04-26-2008, 10:57 AM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?


ORIGINAL: techrtr

ORIGINAL: Speedfrek

I must be the only one but I don't think the sim is any real help except for orientation. I got the free version of Aerofly and I am glad I did or I would be kicking myself if I spent enough money to buy a heli... on a game. There is NOTHING like flying the real thing. Get yourself a durable CHEAP heli and use it as your learner. Take it slow... I got a Honeybee FP and that thing is tough as nails. I crashed it a thousand times and total repair cost is below $20. I try my new stuff on that heli. I am just starting FF. But to me the sim is just a game. Yea you can practice 3d on the sim but that is back to orientation and that alone won't get you to hover.

So my suggestion is get a free sim and a cheap starter $100 heli and $20 in spare parts.
Not true. A simulator is not a game. If it were just a game, I doubt that the top pro flyers would use them to practice their moves and refine their skills. You're flying an FP heli which is pretty limited in what it can do. When you start to fly CP Helis and want to try aerobatics, you really appreciate being able to practice on the sim before trying it for real. Even fast forward flight is way different on a CP heli than it is on an FP (oh wait a minute, you can't really do fast forward flight on an FP. Try getting disorientated while your heli is clipping along at 60 mph. Flying an FP won't prepare you for that). You notice the payoff when you start flying a high performance CP heli and you have to react instantly without thinking about what you're doing with the sticks. To me, about all an FP heli is good for is learning orientation. It doesn't really prepare you to fly a CP heli. A simulator will. You'll never outgrow the sim. It will take you from hover to full on 3D.
Yup, I'm with techrtr on this one, a sim is not a game, it's a sim, hence the name. I learnt how to auto on the sim BEFORE risking a penny on a real model, result? I can now auto and I didn't crash once while at the field doing real life autos.
The sim is a great tool, like any tool it all depends on how you use it.
Old 04-26-2008, 01:50 PM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?

I can now auto and I didn't crash once while at the field doing real life autos.
You told me it was the article draft I sent you! [)]
Old 04-26-2008, 04:53 PM
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Default RE: PC simulator vs the real thing?



Of course it was BH.

Actually the 'power assist' throttle hold method you mentioned in other threads was a real security blanket for me and a method I highly recommend.

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