AirDailyX is proud to announce a new series called ADX TapeTalk. This is an opportunity for you to hang out on our stream at twitch.TV/adxlive and discuss flight simulation and real world aviation topics. Additionally, within this series, we're going to ocassionally "pull the tapes" and create dialogue that may not be in a stream via the Daily News.
So, without further ado lets pull the tapes!!!
PTT 1: What Do You Want To Get Out of Your Simulator & Simulation Experience?
As a streamer, one of the most common questions that comes up is "Where do I start and should I buy this game?" In a nutshell, if at any point in time you think you've got the aviation bug, buy yourself a copy of X-PLANE 11 or P3D -- Oh, and use caution...I believe the warning label on both products says, "highly addictive".
Let's analyze this from the top down. Anyone knows that when you get involved with a game as such, a decent computer is required to run it. Surely over the last several months and year or so, flight sim platforms have been revamped and developers are coming out of the woodwork with several releases every week to ensure their name is at the top! First piece of advice, be logical in figuring out what parts you are going to put into a computer case. By taking this proactive approach, you can develop a specific set of expectations. For many years I ran a crappy Alienware setup that had a magnitude of problems. I told myself, no matter how challenging it may seem as a first time pc builder, I would do whatever is necessary to get the most out of my next gaming computer. Several years later I built an i7-6700K with an Nvidia GTX1070 FTW. From here on out, I knew there was no scenery or aircraft I couldn't run in the sim. But enough with the PC specs, let's get to the juicy aspect of things!
With a various amount of experience and age groups throughout the community I'd say it's fair that we all have a "goal" or specific niche within our simulator platform. For some, it's running their computer at max specs, flying default aircraft and online at the network of choice. Others enjoy mediocre settings, owning a plethora of payware aircraft/scenery in the hangar and fly offline. Mix up those two examples, and you'll always find a uniqueness among all enthusiasts. No matter what you choose, have fun. It brings me to the same question, "should I buy this game?". You have to ask yourself, what is flight simulation to you? Are you curious about what it's like to be the pilot of a Boeing 737 or do you take pleasure in getting inside of a Cessna 172 for a cross country trip? It leads me to what I usually hear next..."Well do you get bored?". There are times when flying the same aircraft becomes monotonous, so you've got to switch it up on occasion. It's not just the type of aircraft, it's the type of flying that makes the difference. For example, long hauls, carribean hops, IMC in a King Air, Airbus routes, aerobatic runs, and corporate jet flying are only a few. Remember, tailor your experience to what you desire.
I thought long and hard about what I could do next to give my time within the sim an added edge per say. I mapped out several airports throughout the world that had an interesting or challenging approach. Some were the Tip Toe Visual 28L/R (SFO), Visual 26/CTL Runway 8 (LOWI), VOR/DME (LGSM), ILS 22L/CTL 29 (KEWR), EXP 31 (LGA), LOC/DME-E (KASE).
Take a second to sit back and think about the actual beauty of flight sim ladies and gentlemen! The ability to do anything you want is at your fingertips. When I first joined this community 10 years ago, I had no clue what a "six pack" was except I knew my gym teacher told me if I didn't stop eating Chef Boyardee, I was probably going to have to start hitting the gym...An FMS? CDU? PFD? MCP? What are all these acronyms. YOU, have the opportunity to make your experience whatever you want it to be. When you let the concept marinate for a moment, it's insane to think that we have payware products that mock the real world aircraft, ranging from flight dynamics, to aircraft systems. One of the most beneficial things I started to do is read. I get it, you buy an airplane and you immediately want to fly it. Although there's nothing wrong with that, the manuals that some of our amazing developers provide, are in depth and the insight provided only makes you fall in love with the product that much more.
Many people who have heard me speak from my real world air traffic background know my angle on "crew resource management" otherwise known as CRM. It's a concept that was developed back in the 1970s for pilots after many fatal accidents. It's always a largely covered topic for me because I train new developmentals at work to listen and analyze specific transmissions once they issue a control instruction. The FAA's Air Traffic Safety Action Program (ATSAP) had recently published a real world briefing about controllers speaking to pilots too soon during the landing/rollout phase of flight. This is a prime example where there is heavy workload in the cockpit, as the flying pilot slows down the aircraft and the non flying pilot assists in calling out speeds etc. In many instances it was noted that ATC was transmitting to pilots too soon, therefore pilots would miss the instruction to exit at a specific taxiway. Think about it, if TWO pilots have a decent amount of workload and in your sim it's only you, it's essential you always be "in front" of the airplane, never behind. CRM sets the tone for communication, procedures and pilot roles/responsibilities in the cockpit. When you think of this concept from a flight simulation standpoint, you encompass CRM, because it is only you. I take pride in being proficient in the aircraft I fly especially while online with ATC. You see, the funny thing about simulation is that although it's "virtual" in a sense, the motto still stands; Aviation is a profession of professionals. No matter what you choose to fly, I encourage you all to take that extra step and know where the controls are located and how to manage the aircraft during all phases of flight.
Flight Simulation = Bliss. If there was one word to define flight simulation, I think that's the best word. It's the clouds, the scenic views and then some. Several years ago, I met a young gentleman online who had a disability that prevented him from obtaining his real world pilot's license. That set the tone for me, and made me realize what this game really is for others. For me, it's a hobby I love, for others it's what gives them LIFE. Realism may be it for some such as myself, while others just want to fly around the traffic pattern during sunset. No matter what you choose be good at it...in my eyes, you've met your goal.
I ask you, to ask yourself...Have I recently challenged myself in my sim? Have I practiced an RNAV/GPS approach, have I hand flown the aircraft instead of leaving the ILS coupled up with the autopilot until reaching minimums? Have I tried to troubleshoot an issue in the cockpit without resetting the simulator? The list goes on, and the learning never stops.
All of our experiences will vary from one another, but it's having the positive outlook to always learn more and never be complacent that means the most. Your sim may need tweaking, new hardware, or a brand new airplane/scenery/utility to make you feel alive again, but if there's one thing it will always need, it's passion. No one can ever take that away from you. I challenge you to learn something new about your simulator today that you didn't know yesterday.
All images provided are from my personal simulator.