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I treated myself with a new desktop computer for Christmas and I’m looking for a useful simulator for instrument procedure currency training and generally toying around.
Years ago I used FSX, is this still the best option? I see there are options in Xplane and Prepar3D (guess this is the “new” FSX).

I’d like it to be user friendly. I seem to remember FSX required a ton of addons to be really useful.

Running Win10 and I have the pedals and yoke. Input?

Norway, where a gallon of avgas is ch...
ENEG

Xplane 11 is about to be released. That is one to watch.

Best sim I had was Elite Flight Simulator. But it wasn’t really user-friendly.

FSX has matured in the meantime and with a decent addon might do the trick. Depends on which panel you want to train with.

There are good procedure training tools in the app store for IPad as wel. “VOR-tracker” for instance…

EBZW EBGB

It depends on what you are looking for : VFR or IFR. and which plane you use (and if you use a GNS430 or G1000).
For IFR it does not matter to have accurate terrain representation (called photoscenery), for VFR P3D (which is the actual “FSX”) seems to be unbeatable (provided you get third party addons).
I make extensive usage (one could debate to know if this should be called training, for me it is as I have invested in some hardware devices as well) of FSX which is installed for years now and a SR20 from Eaglesoft (I sometimes use P3D too for other purposes). You need pedals and yoke (or a joystick to emulate the Cirrus one otherwise you find great Cessna yoke replications) and panels from GoFlight or Saitek to make everything more realistic and close to reality.

France

I have the feeling that X-Plane is better in general. However, I was unable to run it on a multiple display setup. I have 4 screens and although it has extremely advanced configuration for angles, panning, zooming, etc. I was never able to align the screens in a way that it looked OK during the whole flight. I was using geometry to figure out what angles were needed and still no success. Having said that, I’ve seen setups with X-Plane that seem to work well, so probably it’s possible somehow. Note that X-Plane requires one machine per screen while Prepar3D can run multiple screens with one powerful machine. There are hacks for that but it is not officially supported.

The other option remains Prepar3D. I have version 2 but they released 3 now. It is more stable than FSX but still crashes from time to time. Also note that navigation and audio frequencies are not correct, so if you want to have more realistic training, you need to update them from external (paid) sources. X-Plane has the real frequencies integrated.

There are good plugins for both, e.g. I have an A320 fro Aerosoft which is very good (although not perfect). Scenery is the same thing – if you buy/download a specific region or airport, they are very good, otherwise you get something, with X-Plane claiming to have the terrain better. Prepar3D does not know anything about cities so it just puts random houses where a city should be (again unless you install an addon).

In any case you will need additional devices: yoke/joystick, pedals, maybe radios, screens, etc. I find it hard to fly with only the outside view on the screen(s) so it is a good idea to have at least one screen for the instruments, e.g. for a G1000. You will figure out what you need once you start flying. I hope you got a very powerful graphics card (NVidia 1080 would be a good one at the moment) and a very powerful CPU. Note that until a year ago neither Prepar3D nor X-Plane supported multiple video cards setup (SLI from NVidia or Crossfire from AMD), so having two average cards was worse than having a single powerful one. I don’t know if Prepar3D v3 and/or X-Plane 11 have advanced in that sense. You can google for that, there are some good forums around, also with people who know a lot about sims.

Once you get into simulation, there are options to get ATC from fellow simmers, e.g. over Vatsim or other platforms. I have never used them but I hear some people are very happy with them. Google is your friend.

LSZH, LSZF

Thanks guys. I’m really not getting into hardcore simming. My main use for this would be to stay somewhat current during the worst winter months (procedure wise). I’d like a good G1000 panel and a panel with a 430. Guess I have to look into the addons.

Talking to other guys it seems that FSX/P3D is still the #1 choice for real world pilots doing sim as a cheap way to get the procedures right.

Norway, where a gallon of avgas is ch...
ENEG

The only 430 plugin I’ve found for Prepar3D is a complete crap. X-Plane has an integrated one which may be better, so check out what others are saying (again: google).

LSZH, LSZF

Vladimir wrote:

so if you want to have more realistic training, you need to update them from external (paid) sources

You find frequency updates at IVAO at no cost.

Vladimir wrote:

The only 430 plugin I’ve found for Prepar3D is a complete crap

There is one more recent at Flight1. Flight1 link . RealityXP built an almost perfect copy of the real GNS430 (based on Garmin’s Home Trainer, in fact). Currently it only runs on FSX but they are supposed to work on an P3D compatibility.

It seems interesting to keep an eye of an upcoming and constantly evolving sim named Aerofly FS 2.

Last Edited by Flyamax at 28 Dec 10:31
France

Flyamax wrote:

There is one more recent at Flight1. Flight1 link . RealityXP built an almost perfect copy of the real GNS430 (based on Garmin’s Home Trainer, in fact).

Not completely sure but I think that’s the one I have. If it is, it has no SIDs at all and approaches, etc. are not correct and not current. The buttons and menus don’t work as on the real device, so it can be used but it differs a lot. Also you have to do a lot with the mouse, which is also not very nice.

By the way, X-Plane can connect to a real 430 and use it. However it’s a bit of steep investment, buying a real unit just for your sim…

LSZH, LSZF

Vladimir wrote:

By the way, X-Plane can connect to a real 430 and use it. However it’s a bit of steep investment, buying a real unit just for your sim…

This one could be a not so bad solution PFC

France

NorFlyer wrote:

Talking to other guys it seems that FSX/P3D is still the #1 choice for real world pilots doing sim as a cheap way to get the procedures right.

I have been happily using X-Plane for nearly 20 years having spent the previous 15 years using FSX (and its earlier incarnations – originally SubLogic Flight Simulator). What got me hooked was that it actually feels like flying a real aircraft. Some set-up adjustment is required, it is not totally plug-and-play (but neither is FSX/P3D) – notably control feel and harmony – these are easy to do, the effort is well rewarded and it’s not something you have to do often (or more than once if you have a single aircraft type you are trying to replicate).

A good set of controls (yoke or stick, pedals and throttle) are essential for any simulator.

FSX and P3D do not have a monopoly on use as procedural trainers. I personally know the following pilots who use X-Plane to keep current… in descending order of MTOW:

  • B747-400
  • B737 NG
  • King Air 200
  • Piper PA23 Aztec
  • Cirrus SR22
  • Piper P28R Arrow
  • Piper PA28 Cherokee

X-Plane 10 is fantastic as a training aid, I use it extensively for instrument flying practice. X-Plane 11 looks like it will be even better, offering finer weather control and lots of other enhancements. The native Garmin 430 implementation in X-Plane is pretty good, it even does GNSS approaches.

In the videos below, note that X-Plane 11 is not yet released. The videos show the public beta version and there are glitches that need to be fixed, but I would expect the released version will address anything serious – X-Plane has a good record in this regard.

As for using X-Plane for instrument training, here’s a video of a single engine ILS in a Baron on X-Plane 11:


(skip to 24 minutes – putting a start time in the URL breaks the link)

There is a good G1000 “simulation” which is iPad-based and connects to X-Plane (Simionic). See video below.


To show what X-Plane 11 can look like if VFR flying is your thing, here’s a demo video:


EGTT, The London FIR
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