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Help me get back into Flight Simulation

My last sim (still operational) was a pc running windows XP with Flight Sims 2004 and X. Didn’t use it much after 2007 anymore.

I’d like to get back at it.

The primary aim is IFR currency and tutoring (for my IFR Students).
If the hardware price to run a sim like MS FS 2020 decently is a lot higher, I would skip it and simply go for X-plane and a less expensive pc.

I don’t need fancy outside vision at any price. Mostly the SIM will be used to explain procedures in IMC.

One Monitor
One Computer
One Yoke (Brunner, Yoko?)
Some throttle
Pedals (eventually)
Run G1000 etc.. (750, 650) on iPad

My main computer is a macbook and I have been totally separated from any PC hardware for more than 10 years.

What I need is a crash course in hardware and recommendations as to buying a complete PC or configure one with suitable components.

So, where do I start?

As always, thanks for the help!

always learning
LO__, Austria

I strongly recommend a force-feedback yoke. Otherwise the trim technique you will have to use is completely artificial.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

What is your budget?


Dimme wrote:

What is your budget?

Just what I was going to ask. A decent gaming PC can be built for around 750€ (sans monitor and peripherals), but can easily cost more than 2000€ if you want ultra-hd resolution at high fps.

I just upgraded my six year old PC with a GeForce RTX 3070 GPU and it runs MS Flight Simulator very well at Full-HD and with decent fps. The GPU cost me 625€ though.

Edit: My specs now

Intel Core i7 4790X
nVidia GeForce RTX 3070
Samsung SSD 840 Evo @500 GB
1000 GB HDD (forgot which manufacturer)
Creative SoundBlaster Z sound card
650 power supply

This setup, with another – then state of the art – graphic card cost me 1900€ back in 2014. I still use my old NEC MultiSync WX 2470 24" display from 2008, @1920x1200 pixels.

As a joystick I got a Logitech X52 Pro HOTAS + Logitech pedals, but I agree with @Airborne_Again that you should invest more into a FF yoke if you want to achieve maximum realism at the controls. Unfortunately, these high-end peripherals may cost as much as the entire PC…

Last Edited by MedEwok at 15 Dec 13:35
Novice pilot
EDVM Hildesheim, Germany

See if the free demo of XPlane 11 will run on your Mac well enough – for simulating IFR with a pixelized cloudbase it just might. If so, shell out the 1k2 EUR for the yoke and some change for the GTN emulators and be happy. Add rudder and throttle/prop/mixture later, if the setup does what you expect it to.

EPKP - Kraków, Poland

tmo wrote:

See if the free demo of XPlane 11 will run on your Mac well enough – for simulating IFR with a pixelized cloudbase it just might.

XPlane11 did run fine on Mac for me but it gets bloody hot, if you delete weather & terrain and show IFR panel only, that should be more than enough for “IFR practice on AP heading bug”, when you add weather & terrain, CPU workload shoots over the roof (well just like any human pilot )

If you want “hand flying IFR setup” you need Windows & decent Yoke & Rudder for iPad screens for the various PFD & MFD & EFB

For IFR, it has to be XPlane not FSX if you care about updated databases & procedures rather than just bumbling around

PC specs for XPlane seems way bellow “gamming thresholds”, mine is from 2012 and it was about 1200$ back then

Last Edited by Ibra at 15 Dec 14:05
Paris/Essex, France, , United Kingdom

Having spent a considerable amount of hours on a Brunner and owning a Honeycomb yoke I wouldn’t consider getting the Brunner unless it was less than £600.
If you can fly, you already know how to trim. Don’t try to learn that on a sim built for IFR training. For beginner PPL Maybe.

The honeycomb throttles look really nice, I don’t need them as I already have all the buttons levers and knobs I need, but if I was starting again I’d definitely go Honeycomb Yoke and throttles.
The Saitek (Cessna style) pedals are absolutely fine if you don’t need to train twin OEI time.

Xplane is reportedly (in various websites/forums ) far superior to MS FS for IR Training at the moment as the cockpit environment components of the software work properly where as MS FS is all about the visuals.

Think carefully about the aircraft models available in each s.ware and how you will make that tie-in to your intended pretend cockpit.

I purchased my aircraft for Xplane, and managed the yoke/button layout to complement the layout on the sim screen to add to the
‘flight experience’

United Kingdom

From what I have seen the new MSFS is a pure game and screenshot generator at this time and totally useless for serious simming. In some areas it works well for VFR, but has no IFR value at all.

Personally I found Xplane too cumbersome and have stayed with FSX. I hear Prepare 3d to be quite good by now.

LSZH, Switzerland

GA_Pete wrote:

If you can fly, you already know how to trim.

The thing is that without a FF yoke, you have to use a totally different trim technique than in a real aircraft. Since there is no “feel” in the yoke, I have prepared a table of trim settings for various flight phases. Then when you retrim you have to let go of the yoke slowly at the same time as you trim. If you do these two things out of sync, you are punished with significant pitch oscillations that can really ruin your whole training experience if it happens e.g. at glideslope intercept.

Last Edited by Airborne_Again at 15 Dec 15:15
ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Thank you!

I found this video quite good to compare yokes

Is the Brunner force feedback?

There is an older version of the Yoko, anybody know it?

always learning
LO__, Austria
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