GWJ FBO: Flight Simulation Catch-all

I posted this last year as well, but it is time for the annual Flight Simulator Survey.

Recommend anyone who's been playing XPL, MSFS (including on Xbox), or any other flight sim to complete it, even if you're just playing a few hours a month to check out whatever new landmarks are in the latest MSFS update.

Its always longer than it should be, but it is probably the most comprehensive survey out there and I'm sure many addon and hardware developers at least look at the results to give some indication on trends.

For those (like me) who haven't really been able to fly MSFS since SU7 was released, today's dev update at least offers a little hope. I haven't flown since I got so irritated that they broke TrackIR support that I didn't bother to even try to fly without it.

They are not yet calling it a hotfix, but they have an out-of-band update coming:

MSFS Dev Blog wrote:

We are pleased to announce that we will be releasing a public testing opportunity for anyone who owns the sim through the Microsoft Store (PC) or Xbox. This optional build includes fixes for several issues, including Track IR and VR controls. A full list of release notes will be found in the public, pre-release testing section of the forums soon. There is no set release date for this specific build as we will evaluate your feedback to determine if/when we can publish it to everyone, but we will provide updates to you as often as we can to keep you informed on the process.

This opportunity will become available on Monday, December 6th. At that time, please open up the Xbox Insider app and click the “Join” button under Microsoft Flight Simulator. Feedback will be gathered in the public pre-release testing section of the forums, where we will ask you specific questions about the release notes to confirm the update is working as intended for all users.

Hopefully this update will be released before my extended time off in late December.

What was the track IR issue? I know I flew a few flights with it after SU7 and that "pausing" trackIR was an issue, but I was still able to complete my flights.

Carlbear95 wrote:

What was the track IR issue? I know I flew a few flights with it after SU7 and that "pausing" trackIR was an issue, but I was still able to complete my flights.

I'm sure I could have completed my flights, but my muscle memory of how I use TrackIR is so ingrained that I decided I would be happier just waiting until they get this sorted. I've got plenty of other things to do for now. Being busy at work "helps" with that.

In short, they changed the sim (possibly as part of adding the Tobii eye tracking feature) so that whenever it detects a disconnect of TrackIR, it autonomously switches the TrackIR enabled slider in the cockpit camera menu to disabled. You had to go back to the menu to re-enable it every time. I eventually learned that there is a key binding for that that seems to work for a lot of people. The time I tried it wasn't great, but I think that was maybe a binding conflict.

As you mentioned, it considers pausing (via the TrackIR SW) to be a disconnect. My longstanding MO for TrackIR is to pause it when zooming in to work with clickable switches (radios in particular). Unfortunately, when MSFS resets the TrackIR enable it also re-centers your screen, which makes it a little useless for switches.

It also resets whenever I look at Little NavMap on my second screen.

Yes, I could work around that using cockpit views etc. and I might eventually do that if this isn't resolved. My hour or two of sitting in my Arrow III on the ground was half spent debugging the problem and have spent trying to work around it before I gave up. Later I thought about trying to use the mouse-tick on my CH Throttle to pan the screen around.

Maybe part of my frustration with this is that I am a SW (not game) developer, and not only was this a stupid bug probably introduced because of a new feature, but the release notes for SU7 imply that they knew about it at the time. The only thing I might find more irritating that that would be if they come out and say "this is working as we intend".

So I have the opportunity to upgrade my throttle. I am currently using a VKBSim Gladiator NXT stick with a Thrustmaster TWCS throttle (that has some slider upgrades). But I am looking at getting either a WinWing Orion or a Virpil MongoosT-50CM3. I like that the Mongoos has so many more features on the handle than the Orion. But the Orion looks more sturdy and is like $200 cheaper. Do you all have either of these? If so, what has been your experience? I play mostly Elite: Dangerous and sometimes a combat flightsim.

I have the TWCS throttle.

I have neither but both look solid. I’ll admit my pet peeve is that the Orion comes pre-labeled at least in the shot you linked.

I would say that if the Virpil is in your budget and you don’t mind the pre-labels, get the Orion and take the extra money and put it into head tracking, or some other hardware that would enhance your experience beyond a throttle.

MSFS Release Notes Sim Update VII (January Build

They claim they've fixed the TrackIR bug, so maybe this weekend I will fly for the first time since early November.

Also, "Assistances preferences should no longer be set to Easy without user’s input" which is nice.

I don't tend to fly anywhere near FL450, but if you do they fixed that nasty temperature bug too.

Yep, saw that, may give it a go. Don't think I've flown MSFS very much either in the last 3 months.. plenty of xplane though. I'm already starting to look for new PC parts for my XP12.. also hoping to FINALLY schedule my practical test and be a real pilot!

In xplane news, the talk of the town is the $115 US (not a typo) Hot Start Challenger 600. We're all busy, but if you have some time, check out this video from the developer This is a level of simulation that has never been seen before anywhere.. and i'm not just talking about circuit breakers.. he made an FBO walking simulator in Xplane where you can fill out paperwork, go to a pretend flight planning computer, etc. before getting in the plane and going. Is it worth $115? maybe? Completely blown away with what he is able to do.

The Canadians don’t even know how to make aircraft. It was a miracle their Learjet failure didn’t kill anyone.

Ha, I saw the FSElite article about that Challenger.

Best of luck with the test whenever you can schedule it.

Well it appears they've fixed the TrackIR bug, anyway. I ran into a couple of minor issues that I managed to resolve, so I've been able to fly a few times lately.

That led to the following, based upon a true story, which I offer with sincere apologies.

I once flew a plane from Nantucket


Then headed northwest for Pawtucket



I sailed over Beantown



Then set down in P-town



And as for the landing, I stuck it


VATSIM just rolled out it's Velocity update. If you use xPilot, update to the latest beta client. If you use vPilot, it'll ask for the update automatically.

What does it do?

VATSIM Velocity is a massive overhaul to our current server. At present, all aircraft are updated at a rate of 0.2Hz (5s). With Velocity, this is multiplied by a factor of 25 to 5Hz (0.2s) within a 10 mile range!

This change will bring around massive improvements to how you see aircraft right around you. When members are taxiing, flaring, rotating, turning, or even crashing when they've made a mistake in formation flying, these will happen in real time!

I'm glad they keep upgrading VATSIM. The AFV upgrade 2 years ago (or whenever it was) was gamechanging and made the experience so much better.

I'm not *quite* sure why I care about this update other than I have to do it? Is anyone actually formation flying on VATSIM? You can do that in MSFS on a private server. I guess now you can see people chunk their landings better.. but under "standard" conditions, I've never had any issues running into anyone on taxi or final approach. This is interesting for operations at untowered airports (real or because no one is doing ATC there) but its not like those places are busy on VATSIM. In big events all stations are in service, and its ATC job to keep you spaced.

I agree with you. As a pilot, I've never felt like I wished the aircraft around me would update more fluidly. Maybe there was some interpolation going on?

I'm waiting for the controller side update which I understand will be an entirely new radar client.

The Australian detail for MSFS was released this week.
As soon as the 112GB update arrives I will see how well they modelled my house.

Other landmarks looked amazing in the trailer, but they got rid of the Moonee Ponds Monolith.

Yikes.. 112GB... is that packed or unpacked? That will max out my flightsim SSD.

Bruce wrote:

...they got rid of the Moonee Ponds Monolith.

Dubai is going to be so smug now, with their "actual" tallest building in the world.

Carlbear95 wrote:

Yikes.. 112GB... is that packed or unpacked? That will max out my flightsim SSD.

I think it was around 5GB for me. I wonder if it's trying to reinstall everything for him.

DonD wrote:
Carlbear95 wrote:

Yikes.. 112GB... is that packed or unpacked? That will max out my flightsim SSD.

I think it was around 5GB for me. I wonder if it's trying to reinstall everything for him.

It had been a while since I'd last played so it seems likely it was more than just the latest patch to be installed.

Having left my limerick-based travels behind, I spent a little time touring Rhode Island and Connecticut, before hopping over to Long Island.

I was also thinking of picking up a new plane, but then decided that I had never actually flown the JF Turbo Arrow IV, which came in the same package as the Turbo III. So, I've switched to the IV, which is essentially the same as the Turbo III except for the horizontal stabilizer.

Today's flight involved a zig-zag pattern over a portion of central Long Island, from Gabreski (KFOK) on the Atlantic shore to Long Island MacArthur (KISP) via Riverhead, Fire Island, Brookhaven, and Port Jefferson.

I made certain to pass over Brookhaven National Laboratory.



Later I flew (erratically) over Stony Brook University, where my child would no doubt have been traumatized if she had looked up and seen me. At one point I may have buzzed illegally low over the hospital while trying to take pictures.




I flew in the KIAD VATSIM event this evening. Went from KIAD to KBNA.

Was night time but I set the clock back as flying at night really is boring. Took a few shots as the sun was setting.. here's the best one I took.


Also realized I didn't state it.. but this is Xplane 11... not the "pretty" flight sim

After heading east from Long Island I returned home to New Jersey, then headed across the river to North Philadelphia (KPNE). My next flight left KPNE, flew up to the NJ/PA Turnpike bridge, then followed the Delaware River southward to the Delaware Memorial Bridge before heading back northward to land my Piper Turbo Arrow IV at Philadelphia International (KPHL).

Part of the reason for me trip was to check out all the bridges from this freeware package on, and also to fly over the area where I grew up and went to college.

I posted this as an Imgur album, but I don't think those can be embedded here. A couple of my favorites are below.

The Tacony-Palmyra Bridge: I went to high school in Palmyra (the right side of this image) and grew up in the next town up the river (Riverton). North Philadelphia is on the left. I'm pretty sure Four Seasons Landscaping is in there somewhere.


Center City Philadelphia: Heading west toward the Schuylkill River.


Philadelphia Museum of Art: Featured in a boxing movie of all things. Eastern State Penitentiary is the weird structure to the right. 30th Street Station is just offscreen to the left.


University of Pennsylvania: My alma mater in amazing detail. This is my new desktop background.

My freshman dorm room was in the Quadrangle, which is image center near the bottom. Franklin Field is the stadium on the right, with the Penn Museum just below it. Up the river you can see 30th Street Station and if you open the image in a new tab you can see the Museum of Art from the side.


After a couple of additional stops, tonight I flew around beautiful Cape May, NJ before landing at KACY. Cape May is home to some really good birding. It has a lot of old Victorian houses, and is a favorite vacation spot for the less party-oriented crowd and (for some reason) people from Quebec.




Welcome to Fabulous Atlantic City, NJ. The longish pier sticking out toward the right is Steel Pier. The AC Boardwalk runs right in front of the buildings behind those piers. Strangely, I think some of the AC casinos are those unlit buildings.


You can also see the runway lights for Bader Field (KAIY), which has been closed since 2006. It used to be a fun place to land.

For those of you who fly GA, have you been paying any attention to the upcoming Milviz C310R? From what I had read their Turbo Porter was well-regarded.

This and the PMDG 737 are the two aircraft I'm most looking forward to. Milviz is a well-regarded developer and their previous releases on MSFS have been well-received.

I'm also keeping an eye on the H145 from Hype, but they are a new development group and the price is just too high for me. If I see it go on sale though, I'll likely grab it.

For anyone interested in a (mainly) VFR VATSIM event, this is happening today:IMAGE(
It's a good event to get your feet wet with VATSIM since these are small airports with usually very simple taxi routing. None of the airports involve B airspace, so you don't need to worry about B clearance.

Fly between as many airports as you like, or fly between any event airport and a non-event airport. There will still be coverage for the entire Boston and NY airspaces.

FYI, KMTP is an untowered airport, so landing and departing at that field is on Unicom (122.8) and you will contact ATC airborne if you desire flight following, otherwise as you approach your destination you'll need to call the tower for landing clearance.

If you're new to VATSIM, charts can be found here

- Spawn at a parking ramp or gate (not on a runway or taxiway). Decide if you want flight following (stay on ATC frequency, get traffic advisories -- recommended but you don't have to)

- You can listen to the ATIS frequency, but the audio version doesn't always work. You can also click on the ATIS frequency in your pilot client and get the text version.

- Call the controller for your airport: N214SA at the north ramp with information A (the current ATIS) request taxi (or flight following) for a VFR departure to the west.

- Have a piece of paper to write down taxi instructions. Read back the instructions, then taxi and hold short the runway. If you received a squawk, set it in the aircraft or you can type '.x 1234' in xPilot/vPilot to set it. Set transponder to Mode C (altitude reporting).

- N214SA ready for departure, runway 20.
- [Tower] N214SA, fly runway heading. Wind 210 at 4, runway 20 cleared for takeoff. Cleared for takeoff runway 20, N214SA.
- [Tower] N214SA, radar contact, say altitude. N214SA passing 800.
- [Tower] N214SA thank you, proceed on course. On course, N214SA

After a few minutes, you'll either be given a frequency change to Unicom (122.8) if you declined flight following, or to the next controller's frequency.

If you are given a call to look for traffic and don't immediately see it, respond N214SA looking for the traffic.

If, for whatever reason, you get overwhelmed or need to disconnect, it is OK to do so. You do not need to inform ATC that you are disconnecting and can just disconnect. It is frowned upon to reconnect in the air, however, since you may be in conflict with other traffic when you spawn in on the network. You could, however, depart KHVN, fly a bit, then disconnect and reconnect on the ground at KISP (at a parking area).

** After any ATC instruction, the pilot must read back that instruction. In addition, only 1 person can talk on frequency at a time, so if someone is transmitting and you try to talk, you will block them from being heard. This means you need to wait until another pilot finishes his readback before you call ATC with your request. Listen and wait for a minute before you call in, especially after changing frequencies to a new controller.

Ironically I will be out all day today because I have to drive out to Long Island from NJ to take my daughter back to school after Spring Break. We'll be heading out about as far east as KISP.

I also managed to fly to or over a number of these airports during a part of my ongoing tour, between January and February. Over that time I made landings at KPVD, KBDR, KFOK, and KISP along with a few others in that area. I of course also made the requisite trip to land GA at KJFK. I think I had to taxi for 10 or 15 minutes after that one.


The MilViz looks interesting but given their messy start/stop development with xplane, and then ultimately blaming the xplane community, they won't be getting my money.

Still waiting for the PMDG... everything they say seems to be "yeah its going great.. but..." Sounds like its in Beta which is a good step, but if XP12 has a date and there's already an excellent free B737 there, I have a hard time justifying what I assume will be a $80-$100 pricepoint (though they could surprise me) for this aircraft.

Carlbear95 wrote:

The MilViz looks interesting but given their messy start/stop development with xplane, and then ultimately blaming the xplane community, they won't be getting my money.

You mean the XP11 ATR-72 thing? I don't really know enough about that situation to have an informed opinion, but I can understand how you would feel that way. I had honestly never heard of them before they released the Porter for MSFS.

From what I understand, they're currently too busy alienating their Prepar3d customers to worry about XP customers.