GWJ FBO: Flight Simulation Catch-all

Carlbear95 wrote:

I need to remember how to use screenshots.. was using MS Game Bar instead of just the in game screenshot tool and took a bunch of screenshots of my littlenavmap :)

IIRC I stopped using Steam for screenshots because it result in one image that contained both of my monitors together.

I've since been using nvidia, after regretfully installing geforce experience.

I started the new year by taking the last flight of my winter vacation, from São Paulo (SBSP) to Rio de Janeiro (SBGL).

It was not the best weather for sightseeing, but thanks to the $#!$# ATC I ended up having to go-around a couple of times at Rio so did get to see some of the city.

When I left São Paulo it was cloudy, but at least those clouds were white. Starting my approach into Rio things were starting to look bleak.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/etIUTaj.jpg)

After being told by ATIS that runway 15 was in use, I learned pretty late that they wanted me to land on runway 10. So I continued on runway heading toward the beach.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/YtzPd5s.jpg)

A couple of requisite shots of the most famous statue. I might come back later in my Kodiak for some closer images. The airport is located on that island out behind my plane.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/fhtSobf.jpg)

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/m6bRvLt.jpg)

I eventually looped back through the bay to make left traffic on runway 10, only to learn that they had switched back to runway 15, the bastages.

Between the clouds, the AI traffic, and the airport scenery I was starting to get into almost choppy fps range (below 30). I still made a nice landing after another go-around due to my poor planning and ended up parked near some big boys.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/Fzmxmrj.jpg)

According to Little Navmap, my 17-day winter vacation involved 19 flights, well over 28 hours, and 5,621 nm traveled. Two flights were in the Kodiak and the remainder were in the FSR500. I'll attribute some of that to my wife having to work for part of my vacation, and the fact that we got a decent amount of rain.

I usually put all my gear away (yoke, throttle quadrant, pedals) between uses, but during vacation I left it out almost full-time.

Sadly my pace of flights will diminish greatly as I return what promises to be a busy January at work.

I know how fun it is to fly in these exotic places, but sometimes I just gotta go back to the big cities where MSFS shines. I have a neofly career going in the little JPL Cessna 152 and I've wound my way down from Northern to Southern California. My mission today was to carry a passenger from Van Nuys (KVNY) to Fullerton (KFUL) about 30 NM away.

While I could just fly straight across, I do try to fly "legally" respecting the various airspace rules, so plotted out this VFR flight plan.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/NGzCQ16.png)

This flight takes me underneath the Los Angeles Class Bravo flying at 2300 feet, and going around the 2000 foot Bravo shelf that's basically along the final approach path for planes landing at LAX. I also avoid the Inner Class Charlie space around Burbank that goes to the surface, staying underneath the Outer 3000 foot shelf. To make things interesting, there's actually a VIP TFR in LA that you have to avoid as well. Because I'm staying underneath the various airspaces, I could technically fly this route completely off radio except for when I'm actually at KVNY and arriving at KFUL. That would be a very unwise choice but completely legal.

Here I am just after running up at KVNY ready to take off on 16R. I had AI traffic on, and a plane was landing, but screwy FSLTL made it go around.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/JoK00yP.jpg)

I then take off and here I am leaving the Valley about to cross over the Hollywood Hills.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/ijKz5YZ.jpg)

I planned the flight to take me right by Dodger stadium which looks great (I downloaded it from flightsim.to).

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/mdfcxIS.jpg)

With some great views of the LA Basin.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/g78dsbb.jpg)

You'll see on my flight plan, I pass by something called the "Garvey Reservoir" and here it is:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/zC1wkjY.jpg)

Ultimately settling in at KFUL.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/S3RrDnW.jpg)

And here's the little navmap of my flight.

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/m2wxSdX.jpg)

actually pretty pleased with my square pattern and landing!

Regardless of "which sim", there's no question that the visuals in MSFS are simply amazing. Hard to believe this is a sim.

Carlbear95 wrote:

I know how fun it is to fly in these exotic places, but sometimes I just gotta go back to the big cities where MSFS shines. I have a neofly career going in the little JPL Cessna 152 and I've wound my way down from Northern to Southern California. My mission today was to carry a passenger from Van Nuys (KVNY) to Fullerton (KFUL) about 30 NM away.

While I could just fly straight across, I do try to fly "legally" respecting the various airspace rules, so plotted out this VFR flight plan.

I was thinking that 30 NM seems way too short to bother taking a plane, but then I realized you probably saved your passenger five hours of driving.

I haven't yet spent much time worrying about respecting airspace rules. On the contrary I tend to fly low around cities and airports so it's probably a rare flight when I don't violate them.

Must be nice to land at KFUL and have the entire parking apron to yourself.

There was a bit of Honeycomb-related drama going around today.

In short, the founder (Nicki Repenning) wrote a long email/facebook posting where he says he blames no one but himself, then goes on to blame his business partner/friend.

It's still unclear whether Honeycomb will ever actually recover from this or ship products again.

I've been playing with the very impressive sayintentions.ai ATC engine.

While its far from perfect, and at $30/month not cheap, it definitely creates an additional level of immersion. I like the ATC interaction, and having to use the MSFS built-in menu ATC system was very annoying. The Voice recognition and AI has been pretty darn good the times I've used it. While VATSIM is still probably better, the smaller Class D airports that I usually fly GA into are often not covered, and of course even if they are, they need to be an area where someone is actually covered.

I haven't really tried a Bravo transition yet, but may give it a shot the next time I fly.

I say I want to record a flight, but I fly with TrackIR and I'm really bad at looking at my 2nd screen or my ipad while flying and that just causes a whole bunch of unnecessary movement.

Ironically, I've been paying closer attention to Beyond ATC.

I say ironically because I mostly fly VFR, and SayIntentions is supposed to tilt far more toward GA and VFR (at release) while BATC will (at release) be focused on IFR.

That said, I'm very curious to see how well BATC's traffic injection works, I like its flexibility to choose which voices are offline, "medium quality", or high quality, and I like their pricing model far better than SayIntentions'. I can understand why SayIntentions costs what it does, but that's way more than I want to spend on this. What I have seen of it, though, has indeed been impressive and improving.

I'm also not looking for a tool to help me practice ATC interactions, or even to give me voice recognition, since I usually fly late a night and my wife would not be happy about me talking at my computer.

So, I guess my plan is to enjoy videos of people using both products and see what they each evolve into.

If you're really mostly interested in traffic injection, have you tried FSLTL? GA Traffic has never been great but its something. I'm also experimenting with this GA Traffic addon . Since I'm mostly flying VFR I really dont' care how many airlines are at major airports, I just like to see smaller GA airports occupied with a cessna or 2 flying around.

Say Intentions is also working on traffic injection.

I'm following BeyondATC as well. I don't understand the pricing model at all. I may still get it for when I want to fly jetliners, but only for it's $59.99 starting one-time price point. I am curious to see how it works though. The developer of Say Intentions is very active on his discord and he often describes how difficult/easy things are to implement. Things like calm winds preferred runways, and non-SID/STAR departures and arrivals aren't easy to do at all for as many airports that there are in the world. In some ways IFR is easier to code because while there may be a lot more communication, it is more strictly rule based.

Carlbear95 wrote:

If you're really mostly interested in traffic injection, have you tried FSLTL? GA Traffic has never been great but its something. I'm also experimenting with this GA Traffic addon .

I wouldn't say I am mostly interested in traffic injection, but I was impressed with what I saw in an earlier video from BATC. Their most recent video is from SFO, but the one that really caught my eye is the one they posted in November. That one was at LAX and had a lot of really cool behind-the-curtain information from their debug environment. I'm a sucker for that kind of thing.

I may be more interested in this tech than I am in actually using it, tbh. Then again, from what I can tell BATC is not just doing injection and letting MSFS control the traffic. They're essentially replacing the ATC altogether and doing all of the processing. Maybe that's what SayIntentions is doing, too?

I did spend some time looking into GAMod, but I'm not sure why I never actually installed it to try it out. It's on my flightsim.to wishlist.

I also did a little looking at FSLTL and also FSTraffic, Simple Traffic, and the AIG traffic manager.

Carlbear95 wrote:

Since I'm mostly flying VFR I really dont' care how many airlines are at major airports, I just like to see smaller GA airports occupied with a cessna or 2 flying around.

Yes, this, mostly. "Lately" I have been landing at somewhat larger airports than my usual, possibly because I'm flying more IFR-ish routes with the FSR500 or because of the nature of hopping among the bigger cities in South America. So in those cases I might (briefly) enjoy seeing a bunch of appropriate tubeliners at the gates, but for the most part to me "traffic" ends up meaning "radio chatter".

I the long run, I'm somewhat lazy, and have limited flying time, so my attention span for sorting out which of those options is best, and how to keep it configured, isn't enough and I just want to fly.

I had that nice burst of flight time at the end of 2023, but have only managed two flights (both on the same weekend) since January 1. I haven't even uploaded the pictures I took getting out of Rio and up to Brasilia.

Carlbear95 wrote:

I'm following BeyondATC as well. I don't understand the pricing model at all. I may still get it for when I want to fly jetliners, but only for it's $59.99 starting one-time price point.

Same, I would almost certainly buy the base product and use few or none of the optional minutes or whatever. Even then, I'm not likely to get it until they expand a bit beyond just IFR stuff.

With my light flying schedule, paying a flat monthly fee to SayIntentions is gonna be a non-starter for me. Hopefully that will evolve into more flexible (offline) options as well. Given that they have "AI" in their name, though, I'm not sure they're interested in doing that.

Question: I'm thinking of diving in.

Should I go with the Steam version or the disk version? Steam version is on sale now.

Do third party addons work with the Steam version?

I use the Steam version, and third party add-ons definitely work for me.

The way that they work is items bought directly from the in-game store go into one (encrypted) folder. Items bought outside the store go into an unencrypted "Community" folder. Most of my add-ons are the latter.

From my totally unscientific reading of forum posts, I see more people complaining about problems with the sim if they bought it from the Microsoft store rather than Steam.

I don't know too many people who buy the disk version though. With all the updates that have been released I don't think the disk version would save you much download time.

Steam version here as well. No issues with any add-ons that I purchased either through the developer's site or the in-game marketplace.

You should know there is a new version (MSFS 2024) slated for release later this year. No date yet for the release.

DonD wrote:

You should know there is a new version (MSFS 2024) slated for release later this year. No date yet for the release.

You think that I should wait?

That's really a personal decision based on how much you think you will use it and your financial situation. In 6 months (current speculation is a Fall release), you could have hundreds of hours in the sim.

We don't know what advancements the new version will bring. Microsoft have said that the 2 versions will coexist (MSFS 2020 and MSFS2024), so it isn't like your purchase will only be good for 6 months. I suppose it all depends on what new shiny things the newer version will have and how much they matter to you once that information is revealed.

There is also the question of add-ons. Whether the 3rd-party add-ons are forward compatible with the new version is going to be a developer by developer thing. There will likely be some developers that don't update their products (so they don't work properly in the new sim), some that update it for free, and some that charge for the update. There are already add-ons in the current sim that have been released, don't work properly, and were never updated.

Next, which version? If you have any interest in the B787, it is worth getting Premium Deluxe. With the aircraft and avionics update last year, Asobo/Working Title have turned it into a very nice aircraft. The Citation Longitude got the same treatment and is a fun biz jet. I don't fly the SR22, but I understand it also received recent updates and is supposed to be another very nice aircraft. For reference, individual aircraft add-ons from 3rd party devs are going to be $40-80 for an aircraft of quality. If you buy the basic version of MSFS, they gouge you on the pricing to later upgrade to Premium Deluxe.

Edit to add: If you get the basic version, you have the B747 and the Citation CJ4 and for small pistons, any with the Garmin G1000 NXi will have benefited from the aircraft and avionics update. There is also the free FlyByWire mod for the A320 that brings it to near-payware level quality.

I appreciate all the input, thanks!

FWIW I use the MS Store version, but I don't think it makes a difference. I'm pretty sure even the steam version requires the MS Launcher anyways, so while install location is probably different, everything else is the same. Basically you just need to know where your Community folder and your appdata folder are and you will be able to install any addons you want, and most addons with installers will find it for you anyways.

I don't require 100% realistic fancy & accurate plane models. I'm actually more into plane watching than flying.

I would like to be able to follow AI planes as they complete their trips as I used to do with the previous version. I believe it was X.

Do you know if you can attach a camera to an AI aircraft and watch it from takeoff to landing?

I found the answer to my above question:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GaP...

I did pick up MSFS 2020 during the Steam Spring sale. I am currently going through the training missions to get me back up to speed. It has been awhile since I have played MSFS.

I am trying to tackle the training missions with my Xbox controller. I do have an older Saitek AV8R-01 stick which I am avoiding to plug in.

Great. and welcome. If you start to get into it, hard to overstate how important it is to have better controls. A t16000 or a logitech extreme 3D, anything with a throttle control will do. I'm not familiar with your controller, but I'm assuming it has a throttle axis? The pictures of that device aren't clear. Like it has throttle levers but they're in the "back"? Just curious why are you loathe to plug it in?

My Saitek is a very good but OLD controller. You have to manually map the controls as MSFS 2020 doesn't have a default setup for that controller. I did find several articles and posts online regarding on how to map that controller.

"Just curious why are you loathe to plug it in?" -- I'm just trying to avoid more cables on and under my desk.

@Carlbear95...you will be proud of me I plugged in my Saitek AV8R-01 and mapped several important controls.

Haha.. more plugs the better. When I get my flying gear set up I have no less than 5 extra plugs into a USB hub on my desk: Rudder Pedals, Yoke/Stick, Thorttle Quadrant, 360 controller (for outside camera), and a trackIR.

And then I have to "turn on" a whole slew of additional apps, Little Navmap for navigation, Spad.next for signifcantly better controller config than default, an app that bridges MSFS to Foreflight on my tablet, and recently I've been trying the MSFS auto fps tool that seems to work very well. Sometimes I want to fly on VATSIM so that needs and app, sometimes I want FSLTL traffic, so that's an app, sometimes I want to fly with Neofly, so that's an app

So when I realize all this, I end up thinking "do I really want to fly"

Goonch wrote:

@Carlbear95...you will be proud of me I plugged in my Saitek AV8R-01 and mapped several important controls.

Awesome!

Carlbear95 wrote:

Haha.. more plugs the better. When I get my flying gear set up I have no less than 5 extra plugs into a USB hub on my desk: Rudder Pedals, Yoke/Stick, Thorttle Quadrant, 360 controller (for outside camera), and a trackIR.

I am now at the point where if I buy one more piece of equipment I will need an external USB hub. I've got like 12 devices plugged directly into my motherboard.

Carlbear95 wrote:

And then I have to "turn on" a whole slew of additional apps, Little Navmap for navigation, Spad.next for signifcantly better controller config than default, an app that bridges MSFS to Foreflight on my tablet, and recently I've been trying the MSFS auto fps tool that seems to work very well. Sometimes I want to fly on VATSIM so that needs and app, sometimes I want FSLTL traffic, so that's an app, sometimes I want to fly with Neofly, so that's an app

So when I realize all this, I end up thinking "do I really want to fly"

Yes, I don't have quite as much stuff but one issue is that when I'm not flying I pack away my three main FS devices (Honeycomb Alpha and Bravo, plus TB rudders).

I looked into that auto fps gadget but haven't tried it yet. Listening to the latest Asobo stream it sounds like they will be putting something similar directly into PC MSFS (XB already has something like it).

For me, the software I run is Little NavMap, Addon Linker, and sometimes AccuSeason and SimBrief.

So, setting up a flight takes an extra 5-10 minutes, in addition to my 50+ year old knees getting under my desk to connect the pedals. I end up not flying unless I have a 3-hour block of uninterrupted time.

I think that's why I haven't yet tried out Spad.next and/or Axes and Ohs: if I have enough time to fly I don't want to spend it messing with control mappings, since what I have is "good enough".

Heh, get a powered hub. Mine just stays at my desk. My rudder pedals can be tucked away under, but the cord actually pops out the back of my desk so I just plug it into the hub when I play. Same thing with Alpha/Bravo, I have them off to the side of my desk, and just move them all into place and plug them into my hub. My Track IR Pro, which I'm terrified of breaking, actually sits in one of those plastic chinese take out soup containers on top of my tower.

You guys, SimCopter flies WONDERFULLY with a gamepad, FYI.