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In 1968, I got a chance to fly a military F-4 Phantom simulator. Its outside display was limited to light(day) and dark (night) with the added highlight of lightning flashes for bad weather. In 2007, I got a chance to fly a BOEING 737 simulator for which the scenery package was much more real but nowhere near current ORBX standards. And that's my "real" simulator experience.


 


My question is, is there anyone on the Forum who has flown the really sophisticated modern simulators? How real were they? What did it take to pry you out of the rig when time was up?


 


 


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While certainly not state of the art, I just got out of four days in what I believe is the only 'real' Twin Otter sim around, in Toronto.  Visuals are very basic (no Orbx here) and are really only good for providing a horizon, but sessions are mostly IMC anyway.  The value is being able to practice all kinds of things that you can't do in the airplane, in pretty much the exact cockpit, until it's imprinted in your brain.  And even though the Twin Otter is relatively simple, instructors have an uncanny ability to make it a challenging hour and a half, to say the least.  Then switch seats and do it again...  it's fun, but it doesn't take much to get me out of there, just the thought of fresh air and some time to breathe!   And coffee.


 


I've also done initial and recurrent courses in the Dash 8-100 sim in Seattle.  Also not state of the art visuals (we poked our heads in the -400 sim, pretty sweet), but the Dash itself is much more complex, and practicing the craziness and cascading failures that can happen in that plane is invaluable.  Fun stuff, but tiring and you're usually glad it's over.  Remember your job depends on being halfway competent in the sim, and someone is paying a crapload of money for you to be there, so there is pressure to not screw something up and fail.  It is very cool to look back on what you just went through, especially when it went well.  I think all those grueling sessions have made me a better pilot overall, and I wish that kind of training was accessible to more pilots.


 


Generally the visuals in the modern real sims are there for a very small part of the training, like so you can actually land after breaking out at minimums with stuff on fire and most of the airplane not working, so they're just not a priority.  And you tend to not really notice anyway. 


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I've had the privilege of training in a B-1900D full motion in Orlando, the Q200/300 full motion in Seattle and the Q400 full motion in seattle (That last one is ongoing ;) )... Like Alex above has said, the experience is amazingly real as far as the flight handling and immersiveness of the cockpit. There's a good reason they use these things to practice emergencies and maneuvers and procedures.


 


In fact when I got my B-1900D Type rating, we did an "80/20" checkride... meaning 80% was done in the sim, then 20% in the actual aircraft. The first time I EVER touched the controls of a real B-1900D was on the type checkride! It's amazing just how ready I was simply from flying the sim.


 


As far as visuals are concerned though, none of the sims I have used are all that great... Some very basic photographic terrain in some areas, no autogen at all, very simple 3D hills and mountains. Of course the training sessions generally have you flying instrument conditions anyway ;)


 


You can have some fun though... The instructor station lets you swap out 3D models. Our instructor one day wanted to try and simulate fire trucks rolling for our emergency landing... we touched down, the trucks rolled alongside, then we stopped... The truck kept going, hit Vr the rotated and flew off into the distance, blue lights flashing all the way :D (I guess it thought it was another aircraft)


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About 15 years ago I had the chance to fly in a B747 simulator from Swissair - managed to land at Kai Tak in Hong Kong flying the checkerboard approach and got her down safely. It was an amazing experience, one which I have never forgotten!


 


Jack


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 The truck kept going, hit Vr the rotated and flew off into the distance, blue lights flashing all the way :D (I guess it thought it was another aircraft)

Excellent.  Similar, at FL200 we got a traffic alert 12 o'clock, spotted it, and once it got closer saw that it was an 18-wheeler or some kind of truck closing at us and flew right by!  Had a good laugh, which helped break some of the tension before the madness to come.

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I've been lucky enough to fly level-d's in the 737-700, 767-400, 747-400, and Lear-45. IMNSHO, there's nothing like it with any PC-based sim. You simply don't get the "as real as it gets" feeling. Especially with regard to the full-motion experience (the Lear is more like a rocketship than an airplane).


 


I hated to end the sessions but all good things eventually pass.


 


As far as scenery goes...frankly, it sucks. OEBX has an opportunity for a whole new market.


 


Doug

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Excellent.  Similar, at FL200 we got a traffic alert 12 o'clock, spotted it, and once it got closer saw that it was an 18-wheeler or some kind of truck closing at us and flew right by!  Had a good laugh, which helped break some of the tension before the madness to come.

 

Madness being the appropriate word ;)

 

My first day in the Q200 sim, we (my sim partner and I) finished all the required items and we had a while left to go... Our instructor gave us an aileron control jam, resulting in the yoke disconnect and the controls being passed to me in the left seat (left seat controls spoilers, right seat ailerons)... then an elevator control jam, but this time it was my side... so we were flying with me controlling the roll, and my sim partner controlling pitch... Then an engine fire... Then "smoke in the cabin"... Then a hydraulic failure!

 

By this point, we're flying in goggles and masks, no flaps, needing to use alternate gear extension, single engine, possibly still on fire, and controls split between the pilots... We still managed to get it down in one piece though :) It's fun to think back on it now, and it was just something to fill the time block back then, but it certainly is not something I want to do every day ;)

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In Sydney AUS there is a 737 simulator at the Darling Harbour shopping centre, it does not have a full motion platform but it is a great ride, scenery is FX9 I believe and not as detailed as we normally see in our sims.   Did some advanced flying as they were not used to a guy who had so many hours in a 737 sim.


IMG_1027.jpg


I also had the privilege of being the last person to fly in the F111 simulator at RAAF base in Amberley as it was to be dismantled the next few days to move to a museum, again scenery was very basic just a couple of building to signify the city of Brisbane


IMG_0036.jpg


My bucket list has a Qantas A380 simulator, we shall see.


Regards


Ken


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I flew the SimJet 737-800NG owned by Nick Kranenburg, a few years back. Nick's gear is state of the art and it was so, exhilarating, I built my own.


 


That was about 3 years ago now.


 


I've spent a lot of money on my rig, think a mortgage on a summer home, so it is very state of the art, too.


 


As for prying me out of the cockpit, I live there, mate!


 


 


 


Frank


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Three years ago I was given a birthday present - a 30 minute session on the professional Boeing 777 simulator at Jandakot,

Western Australia. I was offered a flight into Kai.Tak, but chickened out and chose Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) It was a great experience

and I managed to land safely.

To top it all off, for my recent 75th, I have received a voucher for an actual 30 minute flight in a Cessna 152, which includes yours truly doing the take-off, free flight and landing ( hopefully where I should )!

At least my F/Sim experience means that at least I should be familiar with the controls. Just hoping that the weather at Jandakot will hold to the forecast for next week!

Can't wait!

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Back in the late 80's had a friend who maintained the C-130 sim's at RAAF Base Richmond.  On quite nights a friend and I would go down there and "cut a few laps" in the two simulators.  The 37 Squadron "E" model sim was all IFR due to the windows being painted out white. However, the 38 Squadron "H" model sim had night mode only.  So at least you got to see something and help get your bearings.

One time I remember taking off from YSSY and flying straight to Richmond at 400kt keeping her at 1000ft, buzzing the tower then pulling her 60 degrees nose up and doing a 1G roll over North Richmond.  Great fun!

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Yep.  Each year an event (WorldFlight) is run for a week, running 24/7 to raise money for the Australian Royal Flying Doctor Service.  Located at Matt Shiel's full motion B747-400 simulator based in Sydney, Australia.  Actual B744 cockpit running Aerowinx PS1.


 Had the privilege of being part of the crew for a number of years.  An amazing experience!


 


 


CaptainTuppy.jpg


emptysim2.jpg


 


Sim1.jpg


 


http://www.worldflight.com.au/


 


chris from oz


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Wow lot of you were lucky i see . My kid is a Captain for West Jet based in Calgary  and he got me in the real sim everything turned on--full motion -- I found it over whelming when i got in there, even though you know where every thing is from our sim . When i landed she hit real hard cause i pulled power 30 feet off the deck cause in our sim we cant really feel it . 


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........................

I also had the privilege of being the last person to fly in the F111 simulator at RAAF base in Amberley as it was to be dismantled the next few days to move to a museum, again scenery was very basic just a couple of building to signify the city of Brisbane

IMG_0036.jpg

My bucket list has a Qantas A380 simulator, we shall see.

Regards

Ken

Ken,

 

The F111 would have been a good ride. This is probably the same sim at 1m35s and the Instructor in the video looks like your passenger.

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

 

Cheers,

 

gibo

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've had the opportunity to fly a bunch of simulators with varying levels of sophistication.  


Most have been military: T-34, TH-57, SH-60B, UH-3H, A-6E, EA-6B, S-3B, C-9B, EA-18G.  I've also flown civilian DC-9, SAAB 340, and Metro 23 sims.  


 


The newest was the EA-18G sim.  It is a static cockpit in a dome (no hydraulic motion), but the visuals still give a good sense of motion, without the added cost and maintenance of a hydraulic motion set up.  I always felt that the full motion sims were good (and fun :) ), but were never a perfect representation of the "feel" of flying the real aircraft.


In my opinion, sims are fantastic for learning procedures & systems, practicing managing a flight, and practicing emergencies. They are also good for practicing instrument flight and OK for learning basic airmanship.  IMHO you still need to fly the real aircraft in order to develop the finesse to fly it really well.


 


Instrumentation, navigation systems, and cockpit ergonomics sure have improved over the years.  MFDs and full color moving maps with GPS are a lot easier than analog gauges and navigating off NDB and VOR needles.


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Great thread! Twenty-five years ago I had a cousin that worked at FlightSafety in Savannah and she would let me know when a sim was available. I would either drive to Savannah or rent a Cessna 172 and fly. Those were good times. I was fortunate to be able to try the G-III, G-IV, and the newest simulator at the time, the G-V. One of my high school buddies, who accompanied me on a couple of those trips, is now a G-V/450/550 instructor. I keep telling him he owes me one.

Cheers,

Todd

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I had the most marvellous experience at the Qantas Jet Base in Sydney YSSY in the 747-400 full motion simulator .

When I arrived , armed with charts , I met the chief training pilot and entered the cockpit and gravitated to the left seat .

He explained that I wouldn't need all that paper , pointing to the FMC .

After a brief rundown , I taxied to RWY 34L . Entering the active was a bit tricky as I tried to steer onto the take-off position.

My " co-pilot " reminded me that the nose wheel was 50 feet behind us , so don't be alarmed when you look down and you see the grass below you when lining up .

The take-off roll was exhilarating as the engines spooled up . When told to rotate I was amazed at the sensitivity of this massive aircraft as I gently pulled back on the yoke with my fingertips . As we launched up , I could feel the clunk of the undercarriage leaving the ground and subsequent gear up procedure .

After a flight down to Wollongong and landing back on 34L I was totally overawed by the experience .

We spent almost an hour and half doing take-off and landings until the real Qantas pilots knocked on the door and kindly asked for their training session .

What a night . Although it wasn't over yet .

My host then asked if I wanted to do some "hangar talk" . So we left the simulator , walked across the tarmac into the hangar where there was a 747-400 in for service . We climbed up the stairs , through first class to resume our positions on the flight deck . I was full of questions and we talked until midnight .

Oh what a night .

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I assume Link Trainers don't count ?????

Full motion they were but simulators they were not. I "flew" one in 1946, straight after the war ended, it was one of the original German Link Trainers, nobody warned me not to use aileron, the vacuum bellows were too gutless to get it back to wings level, it just stayed there bottoming out on the base, leaning to one side like a dying swan. :blink:

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A few years ago I retired from my job as a Maintenance Engineer with Qantas Link where I was freindly with the engineers in the Qantas Simulator building.  On a quiet night shift I would wander over and if there was no pilot training going on I could have my pick of the simulators.  I got to fly them all from the old 747 classic and the 747 400 to the 767 and the Dash8 and this is how I rate them.  
The old classic was a beast, and the 747 400 was heavy and labour intensive when flown manually.  I didn't enjoy it a lot even though I did manage to fly it under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  You've got to be 10 feet of the water or you'll take the tail off.  A mate did just that and he reckoned the crash didn't stop till Leichhardt some miles away.    
The 767 on the other hand flew like a Cessna.  I called it the sports car of the big jets.  I was riding in the jumpseat of a 767 once and I remarked to the pilot my opinion and he said dead right, there's no better big jet to fly.  For a host of reasons of which I won't bother you with here the 767 also happened to be one of my most memorable flights and as I was leaving the cockpit I said to the captain " Thanks for the ride, this is probably the best seat in the house."  And he replied "No it's not, this is." And of course he was right.
But the airplane we had the  most fun flying was the humble old Dash8.  You have to understand that when pilots are in the sim they're either training or undergoing check flights and they're time limited so they don't deviate from the manual.  I however was under no such restrictions and so was able to have some serious flying fun, all with full motion on.
Flying under the Harbour Bridge was easy.  Flying under the Harbour Bridge and banking left to continue on and under the Anzac bridge was a little harder.  And flying under the Brisbane Story Bridge and hard banking left to avoid the city buildings was very hard and killed us often but it can be done.  Landing on taxiway Foxtrot at Kingsford Smith International without crashing through the terminal building usually meant skiming the landing gear over the roof of the International terminal.  Sydney simmers should try it sometime.  Barrel rolls were no problem and if you could get enough speed up even a loop was possible.  One of our favourite tests was to circle the airport at 3000 ft and the other engineer come pilot would unnanounced pull the power levers back to idle and wherever you were over the airport or the city you had to dead stick land the airplane.  Those times were such that after landing you had to remind yourself to start breathing again.
Even though you could crash and walk away, with full motion on you treated it as real because if you did crash it threw the sim hydraulics into a fit and the engineers had to come down an reset everything which in the middle of the night did not make them happy.  And it was very important to keep them happy.
So in the end it was the Dash8 that we all came back to and thanks to the generosity and patience of the Simulator crew I had some very happy years of learning and fun and got to fly more hours, and do things that the paid pilots could never do in one of the best toy shops in the world.
 

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