Substitute for 180 degree wrap-around screen?

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Substitute for 180 degree wrap-around screen?

Postby Laserjim » Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:30 pm

I've only been on your site for less than 24 hours, so forgive me if my interest is too elementary;
I'm in the process of trying to decide how I might install a simulator in my garage (as soon as I clean out a spot) that will give me a seat, rudder pedals, stick (not a yoke) controls and a panel - but, while I've been thinking of a 180 wrap-around screen (I like to look over my shoulder to see my wingtips) I'm wondering if a VR-goggles setup might not work even better than a screen.
Is there somewhere on the site where FlyInside describes what it does or does not do?
Most of my stick time is in sailplanes but I'd like to use my simulator to also do some carrier landings in WWII aircraft. So far, I've been using FSX with a British "ballcap" VR (not goggles)from about 10 years ago but it never has done what I really wanted so I'm thinking it it time to move up into something more modern.
I'sd appreciate your thoughts.
Jim McCarthy
Shell Knob, MO USA
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Re: Substitute for 180 degree wrap-around screen?

Postby ProsperGuy » Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:32 am


I have almost 20,000 hours flying the real thing, and over two decades of training in FAA level-C/D simulators.

If you want a complete replica of only one airplane, you will never be able to beat (or afford) a cockpit with a complete wrap around screen. If you want to enjoy many types of aircraft in a completely immersive experience, you will never beat VR. Home flight simulation is now to the point where I think you can accomplish some meaningful training. FlyInside extends that to not only instrument work, but visual work as well. Flying traffic patterns and approaches in VR now replicate the real thing quite well.

That being said, VR is still in it's infancy, and there are some limitations. It took me several days to completely get over the VR sickness when I first started using FlyInside. The first time I tried it, I had to stop after 5 minutes. I have no ill-effects now, and can use FlyInside as long as I want to.

As far as what it does: If you are looking at it, you see it. If you want to look over your shoulder, that is where you look. It is 1 for 1 tracking, so if you want to look 90 degrees to the side, you have to look 90 degrees to the side. Pretty straightforward.

As far as what it does not do: The resolution is not what you see with your monitor, it is less. This is just a hardware issue.. not just of the VR headset, but of the computer power required to run it. I would expect every 'generation' of VR to get better. The only other thing I would mention is Field of View. Although quite good, you do lose most of your peripheral vision. I hardly notice it anymore.

Overall, I am a huge fan. If it were not for FlyInside, my rift would be mostly collecting dust. There is no way I can ever go back to flying on a monitor. Even with it's drawbacks, the VR positives far exceed the negatives.

I went into it sight unseen, but maybe you can arrange a demonstration before you decide which way to go. I hope this helps.
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Re: Substitute for 180 degree wrap-around screen?

Postby Robert » Sat Nov 12, 2016 12:42 pm

Hey Jim,

ProsperGuy really said it all well and I agree completely with him. What I would add is VR flight simulation can go far beyond flight training and open up a world of flight experiences you just won't get in real life unless you are very, very lucky - if they are possible at all.

There are a couple of add-ons for Flight Simulator out now that can really magnify the experience. One is AITrackerX by Lorby-SI. That one lets you build formations of planes to fly with. There are some restrictions but it works perfect for letting me fly with a full combat box of 12 B-17s. It's unbelievable in VR and something that is impossible to see now in real life. You give them a flight plan and send them on their way.

The other add-on is JoinFS by member PMEM here. That one not only lets you fly multiplayer cross platform, but also lets you do tight formation and record and playback other flights while you are at it. I recorded an AT-6 pace lap at Reno and have been playing that back while others race. Nobody needs to be left out of the race to fly the place plane. What I also did was built out a full flight of Texans (P-51s next) flying a race and can watch and film it from every airplane as well as from wherever I want to on the ground. I never dreamed you could do this stuff in Flight Simulator, let alone doing it in VR with full-size planes just feet away from you (which has a real feel of danger), on a wing, pulling hard around a pylon. The visuals are like nothing I've ever seen or will see in real life but looks just like it looks in the race videos on YouTube.

The really detailed scenery and realistic airplanes take on much more importance at least to me. The more realistic the simulation, the easier it is to just get lost in flight. Sightseeing and cross-country flights are amazing. Formation flight is crazy cool. It really can't be described except to say it is like you are really there and really in the cockpit seeing those things like you were really doing it. You just have to try it.

Just my experience and preference, but I would go so far as to say even with a wraparound screen and custom cockpit, unless you are doing a full on stereo outside the window display, you won't be getting as good of an experience as you would in VR. And Prosper is right - all you need to do is try to go to a plane with a different cockpit layout and VR immediately wins because you get that automatically.
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Re: Substitute for 180 degree wrap-around screen?

Postby Laserjim » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:11 am

Robert & ProsperGuy,
First of all, my apologies for taking so long to thank you for your detailed replies - that was just what I wanted to hear!
I was brought up to show better manners than that but, to be honest, I just figured out how to locate my original post, and found your great replies. Thank you again.
In the 10 months since I posted that first question, apparently there have been some new developments that will help me solve my problem about what to do with my fingers, but I have yet to find anyone who offers a demo.
Just the same, I am one step closer to putting together a realistic simulator to fill the gap since I quit flying 40 years ago. I do have to chuckle, though, as I look at all the realism available today because the last time I "landed" a 707 on runway 4 at Kennedy (in 1967) The simulator in hangar 12 simply traveled a TV camera along a track mounted on the ceiling while shooting the image of the runways (taxiways/landscape) attached to the wall. Yes, Orville & Wilbur were very nice young boys, too :-)
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