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VR useful to support real world flying?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:26 am
by M100psi

I'm close to the end of my instrument rating and have used FSX extensively in the process. I plan to continue using simulation after I get my rating to stay in practice (not many real IMC days around Sacramento), so I'm looking to improve my simulator experience.

I wondered if others using flight sim for the same purpose could chime in on whether VR is a good option. How do you integrate your iPad the way you would in real flying? How do you see approach plates, etc. at all for that matter? And how do you use the joystick along with the Oculus controllers, or do you just use one controller and that hand handles everything in the plane other than joystick work? Probably there are other challenges and solutions I haven't considered, but given how much instrument flying relies on checking the EFB, it seems like there would have to be a good option for this for VR to be useful to practice it.


Re: VR useful to support real world flying?

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:06 am
by Goromo
Maybe I can help answer this, I did my ATPL/IR training about 35 years ago, I wish I'd had vr back then, it would have saved me hours. In short I would recommend it, and I think it will help tremendously.
However, speaking as a retired airline Captain, there are few things I would recommend you do, to add to the realism.
First get a descent yoke, I know they are expensive, but together with VR this helps with the immersion, and the last thing you want is a yoke that sticks around the neutral point and then is very light in feel. I have a goflight yoke and I have taken it apart and used a silicon grease on the moving parts, and I think its about as good as I can get without spending thousands. (its now very smooth throughout its entire travel in both axis, don't suppose its covered under the warranty now though!)
I am lucky, and have a home cockpit, and so my yoke and power levers are in a fixed position as they would be in a real aircraft. You certainly don't need a home cockpit, but try to place your yoke and power levers in a place where you feel them with your hands, where you see them in VR.
I don't use touch or leap motion.....(sorry flyinside, I know you have spent months developing support for this) I cannot imagine why you would want to hold a touch controller to control any part of the aircraft, be it yoke throttle or anything else, for me it then would become a game and not a training tool. The mouse is fine for adjusting altimeters, heading bugs etc. That's just my opinion and I expect others to disagree with me.
You can import charts in a virtual window, I use the one ones from aerosoft, and I can read them quite well, there are others, Navigraph etc, Aerosoft use LIDO charts and Navigraph use Jeppeson, so go for the one you would use in real life, I use aerosoft simply because I was used to LIDO in real life.
I have not tried FSX in VR so cant comment on it, but I have used P3D. I would say, (on my machine) that in its current form V3 is much better than V4 in VR. P3D Ver4 suffers from quite bad shimmer and the smoothness is not even close to V3.
hopefully others have had a better experience than I have, but I find V3 to be the best, its excellent.
I don't know what aircraft you are using for your training, but I can recommend the A2A stuff or if its a multi engine your after, the Carenado Navajo is quite good, very easy to read instruments.
That brings me to another point, don't believe all the rubbish you read on some forums about VR resolution being so bad. I have absolutely no problem with it at all. its perfectly OK once you get it setup properly.
So, would I recommend it for real world training.....YES, it will save you thousands of dollars, or pounds in my case, and its a lot of fun!
Good luck with your training, and if I can help with anymore questions please ask.

Re: VR useful to support real world flying?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:59 pm
by M100psi
Hi, thanks very much for the detailed reply. I do have many questions.

Since I fly a combination of yoke and stick aircraft, I'll probably stay with the stick I have, though the idea to put it where I would see it in VR is a good one if I can manage it. Strange as it sounds, I'm not too worried about accurate control feel. I think the money required for a simulator that gives true to life control feel is above my spending category, so I won't be able to use my simulator to improve my steep turns or stall recovery--my goals are just to improve my instrument procedures and better understand terrain around new airports before visiting them.

What is the Aerosoft product for charts and plates? I use NACO in real life...I assume LIDO is the UK equivalent (i.e. gov't, non-Jepp). So these are readable enough in VR that you can make instrument approaches and read the plates in real time? I guess you can't just open a window with a browser to look at Skyvector?

It's interesting you don't like touch to control switches and such. I'd have thought that would make it more realistic than using a mouse, but it sounds like you've found the opposite to be true.

You mentioned A2A and Carenado. Do the aftermarket aircraft add-ons make the gauges easier to read in VR? What all do you have to get set up properly to make your gauges and switch labels readable? If you have to zoom in on the altimeter or GPS each time you want to scan them, it seems like that would make instrument flying tough.



Re: VR useful to support real world flying?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:08 am
by Greyman
Although real pilots will probably not need to do this, you can still lean in closer to the instruments, if you are struggling to read them from your normal sitting position.

Until the new generation of higher resolution headsets come out and/or better ways are found to correct any imperfections in the user's vision, this is always going to be an issue.

Re: VR useful to support real world flying?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:28 pm
by M100psi
OK, so "zooming" in VR consists of leaning toward the instrument panel?

Would you be able to answer whether these instruments require "zooming" (leaning in) to read on the plane you fly (would be of particular interest for general aviation single engine pistons with a six pack, like a C172)? It would help understand how realistically an instrument scan can be performed.

Attitude indicator
Heading indicator
Nav radio CDIs
Charts loaded in "virtual window"

I (and probably other pilots wanting to use VR for training) am also very interested in better understanding how the charts work. Do others load not only VFR sectionals, but also low IFR charts and approach plates? Do you shove the window somewhere kind of out of the way, then just look that direction to see it?


Re: VR useful to support real world flying?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:31 pm
by Stevil
Hey Matt,

flying in VR made me starting my PPL lately :)
Of course it depends on your eyes but IMO those instruments can be read good enough. It’s the 1st gen of VR HMDs, keep that in mind, but it is so. much. fun. Period! :)

Just try it out!


Re: VR useful to support real world flying?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:30 pm
by Greyman
There are other, ways of zooming in, if necessary, including using the mouse wheel or a specifically assigned button and as Stephan says, you might not need to at all. My eyes are not brilliant, being over 55 years old now, so there are times, to distinguish between an "8" and a slashed zero for example, where i will need to lean in, as i would in real life, or use the mouse wheel zoom.

As for the "six pack", the planes i have flown, particularly the Aerobask payware aircraft, like the Eclipse 550NG and Pipistrel Panthera, have very good touch-screen avionics, which generally allow them to be scanned pretty easily without the need to lean in.

As for the charts, maybe take a look at the Navigraph Ultimate subscription, that includes a full set of up to date charts, along with the latest navigation data, via, albeit for sim use only and not for use in real-life flying. The aircraft i am flying at the moment, the FF A320 Ultimate, has an iPad-like browsing device, built into the cockpit, that allows you to access these charts directly from the web, but as you say, with other aircraft, importing a browser window would achieve the same aim. Just position the charts window on the co-pilot's seat, or other suitable place, and you have a full set of charts at your disposal. If you would rather not pay a subscription for the charts, along with the navigation data, you will also be able to find some charts that you can download for free, from various sites on the Web.

Good luck


Re: VR useful to support real world flying?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:53 pm
by M100psi

Congrats on starting your PPL. I went through the process about 5 years ago...let me know if you have questions from a student perspective (sometimes CFIs don't remember what being a student was like).


Thanks for all the info. So you're saying you can easily put a browser window (or two) somewhere in the VR space, then just look down at it? If so, it should solve the chart issue, as SkyVector has all the charts and plates available for free. I'm not familiar with Navigraph, but I assume that's what you'd need to import a current database into a simulated GPS (including a glass cockpit MFD like you described).


Re: VR useful to support real world flying?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:59 pm
by Greyman
Hi Matt,

For the Navigraph charts, as you can view those via Charts Cloud in any internet browser, you could just import the browser from your desktop into the VR environment. Alternatively, you could preload your downloaded SkyVector charts, probably into a browser, and yes, you should be able to view those in the cockpit.

By the way, i have just been flying the default C172, not the G1000 one, and even with my ageing eyesight, the instruments are clearly legible, with nice big numbers/letters, to make regular scanning very easy indeed. However, as the barometric setting is in a small window on the altimeter gauge, at least i need to use one of the zoom methods to read/adjust it. Even if your eyes are as bad as mine, as you won't need to look at that very often, it shouldn't be too much of an issue.

I actually quite enjoyed flying a GA aircraft. I'm currently 28 legs into a 150+ leg world-tour, in the FF A320, so this was a refreshing and welcome break. :)

Re: VR useful to support real world flying?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:17 pm
by M100psi
Cool, thanks, Paul. Sounds like the VR system build is ON.