Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
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User avatar
I've never really been a flight sim fan, but with the current unavailability of real flying and the forthcoming release of Microsoft's Flight Simulator, I wondered what sort of kit would be required to make it a half decent experience.

I tried googling, but ended up down lots of holes with people talking about home assembled water-cooled PCs, and all sorts of other things that I didn't understand.


I've been thinking of the same...

Particularly interested in virtual reality solutions - some of the controls and hand units/gloves seem to replicate the cockpit experience and controls pretty well.
I posted this on the other flight sim thread; to be honest nobody really knows what the new MS one will need. However, the minimum X-Plane 11 specs are:

CPU: Intel Core i5 6600K at 3.5 GHz or faster
Memory: 16-24 GB RAM or more
Video Card: a DirectX 12-capable video card from NVIDIA, AMD or Intel with at least 4 GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 1070 or better or similar from AMD)

Personally I'd be looking at:
Intel Intel Core i7 9700 (Standard clock is 3.0GHz boosts automatically to 4.7GHz) or an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X CPU
32GB of DDR4 RAM
GeForce RTX 2060 Graphics card (2070 would be far better, but it is double the price)

My PC has an older 4770k processor overclocked to 4.5GHz and it runs really hot, I have the GTX1070 GPU and 16GB of RAM. Though I can run it (just) at full settings you know about it though the extended loading times, heat and often stuttering frame rates.

Most of the Alpha testers so far that have been selected for the new MS flight sim (I signed up but have not heard anything yet) appear to have 32GB of RAM in their machines.

As far as controllers go I would steer well clear of the saitek yoke if you want any sort of precision, mine had around 10 degrees of deadzone in the middle (hardware not software) which made controlling things with precision very difficult. I sold it on eBay and stuck with my Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog, not the most realistic when flying something GA based but its precise (hall sensors rather than pots) and nicely weighted.

As for VR, I have had no experience with that so I can't offer any insight.
G-BLEW liked this
User avatar
By Wicksay
I've got flightgear running on an old laptop with a Linux OS. Runs fine and I've got my home airfield and the Robin dr400 loaded. I only needed to fork out for cheap joy stick. Enough for me to go over my ppl lessons so far....

If anyone wants help setting that up just DM me.

Any old Windoze laptop or pc will suffice...
Blue Sky liked this
Must admit I'm having similar thoughts to the Bossman.

Computing hardware I have, a controller of some sort I'd need but understand. An obvious question is what software? Seems to me that the choices are...

Microsoft Flight Sim



Rant XL

For somebody wanting general VFR/IFR practice and the ability to play around with different aeroplanes - what would anybody recommend? One of those, or something else. My instinct is to go with X-Plane, as it's what the recent RAeS design competitions have been using and it has a good reputation for the design model, but that's not a particularly well informed instinct.

User avatar
By Rob P
Melanie Moxon wrote: ... nobody really knows what the new MS one will need.

It is rumoured that this version, which will be on subscription, will not require a massively powerful machine to run adequately

That remains to be seen.

I certainly I won't be upgrading my desktop in anticipation.

Rob P

AMD Ryzen 7 1700X Eight-Core Processor
500GB Solid State Drive
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti Graphics Card
VRB_20kt wrote:Flightgear on Linux. Almost any old PC will do the trick. Windoze is a complete resource hog IMHO
I'm running mint 18.3 (Sylvia) and have a very competent easy to use vers of flight gear running happily on that.
While in no way wishing to decry flight simulators, indeed I acknowledge many people have 5-figure quasi-'professional' home simulators (one of my instructors/former examiners being a case in point-his is fabulous), there are old fa rts like me that don't/never will/ 'get' simulators.

Indeed I gave my entire system to my grandson may years ago after a few boring circuits of Chicago and landings at Meigs' Field (RIP).

I actually blew £5k in a matter of weeks ten years ago doing my IR on a FNPT2 simulator down south which was allegedly state of the art and used for CPL/ IR training (when it wasn't catching fire) and learnt precisely nothing. It was not for the lack of my fantastic instructors efforts.
It did not help that the FNPT2's simulator's brakes were faulty so every Sim sortie began at 2000ft with no taxying for takeoff......

I think its a state of mind thang: Just like there are people who cannot/will not allow themselves to be hypnotised, I just could not convince myself I was turning, sat stock still in a sweaty noisy portacabin with the HSI sweetly banking left and right.....

Abandoned the sim and completed the IR in a real aeroplane.

(Though I did find RANT almost essential for tracking/planning/revision, that did not require a 'sim'.)

Might feel differently in a full-motion sim, but that ain't gonna happen...........................

Horses for courses I guess.

Interestingly, my laptop specs seem to match people's wishes/requirements above: Intel Core i7 and NVIDIA Getforce GTX....., oodles of RAM, whatever that is etc :lol: .

Hmmm................................. :wink:

Nope I'll just have to sweat it out till restrictions are lifted.

(Ducks and runs)

Peter :roll:

Not to disagree with you in any way - but speaking for myself, I lost most of Jan-March due to a combination of rubbish weather and aircraft unserviceability. Just as both of those things were sorting themselves out, I got a mild chest infection and self isolated: it turns out just to beat the rush by a few days. So, as somebody who normally flies 80 hours a year and was planning on a trip to Spain to turn my FAA IR into an EASA IR 2 weeks ago: I have a grand total of 1.1hrs, 1 take-off and 1 landing, and no approaches this year.

To hell with it, looks like on top of what I already have, I can get enough hardware and software to do an okay job of a simulator for about £300 - which I could easily spend on a nice day's flying, if I could go flying. It's a second best, but if it maintains *some* of my skills and enthusiasm between now and things starting to return to normal, it was worth every penny.

It'll also build some better understanding of simulation as well which, professionally, will do me no harm either.

Ian Melville liked this
Absolutely GtE:

I may find when I go completely stir crazy I'll crack, give sims another chance and fire up some kinda sim on my Laptop.

Fortunately I got a quick 3 takeoffs and landings the week before shutdown: Our strip has allowed us to fly through the winter.

Annual next so more enforced downtime.

IR valid till 30th Sept :roll:

When will it ever end?

It's pretty straight-forwards

IR/IMC flying & handling - Xplane. You'll optionally want to consider a force feedback yoke but a standard one is fine, plus rudder and tpm comb
VFR/VMC flying & handling - Nothing is going to be great, but xplane gives you the most realistic handling. However you'll want a force feedback yoke otherwise you're wasting your time, plus rudder/tpm combo
VFR/VMC bimbling/pretending you're flying for real - xplane plus VFR scenry packs plus yoke/rudder/tpm combo

For IMC flying you want a machine capable of giving your 30-40+ FPM.

For VFR flying as above but also a SSD if you're throwing in loads of scenry.

Xplane is CPU intensive not (as) RAM intensive.
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