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Old 01-20-2006, 07:51 PM   #1
AEAJR
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Cool Getting started with a Flight Simulator - FMS

There are a number of free RC airplane simulators. FMS is probably the best
known. Not as fancy as the expensive ones but it works and can really help
you get comfortable with your radio, your plane and how the controls work, without breaking any wings, tails or anything else. It will also help you learn to fly the plane toward you.

The links offer FMS and other simulators plus sites that provides a cable that can connect to the trainer port on your radio so you can fly the sim using your own radio or buddy box. I also list some examples of low cost fully functional radios that can run the sim AND fly a plane. I believe buddy boxes, which are not functional radios, can also be used to run a simulator. Finally a low cost used FM radio that has a trainer port would be an excellent way to run your sim. I purchased a used Futaba conquest 4 channel FM radio for $10 to use as a buddy box and to use on a simulator.

Then there is always the chance that someone at the club will loan you an
old radio with a trainer port so you can practice.


FMS Flight simulator Home Page
Free download
http://n.ethz.ch/student/mmoeller/fms/index_e.html

Parkflyers for FMS
http://gunnerson.homestead.com/files/fms_models.htm

Glider RC - Another sim. Have not tried it.
http://glider3d.free.fr/index_en.html

CRRCsim - Free flight simulator for MacOS/Linux/Windows

http://crrcsim.berlios.de/wiki/


ADAPTERS

Multiple Sim Cords - Simblaster

http://www.simblaster.com/

Sim cables and other items
http://www.clonepac.freeserve.co.uk/products.htm

USB Simulator cables
http://www.customelectronics.co.uk/rcusb.htm


Convert a game controller to a flight sim controller
http://www.rc-airplane-advisor.com/usb-controller-flight-simulator.html

Brand new, Low cost full function 4 channel radios that have trainer ports
that will fly your plane AND act as a simulator constoller with one of the
above adapters. These prices do NOT include servos, receivers, etc.

Hitec Laser 4 - $60

http://www.servocity.com/html/laser_4_fm_systems.html


Buddy Box with trainer cord - $35
good for SIM, but will not fly a plane by itself.
http://www.horizonhobby.com/Shop/ByCategory/Product/Default.aspx?ProdID=AIRVG400TR

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Old 01-20-2006, 07:53 PM   #2
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A flight simulator can be a huge help in learning to fly. Here are a set of
steps I would suggest. This is all based on the free simulator FMS. If you
get one of the commercial packages, follow their directions, but the flow
should be the same.

1) Use your radio - The most benefit will come from using the actual radio you
will use for your models. Virtually all radios with 4 or more channels have a
trainer port. There are people who make cables that will allow you to hook
this trainer port to the computer. Most 3 channel and most RTF 27 MHz radios
do not have trainer ports so you can't use them for this purpose. The Hitec
Neon is a noted exception as you can add an optional trainer port to this for
about $10. If you have a commercial simulator, it may come with a two stick
trainer box. That is almost as good.

Your radio will not be transmitting so you should not
interfere with anyone. When you use the trainer port, it would normally be
passing commands to the instructor's radio which does the transmitting.

2) Select a Plane - My recommendation is to select the model called
slowfly.par. This is a 3 channel R/E/T model. You can select something
else, but I am going to work with this one for now.

3) Set-up and Calibration - If you have a PCM/PPM capable radio, your radio
must be set for PPM, which is what most people mean by FM. (Technically PCM
and PPM are both FM)

With your radio plugged in on the trainer port and plugged into the PC and
turned on, you are now going to calibrate your radio to FMS. Click on the FMS
icon. You are going to go through the set-up and calibration steps. I use
Hitec and Futaba so I will
use references to their channels. JR, Airtronics, and others use different
channel assignments, so check your manual. On hitec/futaba Roll is on
channel 1, usually ailerons. Pitch/elevator is on 2. Speed/throttle is on
channel 3. Yaw, the usual location for the rudder, is on channel 4. We will
ignore all other channels for now.

Under the controls menu, there is a place where you pick your control type.
If you are using a radio, select analog. FMS has a place where you set the
channel and stick relationships. Remember that Slowfly.par is a 3 channel
electric. We will be mapping the rudder to channel 1 as rudder will be
providing both roll and yaw. In mode 2, standard for North America, this is
on the right stick. So map the rudder on channel 1, elevator on 2 and
throttle on 3. Go through the calibration section to make sure the sticks
get the proper movement from the test screen.

All surfaces right? OK, now get out of that and see the plane on the runway.

4) Control directions - You will probably crash a bunch of times. Don't worry about it, we are trimming the plane. On a real plane you can see the surfaces move. On FMS you can't, at least not on the version I have. So pick your slowfly.par, then get your sticks mapped. Check directions. Does forward throttle give you more power? Good! If not, go back to controls and click the reverse box for channel 3. Do the same for each surface.


5) First Take-off - Trim the radio. - Make sure all your trims are centered. Give it full throttle and DON'T TOUCH THE STICKS! It should take off all by itself and fly out straight as an arrow. Move the stick left, does the plane bank left? Yes, go on. No? Check the Inv ( servos reverse ) under controls menu. Run the same test and adjust if necessary on the elevator.

At full power it should climb gently. If it lifts and tips the wings to one side or the other, you need some trim on the aileron channel, channel 1, where you have your rudder. That is the trim that goes left and right under the right stick. Input trim from the radio trim slides.

If it won't come off the ground at full throttle, give it a click or two of up
elevator trim ( move the trim toward you ). Just enough to get it to lift
slowly. If this were a 4 channel plane and it flew out level but tended to
have the tail off to one side or the other, in a crab like fashion, you need
rudder trim which would be under the left stick, but not for Slowfly.par.

Don't expect to learn much if you have not first trimmed the plane. YOU ARE
LEARNING A VERY VALUABLE PROCESS HERE. On the simulator, the plane will
probably crash many times during this process, but you are learning about trim
while you are doing this. You will have to do the same thing with your actual
plane, so this lesson on is valuable. Hopefully you can avoid crashing your
actual model during this process.

6) Set the view - I would suggest you go to view, click auto zoom. Then go to
options and set auto zoom at 25 meters and full zoom at 100 meters. Set
autozoom to slow. The goal here is to help you keep the plane in sight. We
don't want to fly far from the landing strip. Keep it close to the field.

NOW WE GET TO FLY THE PLANE!

Just like your actual model, there is work to be done before you actually fly.
While we have been doing it on a computer screen here, you should do virtually
everything we did her on your actual plane BEFORE YOU TRY TO FLY!

Remember you are standing on the runway, so if you get lost, just fly the
plane back toward yourself. You can't be hit, so don't worry about it. Your
practice is going to be to launch, fly out a little, hold altitude, then
circle and land.

The throttle is your primary control for altitude. This is also true for a
full scale plane. The lift of the wings will vary according air speed so the
faster it flies the more lift. If you look in the upper left corner of the
screen you should see a data display that shows speed and altitude.

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Old 01-20-2006, 07:54 PM   #3
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LET'S FLY!

Full power! Don't touch that elevator. It should lift all by iteslf. Lift and let it fly out for a few seconds, then take it into a mild left bank, then let it off, then add some more, the let it off. Keep doing this while it climbs to about 50 feet and the plane is flying parallel to the runway. If you make these small, gentle, banked turns, you should lose very little altitude. When you go level you should recover anything you lost.
You would have turned around and the runway would be behind you.

Now adjust the throttle till your altitude holds steady at about 50 feet. So
far you should not have used any elevator.

Practice your turns. Just circle the runway area at a comfortable range.
Make minor adjustments to the throttle to keep your altitude between 40 and 60
feet ( or does it say meters?) When you feel very very smooth on the turns in
one direction, then turn the other way and circle the field again. All we
want to do is feel the plane, get used to its response and learn to fly it
smoothly. Use the throttle and not the elevator to control altitude.

LANDING!

This is the hardest part to get right.

While flying parallel to the runway, fly past the end of the runway for a good
distance but keep the plane in good sight. Now turn it more sharply but still
smoothly so that it turns and aligns with the runway. You are going to fly
high but in line with the runway. Fly over the runway, over your head and
past the other end of the runway. Do this going in both directions till it is
easy to get aligned with the runway.

When you are comfortable, we can set up for a landing.

Fly out a ways then turn to align with the runway. As you approach, start
reducing throttle so you will loose altitude. See how long and how little
throttle is needed to come in at a nice angle. The goal is to have the plane
come in at a nice angle and practically land itself. Your only input should
be left and right stick to keep aligned with the runway. NO ELEVATOR!

Practice this approach till you can get the plane to come into the runway.
Just before you touch, give it a little elevator to level the plane, but just
a tiny bit. When you touch, hit full throttle and watch it climb again. NO
ELEVATOR!

You just did a touch and go! Do several of these till you know how the plane
will approach the runway.

Now, do the same thing, but just before you touch down, at very low power,
give it just a little up elevator to level it and touch down, then throttle
off and roll out. Yes, you can use the elevator, but just a little!!!!! This
is called a flair!

You have now taken off, circled the airport, controlled altitude with
throttle, turned on final to align with the runway, did a touch and go, you
flared and landed.

You are now a pilot! Congratulations.

Once you can do this, now you can go play all you like! :-)

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Old 02-02-2006, 02:07 PM   #4
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Excellent thread. Thanks to both of you!
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Old 02-05-2006, 03:19 AM   #5
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Ed - this post is awesome.

Aeropal - I found your link to the Spektrum thread on the FMS forum and finally got my radio working with FMS using the soundcard. What an incredible difference.

http://n.ethz.ch/student/mmoeller/fm...light=spektrum

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=463395

Anyone not using proper radio controls, seriously look at getting a radio setup if you want any chance at really learning what Ed has laid out so well.

The ability to trim is absolutely essential, as is a throttle that stays in place. I now have the ablility to practise a proper landing. Not possible with the double joystick I was using.

I'm using the SuperstarEP model and finding it very good for learning. At first it was frustrating as it seems underpowered and sluggish. Then I realized thats just what I need. I can initiate a bank, add in some opposite rudder and see the effect in keeping altitude. With faster more responsive models everything happens too quick to see things happening.

The limited throttle response forces me to do a nice controlled glide in. The model scrubs a wing if you're approach is not straight and level - it's a challenge to get a nice landing and very instructional.

Of course it's 4 channel so may not be what those learning to fly 3 channel want. I'm only flying 3 channel (slow stick) but practising with this makes me want to move to 4 channel soon. I just like the control. I have a Mini Ultra Stick waiting until my piloting skills improve.

Arlie
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(I can crash land now.)
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Old 02-05-2006, 05:11 AM   #6
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We create these threads to help the new flyers. Glad you find them helpful.

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Old 03-18-2006, 05:07 PM   #7
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Excellent info here. My first RC plane is on order & due to arrive 3/20. In the meantime, I've downloaded FMS and am using it with a LogiTech dual joystick - not ideal, I know, but it's all I have for now. The first several times I used it I thought I would never get used to the perspective of the plane coming at me and having to "reverse" the left-right inputs but it is becoming more natural and I can actually get through flights w/o crashing.

I can't seem to land on the runway yet though - I keep hitting the grass

The plane I have on order is a Slow Stick package (radio, servos, battery, ESC, etc). I'm sure I'll have a few questions next week as I build it - I'm sure glad to have found this forum.

Thanks,

John Harper
http://www.ae5x.com
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Old 03-18-2006, 05:38 PM   #8
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Welcome John. There are plenty of folks here to help you along and several threads on the Slowstick. All ya gotta do is ask!

Take care and thanks for posting at WattFlyer!!

Don
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Old 03-30-2006, 12:57 PM   #9
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Here are links where you can get some 3 channel FMS planes
http://kimagure-hikoki.hp.infoseek.co.jp/Hanger1/Hanger1_index.html

http://kimagure-hikoki.hp.infoseek.co.jp/Hanger2/Hanger2_index.html

Look especially at the Lite Moth yellow biplane
Also note that he tells you how to make some of his 4 channel trainers into
3 channel by adding a 0 on the 4th or 5th line of the PAR file that you
download.
http://kimagure-hikoki.hp.infoseek.co.jp/FMSMODEL/Hanger_index.html

lots more
http://rcp.web.infoseek.co.jp/fms_aircraft_e.html


FMS Discussion Forum
http://n.ethz.ch/student/mmoeller/fms/forum/

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Old 03-30-2006, 11:39 PM   #10
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A couple of questions from a newby. I have been using the slo V download to practice for the real thing and that has worked well it seems,not much real flight time due to constant wind.
I am close to maiden a squirt 400, wich of the various model downloads would be closest to it?
Also, how close are the flight characteristics of the virtual models to the real ones'?
Thank you.
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Old 04-02-2006, 01:39 AM   #11
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Bump, bump, bumpitty, bump.
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Old 04-02-2006, 06:00 AM   #12
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tiredboot, no need to bump this thread it is already sticky.

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Old 04-02-2006, 09:56 AM   #13
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AJEAR, I like the yellow litemoth. It has much more power than the other I was using and also has 4 channels. I've been thinking a 4 channel tigermoth might come next when I've got some time on my slow stick. I have a MUS but don't feel ready for it. Between weather and work I've not been out in quite some time. A little time on the sim is all I've been able to do.

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Old 04-03-2006, 04:08 AM   #14
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I have a question concerning sims. I have an arrow 9 trainer that came w/ a junk sim. I've flown it to death(the sim) I just download fms and the parkflyer set - I can fly the pants off the stryker on the sim, but I'm almost certain that it doesn't mean I can fly the thing nearly as well as the real deal. . . Once you learn orientation and basics, is a sim a worthwhile tool?
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Old 04-04-2006, 11:43 PM   #15
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Sims are very worthwhile but how much value depends on the Sim.

FMS is very basic. It is good for working out orientation etc. It can be use to work on basic aerobatics so you can work out the stick movements. However people say it is not as true to the real model as some of the expensive commercial Sims.

So, is it of value? Yes, for basics.

If you want to become a world class pattern pilot I would suggest you invest in one of the commercial ones that have better graphics and more realistic flight paramaters.

For me, FMS is fine.

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Old 04-05-2006, 01:11 AM   #16
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There seem to be wide ranging opinions about the value of a basic sim like fms. I'm a total amateur so take this for what it's worth.

I suggest the following. Practise with it for a few hours. Soon you will control the airplane flying toward you or away without thinking about it. Use it to create habits for a landing like Ed has outlined so well. Practise flying upside down. Practise some simple aerobatics. Try a four channel model to get used to what a rudder does. Learn to make a turn using coordinated aileron and rudder to avoid loss of altitude.

Now ask someone who's never tried before to do what you have learned to do. I think you will agree you have attained significant skill that will transfer over to the real thing.

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Old 04-05-2006, 02:05 AM   #17
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I guess for me, being a rc truck guy, the orientation didn't take much to get used to. I can do all the basic acrobatic maneuvers on my arrow sim, but when I got to the field, the depth perception and speed of the plane took the biggest adjustment for me. I may go out and get the cable for my quattro to fly fms, but other than just practice for practice's sake or killing time on a bad weather day, I'm not sure at this point if it is gonna help me much. that stryker in fms wot didn't really seem to simulate speed.
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Old 04-05-2006, 04:05 AM   #18
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I use FMS for basic skills, the most important skills, the necessary skills. They take time. They won't make you a champion, but you don't even get to enter the games without these skills.

FMS is very valuable and very helpful, but it can only take you so far. But the distance it takes you puts you right on the path to where you want to go.

It ain't OZ; it IS the yellow brick road!

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Old 04-05-2006, 04:14 AM   #19
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Does G3 or another nicer sim give you a better feel, or is it still gonna be night and day between the pc and the field?
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Old 04-07-2006, 01:59 AM   #20
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how do you select the wind direction on FMS 2 alpha 8.5.
thanks.
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Old 04-07-2006, 05:02 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by jcblough View Post
Does G3 or another nicer sim give you a better feel, or is it still gonna be night and day between the pc and the field?
They will be much closer to the real thing. For $300, they better be!

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Old 04-07-2006, 03:28 PM   #22
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good point I'll be sticking with FMS.
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Old 06-06-2006, 04:47 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by tiredboot View Post
how do you select the wind direction on FMS 2 alpha 8.5.
thanks.
tiredboot,

Wind direction in FMS is a numeric number based on a compass position relative to the field you are flying on.

Using the world.scn landscape file, a setting of 2.5 m/s wind speed with additional gusts of 0.3 m/s at a direction of 270 will provide wind almost directly down the runway.

The best way to see the direction of the wind is to set gusts at zero and wind speed at 4 m/s for a parkflyer, initialize your airplane "I" while holding the throttle to zero "H". Your airplane will weathervane toward the direction of the wind source. Tweak the direction as necessary.

-- ggunners
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Old 06-09-2006, 12:38 AM   #24
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Post Great Help

I am new to Electric radio control (RC), and almost as new to RC period. The series of posts on Flight Simulators (FS) are excellent; Thank you for doing such a good job !!

I would like to point out a need, which didn't seem to be covered in any of the forums. That is acronyms and related ways of 'short saying (as well as something to help one understand alternates); Every human activity has its own language. As an example, I spent over a week trying to find out what "BEC" meant (yes, I'm a little slow on everything, being 71 years old (YO) ).

Because I flew U-control alll the while growing up I learned the language easily, But I find electric RC flight to almost be a nightmare: 'inrunner' and 'outrunner' electric motors were totally foreign terms. I did have some feel (not much) for 'electronic speed control' (ESC) as a result of running RC cars (electric powered) for a couple of years (that was long enough ago that there was no such thing as an 'inrunner' or 'outrunner' electric motors; alll were what are now called 'inrunner'')

It is altogether normal that after awhile you forget what you didn't know when you first started. Perhaps one place, or forum, could be created to help the beginner out here.

Thi8s is a wonderful, talented group; I hope you don't view my suggestion as a criticism..........jdc
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Old 06-09-2006, 01:19 AM   #25
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There are several threads on several of of the forums that have terms as a topic. Mostly when I see something I don't understand, I ask. Works most of the time.

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  WattFlyer RC Electric Flight Forums - Discuss radio control eflight > Electric R/C Airplanes > Beginners


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