Everyone that has been in this hobby for a while already knows the benefits of having a simulator. But for those that are new to the hobby, justifying spending $150+ on what some consider a game is quite hard to do. Well I'm here to tell you, that $150 investment will pay for itself, very quickly!
The two hottest Simulators out there right now are Phoenix and RealFlight. I prefer Phoenix because you get lifetime updates compared to RealFlight where you have to purchase updates. We are not going to get into which one is better, they are both fantastic simulators.
The KEY with a simulator is to NOT treat it as a game! If you treat the sim as a game, you won't learn as fast. The simulator is there so that you can learn how to do something that you don't already know how to do. Take just getting started for example. If you are just starting out, you have no idea how to hover, you have no idea about the different orientations and you have no idea how to get into and sustain forward flight. These seem very easy when you are just thinking about them, but in practice, they are quite hard when you are just starting out. Just ask me how I know!
The first thing you want to do is learn how to hold a stationary, TAIL IN hover. Your goal here is to hold that helicopter in the air, without touching the ground and keep that tail pointed towards you. This is where everyone starts and we will be getting into this more and more in the coming weeks. But if you don't have a simulator to test on and learn from, when you try to bring that new very expensive helicopter up into a hover, you are not going to be ready for it to go off to the left, your not going to be ready for it to wobble around like a marble on a sheet of glass and most likely (with a collective pitch heli), you are going to crash.
Now, remember that investment you made in the simulator? A crash in a 450 size helicopter can range from $5 for a bent feathering shaft up to over $100 if you have to replace all blades, tail boom, belt/torque tube shaft, main gears, tail gears, main and feathering shafts, canopy, skids and so on. Your FIRST saved crash from practicing on a simulator will just about pay for itself with only a 450 size helicopter. If you are flying a 500 or bigger, then you just saved enough money to completely pay for the sim!
There is a saying, "Practice Makes Perfect" and that is true. But a few years ago when I started getting into guitars I talked to an instructor who shed a little more light on that. Practice does NOT make perfect because you are likely practicing improper technique, but perfect practice DOES make perfect!
I know what you are saying, "how can I practice perfect if I don't know what I'm really doing in the first place?". And that is a very good question. The answer to that is being constructed right now between Rc-Help and Geena Tucker, a valued member of the forum and a sponsored helicopter pilot.
We will be starting up Online Simulator Sessions via the Phoenix Flight Simulator! In these sessions, Geena and I (mostly Geena lol) will be there to help instruct anyone that would like a little help with something. This is very exciting for me and should be very exciting for all of you reading this. These sessions will start in a week or two and we will have a dedicated thread, that anyone can subscribe to so you get an email when we post a new session.
So if you want to save yourself some money, keep from crashing and have a blast with everyone online and learn something new, go pick up the Phoenix Flight Simulator and join us online.
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Simulators & Why You Need One
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