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Simulators & Why You Need One

  1. Tony
    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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    Duncan and sneezy007 like this.


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  1. liquid1
    Tony , I have both Phoenix and real flight. I liked Phoenix better but didn’t know there was free upgrades for life , how can I upgrade free if I can find it . I have RF 7.5 realflight
  2. GreekRotorHead
    Until now I had a cracked phoenix sim v.5 But I 've just ordered an original one v5.5 I agree that practice becomes perfect when you concentrate in specific exercises step by step until you get to the next level. I am practicing for a year now like hovering in 360 deg orientations and doing sport flying in my way. But something is missing. I don't know what to do next. Ok there are some videos on you tube but with no order. Experienced pilots just showing their skills. I need a specific procedure. From a proper hover to what sport flying means and then an intro to 3d basic learning. With nothing of these you make no progress. You just lift the heli and that's it. If rc help could post some particular simulator exercises on you tube that would be awesome.
      John Dietz likes this.
  3. Oldensly
    Sure sounds good to me, I have an older Phoenix but it still works with my Futaba TX. I am looking forward to more posts on this.
      John Dietz likes this.
    1. Tony
      Even with older versions of Phoenix, you can still upgrade it to the latest version for free and come fly with us. In order to join the session though, you must be on the same version, which is the latest at this time.
  4. sneezy007
    Rats I have Real Flight, Tony do you have any plans to offer Real Flight sessions as well?
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Tony
      I will also talk to Geena and see if she wants to do an online session for those that have 7.5. I won't be there, but it will get more people involved in simulators. I will make a post if/when I know an answer.
      sneezy007 likes this.
    3. sneezy007
      I have 7.5 my computer isn't fast enough for RF 10.
    4. Tony
      Just an FYI, it's not RF 10, it's actually RF Extreme, or Xtreme, which ever way they spell it lol.
      sneezy007 likes this.
  5. Derek
    Tony, I've enjoyed flying with you, on the sim, for several years now....but to be able to fly with you and Geena and get some guidance and instruction....WOW! Now I just need to get my PC into the shop and get it working properly so that my Phoenix Sim will work smoothly again, lol.
      sneezy007 likes this.
    1. Tony
      You are right, having someone like Geena on here and willing to help out is yes, WOW! We are still setting it up, but it is coming. I will create a thread in the simulator section when we get it going. As for your computer, no need for a shop, what is wrong with it?
      sneezy007 likes this.
  6. EyeStation
    Wow, sounds like a great pairing having Genna around to help out and Rc-Help buddies to fly with. I know in Phoenix you can watch the others sticks, so that will be exciting to watch and learn.
    1. Tony
      Absolutely! Having a weekly or bi-weekly online schedule I think will help out a lot of people that are just getting into the hobby or looking to improve their skills. And having Geena here to help out is just amazing!