Post by flaminghotsauce on May 23, 2009 19:35:21 GMT -5
Today we're having a little weather anomaly. There's almost no wind in the upper atmosphere above where I live. I had to go to 30,000' to see wind speed of 25 knots. Every level adds.weather.gov reports is no more than 10 knots and it changes directions with each level.
What's happening is that we're warm and slightly humid and some small popup showers are hitting, but going nowhere. We've had hail four times in this little tiny weather cell. It's just sitting here and has been for about a half hour. I'll bet we've got an inch of rain.
Conditions like this make it really bumpy for airliners crossing the country way way up there in the flight levels.
Post by flaminghotsauce on Jul 11, 2009 22:52:45 GMT -5
A lady that works in my office is taking flight training! Woohoo! I've been talking with her about some of it, but right now she's in the overwhelmed stage. She has been up three or four times. Her son is taking lessons at the same time, but he's one ahead of her, so five times up for him.
I took the opportunity to introduce her to the idea of using a Flight Simulator to help her practice and she was so curious, I ended up selling her my old flight sim computer. I just got back from her apartment where I set it up for her, and was instantly having to go into "instructor" mode as they were so green, well, lets just say they were having some difficulties with basics. I sold her the Athlon 1.1 CPU, 1 gig ram, 128 gig ATI 9800 gpu, machine. And the FS9 software. And a disk full of airplanes, the update and other stuff. And my yoke and pedals!
NOW, I'm going to replace them. The yoke had taken a fall and the hat switch wouldn't go toward the front/right position, the cord got squished a couple of times and is fraying slightly, but works fine. The pedals were perfect.
I'm doing lots of research, but I think I'm going to end up with another set of the same thing. Ch Products yoke and pedals, but I might go ahead and get the external throttle system as well, so I can really do twins. I've done a LOT of reading on the Saitek systems. They look great, but they have some drawbacks. Like that smooth metal shaft on the yoke that floats in bearings for ultra-smooth smoothiness has a CENTER DETENT on both the pitch and roll! What? The phantom button press problem seems to be a software problem in FSX from what I read. I like their external throttle setup, but I'd need a second one to get to six levers.
Still thinking, but for now, I have no control inputs. No flying this weekend.
Post by flaminghotsauce on Jul 12, 2009 9:10:11 GMT -5
All righty, then. I can only do so much research on an item....
I pulled the trigger on the new Saitek yoke. From what I've read, an awful lot of them are experiencing the "Phantom Button Press" issue. Then, as I study more, folks are finding that it's the driver disk software that comes with the yoke that is the problem. So all those units shipped back and forth are probably not defective at all. So I've gone with that unit instead of the CH Products yoke.
I got the package that includes the external throttle but I seriously want to fly twins with proper engine controls, so I ordered the extra throttle unit. I'll have the six levers to go, please.
The pedals. After doing a lot of reading, it appears that the Saitek pedals are kind of middlin' as far a quality goes. Some reviews like them, some don't. There are a lot of complaints about the "stuck" rudder that requires complete disassembly to repair, and others saying it really doesn't happen. Folks that do disassemble to fix their stuck rudder complain about the cheap construction inside. However, the CH pedals work so well, no problems, no complaints, that I went ahead and ordered the same thing I already had. They're about $25 cheaper as well.
So with that $25 savings, I bought a book too.
Looking forward to my THREE separate shipments to arrive. No flying for a while.
It seems you're going to have the same controllers that I have. In addition to the Saitek yoke / throttle combo and the CH pedals I have a joystick hooked up. My main FS installation is configured to use the yoke while my vintage "Classic Wings" installation uses the stick. FU III will not accept the yoke so that one's stick and pedals. For X-Plane I've created and stored two sets of preferences. The stick version is set up for helicopters. To switch I copy and paste the right version for the session before I fire up the sim.
Post by flaminghotsauce on Jul 14, 2009 10:45:07 GMT -5
Yeah, I need a good stick for some stuff. I should have gone ahead and put one on the order while I had the chance to get free shipping. I would think just hooking up the joystick or yoke would set up everything. No? You have to have preferences setup?
The Saitek stuff isn't scheduled for shipment for a couple more weeks! My pedals are enroute.
I'd appreciate your impressions of the yoke and throttles. I read countless "reviews" mostly from inexperienced gamers. I'd respect your opinion more than most. I'm going to do a little review myself when I get 'em.
Post by hanspetter on Jul 14, 2009 11:22:54 GMT -5
The yoke seems fine to me but it isn't that old yet. My CH pedals are more than 5 years old and still going strong. The way I use yokes I guess they're not subject to a lot of wear anyway -- I'm no fighter pilot. Saitek yokes do have a center detent but don't they all center? Every stick I've tried is spring loaded to center. A helicopter enthusiast recommended a stick with no springs for helicopters. I guess I could open up the base and detach the centering springs / elastics.
Regarding overlapping controllers being hooked up, they don't conflict in X-Plane. X-Plane only "sees" the current assignments and the non-assigned levers and buttons are ignored. FS does seem to assign functions to both controllers and strange things may happen if a kid starts playing with one while I'm using the other. However, as long as you don't mess with two controllers at the same time there's no interference.
Post by flaminghotsauce on Jul 21, 2009 22:01:52 GMT -5
I got my rudder pedals. ;D
I got my extra throttle ;D, and the book Microsoft Flight Simulator for Pilots Real World Training. ;D
It's a neat book. It's over 700 pages, and takes the new FSX pilot from a green newbie all the way through flying commercial airliners. I kind of bought it for me, but I intend to leave it lying about so that my kids can browse through it. I'm hoping to get them interested in flying the sim in a realistic fashion.
Still no yoke, still no flying. My Saitek yoke should ship sometime this week. Maybe I'll be flying next week by weeks' end.
The throttle will not attach easily to my desk. The clamp needs a bigger bite than is available where I wish to put it. I might have to do some rigging, building, or buy some big velcro. I like the feel of the throttle. I can't wait to plug it into the Yoke, and set it all up.
We have been playing with recording software on my wife's computer. It has loops that can be dragged into place, various instruments, and whatnot. The software came with a large diaphragm USB microphone I bought. The mic works great with Audacity, but with the included software, the speakers must be plugged into the mic itself. That's kind of awkward. It's kind of like a key. You cannot hear the music unless you have the mic.
While I was working today, my wife put together a rock song with my one-year-old doing the "singing". He was saying "cinnamon" over and over, only he says "minnamin". It's the name given to one of my oldest son's kittens.
Post by flaminghotsauce on Jul 27, 2009 21:09:26 GMT -5
WOW! The Saitek yoke is so far superior to the CH yoke it isn't even funny. I am stunned and amazed at how much better the Saitek is. Smoooooooth feel. Accurate, super accurate.
I did some test flights with "Fair Weather" so there'd be no wind effect. Each little bitty control input was accurately reflected in the sim. The throttle is so much bigger than the CH levers that I had a hard time pulling the power back far enough on descent. But what a pleasure. I pulled the power back to 1800 rpm and it stayed there. The 172 settled very accurately on 500 fpm descent with the flaps set. One approach, I came in just a bit low, so I pushed the power up to 1900 and the rpms just sat there. I guess I'[m used to the slop factored into the CH levers.
I'm still getting used to the hat switch being on the left thumb instead of the right, but that'll come in time. I'm also used to using the red buttons on the left thumb that change views, and the trim being over there as well. The Saitek has an up/down switch that I've set for trim. The view switch I'm using the "trigger" on the left mixed with the "push to talk" button on the right to go back and forth between views.
The only trouble I'm having is setting up the second throttle quadrant. It's probably a a problem with the id10T setting that is sitting in the captain's chair. But I seem to either have one quadrant or the other, but not both. One Q is USB, the other is Serial that plugs into the back of the yoke. I'm guessing the serial quadrant is recognized as "Yoke" under the control settings while the USB is recognized as the "Quadrant". That is the only method I didn't check before I shut down. So far I can't control the engines separately, but like I said, the id10T is in charge.
I'm tired. Big day at work today, and another lined up for tomorrow. I'm sleeping on a new mattress that is quite firm and is an adjustment. I was going to take my son shooting when I got home, but he's coming down with some sickness, and went to bed. So I played with my yoke instead.
I'm also supposed to go golfing with the mayor Wednesday. I just bought a Callaway Big Bertha 9 degree driver off Ebay for $.99. It won't be here in time, though. He bought one for $.99 also but his was brand new! He had to peel the plastic off the face. Mine is used. I hit his once off the tee and it felt great and went a long way.
Post by flaminghotsauce on Jul 29, 2009 5:23:30 GMT -5
I finally got my second quadrant set up. I was too tired to think straight! It was a simple matter of making sure which device I was editing, as both quadrants were reporting X, Y, and Z, axis movements.
I was doing a little test flight in the Baron , and I noticed something funny when I was looking at the outside of the aircraft. The roll behavior is different. When I was using the CH yoke, the aircraft would continue to move after I returned the control back to center. However, with the Saitek, the aircraft movements look like US Marines sharp snappiness. When I input a slight roll, then return to center, the aircraft STOPS exactly where the control input went away. It looks like I'm flying for the Blue Angels it's so precise. A little bit unrealistic.
I'll have to explore sensitivity settings, but if anyone knows what causes this I'd sure appreciate knowing what you know.
Post by flaminghotsauce on Oct 2, 2009 6:48:55 GMT -5
Work has changed. I am an RCA, a Rural Carrier Associate for the Post Office. All these years I've driven a route, now suddenly there's no substitues available for the walking guys. I had to train on three walking routes, and have been working full time hours, three fifths of which is walking. I'm averaging around 12 miles per day walking. My feet and calves are the victims in all this. I spent a bunch of money on new waterproof shoes after my first day of training. I walked through the heavy dew and soaked my feet and socks, blistering up pretty bad.
It's kind of amazing how the brain can function. I can sort the mail in four different rural route mail cases, averaging 500 boxes per route. The brain simply adapts to all the new information that needs to be stored. I like to joke that I'm learning too much, and it'll push other information out the back door. But it really doesn't. I can remember all that. Now, I'm learning three more routes at the same time.
What has all this to do with Flight simming? Uh, I can suddenly afford to spend a little on accessorizing my Simulator. I've been really reading up on the Saitek control panels, nearly pulling the trigger on them a couple times. Suddenly I'm thinking the TrackIR system would be the best first step. Fun times. I also am stiff enough when I get home from work I am often just sitting....my sitting time can just as easily be in front of the simulator.
I am seriously leading a blessed life. The recession hits and my work goes way up.
Well done FHS, we all should have jobs like that. You will be getting SO fit, although I guess you first of all have to survive the first few weeks. It will be interesting to hear how you are shaping up in a month or two. Please keep us posted.
Last Edit: Oct 4, 2009 23:43:00 GMT -5 by Ed Burke
Post by flaminghotsauce on Oct 12, 2009 12:11:51 GMT -5
Well, so much for the getting fit. I have succumbed to a stress fracture of the second metatarsal.... I'm off the walking routes. I only did it a month or so....I can still do the driving routes, so I'm not unemployed, yea!
I woke up early this morning and my wife was sleeping soundly. What to do? What else? Go flying!
I have been avoiding the G1000 aircraft since I've had FSX because I've never had access to one in real life, and I haven't devoted any time to learning it. So I did some reading in my book to get a little bit of a handle on it, and opened the sim. We're having very nice IFR weather here right now, scattered clouds at 700', overcast at 1300'. I set up a flight in the dark in the clouds to mess with this newfangled whizbang G1000. It makes it SO EASY to navigate in the blind. Wow.
I"m still trying to get a handle on all the buttons and knobs, enabling approaches and so forth.
Post by hanspetter on Oct 12, 2009 19:29:34 GMT -5
I just noticed your mention of the "phantom button press." I think I know what you mean. Every now and then my Saitek set-up lowers/retracts the gear all by itself. I used the red button on the right handle as gear toggle and since moved this function to a flip switch on the throttle quadrant. It seems that I get less unwanted activation now. I gather it's the driver / control software that's responsible?
Too bad your feet couldn't take the walking. I ride a bicycle quite a few miles each day and this could be what a walking rural postman needs -- bicycles provide plenty of exercise without straining the joints or the delicate bones of the feet. Besides, it's 3-4 times as fast as walking.
Post by flaminghotsauce on Oct 12, 2009 21:13:25 GMT -5
The way I understand these phantom button press problems is that the software that ships with the unit is at fault. I installed it originally, but I haven't reinstalled it since I rebuilt my OS. BUT I never had problems with it installed. Possible I got a later model unit, later V software. I don't know. I was looking real hard at the Saitek panels again today. I'm about $20 short of pulling the trigger on all three! I can't wait to not tell my wife 'till they arrive. What's that phrase? Easier to ask forgiveness than permission?
I picked a bad time to come up lame. This week one of the walkers is on vacation, so one of the clerks or the Post Master must cover the route. Coincidently, my normal route carrier had a death in the family and I wouldn't have been able to help with the walking routes anyway. We're in dire need of people in there, but we're under a hiring freeze. Nerves are frazzling, teeth are grinding.
Oh YEAH bicycle! I wish! All the walkers have mail trucks known as LLV's (Long Life Vehicles). The leave in the LLV's and park at different spots to walk out of. Bicycles make too much sense for the Post Office, being a Federal Government job.