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  1. #1
    300+ Forum Addict David Rogers's Avatar
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    Are we all fools? (apart from Westozy)

    [Edit: Please assess software yourself before making a decision on purchase. One person's experience is rarely the same as the next. There are many satisfied users of both PM and AST software, whose perceptions on cost, quality and service may be very different to my own. UPDATE: AST have released a further update that hopefully addresses some of the issues with performance, alltough I have yet found time to download and install all of the updates and test myself, some users are reporting much better performance. As always, cockpit building can be a frustrating and emotive hobby, so always do your own research and form your own views on any products offered by vendors. ]

    Interesting thread title huh ?

    D'you know those downers that we cockpit builder suffer ? .....boy am I in the pit of one at the moment.

    I am seriously thinking about packing the whole project in and returning to the happy memory of a desktop sim. The reason -

    "specialist software for home cockpits"

    I am so fed up with the proposterous amount of money I have spent on so-called cockpit coftware to run across cockpit LANs !!!

    I am not going to get political or personal, I am just going to say that I bought Project Magenta software and was not satisfied with the performance or bugs that I personally experienced on my system.

    After my decision to move to an Airbus cockpit, I bought Air Sim Tech (AST) A320 software. I loaded it and it looked beautiful, I noticed fast network performance and everything looked great ....... But sadly, when it came to flight operation and realistic behaviour, I find myself very disappointed again.

    I mean, you can pay $2000 for a piece of wonderful hardware like a MCP, CDU or FCU and I think they are worth every penny. But I personally think the software side of things really lets things down at present. I have spent over $2000 on this software and to say that I regret this spend is a huge understatement. I just think that some of us buy this software, and then fool ourselves that it's wonderful because we don't want to admit that we regret parting with so much money!

    The fact of the matter is that you can get :-

    - Better performance
    - more functions
    - more reliability
    - less bugs

    .....with a desktop add-on package for $50 !! ....... The CDU that comes with PMDG 737 is more stable and reliable than the PM CDU and has more or less equal function. Before you argue, you do not lose all of your en-route waypoints when selecting an approach in the PMDG!!!).

    On the airbus side, I attempted a flight with my AST suite last night and it was a disaster! ........ move the throttle lever from FLEX to CLB and N1 reduced to 60% ..... which gives a climb rate of 500fpm with an almost empty plane.... AST are aware of it, and tried to address the bug, and now, latest build is not following the flight plan path in NAV ....

    I then flew a desktop flight with feelThere Airbus Series 1 (SP3) - absolutely faultless flight. On the numbers, fly by wire, the works....

    This is so miserable!!!! I mean the hardware side of building is wonderful.... lovely panels, great value for money, using our own skills for some of the build (like the MIP frame), but when it comes to software, it's just misery! We pay for software that is EARLY in it's development journey.... it's like paying top dollar for a car that can only reach 2nd gear at the moment and that can't turn left yet ....

    I so wish I had not used my budget up on this software (I'm not talking about my move for Boeing to Airbus - I was still hoping to use and enjoy my PM software too but the fact is, outside the cockpit, why use it when PMDG performs better ?).

    So I want to say to people like Westozy, Mike, etc, and others who have built a system that utilizes standard FS software to it's max, congratulations, you really made the right decision !! In the current stage of our hobby, the wise man builds a 767 based on the LDS767 ........ it's a fact folks!

    I know that my views and experiences will not be shared by everyone and that some people will be very happy with their 'premium' LAN cockpit software.

    But personally, I have had enough... the software side is seriously letting down the wonderful development of the hardware cockpit products. Wonderful panels, stunning hardware FCUs, CDU, MCPs, etc .

    I just wish more of these hardware (electronic) items would become compatible with more standard FS add-ons.

    Stef - Please please make your new FCU compatible with feelThere Airbus, or the Airliner XP and Airsimmer add-ons when they are released !!!

    Rant over, but a valid rant I think.
    David R
    Durham, England

    1979 Mooney M20J Cockpit builder ......

  2. #2
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Michael Carter's Avatar
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    I don't have all of the functionality I would have if a software developer created a 727 package, but then I don't have a lot of problems with the DF727. In fact, the only thing I would consider a functional problem is not getting the ELEV HOLD to work on my Sperry hardware.

    I also don't like usinf K2M which some of us have to use for some things.

    Overall however, I have more money to spend for other simulator items and a lot less hassle.

    Part of that is also due to the 727 not being a computerized airplane.

    I wish you luck and success in your new A-320. Hopefully things will get sorted out for you.
    Boeing Skunk Works
    Remember...140, 250, and REALLY FAST!

    We don't need no stinkin' ETOPS!



    Powered by FS9 & BOEING

  3. #3
    300+ Forum Addict David Rogers's Avatar
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    That's exactly it Mike - you can spend the money on the actual pit without adopting lots of nasty time consuming problems.

    My A320 is still on - I have assembled my full MIP! (both sides and centre!) - photos to follow ......... at the moment I am using the feelThere A320;

    - PFD and ND are undockable and expandable.
    - Number of key commands can be set, that I will temporarily link up to my virtually unused CH Multi-Function Panel (ie....all FCU controls can be assigned).

    That will do me for now - at least it's flyable and will fly the numbers!

    I only bought part of the AST suite (PFD/ND and FMGC), so I will "put it in the cupboard" until I hear that the software is operating in at least a partly realistic way, then I'll reassess buying the rest of the suite (overhead logic and ECAM).

    I'm not an eccentric millionairre and the $2000 spent on 'specialist' software took a huge chunk from my overall (capped!) $7000 budget ......

    I do wish more hardware was compatible with FS add-ons and not just PM and AST, surely the manufacturers would sell more if there was more standard FS compatibility?
    David R
    Durham, England

    1979 Mooney M20J Cockpit builder ......

  4. #4
    Executive Vice President, MyCockpit


    Matt Olieman's Avatar
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    Cool Frustrations and disappointments

    Regarding the software issue, actually no different then the hardware issues. You either love the product (vendor) or hate the product (vendor), for what ever reason.

    WE ALL HAVE DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES when it comes to vendors and their products. AND believe me, I've heard it all

    But that's not neither here or there.... It's about HERE!!!! if that makes sense

    When it comes to this hobby, there's plenty of disappointments and frustrations. But, that's all part of it.... no matter what your hobby or project may be, the same thing applies to everything we do.

    There's one thing that kept me going over the years, and perhaps new builders can keep this in mind.... I kept a photographic diary of my project, (I ended up putting this on a web-site). When I got discouraged, I look back at the very first photo I made. I think about how proud and excited I was at that moment I took the picture..... then I looked at what I have now, and how far I've come along. I certainly appreciated the hard work and my accomplishments.

    I'm with you David, there has to be limit on the spending, I too find it hard to justify spending more money. I've spent more then my cap Unfortunately some nice stuff comes along and I can't refuse

    I too admire those, like Mike and Gwyn, don't forget Brian Williamson (WOW), who make their own products.... I'm utterly amazed and with such envy.

    We as a Flight-Sim Builders group are the ones that are the pioneers for the vendors. We're supplying them the push to go beyond what ever was expected in this new hobby. New vendors are appearing, better quality products are being made. It's all because of our expectations.

    DON'T FORGET!!!!! This is a brand new hobby. Vendors and builders are still at a learning curve, yet to be defined.

    We have options, more today then a few years ago. An example, when I started, the only interface available was EPIC. WOW, what a mad house, it was a nightmare. Now look of the many interfaces available today. Oh, did I forget to mention..... Plug and Play panels. Oh well.... what I'm saying, it does get better.

    So I guess what I'm trying to say.... we're with you David, just don't get too discouraged and don't give up. Take it one step at a time

  5. #5
    300+ Forum Addict luisgordo's Avatar
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    Keep it up David, we need as many A320 builders as we can get!!

    Seriously, I am also looking forward for a good A320 software, but hopefully we'll get there... with some time.

    I fully agree with Matt.
    Luis Gordo
    Instructor StationTM - www.iStationGordo.com

  6. #6
    300+ Forum Addict David Rogers's Avatar
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    Matt - thanks for taking the time to make that posting, much appreciated and some really wise words. Experience has taught me that I will probably feel like a different person in the morning ....but tonight has been a bad night 'up in the attic' (home for the pit). What I can't get out of my head at the moment is that no matter how good the hardware and physical build of my pit, I just can't imagine it running to a satisfactory level, in terms of the software. The performance I am getting from my recent acquisition is very poor. Apart from anything else I feel a fool as I raved about the product based on it's initial appearance, and then in operation I have found flight performance issues that I know I just couldn't live with..... I know some people live with comprimises in their pit - I hear of people who have stunning airbus cockpits and yet have no basic auto-trimming system (and thus manually trim in these fine airbuses!!?!). My approach is that if I can get BETTER performance from a desktop ad-on then I would rather use the desktop add-on. I hear what you are saying about the hobby being in development and software developers are moving through the learning curve - but I didn't put my money on the table to fund research, I thought I was buying a usable product. (as selfish as that may sound).

    Ultimately, you're right Matt, different experiences for every one of us.

    I am considering scaling back my cockpit build - oh I'm not changing my mind again - I am building an A320 !! ......... but I may dispose of my FDS panels and build something that facilitates more standard use of FS .... more visual access to the FS panels. This was not something I ever wanted to do but I am simply very unsatisfied with the performance, features and reliablity of the PM and AST software - I personally would rather make a mouse click but enjoy a realistic flight operation in other respects (like a Flight Director that actually shows the correct path!).
    David R
    Durham, England

    1979 Mooney M20J Cockpit builder ......

  7. #7
    300+ Forum Addict NicD's Avatar
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    Many times David I've been frustrated as **** and ready to take to it all with a sledgehammer. When I get to to that stage I turn it all off and come back another day. Sometimes I'll take a week off and go smell the roses.

    It pays not to make decisions during frustrating periods. Tackle it methodically, work with the vendor, and perservere ... you will get there. This hobby is about the long haul, so hang in there.

    I know what you mean about sim vendor products vs PMDG and LDS. I too wish that they could all be rock solid like those two fantastic bits of software. But keep in mind that PMDG and LDS are tightly closed technical environments that exist totally inside FS. PM and AST live totally outside of FS and have to interface with all sorts of simulators, flight models, hardware and network environments. Its a very different ball-game for them. Could they do better - yes - so these are not excuses, but they are reasons why things break and need constant updating, testing and fixing.

    Its all about trading off issues for what you really want. I tried desktop simming a few months ago (for old times sake) and can only say I'm glad I stuck with sim building
    Nic D'Alessandro
    737NG builder (Hobart, Australia)
    http://simsation.com.au

  8. #8
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Trevor Hale's Avatar
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    Hi David.

    I appreciate your frustrations. Please don't think for a minute that these software (Dreamfellt,PSS, PMDG, LD, Feelthere) came off the assembly line without bugs. I owned the first PMDG, and Even up the the first release of the DF727. They all had bugs, and no matter how good something was someone always is there to criticize.

    I worked for many years with Abacus Software, This stuff is far behind the curve compared to what we are doing here, but I am just using an example. Anyway, I was working on a UH-60 (Blackhawk) and I had some guy tell me in an email that I had too small of disc brakes on the wheels, and that the brake hydraulic line had too much of a bend in it.

    This was the last aircraft I ever built for Abacus. Because I knew that from that moment on, you could never keep everyone happy.

    That all being said. Rome wasn't built in a day. Take a step back, and realize what you have accomplished in this short time.

    The Project magenta software for the 737 is magnificent compared to where it was 3 years ago. Unfortunately when a user asks for an addition or makes a comment that they want (ie. Center of Gravity option simulated) in the software Project Magenta would add the function, when this type of thing is done, other parts of the software can get messed up. Unfortunately somewhere back about a year ago, Project Magenta had to rewrite some of the CDU to allow the use of the new Navigraph nav data. I am not sure if it was the free government navdata that went away, or the guy who converted that information quit, either way they had to rewrite the cdu. When they did this, something accidently got mucked up. Since then they have been trying to fix the issues. And Eventually they will.

    Just the same as the Airbus package from PM will eventually be finished.

    AST is in exactly the same boat. Maybe next time you can ask a bundle of questions, and wait a month or so for answers before you buy something. I feel bad because perhaps someone here could have let you know about the challenges of AST software before you spent the money one it.

    What I feel the need to say here is in no way meant to offend you, I just am trying to help you before it is too late.

    Since Joining in September 2007 (2 and a half months) you have built a full 737 Single seat training device, and sold it, and now have a very full A320 SSTD and you appear to be frustrated with it. all in 2 and a half months. That is incredible, but please realize, I have been working for 4 years on an airbus and and my Dassault falcon. Prior to that I spent over a year researching it. Please slow down a bit. You need to walk before you run.

    This hobby is supposed to be fun. Nobody creates an out of the box simulator that you can order set up and fly it perfectly, unless you have 20 million to buy one from CAE.

    I urge you to slow down, and enjoy every aspect of the hobby. For it is an amazing journey, that you can learn so much from. I can see you are a very talented individual, I just hate to see you frustrated over the entire thing after only 2 and a half months.

    Try to wait things out, don't get frustrated. If you need to take a break. then do so, and come back to it after.
    You are an asset to the Simulator community and you have gained more experience then you know. Imagine sharing that information with the next guy that comes in here looking to buy the AST Software. Unfortunately had to learn some expensive lessons, but you can't loose. You own 2 of the most advanced pieces of software on the market, both are guaranteed to work perfectly one day. And when they do, you will be glad you waited.

    Again Please don't take any of this the wrong way. I just don't want to see such a talented individual like yourself give up.

    Best regards,

    Trev
    ________________________
    Trevor Hale

  9. #9
    MyCockpit Support Staff


    Westozy's Avatar
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    Well I think that's a really cool thread title! LOL

    PMDG certainly does the trick for me with it's beautiful simplicity and reliability. Although it is not totally bug free and the interface capabilities are a little restricted, it really is a fantastic package. If someone wants to see my sim fly, it takes 3 minutes to start and away we go. I really don't care that my aft cargo door light doesn't illuminate like the 11 million dollar Alteon sims, most of the time I'm enjoying flying HOTAS while my beautiful CP Flight MCP sits idle watching on. I do the occasional journey flights with fuel planning, FMC programmed, LNAV & VNAN engaged and I occasionally pay attention to ATC but I think these types of flights are a little boring and I usually fall asleep and miss out on the 'excitement' of the adventure.
    Each to his own but I built my sim to have a machine to hand fly to replace the expense of real aviation and it has worked well.
    I have learned no matter what a vendor produces no matter how fantastic it is, there is always someone ready to bag it and complain. With my own journey into becoming a vendor I have already been abused for not having an A320 TQ on the shelf ready for sale, I guess this dude doesn't understand the term, "built to order". Get back to the trailer park Cletus you a/hole!
    I admire those with the patience to make every bell and whistle work but I wonder who it impresses at the end of the day, aren't we all 'sim hermits'! My sim impresses every visitor everytime and that is such a big buzz for me with my $6,000 total investment. The airline pilots who visit just want to play, the last thing they have wanted is to fly on autopilot like they do all day. It's usually not long before my Boeing is barrel rolling or going under the Sydney Harbour bridge, it's like they are freed up from the discipline of having to do it correctly and they are up for fun. Fun...that's what it is all about if I remember right!

    Gwyn

    PS. See my story "Fighter Pilot for the day" in this month's CP mag...

    737NG using Prosim737, Immersive Calibration Pro, Aerosim Solutions motorized TQ & cockpit hardware, CP Flight MCP & FDS SYS1X, SYS2X & SYS4X, FDS PRO FMCs, AFDS units & Glarewings, Matrix Orbital ELEC display, Pokeys Landing & Cruise alt display, Buttkicker Gamers, 3 x BenqMW811ST projectors with a Matrox Th2Go
    http://www.aerosimsolutions.com.au
    Supporter of MyCockpit.org, please join me in donating!!!

  10. #10
    75+ Posting Member
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    Dave you need to stick with it, while im still reasonably new with the hobby of building home cockpits i do know that if it was not for the desire of people like yourself and within this forum there would be no such thing as a home cockpit.

    I remember the first ever edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator, Do You ?, it was, compared to now so basic and i remember thinking to myself, if only i could have an actual cockpit with buttons, switches yokes and pedals that i could sit in and fly like the real deal.

    It was - i thought at the time something that was never possible.

    While it is not perfect, the hardware and software we have today is a result of the persistance, frustration and ideas shared by fellow simmers like yourself and it can only get better.

    The developers of the software want it to be as real and perfect as it can get - as much as we do but as mentioned by others this is still a reasonably new hobby and things can only improve with simmers continuing to advance and offer improvements to what we already have.

    I am personally on this big learning curve with building my own 737NG and i get frustrated on a regular basis on "where to start ?", "what to do next?", "what software should i use?", "what hardware?", "should i use wood or steel?" etc

    And you think you have problems ??

    When this happens i turn to this forum, make a few phone calls to Gwyn perhaps( spelt with one "N" , for inspiration and support.

    I guess what im trying to say is dont give up and DONT GO BACK TO DESKTOP SIMMING !!!! THATS OLD SCHOOL!!

    Hardware developers and Software Writers need to hear what we home cockpit builders want and what improvements need to be made.

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