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  1. #1
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor Tomlin's Avatar
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    A F.A.Q. for those new to the idea of a home flight sim

    A few years ago, I put this FAQ together on my website FlightLevel180 in order to answer some of the inevitable questions that Im sure many home builders get from those people who dont see the use in spending so much money on our hobby. Especially starting around question #3. Just thought I'd put it here for people to get a kick out of my personal justification to be involved in a hobby such as this. Enjoy...

    Q: What does Flight Level (FL) 180 mean?

    A: A flight level is an altitude. In the U.S., altitudes are given in thousands of feet up to 17,999 feet. Once an aircraft is instructed, or flies, up to 18,000 feet, that altitude is called Flight Level 180. This simplifies the call out of air traffic controllers to pilots when advising what altitude to fly at. The last two zero's are dropped, thus 18000 feet is read as 1-8-0. If a pilot was flying an aircraft at 28,000 feet, that would be called Flight Level 280 (or FL280 when written) and so on.

    Q: How long does a project like this take to complete?

    A: There are many answers. The short answer is that we hope that the period of time is as fast as possible, but most likely 3-4 years. The long answer: Depends on any potential new products released, The number of people who join the build effort, The completion of a dedicated Sim Bay, and ultimately How much $$$ can be put forth in a given amount of time!

    Q: Why would you want to put so much time, effort, and MONEY into a simulator?

    A: Why would anyone spend time chasing a little white ball around on well kept greens in nice clothes that are way too hot during the summer? Why would anyone spend thousands on a boat that seems to always need some repairs or new equipment or a partner to go get the thing in and out of the water? Why would anyone run around in the woods before sunrise in the freezing cold to shoot at a wild animal when you can get plenty of food at a super market for much cheaper/easier? BECAUSE IT'S FUN!!!

    Q: Wouldnt it be much better to just spend the $10,000+ on getting your real pilot's licence?

    A: Not for some. Imagine after spending all the time, money, and effort on getting your private pilot's certificate. After that, you must stay current on some type of aircraft. Then you have to pay for fuel. Then you must worry about the weather. Then you wonder if the plane you have been checked out on is even available at the local airport. Then, you realize that you would really like to get more ratings that would allow you to fly in poor weather conditions so that you could get more out of your time in the plane. About the time you get all your ratings, the plane you like to fly is no longer available and the cost of fuel has just gone up even more. With today's job market, it is highly unlikely that anyone would ever be able to get the ratings needed to fly a commercial airliner for the cost of this sim-slim at best! Also, fuel is always the same price-FREE! Plus, anytime of the day or night, weekend or holiday, you go out to your simulator and can 'fly' anywhere in the World. Of course, it's all virtual but you still learn alot from flight simming!

    Q: What are some benefits of Flight Simming?

    A: Besides the ones listed above, many people who become 'hardcore' flight simmers will eventually learn about WEATHER, PHYSICS, HISTORY, ECONOMICS, MATH, and PC SKILLS in some form or fashion.

    Q: Yeah, but dont you get bored just sitting there staring at dials and screens and gauges for hours waiting to take off or land?

    A: This can happen to the best of us, but most dedicated flight simmers who take their simming seriously, will put a lot of effort into planning their virtual flights in much the same way as a real pilot would. Many of us use sophisticated software to plan our routes, watch for weather systems, plan fuel usage, plan passenger/freight loads, be prepared for emergencies, and other situations that a would arise in a real flight.

    Q: I bet real pilots dont use home simulators. It's really just a game.

    A: Not only do some people/pilots not consider our software a game, but it's used by many as a serious flight preparation tool. Those that do consider the software a game probably have never spent much time using the product, or are the type of people who get bored very easily. This would be a good time for you to go out and by a 1st person shooter!

    Q: What can a home based simulator do?

    A: A better question is what can it not do? Regardless if you have a full-size home sim or a desktop simulator, you can learn a myriad of new things about technology, history, and weather. You can virtually fly anywhere in the world in real time, with real weather downloaded from the internet. You can practice a flight for an upcoming real world flight if you are a real pilot to become familiar with the navigation and airspace procedures for an upcoming flight. You can also become familiar with a new airport that you may have never flown into before. While it wont litterally get you off the ground and into the air, it can bring an enormous sense of accomplishment after you spend time planning and executing your virtual flight.
    Eric Tomlin-
    Learjet 45 Builder
    www.flightlevel180.org

  2. #2
    Executive Vice President, MyCockpit


    Matt Olieman's Avatar
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    Thank you Eric, I like it

  3. #3
    25+ Posting Member
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    I really enjoy the free fuel....

    Pankaj

  4. #4
    500+ This must be a daytime job mauriceb's Avatar
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    Very nice! I was beginning to wonder myself about why I'm bothering with all this 'aggravation' instead of just enjoying being a couch potato

    Maurice

  5. #5
    500+ This must be a daytime job JBaymore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mauriceb View Post
    Very nice! I was beginning to wonder myself about why I'm bothering with all this 'aggravation' instead of just enjoying being a couch potato
    Yeah...at certain points in the construction .... you have to be reminded WHY the h377 you are doing this.

    best,

    ................john

  6. #6
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor Tomlin's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! I thought it was a nice reminder to all of us as to why we do what we do, but maybe some good 'talking points' for when we find ourselves telling others about our great obsession, especially non-understanding wives and real-world pilots who poo-poo MSFS.



    Free fuel is nice, especially when you fire the engines up and keep it running on the ramp for a few hours while programming stuff!
    Eric Tomlin-
    Learjet 45 Builder
    www.flightlevel180.org

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