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Old Mar 06, 2012, 10:40 AM
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Best RC Simulator?

Which simulator is the best/most realistic one?
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 10:47 AM
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Phoenix has the best combination of value and realism, and the new version includes 3D fields, so RealFlight basically has no advantage in the market any more - but it's the other good one. There's also Aerofly Pro/Deluxe, whatever they are calling it now - that one is very good as well.

The physics in all three are different, and they have a different feel - so they are all obviously wrong in different ways. If the physics models were 'perfect' then all sims would feel the same. They are all very good but they have different problems - for example I think auto-rotations are way too easy in Phoenix.

So, really what it comes down to is what is going to give the best experience on your computer, and regardless of your computer, Phoenix has the lowest performance requirements, so it's always going to be better. (Slow frame rates jack the physics model)
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 10:50 AM
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actually I ordered RealFlight 6 today. Should I cancel and take Phoenix instead?

I'm after something that will prepare me for real flights in the best way.

I have a top end computer, so both will run great.
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by R0yalty View Post
actually I ordered RealFlight 6 today. Should I cancel and take Phoenix instead?
Only if the money is important to you

RF has the advantage of the Interlink controller being a high quality mock radio - this means there is no reason to use your real radio and subject it to wear and tear. The physics model really suffers when the frame rate drops, and I have a darn good machine too, but it still chokes it.
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 05:24 PM
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I have both Phoenix and Realflight 6. They both have strengths/weaknesses. Personally, I bought RF6 after I bought Phoenix and I prefer RF6.

All that said, really there is no good way to answer your question as stated for the simple reason that there is not enough about your requirements.

For example, Phoenix has a better selection of aircraft from Horizon Hobbies. If those are important to you, it might slant you that way. Realflight has the capability for users to model planes so there is a much greater selection of planes to fly, and some of them are very high quality.

With Phoenix, you use your own radio. With Realflight, as Jasmine said, it comes with an interlink controller saving wear and tear on your real radio. (Realflight can often use your real radio too if you want).

Phoenix, to this point, has had free upgrades. Some upgrades with Realflight cost money. That is important to some people.

I would caution that the demos for both these programs are lacking (in different ways) so unfortunately, although I recommend trying them, they can be very misleading.

Some things are a matter of feel. I personally feel less like I am looking through a tiny window when using Realflight compared to Phoenix. Your mileage may very.
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 05:44 PM
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basically my need is to use the simulator that will prepare me for the real deal the best, the most realistic one.

Are the plane characteristics close to flying a real plane in those two simulators?

I have never flown a real RC plane. Say for instance I choose a difficult warbird in the simulator and will be able to fly it well, does that mean i could handle one in real life?
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 05:56 PM
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I personally like Phoenix. Like Jasmine mentioned, they all have their own flaws, but I think Phoenix offers the most value. Especially when you consider you can get Phoenix, with a DX5e tx, for the price that you get a RealFlight and a controller that looks and acts real, but can't fly the real thing. You will likely upgrade from the DX5e in no time as it only pairs with one model, but it will be great for a buddy box when you start training your buddies!
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by R0yalty View Post
basically my need is to use the simulator that will prepare me for the real deal the best, the most realistic one.

Are the plane characteristics close to flying a real plane in those two simulators?

I have never flown a real RC plane. Say for instance I choose a difficult warbird in the simulator and will be able to fly it well, does that mean i could handle one in real life?
The simulator is about half as hard as real life stuff. So, if you can fly the warbird at the edge of the stall, land it perfectly every time, do all the basic aerobatics, on the simulator, then you should be able to avoid crashing a real one.

The problem is that none of the models on the simulator are accurate representations of real models. Real stuff has inconsistency, small variations, failures, setup mistakes, balance problems, trim problems, etc... simulated airplanes have none of that. It is a simulation of RC flying - it is not a substitute for RC flying. You learn about 50% of what you need to know from the simulator - the rest you need to learn with real aircraft.
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by R0yalty View Post
basically my need is to use the simulator that will prepare me for the real deal the best, the most realistic one.

Are the plane characteristics close to flying a real plane in those two simulators?

I have never flown a real RC plane. Say for instance I choose a difficult warbird in the simulator and will be able to fly it well, does that mean i could handle one in real life?
Not necessarily or even likely. For example, the planes in the simulator are generally setup well. In the real thing, they will probably need to be trimmed to fly correctly.

It also depends somewhat on the plane. For example, I personally think the 3d foam aircraft in Phoenix are horrible, even with tweaking.

Finally, you are likely to be much more tense flying the real thing, and that will not work in your favor.

There are things the simulator will definitely help with (orientation being one of them). But anyone who thinks they are going to go from flying a simulator to flying a difficult warbird is probably in for a very unpleasant (and expensive) surprise.

I find some things easier in the simulators than real life (flying inverted was that way for me at first), some things more difficult (lining up for the runway).

I do think you can learn to fly using the simulators and the appropriate planes. But there are plenty of planes that you almost certainly will not be able to handle regardless of how much simulator experience you have.
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 08:30 PM
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R/C flying noob here. Bought Phoenix with the DX5e the first week of January, as one of my 2012 commitments was to finally fulfill a long time dream to fly R/C planes (38 years old with 25+ years of nitro and electric R/C 4x4 experience).

I flew over 30 hours on Phoenix and bought a Parkzone P-47D Thunderbolt as my first plane, despite the fact that admittedly it was not the smartest choice for a first plane. I liked the plane, wanted a warbird, did a ton of research here on RC Groups and figured it's my money so I'll buy what I like and want to fly. It's my fault if I crash it and it's my money. Of the 30 hours on Phoenix prior to taking my 'Bolt our for maiden, I spent probably 1/2 of those hours flying the Parkzone 'Bolt on the sim.

My maiden went really well until I brought the plane in to set her down. I brought the bird in at a bad angle and ended up clipping a tree and cartwheeling the 'Bolt into the pavement. The area I selected to fly the plane for my maiden flight also wasn't an intelligent choice...the landing area was too small, in hindsight. $17 worth of damage (new elevator) and some Gorilla Glue on the cracked wing and I was back up in the air. I have since only had the weather/wind cooperate with me once to allow another flight and it was a successful one and flew and landed the plane perfectly. I can't wait to get out again!! Until then, I'm well over 40 hours on the simulator now and continue to focus on the Thunderbolt to perfect my sim skills with my plane.

My overall findings in terms of Phoenix vs. Real Flying:
- Pucker factor is insanely in play when flying for real. Cannot be duplicated on the sim

- The speed at which things happen in real flight is much quicker than on the sim

- The plane seemed more responsive in real flight than on the sim

- The plane "floated" and got off course much more easily in real flight (always fly on the sim with winds a little higher than you'll actually fly in in order to train for the worst)

- In real flight, I found it much more challenging to keep my bearings and spatial orientation in check when looking up high in the sky at the plane and trying to figure out where I was in relation to the ground, i.e. I didn't want to look down even if quickly because I was afraid to take my eyes off the plane. This is ultimately what caused my crash on maiden. By the time I realized that I was coming down for landing at a somewhat bad angle it was too late.

- I practice on Phoenix the way I plan to fly in real life, i.e. keep the plane in front of you, make simple ovals in the sky while trying to maintain your altitude, always take off into the wind, always land into the wind, don't do a lot of hot rodding/aerobatics until I'm bored and done training, practice a ton of landings in cross winds, etc.

- Overall, the sim is priceless in my view. I believe it's possible to teach yourself how to fly using the sim and a more tame first plane than what I selected in the Parkzone P-47D Thunderbolt, although it's obviously not impossible with the 'Bolt but be prepared for some carnage, cost and a steep learning curve. If you have R/C experience with cars/buggies/4x4's and are used to wheeling at high speeds coming towards you and understand the simple reversing of the controls that takes place, then your transition to airplanes will likely be easier than if you didn't have that experience.

Best of luck. It's a truely wonderful hobby that I'm hooked on at this point...already bought a Parkzone P-51 BL Mustang, a Spektrum DX6i and I'm eyeballing several more bind-n-fly planes from Parkzone and E-Flite to add to my hangar.
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by R0yalty View Post
actually I ordered RealFlight 6 today. Should I cancel and take Phoenix instead?
I haven't used Phoenix other than the demo, but I've watched youtube videos, etc. Based on the products as they exist today and my own preferences, I would keep RealFlight.
  • The bundled controller is very handy. Mine stays plugged into the computer so it's always ready. I don't want to go through the trouble of hooking up the real one just to practice (I live in a high-rise and sometimes leave my radio in the car, so going to get the radio would be a pain).
  • The controller saves wear on the real radio.
  • The controller really does add convenience for changing planes and airports.
  • RealFlight has photo fields and computer generated fields. The latter allows for more viewing options. Cockpit mode and chase mode don't really help teach flying from the ground, but they can be a lot of fun -- particularly when flying with others online.
It looks like Phoenix 4 will add the generated flying fields with cockpit and chase mode. Maybe that will make the choice more difficult, and more competition means more features.
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by R0yalty View Post
actually I ordered RealFlight 6 today. .
I think you made an excellent choice .... you get what you pay for. I have spent many hours on my RF 5.5 and I'm glad all those hours are on the Interlink and not my Tx.

Plus it saves me having to unpack my Tx every time I want to fly on the sim and making it easier to just fly for a few minutes. I'd probably have only half the time logged if I had to unpack the Tx every time I found 10 minutes to kill. The Basic RF is lacking IMO but the full blown package is great.

My PC is over five years old and RF runs just fine and doesn't tax my video card. My vid card is an older Excalibur 9550 SE.

Cockpit and chase mode are just useless toys when it comes to learning. I don't use them but RF has these modes. There are great advanced lessons in RF by no less than 20-30 pilots that teach you how to do 3D, knife edge and 20 other good maneuvers.
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Old Mar 07, 2012, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Madratter View Post

There are things the simulator will definitely help with (orientation being one of them). But anyone who things they are going to go from flying a simulator to flying a difficult warbird is probably in for a very unpleasant (and expensive) surprise.
I have been flying lots of flight simulators (not RC) and generally a lot of games. Not that that has anything to do with flying RCs, well the flight simulators will definitely help as I understand how to control the plane, and what can be done, but the gaming helps with orientation I think. In many games you control vehicles from an observers point of view, where the vehicle will be coming at you at some points, so it comes very naturally to me controlling a vehicle "in reverse"(comming at me) and from other angels. I always picture me being inside the vehicle.
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Old Mar 07, 2012, 09:27 AM
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BTW - I'm not saying all warbirds are horrible trainers. There are some (Parkzone UM T-28d for example) that are good choices for people (it was my first 4 channel bird this time around). However, some warbirds (P-51 comes to mind) are rather ill-tempered for a variety of reasons, like the tendency to flip onto the prop when landing.
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Old Mar 07, 2012, 09:44 AM
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I've found what I call the narrow view the most challenging on using sims, as trying to line up for landing. Are features in sims that help.

Note recently purchased a Flyzone Switch merely by being impressed by its predictable handling in the RF sim, now have this model and excited to say, indeed flys terrific, just caution it's speedy to me as an opener for the raw beginner, but a wonderful flyer.

As have the RF, likely eventually get the Phoenix, impressed by its graphics. Likely You won't go wrong with either.

Things happen in the real world of flying, sim will at least improve the learning curve, smart to have one. A seasoned flyer is my best advice wish I heeded that advice for less misshaps. Good Luck, great hobby.
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