The complete radio control model airplane FAQ.  


Model Airplane Flight Simulator FAQ's

Are the flight sims worth the money?

Should I get a flight sim?

List of flight simulator links


RealFlight Planes to download:

3D Cap setup file, RF II format By Anders: I haven't been following the latest posting of the RealFlight simulator, but a while back there were some complaints about 3D inconsistencies. Anyway, I just got one, and found a great 3D setting on my RF II simulator yesterday. A derivative of the Cap; I empirically modified CG, control surfaces, overall size, etc., and succeeded emulating my old 3D modified, AW 40% Giles, almost identically. Without fine-tuning the parameters, the only discrepancies I encountered, was a different feeling in high alpha knife edge, and too low pitch inertia. The waterfalls were way too fast compared to my Giles, and the rudder authority allowed for fourth quadrant KE loops at idle.... However; these issues should be solvable, with some side area, rudder, elevator or radio software adjustments. My old favorite was the Ambrosia Aerochopper, which is great for 3D practice, but the RF II is now superior....



Are the flight simulators worth the money?

    YES!!! Flight simulators do several things. The most important two are: They teach you the eye-hand coordination with the sticks; They teach you the plane orientation and stick movement when the plane is coming back at you.

    There are a lot of things to learn with this hobby. Flight simulators are used by beginners and advanced competitors alike. The flight simulators allow you to practice without the risk of losing a plane. Many aerobatic pilots will practice a new maneuver, like the difficult Rolling Circle,  on the flight simulator until they have it under control. Other pilots just use the simulator to "warm up" before heading out to the field.

    For a beginner, the flight simulator will help you learn the stick movements that are used in normal flight. Flying straight and level, in a simple oval patter, is not as easy as it looks for a beginner. The flight simulator will train the eyes and fingers to move appropriately and predict where the plane is going, and then respond to the motion. With the prices ranging from free to over $200, many will ask if it's worth the money. Well, if the simulator saves you just one plane, then it is worth it.

    As a beginner using the simulator, don't be too concerned about learning to land the plane in the exact center of the runway. Keep in mind that the simulators don't offer you the peripheral vision that a real airplane does--sometimes it's difficult to even see the runway in the simulator. Instead, focus on learning to fly straight and level, and then at a low altitude. When you master that, then work on slowly allowing the plane to settle in on the ground.

    Just as experts find the simulators helpful in learning new aerobatic maneuvers, beginners will find them useful in learning to fly. rcfaq 



Should I get a flight simulator? Are they worth it? Will they help me learn to fly my radio controlled model airplane?

(There's a list of sims at the bottom.)

    Radio controlled model airplane flight simulators (like RealFlight, Dave Brown's RCFS, Aerochopper, and a few others) make learning less expensive or stressful. The flight simulators are realistic in some ways, but not in others. Where they really shine is in helping you learn stick movements, and quick responses--without the expense of a crash. A lot of the guys who learned to do tricky maneuvers, like rolling circles and hovering, started out by practicing on a flight simulator.

    One of the weaknesses of the flight sims is the limited view. You are restricted to a viewport the size of your computer monitor. I heard of one guy who hooked up his projection screen TV, and that sounds about as realistic as you can get. For those of you with a little 14-15" monitor (I have a 19") you may have trouble seeing the detail of the plane, unless you enlarge its scale and fly close. 

    The limited view also makes it difficult to land, because often you can't see the ground. Final approach is usually the most difficult for me, because unless you have some mountains in the background for orientation, you may not know which direction the runway is in. The simple answer to this is to just not worry about it. Afterall, you can land on any flat ground in the sim (with RealFlight, anyway) so just pick a place to land once you see the ground. At least then you can practice the straight & level approach, and if you want to land in a particular place, just fly over to it with a low altitude.




Here's a comment from an anonymous user on the rec.models.rc.air newsgroup:

    Buy Realflight - you won't regret it. It will save you hundreds of dollars in airplanes and quite a bit of frustration. It is HARDLY a computer game - it is indeed a simulator. If you treat it seriously and practice, you will get to solo very very quickly.
    I just taught my girlfriend to fly with it. She crashed approximately 400 times but that is now totally in the past. She is now enjoying a series of touch and go landings that I am envious of, with loops and rolls in between. Make sure you get the new G2 version.
-Plane Guy




RC Flight Simulators:

Dave Brown Products RCFS 2001

Great Planes RealFlight



PiccoFly--the Picco Heli sim

FMS flight sim--free shareware download

FMS Tx interface by Matt Clement




All of the information on this web site is copyright 2001 by rcfaq.com. All rights reserved.
Revised: January 12, 2002 .

email webmaster@rcfaq.com


Hit Counter