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Navigation Improvements

Controlling your aircraft, using the autopilot etc.

Navigation Improvements

Postby Mitchell » Fri Nov 21, 2008 7:12 pm

Navigation is the hardest part of FlightGear. In fact, it probably could be less tedious.

Just a suggestion. But when flying the 787, and other airliners, it would make good sense to have some sophisticated navigation help available- such as those systems available to pilots in real-life- IRS, INS or a GPS system that is more user-friendly and intuitive.

More information about nav systems can be found here: http://www.pilotinfo.tv/New_airline_fol ... vigate.htm

Hm. Perhaps when I get better at code I can submit something.............
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Re: Navigation Improvements

Postby syd_cyyf » Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:26 pm

Well get busy and implement these ;)
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Re: Navigation Improvements

Postby Mitchell » Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:38 am

Haha you're right, of course.
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Re: Navigation Improvements

Postby syd_cyyf » Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:03 am

But seriously , what difficulty are you having ?
The 777 uses the Menu autopilot/route-manager to simulate entering a CDU flightplan,and most of the autopilot buttons work (I still have a few to straighten out).There does need to be more work on the MFD , but thats progressing ...
We do try to make them operate as realistic as possible , not make them easier to use for beginners.
I'd say the biggest problem is a shortage of tutorials , which I'm guilty of.
Or am I missing the point ?
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Re: Navigation Improvements

Postby HHS » Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:29 am

syd_cyyf wrote:But seriously , what difficulty are you having ?
The 777 uses the Menu autopilot/route-manager to simulate entering a CDU flightplan,and most of the autopilot buttons work (I still have a few to straighten out).There does need to be more work on the MFD , but thats progressing ...
We do try to make them operate as realistic as possible , not make them easier to use for beginners.
I'd say the biggest problem is a shortage of tutorials , which I'm guilty of.
Or am I missing the point ?

Well, LNAV and VNAV are not working correct yet on the 777.
But real Navigation is much more difficult than in FGFS- the route-Manager does this all in a simple form and it works!
Up, up and away
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Re: Navigation Improvements

Postby SilverWings » Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:34 pm

syd_cyyf wrote:But seriously , what difficulty are you having ?
The 777 uses the Menu autopilot/route-manager to simulate entering a CDU flightplan,and most of the autopilot buttons work (I still have a few to straighten out).There does need to be more work on the MFD , but thats progressing ...
We do try to make them operate as realistic as possible , not make them easier to use for beginners.
I'd say the biggest problem is a shortage of tutorials , which I'm guilty of.
Or am I missing the point ?


How can anyone know how to work something if there is no tutorial? Pilots aren't born knowing how to fly.

There's no shame in not knowing something and others should be willing to teach and provide at least basic instructions. Why not? Why shouldn't it be easy for beginners? They are beginners after all.

Having installed the CVS version three weeks ago, I have had nothing but confusion and trouble. How do you make the autopilot route manager work? I can't make it work. I try to set a destination and It brings up a window wanting to know where the file is. What file does it want? That's not realistic- no pilot is ever asked for a file in such a manner.

There should be ways of limiting this kind of confusion. This game could be big. But you have to understand that few people are coding genii and fewer want to get a flight sim to dither around- people want to fly. Have some things set up and ready to go for novices. Have levels in the game where it's less frustrating and complicated for beginners- they get to do less. And have levels for advanced fliers- they get to do more. Perhaps gamers could 'graduate' to more advanced levels on completion of set flying tasks, (after mastering take off, landing, radio communication). They could learn the skills necessary to fly by doing so, and more onus would be passed onto the advancing pilot, which would not be unreasonable.

But to go- here it is, go fly is a bit much to ask. It is a game. A simulator. Yet typing commands and doing code acrobatics will turn off the average or inexperienced person who, like me, just wants to fly.

For now, I'll be just happy if MINE ever WORKS!
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Re: Navigation Improvements

Postby Gijs » Sat Nov 22, 2008 4:56 pm

We have a lot of documentation available already. In the beginning of this project, most developers were more interested in creating new stuff than spending their time on making tutorials. Not the best choise, but a logic one. It's one of the reasons why we now have a nice working (and looking) simulator! Now, after a few years, we got a large amount of users. And we finally have people with the time to make tutorials, documentation and howtos. Some of us are already working on extensive documentation at our wiki[/url[. One of the articles is about the use of [url=http://wiki.flightgear.org/index.php/Autopilot]the autopilot ;)

A little more about the AP. We have two ways of autopilot in FlightGear: the menu dialog and 3d cockpit. Some planes (like 777) can't be operated through the menu dialog, their APs have to be set with the use of knobs and buttons in the 3D cockpit: as in real life. It sounds complicated and it is, sadly. But once you know what planes use what AP you can faiirly easy engage the autopilot on your flights.

For help you can always ask one (or more) of our developers. There are various ways to get in contact.

1. The forum: great for helping people and get help on the use aspects of FlightGear, but a little worse for asking help on how to develope stuff.
2. The irc channel: great place to get in contact with people that help you without the need to wait. See http://www.flightgear.org/mail.html
3. The mailinglist: another great way to get in contact with almost all developers. See http://www.flightgear.org/mail.html

Now, what keeps you from asking help? Lots of people are willing to help you. And in the mean time, they will continue working on FlightGear ánd documentation, so keep a watch on the Wiki ;)

Regards,
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Re: Navigation Improvements

Postby syd_cyyf » Sat Nov 22, 2008 6:21 pm

Why shouldn't it be easy for beginners? They are beginners after all.

Of course , but I dont think instructors remove difficult instruments for the sake of the new pilot ...they start with
something simple and train up ...
How do you make the autopilot route manager work?

you enter your waypoints like KSFO@30000 , in the edit box , then switch on the flight director, press the LNAV and VNAV buttons, when at at least 500 or above after takeoff , press the AP button, on the autopilot panel.
There should be ways of limiting this kind of confusion

Yes I agree , more aircraft specific tutorials , or help files... Gijs has pointed out good sources of information.
It is a game. A simulator.

well you got the second part right , and thats the biggest problem...
I think most of us who work on this aren't doing this for the end user amusement , its usually because we are interested in certain aircraft or flight dynamics, and cant do this in real life for one reason or another , so realism is a must .Im not into the "game" aspect , I want to know that what Im flying behaves as accurately as possible.
But if I were to climb into a real 777 , I wouldnt expect to know how to fire it up and take off , all by myself.
I'd sure be trying to figure it out,before they hauled me away,though :)

In short , asking for help is another option.
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Re: Navigation Improvements

Postby Mitchell » Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:29 am

There's a lot of talk about realism.

But what's realistic? None of us are ever going to step into a cockpit wearing a pilot uniform without having good reason to do so- and without adequate instruction. So realism must include a component of instruction, for one thing- just as in real life. This instruction must logically be considered as important as realistic aircraft simulation. That's real life- real planes and real pilots. You can't just hand a Joe a plane and say "now try flying it with little input." It would never happen.

It's no good trying to determine flight dynamics of any aircraft without possessing a proper base of education in the particular aircraft. How does anyone know what a Cessna is supposed to do without being taught? There has already been talk on this forum previously about flying the 787 (I think?). Someone found it difficult. A comment was rightly made saying that pilots undergo hours of training (and this usually at the training department of the relevant manufacturer) before mastery could be attained. That's realistic. But where is this component in FG?

You can't pick and choose realism. "We'll be realistic about the planes, but not about flight instruction" seems to be the paradigm, but it is illegitimate and doesn't work.

Simply:

Instruction in air flight with regard to FG seems scattered; in some instances, it is nonexistent; and no-one wants to keep coming back to forums, (or using Google), and waiting hours or days for a possible solution to some issue or bug.

There needs to be more information- concise; and easily located- all in one concise manual; so that there is in essence a flight "instructor" (even in the shape of a .pdf) to approach at all times. Especially since FG is gaining in popularity, (there are over 1200 members at this forum; how many are active, I don't know, of course. But this is a significant indicator of success), it is important to develop user-end documentation to compliment AND supplement the awesome work already accomplished, (honestly- the scenery is the best of any sim I have ever seen. Breath-taking realism).

That would reduce using the forums as tedious consultation points. And it would free up developers to concentrate their resources on developing the simulator- their valuable time wouldn't be interrupted with mundane questions from newbs like me.

Any real questions/problems could of course be addressed. But the small things could be taken care of better with a comprehensive (and concise! It is important to be concise, unlike this post) manual.

Furthermore, information needs to be authoritative. I know we live in an age of opinions and beliefs and fora. But there is never any guarantee that the information gained through hooking into an IRC channel is the best available information- or will work to resolve some issue. Further, people have to know that such channels exist (and who they are talking to on the irc)- something that could be clarified in a manual.

Pass me the information, and I'll type the comprehensive manual.
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Re: Navigation Improvements

Postby statto » Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:28 am

I think there's a bigger problem here and one which is indicative of the type of work we do collectively on this simulation.

For instance, it would be GREAT to have a training part of the simulation. I for one am only starting to get better with the Piper Cherokee, which should be a relatively "simple" plane to fly - I tried the jets and had severe difficulties.

I learned to sim-fly in MSFS, starting with 5.1 way back when, where the game had to teach you how to fly before it did anything else, because if it didn't, you wouldn't get off the ground and then go angrily demand your money back. Hell, the thing even had a feature called "Land Me" - just hit "X" and the simulator would put you on the numbers at Meigs Field.

However, here, with so many different people doing so many different things to continually make the simulator better, I'm afraid it seems some people need a manual just to install and play FlightGear (those who aren't using ubuntu's command line :D ), not to mention the sensation of a successful take off and landing.

If you've never flown a flight sim before, and are not a pilot, you have no idea what a pattern is, how to take off, how to land, et cetera, the first time you FlightGear. And unless you're subscribed to the Linux model AND have patience, you do not want to Google to find your answer, nor post on a forum - it's instant gratification. For others who know what is going on, it may be next to impossible to adapt from one airplane to another in FlightGear because of the differences. For instance, I can Cherokee pretty good now, put it on the ground when I want to, still have some straight 'n level issues whenever I leave it unattended for more than a half minute but it's now the easiest FG plane for me to fly. However, I can't fly any of the Boeings for the life of me.

When you have many different people from around the world making different models, this makes it harder to "instruct". It becomes up to the creator of the Boeing to write out instructions on how to use his or her aircraft for the uninitiated, and there are no "training scenarios" to help.

So the question I have is - what kind of "instruction manual" are you talking about? Do you mean specifically for the Boeing? Do you mean for people to come to FlightGear in general? Airplane specific training would be nice, but it's probably easier just to ask on the forum.

But I think this is a very important feature we're missing and will never have unless someone makes it their quest.

Finally, I think there's a ways to go on the scenery, but it just keeps getting better :)
Custom Scenery available from http://www.stattosoftware.com/flightgear
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Re: Navigation Improvements

Postby Gijs » Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:35 am

Since version 1.0 FlightGear has the ability to play interactive tutorials. These tutorials tell the pilot what to do and react on his actions. Take a look at the Citation Bravo (Help > Start Tutorial). Currently there is only one tutorial for this plane: the startup tutorial. Other planes (like A-10) have nice tutorials too. If more people would make use of these tutorials and make new ones, we all would benefit.

Another great feature to teach pilots how to fly is the Dual Control, by AndersG. This addon makes it possible to have two players in the same cockpit. One as pilot and the other as co-pilot. Great for learning!
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Re: Navigation Improvements

Postby syd_cyyf » Sun Nov 23, 2008 8:36 am

I dont disagree with anything previously said , but I think some people dont understand that we do this in our spare time , between RL and work , and there are only so many hours in a day.Its easy to say what should or shouldn't be done , but its a lot of work to actually implement this stuff.Now if someone wants to pay my bills while I work on this, well I wont argue ;)
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Re: Navigation Improvements

Postby Groucho » Sun Nov 23, 2008 10:07 am

syd_cyyf wrote:Now if someone wants to pay my bills while I work on this, well I wont argue ;)


I am still trying to figure out how to earn a living by flying around in FlightGear. Some people became rich with SeccondLife- why not in FlightGear :D

Talking about instructions, there is also another issue not yet mentioned. A lot of people are jumping into fgfs, then choose the aircraft they always wanted to fly (which in most cases is the fastest, biggest, unstable or even unfinished in the hangars) and the following discussion is like:
"How do I switch it on?" - "Start fuel in jection generators" - "What is that?" - "It is ...." - "What is that for?" - "..." - "Where is it?" - "right below VOR1" - "What is a VOR?" and so it continues.

You never start flying with a 767, 777 or F16 in real life- in fact you learn the basics in a C172 class, then upgrade to a Seneca class, after which you practise IFR and CVFR routines, turbo prop and then move over to jets and turbine engines. This is a process which takes years because after each stage you will have to earn some dozens to hundreds of flight hours to be accepted for upgrading to the next phase.
Anything else is just a matter of being rated for another a/c of the same type (c172-> Cherokee, 737->A320, etc...)
In FlightGear people are often trying to accelerate this- lack of time, lack of interest for a certain a/c, procedures, etc.
To be able to accomplish and support this, we (the FlightGear community) would have to provide lots of documentation and instructor personal. However I believe it is reasonable to accept that this is not possible.
It would be great to have a consistent flightgear flight school with instructors, procedures and lessons and rating documents for all aircrafts.

But since this is a sparetime effort we will have to wait until somebody is willing to sacrifice his spare time to organise all this or until somebody likes to pay for all this and finance my Agusta A109 which I always wanted and which is still missing in my private real life hangar :D
Last edited by Groucho on Sun Nov 23, 2008 4:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Navigation Improvements

Postby Jester » Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:17 pm

People keep asking for features, and when confronted that they could contribute too, they hide behind such excuses as "I don't know C++". No coding is necessary for writing tutorials or wiki articles. You could start a forum topic where users could volunteer to learn a specific aircraft and write tutorials for it. Remember, this is a community project.
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Re: Navigation Improvements

Postby BrianVanSpeybroeck » Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:50 pm

I think one of the points that is missing here is that if you want to fly a simulator *you* are going to have to go do some research and some learning. All of the information is available online or thru books. We have been *given* a high level, sophisticated simulator (not a game...) and then people complain because no one is spoon feeding them flight school. :roll:

FGFS is not perfect yet. That's because the people developing it have families to feed and real jobs that pay money to do this. FGFS is a side venture and, while serious, has to take a back seat to getting on with some of lifes more immediate and pressing issues. Like going to the day job and earning a living.

Stop bitching about not being catered to and go learn to fly using FGFS as a backup or supplement. I can fly all of the aircraft I want to fly and can navigate (at night or by instruments) to any point I choose after flying this sim for a few years and researching and training my mind supplementally.

It's not easy and it's not a game. It's a sim and a darn good one not to mention very entertaining and difficult. Start with a Cessna 172, learn to turn and bank, learn to land, learn and study and then begin moving up to overland flights. Get some basic flight books and start learning navigation and then read and learn about more sophisticated means and implement them using the sim.

It will be nice when FGFS publishes every stick of information we need and gives it to us for free but until that happens develop a teeny bit of self reliance and motivate yourself to learn and grow your mind and skills using this wonderful sim as a basic tool.

If I can do it, you can do it. All it takes is a few thousand hours in the sim (yes, I have thousands of hours flying this sim...) and you'll be surprised at how adept you might become without someone having to drop everything and write you a tutorial.
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