Bozzlife: My father's Flight Sim hobby

in STEMGeeks3 months ago

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My dad has always been fascinated with flying as long as I can remember. When he was a kid he was an avid model rocket enthusiast. When we were kids, he rekindled that interest and introduced us to that hobby as well.

If fate had dealt him a different hand, he probably would have enlisted in the Air Force. Unfortunately, even from an early age his eye sight wasn't the greatest and he pretty much knew he would have no chance of flying.

Instead he joined the Navy and got to travel the world (stationed in Vietnam) that way. My mom on the other hand is deathly afraid of flying, so jetting off on a vacation or two was always out of the question. Besides a small plane around Bar Harbor Maine, the first time I ever flew I was well into my 20's.

Instead, my dad (who has always been into computers, thus my love of them) dove into the world of flight simulation when it became available.


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Although there have been many iterations of the software over the years, I think the version that came out in 1993 is where he spent the bulk of his time. It was actually such a big deal that you could purchase different planes to import into the software and fly around.

Companies made software so you could build your own scenery. My dad was pretty unimpressed with the existing scenery for the state of Michigan so he took it upon himself to pretty much recreate the entire state. He even drove around to airports in the state so that he could accurately build them in the software.

Believe it or not there used to be (might still be around) a Flight Sim magazine and my dad's scenery software was featured in the magazine at one point because they were so impressed with it.

My dad has/had a small group of online friends who he would fly with every now and then. I think he still has a weekly flight with a guy from Chicago. He tried to get me into it several times, but I just couldn't do it.

I remember when Flight Simulator X came out and as was typical with most Microsoft products everyone (including my dad) hated it. There were so many issues and bugs. Eventually they sorted them out and they used the software for years.

My dad even went as far to buy the yoke, throttle, and pedals so he could get the experience of a real flight. He and his friends used software on a separate machine that would emulate the tower and air traffic control when they would get near airports. They even used Team Speak to communicate with each other while flying.

This was all before consoles and cooperative games like Call of Duty ever existed.


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My dad was just starting to be done with flight simulator and was devoting the majority of his time to "No Man's Sky" when Flight Simulator 2020 came out.

Much to my surprise he dove back in with a renewed enthusiasm. He confided in me this past weekend that he actually enjoys "No Man's Sky" more, but that doesn't keep him from doing the regular flight in FS2020.

In fact, he went out and spent some of his Christmas money on the new yoke and throttle that you see in the opening picture. With each piece coming in at just about what my mortgage payment would be, it seems like a really expensive hobby to me. I keep my mouth shut because he enjoys it and he worked hard for the money, he can spend it how he likes.

This yoke and throttle are supposed to be some of the most realistic on the market these days. He is still using his old pedals and isn't sure if he will upgrade those. Apparently this company is working on a set, but hasn't released it on the market yet.

I talked him into upgrading his old keyboard with a newer mechanical keyboard with blue switches. Those are the closest I have found to the IBM Model M keyboard switches and I hope he is happy with them. I love my IBM Model M.

The pastor at our church has his pilots license and shares a plane with a couple of other people. He took my dad up flying one time and believe it or not my dad was able to hold his own behind the controls given his experience with flight sim.

I can't tell you the number of hours my dad has spent behind his computer doing flight sim related stuff. It would probably equate to years if I tallied it all up.

So there you go, all of this just to show off my dad's shiny new Christmas present.


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Do those throttles work of your Dad's? Looks really cool.

Yeah, he just picked them up online. Like I said, they weren't cheap! I about fell out of the chair when he told me how much he spent.

Does it work with No Man's Sky as well? I play this on the PS4.

Oh, I guess I don't know for sure. I don't see why you couldn't but there might be a bit of a learning curve. I don't think he uses it for that.

I've known a couple of Flight Sim guys, and actually a lot more private pilot guys. I've been told that really good flight sim guys can just about fly a Cessna right out of the box.

I actually think it's a pretty cool hobby, and I commend your Dad for pursuing it.

It keeps him busy and it gives him a reason to be social so I am okay with it. I believe you when you say they could fly a Cessna. He can tell you all kinds of stuff I have no clue about!

Cessnas are not all that complex (just don't leave the flaps down when you have to go around on the landing pattern. You fall down.). Think Volkswagen with wings...

😀

That must be pretty close to real flying. I have had lessons in a glider and a plane, but I'm not sure I would go through all that is needed for a licence. Simulators do not really appeal either, but each to their own. My hobbies would bore other people. I have seen some big simulator setups with multiple screens so you can look around you. People will spend on stuff like that.

He has the second screen so he can look out to the left. I think if he had the space and the money he would love to have four or five screens. Space is the biggest hinderance.

Need this!

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All CRTs with lots of PCs driving them.

There is a NASCAR simulator that has 180 degree vision. You actually climb into the the thing to get started (I think it runs the EA Sports Program) and it provides brake, wheel and throttle feedback that is accurate enough to use if for training guys that have never been to a specific track...

I expect the teams have very realistic rigs, but it seems hobbyists can spend a lot on theirs. Anything can become an obsession.

I think the teams use readily available general public items. They are said to be that good (and that expensive).

Haha, yeah, he would love that!

Awesome setup!

This is when you've made it in life 😁

For sure!

What an awesome hobby! It doesn't surprise me that your dad could fly the real thing after all those hours behind the sim, I think this is how the Air Force conducts a majority of its flight training now.

It definitely keeps him out of trouble!

 3 months ago 

Sounds like your father is a more hardcore gamer than he realises.

Yeah, for sure. I am actually a bit shocked he likes "No Man's Sky" as much as he does. That first person action type stuff never really appealed to him in the past.