I get this question quite a bit here and at YouTube, so I thought I’d post about it. I use two items from MYGOFLIGHT: their Flex Yoke / Universal Clamp and their iPad Kneeboard Sport which connects the iPad to the clamp (and which can also strap around your leg). Those are Amazon links if you want to go to their respective product pages. A bit pricey, but they work extremely well and are for real-world aviation, where I also use them. Highly recommended.
I’ve been getting familiar with Classic Jet Simulations’ World Traffic 3, and I have to say I really like it. It’s worth spending a little time reviewing some of the tutorials for how to use the software, and YouTube has plenty of them. Once I understood the basics I found it an excellent addition to the sim. Here’s a quick video tour. It’s not meant to be a how-to, nor a full review of my settings etc. But it should give you a feel for how the software integrates with X-Plane, the ease with which it generates traffic, the quality of the AI models, and its ability to generate GA traffic (which is excellent).
For the past several weeks I’ve been using Jason Chandler’s PA 28-161 as my trainer in the sim. I train in a Warrior II in the real world, and in P3D and X-Plane I’d never found a simulated aircraft that had quite the right flight characteristics, especially in the pattern. I’m happy to report that Jason’s Warrior III has the flight model nailed.
Even better, Jason sells this bird as part of a Piper Package that includes 14 Piper aircraft (with Archers, Arrows, Saratogas, and more) for $15. Yes, you read that correctly. All look great and, from what I’ve read online, have flight models that are dead-on. While they may not have all the cockpit sounds etc. that you might find in a Carenado or other “corporate” payware aircraft, they all look great, fly right on the numbers, and were easy to modify for my cockpit layout in Planemaker.
In our hobby there are few places you can get solid aircraft for $1 a piece, but this is one. If Piper’s aren’t your thing, Jason makes several other aircraft, including several jets, a series of Beechcraft birds, and a set of Cirrus SRs that are good enough to be used by Cirrus for training. I do think I may be getting one of those as well. See all his aircraft here.
As I’ve been downloading more ortho scenery to my X-Plane library I started needing a map of what tiles I’d downloaded so I could focus on areas where I really want to fly and not duplicate efforts. I couldn’t find a simple solution to this, so I started making my own map, when I got a tip in the .Org forums to check out xOrganizer. It’s a Windows utility that tracks all your custom scenery, LUA plugins, mesh, libraries, overlays, ortho scenery, airports and more. It also shows your scenery on a map, scans for duplicates, allows you to activate or deactivate scenery and plugins with a click — and perhaps best of all — automatically organizes your scenery config file so the order is appropriate (and tidy). It’s a great utility, and like so much in the X-Plane world, it’s free. You can get it here.
A few months back I replaced my Saitek Switch Panel with the 1015 Cessna Combo Panel from Desktop Aviator. It’s a great product, very much like the real thing, and one of the best units I’ve bought for the sim. Here’s a short video review, and thanks to Bob at Desktop Aviator for making such a great unit.
I get that question often, with people wondering where I came across the very real-world-looking placards and stickers that I have on the dash, the throttle quadrant, and elsewhere. The answer is Screaming Aero Graphics, which sells interior and exterior placard sticker kits for a large variety of aircraft. I purchased mine on eBay, but they have since opened a full-service website where they sell all sorts of aviation decals (including striping, registration numbers, and more).
I purchased the Cessna 182 kit, and it was easy to use. Just peel and stick, and where a sticker didn’t quite fit my panel (like the flap detents on the throttle quadrant) I just trimmed it. Easy. Service was quick and correct and pricing was fair. Check them out.
I’ve been saving for this and finally pulled the trigger. Here’s a quick look at the Basement Sim’s new avionics from FlightIllusion (http://www.flightillusion.com). I can’t wait to start flying with them! Thanks for watching.
Several weeks ago I added the Desktop Aviator Fuel Selector Panel to the sim, and I’ve liked it very much. Here’s a video review, and at $75 I can recommend it. Thanks for watching.
For the first few months I had the basement sim I had one headset, which connected via a traditional mic input on the back of the PC. I knew that I’d want to be able to fly with two folks in the simulator, and I liked how FlightSim Liberty had an intercom system in his sim and I wanted to model that. My original solution was to use two USB inputs (which allows the PC to see each headset as an individual sound card, which is helpful for managing simulator sounds), one connected to a Saitek headset via a USB-to-traditional mic/sound converter, and the other connected to a Rugged Radios aviation headset via a USB-to-aviation jacks converter. While this worked OK, this solution does not allow real-time crosstalk across the headsets, so there is always a brief (and distracting if not maddening) delay when the two folks in the sim talk to each other.
I researched a number of USB-based solutions, and ultimately settled on the fabulous FSX-DUAL aviation headset/USB adapter from Flight Sounds.
This is a very functional piece of simulation equipment:
- Volume and squelch controls for two channels
- Separate external audio volume control, for controlling the sound of the sim, PilotEdge, etc.
- Push to talk switch support for each channel (although I’ve configured a button on my yoke for PTT), with a master PTT switch to override the PTT functionality and LED indicators for push to talk confirmation for each channel
- USB 1.1 and 2.0 compatible, with no external USB power needed (great for those of us with already-loaded USB hubs)
- Plug and Play with Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP and Mac OS X
- Two sets of standard General Aviation headset connectors (PJ-068 and PJ-055B) and support for headset impedances of 100 to 600 ohms (mono and stereo)
- Zero delay voice feedback
These last two features are what I was really looking for. First, the FSX-DUAL lets me use my two real-world aviation headsets in the sim, one of which I also use for my real-world flight training. They look, feel, and sound great, and because of their impedance they impart that great “aviation mic” sound when talking to someone else in the sim or a controller on PilotEdge. Second, there is absolutely zero delay across the two headsets. All communication is real-time, and it sounds fantastic. Finally, the “plug-and-play” promise delivers. On my Windows 10 system I simply plugged the FSX-DUAL into a USB port, plugged in the headsets, and was off and running. No driver downloads, no configuration hassles. The Windows audio settings see the DUAL as a headset with mic and I can use and configure them just like any other. It all works great.
As do the people at FSX-DUAL. As near as I can tell, the company is based in New Zealand. The ordering and shipping process was simple, and when New Zealand post for some reason returned my unit to them without delivery here in the states, Kate from Flight Sounds let me know, launched an investigation, and re-shipped the unit with track-and-trace free of charge. She was as friendly and as responsive as could be. Truly first class.
Finally, the unit looks great. If you’re building a sim that you want to look real-world, the FSX-DUAL fits right in. Here are some shots from the basement sim, where the DUAL sits under the trim wheel and throttle quadrant (click them to enlarge them):
This is not an inexpensive add-on, weighing in at $219.95 USD. You can buy some real-world intercoms for less, but then need to either settle with each being part of the overall PC sound card, or running a USB-to-aux adapter. As for an out-of-the box solution the DUAL really was the only viable option I found, and candidly, it has been worth every penny. It looks great, works great, and Flight Sounds provided exemplary support. At least for me, the FSX-DUAL from Flight Sounds is highly recommended.