First Catch Your Rabbit
It is an urban (or rural?) myth that the once famous cookery book writer, Mrs Beeton, prefaced her recipe for rabbit stew with the above sentence. Maybe few of us eat rabbit stew any more, much less capture rabbits (well if you do, please let it go again - don't eat it!.) However, back to flight simulation! Long before you take to the skies, there is a lot of work to do.
Once airborne, you can't just pop in to the nearest garage if you run short of fuel; there are no road signs if you find yourself a bit lost; is your aircraft too heavy to take off? These are just some of the things you need to check before taking off in an aircraft. So you will find our Preflight web page very useful - setting out most of what is necessary to enjoy a trouble-free simulated flight.
Two Pilots - One Aircraft - Who has control?
Cockpit sharing can be very sociable and a lot of fun. Both pilots can be half a world apart, connected to each other over the internet, but there is no detectable delay in flight performance. In the applications below, two people can share one aircraft cockpit. Aircraft control can be swapped between them quickly and simply. The handling pilot has full control of all aircraft systems. The non-handling pilot has control over the aircraft systems except his joystick and rudder pedals and any buttons on his joystick. This facility is extremely valuable for training of course. An instructor can demonstrate a manoeuvre sitting at his computer, while the student watches the aircraft being flown on his computer. The student can then practice the manoeuvre while the instructor watches.
- For FSX/ FSX-Steam Edition and Prepar3D, there is the inbuilt shared cockpit option within the sim. Full details can be found on the FSX Tutorials page.
- For X-Plane, the option currently is a payware program called Smart Copilot. Unfortunately, because it is payware, the Club is unable to use it for one to one training.
- One of a few truly game-changing utilities for Flight Simulation enthusiasta in the last few years has been JoinFS. This simple to use application not only works in the three FSX family Sims, but also in X-Plane.
JoinFS deserves its own paragraph on this page because it has revolutionised the world of multiplayer flying. Although VATSIM and IVAO have offered a multiplayer environment for many years, and both FSX and X-Plane have cockpit sharing capabilities as described above, the Freeware JoinFS allows cockpit sharing without the need for port forwarding or payware or indeed anything complcated at all, and it works across platforms. A pilot flying X-Plane can share their cockpit with someone using FSX, or Prepar3D and vice versa. As a consequence, it has become the multiplayer environment of choice for Club training. An additional advantage is the author, Peter Memmott, is an active Club member, and the software is in continual development..