Beginners

Using the Virtual Cockpit

Fixed cockpits in most sims are great for instrument flying but don't really enable you to simulate real visual flight conditions, where most of the time the pilot's head and attention is out of the cockpit.

Using the virtual cockpit with the HUD display available in most military flight sims gives a much better 'simulation' of the visual flying experience.

Examples of the Virtual Cockpit in action :

Here is a takeoff - circuit and landing flown in the F-100D Super Sabre at RAF Woodbridge, UK.

Hint

  • Zoom the view out to 0.5 zoom for a more realistic field of view and better sensation of speed.
    Use the " - " key
  • Zoom back to 1.0 zoom for a better view on final approach.
    use the " + " key.

F-100D Super Sabre Virtual Cockpit

The default view in virtual cockpit mode.
F-100D Super Sabre Virtual Cockpit

Just after takeoff and in a climbing left turn - you can look where you're going and still monitor altitude and speed on the HUD display.
F-100D Super Sabre Virtual Cockpit

TURNING DOWNWIND - There's the runway - I'm almost parallel and ready to roll out level. In the HUD at upper right you can see the aircraft symbol is almost pointed West.
F-100D Super Sabre Virtual Cockpit Click the pictures for a bigger image

DOWNWIND - Looking back, over the left wing, and just passing the runway threshold.
Time to get the gear and flaps down, ready to turn to finals.
F-100D Super Sabre Virtual Cockpit
Click the pictures for a bigger image

TURNING TO FINALS - You can keep the runway in sight all the way through the turn with a virtual cockpit - just as you would in real life.
F-100D Super Sabre Virtual Cockpit

The canopy rail gives you plenty of cues to the bank angle and attitude of the plane.
F-100D Super Sabre Virtual Cockpit

Rolling level, on speed.
F-100D Super Sabre Virtual Cockpit
F-100D Super Sabre Virtual Cockpit F-100D Super Sabre Virtual Cockpit F-100D Super Sabre Virtual Cockpit F-100D Super Sabre Virtual Cockpit

Touchdown!

Advantages of the virtual cockpit over the normal cockpit include:

  • Higher frame rate (the sim runs more smoothly)
  • Better sense of speed
  • More unobstructed view

Disadvantages are :

  • Inability to read the gauges in most sims up until about 2002

These screenshots were taken in Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator (1998) using the F-100D Super Sabre from the Air Power: The Cold War (2000) enhancement.