Flight simulators have come a long way in the past thirty years and more important for us in the past ten or so for PC based flight simulators. I remember the first simulator I stepped into as a fourteen year old kid. It was like sitting in a refrigerator box with aircraft gauges, controls and no visual cues at all. It was an IFR trainer, a 152 or 172, and had a small cut out at the back where the instructor could doink you upside the head. I mean correct your mistakes. It put you through the motions and you were able to see appropriate changes but as a fledgling pilot who had been flying VFR it would have been fun and more realistic to have outside visual cues.
A year or so later I learned the Air Force wasn't much better equippped. As a Civil Air Patrol cadet we were able to visit an Air Force base as part of our training to become cadet officers. We were allowed to fly the KC-135 and B-52 simulators which were built in old railroad cars. The difference with these simulators was an opaque windscreen that had lights behind it that would flash simulating lightning. The instructor was also able to simulate system problems and weather but the visual cues to the outside world were still missing.
Todays training simulators are a long leap away from that stuff. Visual cues, trees, ground vehicles, troops, other aircraft are all in the modern world of flight simulators. Simulations of air or ground batlles can occur and the simulators themselves can move for added realism.
If you own a home PC and a joystick all you need is the software. Some accessories available are yoke controls, throttle & mixture/propeller quadrants and rudder pedals. As a gyroplane pilot you will probably have a stick rather than a yoke so the joystick will do just fine. Rudder pedals are nice but they can take up some floor space.
The software can range from training, flight instruction, combat, to custom senarios you create. The visual graphics range from good to almost excellant and a lot of this has to do with your computer system and not the software in most cases.
PC based flight simulators can help you with your scanning techniques both inside and outside the cockpit. Perform maneuvers and practice emergency procedures. They can also get you used to the layout of the cockpit and visual references between the aircraft and ground or horizon. You can crash, clip trees and buildings, run out of fuel, mess up your communications, get lost as many times as you like and still be home for supper. You will be able to select comms and navigation controls for most popular models used (in some of the more professional versions of the software). You can even design your own aircraft and interior with some simulators allowing you to fly a replica of your very aircraft before you fly the real one.
What's very important to the builder in respect to flight simulators is regardless of the software used is the ability to "fly" your test flight script. This will help you develop a flow of the script and give a relative simulation to visual and audio cues. You can fly and refly the script until you know what check is next and even if your aircraft is not available you can select an aircraft with similar performance. Yes rotorheads even an airplane can be used because it is the workload and procedure of the test flight script that we are trying to get familiar with. Just remember that the visual, audio and performance will be unique to you in your real aircraft.
With a bit of surfing on the Internet you can find some downloads available that people have designed for use with some of the Microsoft Flight Simulators. Some of these downloads are free and others you may have to pay for to download. I have found some downloads for the X-plane version for the Fairey Rotodyne and some small gyroplanes so take a look around.
If your communications skills need to be sharpened or your ears need some training. There are communication simulators available that use a headset and allow you to practice listening and responding to flight communications.
Switchology practice can be done for your radios and navigation equipment either through your flight simulator software or through the equipment manufacturers software. You can get all the practice you need to learn to operate the equipment without running down your aircraft battery.
I hope I have given you some ideas that will help you feel a bit more comfartable when it is time to fly your gyroplane. Remember that this is for our purposes familiarity training for our test flight script. There really is no subsitute for actual flight training.
To have your skills honed or recieve intial flight training in a gyroplane, please go to the Flight Training navigation bar.
You can find a free download of the CarterCopter Demonstrator for X-Plane at the Downloads Navigation Bar.
Microsoft Flight Simulator X
X-Plane Portal (multi - language)
The following link provides some great info on setting up a personal flight simulator in your home (DYI). They also provide a Kellet Flight Simulator- to get this info you will have to use the contact page of the site.
Roger Dodger Aviation LLC
farmboyz flight sims