Phoenix R/C Pro Simulator V4.0
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When the rain clouds are over your flying field and you still want to scratch the flying itch, fire up the Phoenix Professional RC Flight Simulation 4. The Phoenix Professional RC Flight Simulation's stunning graphics and incredibly realistic physics are among the best of any desktop flight simulation. The revolutionary InfinityScape 3D landscape generator lets you fly beyond the horizon over beautiful, every-changing terrain that you create and control. Plus with Phoenix, you get hundreds of aircraft to fly - including accurately modeled aircraft from HobbyZone?, ParkZone?, E-flite?, Hangar 9?, Blade?, and JR? Heli-all the brands you know and love. And the Phoenix virtual hangar is constantly expanding with free aircraft, flying sites and feature downloads. You also have the option of flying online with friends and instructors or with three unique AI flying buddies that demonstrate proper techniques while they fly with you.
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Phoenix V4 vs Real Flight 6.5
Phoenix V4 has models from Horizon Hobby, this was a big draw for me as I have a lot of models from eFlite and Blade. Being able to fly them in the simulator is a great way to practice and master new maneuvers before I try them in the air.
Phoenix V4 has most of the Align T-Rex series helicopters, vs just a couple in Real Flight. Again I like this feature as I have 5 helicopters from Align.
With Phoenix V4 updates are free presently, this is the greatest feature of the software since upgrades seem to come out on an yearly/biyearly basis. With Real Flight upgrades are only free if you are going from say 6.0 to 6.5, if your software is greater than 0.5 difference in version you will have to pay for the upgrade.
If you have your own radio then Phoenix V4 is a cheaper solution since they sell a version without a transmitter so you can use your own. Real Flight only sells their simulator with the control box as it is how they do copy protection. With Phoenix the copy protection is in the USB interface cable. You can use your own controller with Real Flight as well but it still requires that you go through the fake usb controller. If you don't have your own controller then Phoenix V4 is still a good solution as the version sold with a controller is an actual RC controller, not just a USB joystick fashioned to look like a controller in the case of Real Flight. Using your own controller gives you the advantage of flying the simulator with your real life model settings.
Still Real Flight's non working controller has it advantages, for one you don't need to have a controller right away or get a very basic controller that you will out grow quickly (the transmitter included with Phoenix is a DX5e a 5 channel basic controller. If you really get into RC, especially helicopters you are going to need something with more programming). The non-working controller is always ready when you are. When you use your own controller with Phoenix it uses battery power from your transmitter. You have to always keep the transmitter charged and ready to use with Phoenix. With Real Flight since it uses the usb control box any model you choose to fly is already setup switch wise for the controller. In Phoenix you should have a model memory in your transmitter set aside for simulator use (for flying models you do not have, this way you don't accidentally make changes to your real model settings), and sometimes you need to program switches for specific models.
There used to be a large advantage in physics with helicopters for Phoenix V4. In Real Flight 5.5 and lower helicopters just felt very "floaty" meaning it took a lot for them to crash. With Phoenix the physics for helicopters were pretty real. The bad thing is Phoenix applies the same physics to the fixed wing models. Planes feel overly heavy in Phoenix while they feel more accurate in Real Flight. Though since Real Flight 6.0 the physics for the helicopter models have improved greatly and they both now are very close in feel with Phoenix still having a slightly more accurate feel to real life. Planes still feel the most accurate in Real Flight.
There are a lot more models and flying locations in Real Flight, catch is you need to buy the expansion packs or mega packs to get them. Phoenix has additional official and user generated models/locations for download without any additional cost.
Phoenix runs on lesser or older computers smoother. Real Flight requires more hardware power to run smoothly. I still see the occasional frame stutter with Real Flight and load times are a little longer on Real Flight. Still most modern computers will run either software fine. It is just when you have a older computer or a laptop with integrated video that Phoenix will run smoother than Real Flight.
These are the key differences between the two that I have noted. There are other little things like available camera views and combat simulation, but I really don't use those features from my simulators as I use them only for training before doing the real thing.
Kids are all out of the house now so the wife bought me a Super Cub (very fun solid beginer plane but that is another review). Took my Cub out 1st day after all those years not flying, and I splashed it fairly hard.
I bought this simulater that night.
Very impressed with it overall, with just one exception, the claim of "100s of models" is highly overstated. To me that says 3, 4, 500+ models, at the least 200+ I have done all the downloads and there are 82 helis, and 86 airplanes.
With that said the selection is still quite impressive.
Program has some nice realistic back groud graphics and the models look good, not cartoonish as I expected. .
Althought right now I only have the Cub to compair it to, the simulated flight is highly realistic to the actual model.
i have to admit I got bored with it quickly. Depth perception is a little difficult so the presision flying (pop the ballons type games) was a little difficult to really get excited about.
All and all I recomend this product too all beginers who want to learn how to fly before they break their model, or even experts who want to just know how a plane handles before they spend the money for a model that they hate.
The sim has everything you could want if you are a beginner, or a veteran. Almost 100 helicopters on the software you can choose from (and a number of planes too) and even more you can download. All the helicopters on the game are made after the flight characteristics of actual helos from brands like Allign, Blade, Walkera, etc., so you can more than likely practice on a platform very close to your own, if it isn't your own. I am training up, and fine tuning my Devo 8s with this software, so the next time i fly for real, i know i will be ALOT more comfortable, and experienced. In the attempt to keep this short ill just finish by saying the graphics are outstanding, the sounds and flight physics are as close to real as you could ever demand from a simulator (and i have been in an AH-64D Army Flight Simulator a number of times). This is truly an investment, not an expense, and a definite must have!