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FSFlyingSchool: The FSElite Review

FSFlyingSchool1
DEVELOPER FSFlyingSchool PRICE $29.95
PUBLISHER FSFlyingSchool BUY FROM FSFlyingSchool

FSFlyingSchool is a product that makes a big claim. It says that it can take any airplane in your fleet and evaluate how you fly. Considering the variety of add-ons for the Microsoft and X-Plane markets, this would be an amazing feat. Through my experience and using it for the past few weeks, I have come to the conclusion that FSFlyingSchool is simply your run of the mill ACARS program with a flight instructor. That’s a fine thing for an add on, but it certainly doesn’t live up to it’s claim.

The Lift

As I said, FSFlyingSchool is a wonderful ACARS program. It tracks a variety of things that other ACARS programs don’t. It determines what runway you are approaching and tracks the ILS in addition to giving you all the usual information like sink rate, landing pitch and flight time. The fact that it tracks how stabilized your approach is and goes beyond your sink rate sets it apart from other ACARS programs. A welcome feature given the discussion had in the FSElite Podcast Ep 20.

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It also features a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) of sorts. He tries to guide you through your flight giving you tips that are relevant to the mode of flight that you are in. For example, during taxi, he will tell you to manipulate the controls to cope with the wind. It also monitors taxi speed and the rate of your turns   In the take off mode, he will call your rotate speed and berate you if you are slow to raise the nose. From my experience, this is a pretty realistic mode, as it gives you some much needed insight into improving your ability to fly the aircraft you’re in.

Once in the air, your CFI puts his feet up and is relaxed about your cruising altitude. But whatever you do,don’t try any stalls or spins, or you’ll have a grumpy CFI to provide an explanation of the dangers of the maneuvers. During the descent and landing, he is very smart when it comes to approach tracking an ILS. He knows if you are on the glide slope and localizer. If you aren’t he will yell at you and provide some guidance on how to return to the respective approach path.  If there isn’t an ILS, he’ll guide you through the visual approach.. Given how much the guy yelled at me he must be doing something right… whilst I was doing something wrong!The product does a really good job of providing feedback on how to fly. It legitimately provides  flying tips that go beyond the typical approach that simply involves providing feedback on your mistakes. This a very good product if you know what you are doing and want tips on improving your performance. But, don’t expect it to properly teach you how to fly. It simply tells you how to fly more professionally.

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The Drag

There are some noticeable limitations and quirks to FSFlyingSchool. The biggest issue comes with that grandiose claim that the software can handle any plane you throw at it. While it’s true that you can connect FSFlyingSchool with any aircraft in your hanger, FSFflyingSchool’s ability to handle that aircraft varies considerably. It does really well with a certain number of preconfigured airplanes, but there are relatively few preconfigured aircraft available. As a result, it is a rather short list of preconfigured aircraft and will certainly leave advanced simmers wanting more.

That said, it handles GA fairly well. I did most of my testing in The Carenado 172. It knew the flap speeds and rotate speed and it was able to accurately point out my many faults when handling the aircraft. Considering I don’t fly GA in the sim very often, this wasn’t as appealing for myself. However, those who use Flight Sim to practice their flying skills for any upcoming qualifications in light aircraft, will find that FSFlyingSchool helps you considerably.

As for me the true test for this product was the way it dealt with PMDG’s 777-200LR.

Everything was going fine until I started my way into San Francisco. On short final, I found I needed a 6 degree nose up attitude to see the runway while maintaining the ILS. Given that takeoff was normal, I could only conclude that FSFlyingSchool had somehow messed with my center of gravity. After doing some research in the manual it turns out there is a random center of gravity variable that FSFlyingSchool applies. So, somewhere over Utah when I connected FSFlyingSchool it decided that the center of gravity and loading information I had carefully put into The PMDG CDU didn’t matter anymore. Somehow, I disagree!

To be fair, when I completed the arrival into SFO it graded my approach and landing as if nothing was wrong. Once I changed my pants, I proceeded to dig around the mannual to try and find a way to turn the random CG element off. I feel fairly certain there is a way to turn that feature off. But, the manual was so clunky that I never bothered to figure out how to disable. Subsequently, I relegated the rest of my use of the product to GA flying. With this being said, it appears that FSFlyingSchool simply can’t cope with the complexities of an add on like The PMDG 777.

The Final Approach

After spending some time with the product, I really think the asterisked phrase “some assembly required” should come with the packaging. It doesn’t help that the documentation is poorly organized. It is is even more unnerving to navigate the website, which looks like it was design when the internet was first born.

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Will the product do what you want it to do? Probably. Is it worth the money for what it is? Kind of. Can it be modified to suit your needs? Yes. Can you figure out how to modify it using the documentation? Good luck!

What are your thoughts about FSFlyingSchool? Are there other products like this that we should know about? What features should they add to FSFlyingSchool to make it better?

[wp-review id=”1196″]

 

Tags : Flight TrainingFSFlyingSchoolLearning To Fly
Nicolas Jackson

The author Nicolas Jackson

Past contributor.

8 Comments

  1. Hi there Nicolas

    I listened to the podcast with Jeff Preston “conducted” by you with interest. It was very informative, although I cannot understand why you did not find out just a little bit about FSFlyingSchool before asking Jeff to a podcast about it – so you could ask questions that were based on a little knowledge, instead of being totally blank.

    You asked if the user needs to alter a text file to change settings like flaps and so… Come on – it´s 2016 Nicolas, and FSFlyingSchool is a user-friendly program, like most other programs in 2016 are – which you could have found out by installing the free demo and taking a look, before the podcast. But never mind that, Jeff luckily made a fine job of explaining the situation and how the programs works.

    Then I read you review of FSFlyingSchool, and frankly I do not understand anything. Have you tried it at all Nicolas? or just asked someone who didnt like it?

    Let me start, just so everything is clear that I have been a betatester on FSFlyingSchool since 2007, and on EVERY version of it, since. That said, I am NOT paid a cent for it, and have NO commercial interest in FSFlyingSchool whatsoever. But I love FSFlyingSchool for what it is, and what it did for my flying skills, and as such I cannot remain silent when I read things are are utterly unfair and totally untrue.

    I bought the initial version of FSFlyingSchool back in 2007 and as stated, have used EVERY version of FSFlyingSchool since then, as a betasteter and as s proud user, so I know the ins and outs of FSFlyingSchool, so I KNOW what I am talking about. And there are long passages in your “review” that are not only strange and unfamiliar to me – but directly untrue. You say that FSFlyingSchool changes the center of gravity in your aircraft – this is simply outrageous. Let me be totally clear here. FSFlyingSchool does not change ANYTHING in your aircraft files. And let me repeat that – FSFlyingSchool does not change ANYTHING in your aircraft flies. It READS through FSUIPC the aircraft files in FSX (and the other sims). You hear? it READS the files, and EVALUATES your airmanship during flights – but it does not write (read – changes) ANYTHING in your aircraft flies – not center of gravity – and not anything else. This is directly UNTRUE Nicolas. Would you please point me to the sections of the manual where you claim you have found that “there is a random center of gravity variable that FSFlyingSchool applies” That is lunacy Nicolas. It is totally ridiculous, and worst – it is totally untrue.

    There ARE things that FSFlyingSchool cannot read in complex aircraft, due to the use of costumed files, which FSUIPC cannot read, and FSFlyingSchool therefore cannot use, but part from that, FSFlyingSchool reads the aircraft files, and EVALUATES over 70 aspects of your flying, which Jeff clearly explained in the podcast.

    From a personal point of view I can only again say that FSFlyingSchool changed my piloting skills tremendously, and since you claim that you are a terrible hand flyer, it could improve your skills too Nicolas – without doubt – but of course you need to actually USE the program and stop thinking that it is responsible for your lack of skills – it is NOT, it only evaluates your performance and rates you in the end of a flight. PERIOD!

    I am flabbergasted and disappointed that such an experienced flightsimmer like you claim to be, can produce such a worthless review.

    1. All I can say is that I talked with Jeff via email several times, used the product and read the manual. I appreciate your feedback.

    2. I know you feel otherwise about the product and I respect that it takes a good deal of effort to make software packages. More well than I can do. As, I said above, it’s great for GA! If you are flying around in a 172 there are no issues. But, to me, flight sim is about complex add ons like the PMDG products. And, I tried to make that clear in both the review and interview. It’s not for me or the demographic I was writing for. That doesn’t make it bad. It just means that it isn’t a good fit for sim jet pilots like myslef. Again, I thank you for you feedback and appreciate your passion for the product.

    3. Oh man Nicolas. You just rave on. I have no idea why you tell me about the effort it takes to make software packages. I am not a programmer, I have not written FSFlyingSchool. I USE FSFlyingSchool.

      And YES – there are no issues when you fly around in a C172, which was what I did BEFORE I knew FSFlyingSchool. FSFlyingSchool taught me to fly Learjets, CRJ700´s then B737 and then B747. Later on I went to even bigger aricraft – and to payware aircraft – and with the special treatment of some of those, in FSFlyingSchool, I got even better.
      So yes there are no issues in the C172, but there are no issues in the big ones either Nicolas.
      As I said above, there are scripts in some of the payware aircraft that does not use FSUIPC, and therefore are unreadable by FSUIPC, and thus not possible to use by FSFlyingSchool, but that dosen´t change the fact that you can use FSFlyingSchool with every powered aircraft, and it WILL provide an evaluation of the flight(s)

      And you don´t even have to read any manual to do so. All you need to do, is to start your simulator, place yourself in the cockpit, then start FSFlyingSchool, press “Connect” and voilá – you will have your instructor talking to you, and evaluating your flight. Period.

      I don´t care if you dont like the program Nicolas, that´s your choice, but when you use a phrase like “an annoying CFI and you” in your header, then you behave really adolescent, which does not suit you well.

      – and I am still waiting for you to show where you found the place where you read that “there is a random center of gravity variable that FSFlyingSchool applies” You cannot, because it´s untrue.

    4. Ole, your original comment makes all the difference for me
      thank you for taking the time to write it.

  2. I have been using flying school for a few versions now and don’t think you understand how to use it.

    Why did you interview the developer and not check with him how to use it? I have had several questions answered on his support forum.

    Grant

    1. Hey, sorry for the delay, there was a glitch my end that prevented comments being posted straight away.

      I haven’t personally used FSFlyingSchool so can’t comment directly on your comment, but I’ve passed it on to Nic to look at straight away.

      If there’s anything else I can do, then let me know.

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