Flight Sims

Filed under Helicopters

If you’re at all into radio controlled models (specifically planes or helicopters) you need to check out FMS.

Maybe I’m just late to the party with this one. It’s been out in various incarnations for quite some time now.

The website even lists the latest version as being released around July of 2005, but, well, wow!

I got into RC helicopters some time ago, but was always stymied by the process of just getting used to steering the dang thing, mush less hovering, or god forbid, any kind of acrobatics. As the saying goes, Crash a plane, fix a wing, Crash a helicopter, fix the whole damn thing.

So, my models and radio sat for quite some years.

Then I happened into a hobby shop recently and stumbled across an RC flight simulator demo they had going. This was a commercial package weighing in at 200$ but it included a cheap but effective radio control style joystick that plugged into to the PC’s USB port. Now that was hot! Practice flying on a PC but using a radio style joystick.

I came home and started googling.

One thing led to another and I came across the freeware FMS, Flying model Simulator.

A quick install and it was clear this could actually let me learn to fly and get used to the controls enough so that taking the real thing out wouldn’t be as scary as, say that Gem Sweater video.

But what about the controls? I really liked the idea of controlling the simulator with actual RC joysticks, but, I thought, even better if I could actually use my real radio for the controls.

Lo and behold, Simblaster.

For about 40$, you get a usb dongle with an phono style plug that plugs right in the back of my radio (an older model Galaxy Computer 8 PCM, but they’ve got versions for other radios too).

This is one of the few gizmos I’ve bought that has just plain worked, right out of the box, with basically nothing else to do.

A few more weekends getting used to flying a helicopter out and then back at me on the sim and I might just have to take the real model back out the park!


  1. John Edens says:

    Yeah, I remember that day you crashed a helicopter. How have you been?

  2. Darin says:

    Hey John! Yeah, I’m much better now (at least on the sim). Still working up the nerve to take the real thing out (plus, I need to replace a few servos, trim everything out, etc, etc)

    Where are you now?

    Shoot me an email when you get a chance!

  3. John Edens says:

    I’d e-mail you if I knew what your address was! Couldn’t find it on your site – makes sense for avoiding address collection bots. You should see mine – I put it in the e-mail field. E-mail me with yours and I’ll write you.

    I’m living out in the middle of nowhere, East Texas – 20 miles outside of Nacogdoches.

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