[jhb_airlines] Re: TrackIR 4 Pro

  • From: Gerry Winskill <gwinsk@xxxxxxx>
  • To: jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 08 Aug 2006 17:41:57 +0100

Does the Track IR Pro4 really work only in VC mode? The review I've read doesn't mention the limitation.
What happens if you tr to use it in nornal display mode, with W pressed a few times, so that there's no panel in view?
You've started a new hare here!

Gerry Winskill

Bones wrote:

Have a look here http://www.rcsimulations.com/ and if it appeals give Bob a
ring and have a chat with him about it. He's a very helpful bloke.

A word of warning though. If you are going to sneeze look away from the
screen.. <vbg>


-----Original Message-----
From: jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of ERNIE LAYCOCK
Sent: 08 August 2006 15:44
To: jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [jhb_airlines] Re: TrackIR 4 Pro

Hi Bones, Your email of above sounds intriguing.Before getting too HOT on this,what did it cost you and where from ? I have had my laser eye treatment with staggering results.Eyesight almost back to 20/20 !!! Should be OK for tomorrow's FPI once I find out where they are going. Cheers Ernie

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bones" <bones@xxxxxxx>
To: <jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, August 08, 2006 4:31 AM
Subject: [jhb_airlines] Re: Where Can I Go Next?

Not sure if this would help you but I've just had a lot of fun with
FS2004 -
more than I've had for a long time.

I ordered a TrackIR 4 Pro the other day and it arrived yesterday. The
unpacked was tiny - all it contains is a small sensor which sits on top of
your monitor, a USB lead, a CD and an odd shaped bit of wire. The sensor
only about 2" square and it plugs into a powered USB hub. The funny bit of
wire has three small reflectors on it and clips to a headset or baseball
(the latter being the better option). Software installation was a doddle.

On running the setup you get two headshots on screen. One shows actual
movement and the other the accelerated head movement. This can be tweaked
your own taste although five presets are there to start you off.

The sensor picks up six movements. Yaw, pitch and roll are obvious but
up/down, left/right and in/out are also available. Each can be
adjusted individually. On my setup I've adjusted yaw so that turning
the head slightly pans the view at a slowish pace but further head
turning gives an accelerated pan. In effect I only have to turn about
30 degrees (I can still look at the LCD screen without feeling I am
peering out the corner of my eye
at it) and the accelerated movement is almost a full 180 degrees..

So how does this operate in FS2004? The first thing is that you don't
need to adjust anything in the sim as it autodetects the IR sensor.
Just start FS as normal and put your headset or hat on. I tried both
options and found the
baseball hat is better. It works clipped to a headset band too but pitch
limited upwards as your head blocks the view between the reflectors and
sensor. In fact I can't wear a baseball hat (head gets too hot) so I've
one of those visor only things and this is fine.

After you start FS you find TrackIR 4 Pro only works in VC mode. For
those of you who know your cfg file values quite well it appears to
take over the Eyesight setting in the cfg file and dynamically read
new values into the sim - I guess similar to the way ActiveCamera

My first test was very disappointing. It worked as advertised but with
of lag and jerky action. The cure was found by turning off my Av software
(firewall seems OK though) after which movement was silky smooth. At this
point I realised one of the greatest faults of FS was instantly cured as I
could look instantly in any direction I wanted. No need to pan or use the
views keys any more - just one glance was needed to look down at the dials
or out of the left or right cockpit windows.

Firing up the C172 for a quick circuit showed just how useful this
gadget was. Instead of keeping my head locked in space and moving the
information on the screen to come into my view I was back doing what
comes naturally and
- for the first time ever in FS - moving my head! Taxying was the
first revelation. No need to fiddle with panning to see a turn coming
up - all I needed was  a momentary look left and I had a perfect
visual picture as to what was happening. In a turn I naturally looked
into the direction of turn and this allowed far more appreciation of
my rate of turn and whether it needed tightening up or easing off.
Turn right round on a taxiway without going off the edge? A real

Once I was lined up I glanced around the cockpit at all the dials and
then looked forward again for take off. A second later it struck me
that I had literally done just that - just as you would in a real
aircraft. I'd actually turned and leant forward to look at some dials
totally automatically, cockpit panning completely forgotten. Take off
was normal - I guess - but I can no longer be sure. You see, the
problem is that ingrained
habits from real flying are coming back and are so natural that I don't
I am doing them. Did I lean slightly left on take off to get a better view
down the runway? I really can't be sure but I suspect I did.

Once airborne the differences really started to show. Pilots never
keep their heads still and are constantly looking out for other
traffic. I know you can do this in FS by panning but it's too slow and
it becomes a rarer happening than in real life. Released from the
tunnel vision of FS my head was moving as it should - dials, look
left, sweep across to right, back to dials, look forward. At 500ft
raise wing slightly, glance left and turn. Crosswind and just one
glance was needed to look back at the airport to confirm positional
accuracy. 1000ft and turn downwind, look at airport again
- it's so easy. No hunting around in pan view. Checks completed.
Continue downwind until 45 degrees from the threshold and turn base,
power back and hold height to bleed off the speed. Flaps down 20, let
the nose fall and trim for 75. Now look left and watch as you approach
the extended runway centreline and then KEEPING YOUR EYE ON THE
RUNWAY, turn final. Perfect. This is something that has never been
possible in FS before (unless you are REALLY slick with the pan
button) and I found that I was not only looking at
the runway the whole time I was turning final but I was also checking the
PAPI's and windsock.

I confess that the landing wasn't a good one. FS habits crept back in
I was mixing techniques and suffered a bounce because of this. Next time
round I did what I should have done and it just rolled onto the runway.

I guess the unit shows up the differences between flying for real and
in FS. Techniques have evolved for both to suit their strengths and
weaknesses and real pilots have had to adjust to the limitations in FS.
TrackIR 4 puts those limits behind and allows you to use real world skills
much better.

A second flight in the Tiger Moth revealed far more differences. In
I was able to lean left and right outside the cockpit to see where I was
going (you physically move a LOT when taxying a Tiger). Landing was made
with my head out of the cockpit and sideslipping right down to roundout.
the flare my eyes were on the ground just in front of the port mainplane -
not the "look ahead and pray" position that FS has been limited to before
(although I'd got very good at that). A further flight in the prototype
Spitfire showed that aerobatics and flying a curved approach also brought
back real world habits because these were now possible. In a loop it was
completely natural to glance at the port wing when vertical (yaw check)
look up to see the inverted horizon come into view (the sooner you see
the sooner you can correct any deviation in bank or yaw).

A final quick glance at the PMDG 747 showed me bits of the cockpit I'd
seen before - but I ran out of time to try this aircraft. One humorous
observation with the Tiger was leaning forward to look over the stick to
the compass - it worked too. And if you lean forward enough you can make
single dial fill the whole screen.

Is it worth the money? This is a tricky question because I think it
comes down to how much you would use six axis freedom. Real pilots
look around a heck of a lot and this gadget frees them of the viewing
limitations in FS. In my case I found I reverted to real world
techniques almost immediately. FS pilots have never had this freedom
nor to they have any real world habits to adjust to like good lookout
- they never have to worry about a Tornado boring down on them at
600kts. What I can't guess at is whether FS pilots would develop any
real world habits once viewing limitations are lifted. Maybe it
depends on how good a natural pilot you are - I just don't know. For
those more interested in cockpit displays and button pushing I doubt
this kit would prove of any value at all.

Andrew Herd recently reviewed TrackIR Pro 4 and this is what stirred
my interest in it.

Andrew gave it a definite thumbs up (despite hating VC's almost as
much as
do) - as did Bob at RC Simulations when I spoke to him. It's not cheap and
you look a right dipstick with alien antennae sticking out of your head
for me, these are minor points for a product that will change the way I
FS forever.

The one major disadvantage in describing TrackIR 4 is that you can't
use screenshots to convey how it works. I'm not sure a video would do
it justice either. Words are inadequate (especially mine) so I suggest
the best option
is to find if it is being shown at one of the FS shows and give it a try.

(currently upside down in a Spitfire about 20ft off the deck in the
Welsh hills, looking at the rocks going by.)

-----Original Message----- From: jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Gerry Winskill Sent: 07 August 2006 21:10 To: jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Subject: [jhb_airlines] Re: Where Can I Go Next?

First four of the ones I don't recall visiting are now visited. Since I can press the pause button, in the privacy of my own home, I can get away with this project. Arthritic kneck is currently limiting me to ten minute stints in front of the screeen. Doctor changed the pills today but, tactfully, said he can't do anything about the passage of years. Don't the Apollo crew lie on their backs, to look at monitors? Can't see SWMBO letting me get away with that idea.

Gerry Winskill

Bones wrote:

At my last count there were 316 operational airfields/strips active in
the UK. About 215 of these were available in FS2002 and 225 in FS2004.


-----Original Message-----
From: jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of franklyn
Sent: 07 August 2006 16:11
To: jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [jhb_airlines] Re: Where Can I Go Next?

Gerry My VFR Flight guide lists 223, active and inactive, major, minor and farmstrips, from A to Y. Frank

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