Reduction of Autopilot capabilities for Authenticity: What do you think?


Disclaimer; this is not a feature request, mainly interested in gathering the opinions of others

Hello party people of the IFC!

Recently I have had the privilege of acquiring the Aerosoft CRJ for use in my time when I do desktop simming. It is quite a fun aircraft and proving a challenge to learn, but slowly I am working through it! However, as I’m learning to fly it, I’m noticing interesting quirks of the aircraft. These interesting quirks are the reason I’m writing this topic.

One of the main differences I’ve noticed on the CRJ compared to what you would expect is that the CRJ does not have an autopilot coupled VNAV system. Instead, the CRJ has what is known as “Advisory VNAV”. This advisory VNAV is a system that uses a calculated verticle path angle entered into the flight management system. The aircraft will attempt to calculate a descent path while adhering to published restrictions on the standard terminal arrival or approach procedure.


Image Via “OPD Challenges for Regional Jets” - Darren Harris


This descent path will be shown as a snowflake on the primary flight display where you would typically see the ILS glideslope. The descent profile will also be converted into a verticle speed readout on the PFD.


Image Via “OPD Challenges for Regional Jets” - Darren Harris


The question remains. Why does this matter? Well, the main idea is that there is no VNAV button you can just press and have the aircraft descend for you. It is the responsibility of the pilot to adjust the aircraft’s descent rate via the verticle speed mode to follow the advisory verticle speed listed on the PFD. However, that is not all.

The CRJ is also not equipped with an autothrottle.

During the climb, the power is set to a constant setting via detents (little dips in the throttle travel rail) that the throttle levers will click into at each power setting. Descents may even sometimes be done at idle power.


Aerosoft CRJ Throttle With Detents Highighted - Aceorbit


Now we arrive at the point. Considering we all play Infinite Fight, I’m sure we are well aware of the functions and capabilities of the autopilot in-game. The functions of many aircraft are broad across the board with little variation. The autopilot is either all functions or no autopilot at all. So I come today to ask the IFC, what do you think about removing or adjusting autopilot functions to conform with the operation of their real-world counterpart? In the case of the CRJ, this would involve at the least, the removal of VNAV and autothrottle, up to adding these detents in some way along with the VNAV being displayed as a recommended VS with the standard 3.0° descent path that the VNAV system in IF already attempts to conform to.

But you may also be one of the Infinite Flight players who would want to keep these functions for ease of use and simplicity. Personally, I am not of that position, but if you are, leave your comments and thoughts down below! It would be interesting to hear the perspective of others.

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I think this would be cool, and an addition possible to happen some time in the future which a lot of people would enjoy, however for many other people, this authentic sense of more realism I feel could be a pain as there is no direct power over some control, where the joy of Infinite Flight is not have to be at your device for the entirety of the flight… In other words, yes I’m saying I’d rather be lazy and not risk violations than a small touch of better realism for each aircraft.

2 Likes

I personally think we should keep autopilot because it makes it much easier to fly and if you don’t want auto pilot you don’t need to turn it on in my opinion.

As someone who also has acquired the Aerosoft CRJ, I think this would be a great idea and would add some realism to infinite flight. Great idea!

That’s not necessarily the claim, its more directly based on the specific functions of it, in this case speed mode and VNAV should be modified.

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I’m always in favor of more realism in the game. I know currently there may be some limitations that impide the dev team to add more stuff to make the game more enjoyable, but things like this really improve the user experience, people can have more control over the airplane, have their hands on the yoke (or the device rather) and actively fly the airplane.

2 Likes

I think its a good idea. but MFS is a sim for a totally different audience who want the best of the best. realism is great dont get wrong, but to realistic and you might put of some players who want a realistic but enjoyable experience.

I feel that the compromises that are necessary in IF really spring from the user interface / mobile touchscreen aspect… Most things are more difficult the smaller the screen.

Here the challenge will be to actually focus on a little “PFD” with its tiny VS indication and react to that with the controls. I’d like the chance to try it, but making it optimised for small touch screens is a big ask… Probably needs to be added to the HUD?

Yes Yes Yes Yes

Replace VNAV with a Snowflake on the G/S indicator, and for the sake of not overspeeding, replace the Autothrottle with a speed hold button (manually reach the speed you want and then it’ll maintain that), or better yet a real Speed Mode function which adjusts V/S to maintain a selected airspeed instead of changing the thrust setting.

I’ll add that spending a few months and almost 1000 hours flying the IF CRJ doing Skywest stuff for AAVA, DLVA, and UVAL without VNAV, Autothrottles, CAT III autoland, or RNP approaches was such a rewarding experience. If you program STAR altitudes correctly and just follow the Banana on descent while manually keeping the speed under control was certainly a handful, but it kept me on my toes during critical phases of flight.
Once you have it figured out you can set a desired N1 on climb out and you don’t have to touch it until you level off at cruise, and then on the descent you bring it back and just let it capture and hold a desired speed range.

Obviously not everyone will want to invest that kind of time, but it certainly helped make Infinite Flight feel like less of a game, and began encroaching on simulator territory.

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Not going to say this is a bad idea whatsoever. Honestly though, I’d rather see all airframes with APUs receive those in game (since it already exists in the B777 series) and live cockpits. It’s disheartening to load into a different aircraft and the cockpit just be a skin inside the plane. I feel like live cockpits would crank up the realism across the board more than any feature atm.

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There are actually two issues with disabling autothrottle:

  1. There are 3+ hour long CRJ flights. IF is a sim where cruise should be AFKable.
  2. Powersave mode doesn’t activate if speed AP is not set.

Just don’t turn on autothrottle if you don’t to.

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