Pictures and examples. Highlighting the controls you are talking about. For example, how would you explain how to adjust the speedometer in the Piper airplanes bases on the temperature.
Things I like in a manual include:
Cockpit diagrams that are nicely detailed and put the key text on the same page as the image so I don’t have to flip around.
Checklists that cover items that are actually simulated.
Performance data and charts for various things like take-offs and landings, cruise settings etc.
A tutorial is not necessary but is always a welcome sight.
Background and history (that isn’t just copied and pasted from Wikipedia) is also nice.
And a visually pleasing design is always a plus!
Just Flight and MilViz come to mind as good examples. Although JF could do with changing their layouts so the detailed technical info about how the fuel and electrical systems work isn’t up front and centre but moved down but that’s just a weird gripe of mine lol. I do like their detailed explanations of instruments. Sometimes their performance graphs are just scans that can be a bit hard to make out though, MilViz have really nicely drawn graphs for their Corsair.
PMDG are obviously famed for their manuals. Can be quite long and dry though but their products are big and complex so that’s to be expected.
A2A manuals are some of my favourites as they look great, have a lot of historical and technical data presented in a nice way whilst still containing all the info you need. Really looking forward to their stuff coming to MSFS in the future
One thing I really dislike is when a dev just throws in a real like Pilots Operating Handbook and calls it a day. These things are massive and huge chunks of them are usually completely irrelevant for the simulated model with checklists that contain pages of stuff you can’t even do in sim so you have to hunt out the actual relevant info. Also they can be missing stuff that is relevant for the simulator but not in real life! Not saying POHs are of no use, I do check them out myself sometimes, but for a simulated product I expect a decent manual for that product and I can usually find a POH myself online easily enough if needed. Rant over.
I disagree, I find understanding the actual POH fun and interesting. A lot of the planes I purchase are ones I would love to at least get the chance to sit in the cockpit someday, if not fly them. As I’ve posted all over the place, I always go out and search the internet for the actual POH for the aircraft I purchase. The US Military also used to publish training manuals as well for the aircraft in WWII.
Here’s a couple of links I start with…
(There’s other lists on this site, too…)
As I said in my post I don’t think real life POHs are of no use and I will sometimes download them myself (mostly for Warbirds, the old US ones are really great), but I do expect a paid product to have a manual written specifically for the simulated model and not just rely on a POH where most the info isn’t necessary. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for.
Anyway have another link: Other Mechanical Systems Tech. | Aircraft of World War II - WW2Aircraft.net Forums this forum has quite a lot of stuff for old Warbirds and even engine manuals and the like.
For me, I want something concise, not too dry yet with all the pertinent information I would need. Lots of pictures. Chuck’s Guides are pretty much perfect.
Yep, that site’s in my list… Check out that aviationarchives site… It’s pretty awesome for lots of planes, and he takes requests.
Oh yeah, somehow my eyes completely glossed over that big box link somehow!
Chuck’s Guides are great, mostly for DCS but he’s done a few others for some other sims Chuck’s Guides | Mudspike
Of course the best manuals were actually those that came with the big box games of the 90s. Still got a few of those big boxes around and some chunky manuals like Falcon 4.0 or Flight Sim 5.
A brief and well-illustrated manual that documents sim-specific things: Click spots, installation procedures, camera views, that sort of thing.
Real life manuals for everything else.
Ultimately, if the developer is spending time writing hundreds of pages of manuals we are paying for it. Either as a price increase or as a decrease in other development scope.
I think the best aircraft manual is the experience…
But, for me, it’s to hard learn to fly more tha half docen of planes…
For this reason I use only 3 planes in MSFS…
C172 G1000, Baron G58, and the Citation Longitude
In FSX and P3D I use the Carenado Embraer 100/300, the PF Baron G58 & PMDG 737 BBJ…
Learn to fly 10 or 20 planes, for me it’s tooo hard… I’m a old retired man!
I like when they do this.
I have each POH printed for the aircraft I fly and in a binder. Then use dividers for the different sections and use them for flight / fuel planning.
Kinda talking about manuals, what are your thoughts on having the manual in an in-game custom window?
Like FSX used to have (though I don’t know how many people knew). I like it. It solves the Xbox problem. And would be super useful anyway, on PC, too. Hopefully on PC you could set up access to any number of PDF files (a menu that can be edited from fields in the aircraft.cfg at the top, or maybe a manual.cfg file).
And it would be super nice if you could have the same manual access in the Profile/Hangar. And wouldn’t it be cool to have Hangar access to planes in the Marketplace before you purchased them (and after?) (and the manual access)?
I’m going to create a wishlist for it (and reference you as the originator). Please vote.
I’m slowly adding a manual to the G36 Improvement Project via an in game panel so its good to know this is useful. I’m hoping to add different graphs that populate dynamically but this is a fair few steps away.
This thread is really useful for all developers, thanks for the feedback
Certainly nice to have the option!
I like to print the POH’s and the checklists. POH goes into a binder and I typically use it for the performance data when flight / fuel / load planning so I like to have it in paper format as I do all that on another system which is not my simulator.
I also print out the checklists into booklets (Flight Simulator Checklists) and staple those which fit nice on the kneeboard.
And then I laminate a full double sided page to toss in the binder as well.
I am just about to graduate to the G36 (long story) but found this, this morning as I was getting all my documentation together.
Just about to print it out along with the checklist on flightsim.to.
For me in any manual a “How To” section is really great.
How to do an ILS Approach:
- Do this
- Do this
- Then do this
Screen shots help of course.
Although I am disappointed in the neglect by the devs recently the DC-6 manual from PMDG is the best I have seen.
Its a cross between a POH and a traditional old-school manual. All the dry info you need with humanised descriptions of what is actually going on under the hood, with some added wit.
That and it looks gorgeous. The only manual I have ever printed. Seeing as the company was started to create only manuals it is no surpise they are so good.
Where did you get that printed? I shopped around for options in the US and couldn’t find anything remotely cheap enough to consider. Can’t remember the exact quotes I was given, but they were more than double the price of the aircraft.
This is my post from the other thread. Not sure if they ship to the US or not but check it out! Definitely shop around if they don’t - I also had some rediculous quotes.
"For anyone looking to print their manuals in the UK: this cost £25 and arrived in three days. The print quality is spot on and the paper feels great (silk option).
The whole process was a matter of selecting paper size, paper type and uploading a PDF. Was a gamble but the formatting of the manual must be ready to print."
Thanks for the info. I’ll need to shop around again. I’d get several printed at that rate.