I decided to sort out my transmitter as the one I've been using a cheapo orange t6 is getting somewhat erratic and was never very good to start with.
So after some research I decided to go with the Turnigy Evolution a new style of transmitter which is specifically designed for quadcopters. In that it's like an xbox controller is aimed at thumb control pilots (pinchers would likely jam their fingers against the body) and has only a few switches since most of the time you need maybe two arm flight mode and maybe failsafe. As well as a nice little touch screen for setup and data.
It's a nice unit with all the modern conveniences and lights up like a christmas tree with the gimbels going from green at minimum vai yellow and orange to red at maximum. It cost me 60 bucks and came with a basic receiver. It also turned up with one of the wires to the mode switches loose so it couldn't zero everything and so wouldn't turn on till I opened it up and put the wire back in the socket. Which was an unfortunate start.
Unlike the old transmitter it comes with a usb port it uses for charging but also to connect to a pc.
This thing uses the Flysky afhds2a protocol all the quads I have setup are spektrum DSM2 and since at the moment I've not wired the new receiver that came with it up to any of my quads I decided to get the quad simulator Liftoff off of steam ... off.
Liftoff is a racing quad simulator and it goes pretty indepth with the level of simulation to the extent you can build a virtual version of a realworld quad compete with the specific motor and esc configurations and flight controller pid's you would set in beta flight. It has a selection of existing models prebuilt (mostly ImmersionRC's Vortex line as well as a few quads that are modeled after the quads various pro's use). It simulates things like the various flight modes you can set on a quad level/acro/3d/horizon. It can function in line of sight mode or fpv mode where is simulates a controling the thing from a camera on board with a basic osd even going as far as simulating dropout and analogue signal noise.
On top of that it will take control input directly from most of the popular radios with built in presets for the Taranis and also the Evolution. This worked pretty flawlessly I plugged the evo in I selected it in the profiles and right away it could read the control inputs from it.
Liftoff has a few modes with things like freeflight races and options to build your own races even have multiplayer races. I went with a bit of freeflight first just to try things out. It has various environments you can use with various levels of obstacles and things to hit I went with a fairly empty field to get started. The level of simulation feels pretty real the way the quads respond to inputs and how they behave seemed pretty realistic and as such most of my flights ended with the thing upside down with all the propellers broken off ... just like real life.
I played with that a bit trying out environments with more stuff to wreck the virtual quad on having varying levels of success flying the various virtual quads.
After that I tried their tutorial mode which was a series of tracks coupled with some instructional videos that take you through the basics of how to fly a quad. This was pretty well put together and I found I even learned a few things about Acro mode flight that hadn't clicked before. I've mostly flown in self leveling mode where if you release the sticks the quad goes level but acro it stays in the last orientation I knew this intellectually but the implications hadn't soaked in. In that if you want to go forward in level mode you have to hold the stick forward but acro mode you tilt it slightly forward and then just leave the stick alone.
It does a nice job of teaching you in small steps how the controls are used and from basic to advanced maneuvers and the safe simulation environment means fucking up isn't quite so expensive.
It makes for a useful tool to get some practice and learn the basics using the real controller where crashing is not such a problem.