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Flight Simulators

Posted By:
Derek Isbell
28
Posts
2
#1 Posted: 3/31/2010 20:42:34

I'm wondering if flying flight simulators really can help with flying a real plane. And if so... what sims do people use?



Jerry Rosie
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
482
Posts
101
#2 Posted: 4/1/2010 08:18:01

From personal experience. 

I first got the idea that I just might be able to learn to fly an airplane by 'flying' Microsoft's Flight Simulator.  When I discovered that I could cope with the simulated airplane, I got up the courage to go out to my local airport and ask for some real experience. 

In that regard, a flight simulator helped me greatly by giving me the courage to attempt the unknown. 

Now to the real learning portion.  My experience with the simulator made me very familiar with the instrument layout in the Cessna 150 and I was, no doubt, more comfortable in the environment.  I was also pretty well familiar with the basics of why and how an airplane flys and what the controls do when employed. 

 What I was not familiar with was the sensation of movement and the importance of doing things correctly at the correct time (My desk chair did not bounce and move and if I made an error with the sim, hitting the pause button took care of it).

  The major problem the simulator experience craeated for me was that I was more familiar with 'flying' the instruments than I was in keeping my eyes outside the airplane.  It took me a long time to be comfortable with flying the airplane by looking out the windshield and not at the instrument panel - ie. looking to the left and picking a spot to head toward to make a left turn as opposed to watching the instrument panel to determine when I had completed a 90 degree change of direction. 

In a couple of ways, flying a real airplane is easier than flying a sim.  One - in the real world you can look out the side window to determine where you are in relation to the runway by just turning yhour head, not manipulating some keyboard keys, therefore you can keep yourself oriented much more easily.  Secondly, in a sim the closer you get to the ground, the fuzzier the scenery becomes due to pixilation.  In the real world the closer you get to the ground the sharper the scenery becomes - much easier to judge your height above ground when landing.

Sims can be a big help in learning instrument flying because that is what you do most in sim flying, but you need to pick one that closely approximates the real world of your airplane.  Do both - sim and real world.  Both are fun and both are rewarding.  And the prime directive is to have fun....

 

 



Cheers, Jerry NC22375 out of 07N
Mark Essenburg
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
5
Posts
2
#3 Posted: 4/2/2010 12:35:50

I've been flying since before I could drive a car.  I only have about 250 hours, but I started when I was sixteen and flew gliders and then eventually qualified for my Private Pilots Licence in '87.  After a few years of flying, I took a break for about five years.  It was a money thing, not borne from a lack of desire.  There is always plenty of that!

After the five year break, I went back to the club to get checked out.  I had not touched a yoke at all in those five years, but logged over 150 hours on MS flight simulator.  I tuned my joystick so that the "hat" control allowed quick looks to the sides and flew by reference to the runway and I flew mostly circuits.

Once I had the sim set up, I tried everything.  Landings, takeoffs, night, day, instrument flying, equipment failures and engine failures on takeoff including the very controversial "return to the runway you just left" turn (a nearly impossible feat).  I did it all in the airplanes I would fly, high wing cessnas.

Time for the checkride.  I started up, taxied out and headed for the practice area.  After a while, we came back for circuits.  About the third landing, the instructor started to ask me what I had been flying.

"There is no way", he said, "that you have not been flying for five years."  He started to beg me to tell him if I had been flying a friends plane, or maybe I was some kind of transport canada spy or something.  I told him nope, none of the above. 

But, I had been flying a flight simulator, and I still fly a flight sim all winter, to stay sharp.

Happy flight,

mark



Alice Cornwell
65
Posts
29
#4 Posted: 4/2/2010 22:19:12

I find that MS Flight Simulator really helps with instrument currency.



Ian Brown
Homebuilder or Craftsman
2
Posts
0
#5 Posted: 4/18/2010 11:43:31

I have a neat little anecdote for you.  When I was in ground school I met a young guy.  Let's just call him Jonas Beaver, because that was his name.  He had been flying MS flight sims as a boy, and was finally old enough to begin flying for real.  He had taken the flight sim lessons seriously and learned all he could.   Not only did he ace ground school but he got an unprecedented high score on his flight test.  I think he got 124/125.  

 

I guess the lesson to learn is that you can benefit greatly from a flight simulator, but you need to do more than treat it as a video game.  



Eric Marsh
Homebuilder or Craftsman
49
Posts
7
#6 Posted: 5/1/2010 18:24:08 Modified: 5/1/2010 18:27:44

I've been using FlightGear, and open source simulator. Flight gear was written as an instructional tool, not just a simulator. In fact, it won't fly straight at full throttle without rudders input because of p-factor. It's free, though I still had to pay about $250 for controls. I'm a newb, but have found it to be helpful, though actually more difficult to fly than the real thing.  Still, the price is right and FlightGear runs on all operating systems, not just Windows.

http://www.flightgear.org/

 



Helen Woods
29
Posts
2
#7 Posted: 5/7/2010 06:08:45

I believe flight simulators have a role for an already rated student trying to learn instrument procedures but not for a primary student.  I groan when I have a new student show up who has been flying his home simulator before starting lessons as he has most likely been "taught" to watch the instrument panel.  I then am facing the law of primacy and have to spend a good chunk of time teaching him to look outside of the cockpit.  Not so bad in a side-by-side trainer where I can cover the panel with a chart but a real problem in a tandem trainer where there is no way for me to cover the gauges.  In either case though, it hampers initial training and acquisition of appropriate attitude flying skills.

 

Helen



Stuart Watson
2
Posts
2
#8 Posted: 5/7/2010 07:08:08

Thousands of us are using Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX) on PC's and it is possible to get really good instrument practice using the cockpit tools especially if you use the Cessna's and props as opposed to the big iron.

 

Props are far more fun too.

 

We also improve our skills by flying in sessions in multiplayer using members in ATC with radar following basic real-world procedures and are luck to have 2 retired ATC's on our lists.

 

We do some ATC events on Wednesdays and Sundays if you have Microsoft FSX with Accelleration or SP1 and SP2 installed and they are very good fun and very relaxed.

 

We are here, and welcome you if you want to call by or join us in teamspeak sometime: http://aspirefsx.com



Bob Meder
NAFI MemberAirVenture Volunteer
223
Posts
87
#9 Posted: 5/7/2010 11:39:18
Helen Woods wrote:

 

I believe flight simulators have a role for an already rated student trying to learn instrument procedures but not for a primary student.  I groan when I have a new student show up who has been flying his home simulator before starting lessons as he has most likely been "taught" to watch the instrument panel.  I then am facing the law of primacy and have to spend a good chunk of time teaching him to look outside of the cockpit.  Not so bad in a side-by-side trainer where I can cover the panel with a chart but a real problem in a tandem trainer where there is no way for me to cover the gauges.  In either case though, it hampers initial training and acquisition of appropriate attitude flying skills.

 

Helen

 

I couldn't agree more.  First there's the difficulty in getting a self-taught instrument student to look outside (I end up saying things like "the traffic's out there" and "that panel has a 2 inch wide horizon that's not real; the one out there is 27,000 miles wide and is the real deal").  Then, when it comes to instrument flying they've "taught" themselves that these instruements never fail and they really don't have a "trust but verify" attitude in their instrument scan.

 



Bob Meder "Anxiety is nature's way of telling you that you already goofed up."