I think this guy needs to do a follow up story. Put him into a real A320 sim and see if he can actually hit his target.
Then...put him into the the left seat of a real A320 (without pax of course) and see if he can do anything besides beg for the FO to fly the plane before they go down in a blaze of glory.
I think after all that he'd be singing a very different tune. At least it would prove to him that MS Flight Sim while useful for learning procedures etc. it really doesn't teach you how to fly. I mean something tells me he was using the Auto rudder coordination feature, and had things like P-Factor etc. turned way down. He might as well "learn" to fly by playing Star Wars: Starfighter.
Anyhow, in closing something tells me that this is the same guy on like Airliners.net who's a platinum level frequent flyer and insists that he could land the plane in an emergency.
Well I just got a copy of Precision Simulator 1.3 and I can vouch for just how much Microsoft simplifies things on it's airliners. I think I can call myself a MSFS veteran I've been using it for about 13years now starting with version 2! but I still had no idea how to operate a FMC or how to operate a realistic airliner autopilot, it's nothing like the one MSFS depicts. I think MSFS does ok with the smaller aircraft but the big ones are more for fun entertainment value than anything else. In MSFS it's press the auto-start button, lower the flaps, taxi to the runway and take off, in PS1.3 all the stuff that you have to do before you actually begin to taxi takes at least 30mins, probably a bit longer than in real life because I don't have a co-pilot to help out either.
So the 'threat' is that some computer jockey can learn to operate the FMC, autopilot etc with a flight sim game. Then they can kill the crew and do what they want with a real plane.
This may seem like a dumb question (I'm first to admit I don't have a clue about these systems) but could the FMC be set up to be password protected? So, if someone did get in the cockpit, the autopilot and flight plan couldn't be altered (or shut off)? Changes could only be made by entering a PIN that is chosen by the pilot before takeoff.
If that doesn't do the trick then I agree with the author... ban all computer flying sims and stop offering flying lessons to the general public (exageration added for affect
Well I have never flown anything larger than a 172. But it seems to me that it isn't so easy to fly a jet. I mean to descend from cruising altitude without getting too fast or getting too slow is something you can't learn on Microsoft FS. I don't know ... I don't play with any flight simulators.
In 2000, I got to fly in a Jetstream 32 Level D simulator (my friend who is a check pilot was in the right seat). The only thing I was able to do ok was takeoff. he set me up for a landing at DCA and my landing was basically a crash.
I think many people don't undertsnad in what is involved. Hence they write such articles.
... ah! the smell of conspiracy in the afternoon! ... so... somebody had to gain enough knowledge about the systems to at least keep it straight and level, turn, descent, how did that happen? i don't remember off the top of my head, but were they tracked down to having any type of advanced systems training?
[ QUOTE ]
Except a few things are very wrong. First, my gin and tonic is tinkling softly on the center console. Second, my copilot is an orange-and-white tabby. Third, a car alarm keeps going off nearby. Fourth, I don't have a pilot's license. Fifth, I'm not wearing pants.
[/ QUOTE ]
Hahahaha...just another day in the life at some airlines...
Seriously, if the media wants to make the flight simmer crowd out to be potential terrorists, I'm all for it--takes some of the heat off of general aviation.
[ QUOTE ]
I think after all that he'd be singing a very different tune. At least it would prove to him that MS Flight Sim while useful for learning procedures etc. it really doesn't teach you how to fly. I mean something tells me he was using the Auto rudder coordination feature, and had things like P-Factor etc. turned way down.
[/ QUOTE ]
There's no such thing as P-factor on a jet, and virtually all airliners have the same auto rudder coordination feature, it's called the yaw damper.
Flight Sim is good for a few things, such as navigation, VOR tracking, and so on. For takeoffs and landings, it's not very good. You just can't duplicate the feel of those with the Flight Sim program, and the horrid landings I made when I was a pre-solo student are evidence of that.
But when it came time to do the cross countries, I had no problem. Why? Because Flight Sim is good for that.
Now, for a terrorist who wants to hijack a plane that's already in the air and crash it into something, I think Flight Sim would be pretty useful. He doesn't give a damn about whether or not he lands the plane safely, all he wants to do is take it to a specific landmark and crash into it.
But still, it would be ridiculous for the FBI to check up on all of us who bought the program.