PC flight simulators

Athena

New Member
PC flight simulators look pretty, but are they of any value to me as a student pilot? ie are the performace characteristics realistic, the lessons effective teaching. Can they help me improve flight training. I am debating getting a new'er' if PC flight simulators would benefit me.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
PC flight simulators look pretty, but are they of any value to me as a student pilot? ie are the performace characteristics realistic, the lessons effective teaching. Can they help me improve flight training. I am debating getting a new'er' if PC flight simulators would benefit me.

[/ QUOTE ]

You could build hours towards getting hired on with the many virtual airlines out there.
 

aloft

New Member
Careful though, there are a lot of unscrupulous virtual PFT outfits out there (that they accept PayPal is usually the tipoff). If you still need ratings, though, you might be in luck--I hear Airline Training Academy has gone virtual.


As has been recounted here before, PC flight sims do have their usefulness, though their limitations diminish this somewhat for student pilots (particularly those who haven't soloed yet). PC sims ARE useful for learning how navaids work and many other head-in-the-cockpit subjects like instrument flying. The flipside of this is that they're fairly poor at all the head-out-of-the-cockpit things that a student pilot should be concerned with. The visual fidelity just isn't there to get any value of practicing steep turns or turns around a point in a sim, and the flight models in most aren't sufficiently advanced to perform useful slow flight or stalls.

The lack of visual cues in PC sims--even with all the eye candy in the newest sims--forces most people to rely too heavily on their flight instruments even for simple visual maneuvers, and the problem is that they then get in a real airplane and do the same thing, fixating on their instruments when they should be looking outside. An example: the average simmer-student would freak were their CFI to cover up things like the airspeed, attitude and heading indicators and the altimeter, and say "let's take a trip around the pattern"--yet none of those instruments are essential to a VFR trip around the patch (no, not even your airspeed indicator). Simmers tend to fly by the numbers, while non-simmers learn sight pictures (What does the correct attitude for best climb look like? What does pattern altitude look like out the side window?). Remember, you're learning to fly under Visual Flight Rules.

My advice to you is this: the best way to learn to fly airplanes is to fly airplanes--not your computer. Once you've learned to fly real airplanes, then you can take what you've learned and apply it to simulated ones. The hazards and training inefficiencies of the reverse is a strong argument against flying PC sims until after you've soloed, at the earliest.

When you begin training for your instrument rating, however, it's a whole different story as this is one area where PC sims shine; instrument flying is mostly a mental exercise in positional awareness and one where visual fidelity of the outside world is not so important (most PC sims do the inside of a cloud sufficiently well
).
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
PC flight simulators look pretty, but are they of any value to me as a student pilot? ie are the performace characteristics realistic, the lessons effective teaching. Can they help me improve flight training. I am debating getting a new'er' if PC flight simulators would benefit me.

[/ QUOTE ]At the private pilot level there is some benefit, but not a lot. I wouldn't buy or upgrade a PC sim for it.

Biggest problem new pilots seem to have is looking out the window. There seem to be two sources. First, the instruments are different, so they're really cool and attract our attention. Second, the instruments are different so we tend to stare at them just to figure out what they say.

Simmers tend to develop a familiarity and understanding of how to read the instruments, so that they can be used the way they should i visual conditions — pretty much as you use a speedometer in a car — a quick glance to confirm that what you see by looking out the window is accurate.

Beyond that, except for some ability to help understand pitch/power relationships and some use during the instrument reference portion of the syllabus, I really don't think there's enough value to them for new pilots to justify the learning curve for using them effectively.

If you're already comfortable with them go ahead and upgrade — but because the newer ones are cool, not for any added benefit they'd give you for training.
 

Johnathan

Well-Known Member
FS2004 Is a great game to just have some fun and practice, it isn't really something that you would need but they do offer flight lessons wih Rod Marchedo (If thats how you spell his name)
 

kellwolf

Piece of Trash
I have to agree with everyone else above. For the PPL, the sim doesn't really help a lot. I used it for getting procedures down (when to slow down, drop flaps in the pattern, setting up for stalls, etc). Other than that, it's just fun. Try doing ground reference in a sim and it's TOTALLY useless.


Now for IFR training, I think it's great. One of the good things about FS2004 is it has something other than an ILS or Visual approach. You can use it to practice procedures again, and I usually pre-shoot any approaches I know I'm going to do in a lesson the night before. You can also use it to practice hold entries and the holds themselves. The little flight display at the end of the flight shows you your course, alt, etc. Good for comparing how well you did and how well you THINK you did.

I hate the Elite sim at my school. Yeah you can log it, but one click of the trim puts you in a nose dive....
 

davetheflyer

New Member
[ QUOTE ]

You could build hours towards getting hired on with the many virtual airlines out there.


[/ QUOTE ]

LMAO


Seriously, they are good for procedures trainers. At FSA, we would have students do all of the airwork maneuvers in PCFTDs before getting in an airplane. They may not behave exactly like a real airplane, but they are close enough that they are useful.

PCFTDs are even more useful when you get to instrument training. They can help you practice your scan as well as being a good platform to teach (or learn) radio navigation. You can't pause a real airplane. For this type of use, you don't even need the yoke and rudder pedal kits.
 

Joe

Well-Known Member
They are also useful if you are interested in becoming an armchair fisics expert on the shacking characteristics of the 737-600 in flight.
 

N519AT

Ahh! This is how I change this!
I currently fly on FS2002 and FS2004 with a group of PC Flight Sim enthusiasts that provide Air Traffic Control Services to the Flight Sim community. I personally think that it is a good thing to learn the ATC operations other things. I fly with eSkyworld.com. It is really a unique with the services that it offers. For every online ATC flight that you fly you get paid what is called Aircash. With the aircash you can buy gates, hubs, training, different paint jobs, and other things. For the first ten flights you get a basic aircash rate of 1.00 per minute and there are different ranks that you can achieve. Here are the ranks you can achieve

Pilot Wings with 10 flights

+ 0.05 per minute of flight

Junior Officer Wings with 25 flights

+0.10 per minute of flight

First Officer Wings with 50 flights

+ 0.15 extra per minute of flight

Captain wings with 100 flights

+ 0.20 extra per minute of flight

Senior Captain wings with 200 flights

+ 0.25 extra per minute of flight


Use an airport where you have a gate

+ 0.25 extra per minute of flight

Use an airport where you have a Hub

+ 0.50 extra per minute of flight

Its a really nice feature and if you want more information on this go to http://eskyworld.com/Help/AirCash.asp.

The website for eSkyworld is www.eskyworld.com

P.S. I have bout 71 flights on esky right now...And if you need help with eSkyworld just email me


Dan Charles
Everest Air
EVA_842
dan_charles@everestair.net
 

Sprint100

Well-Known Member
I find PC sims and virtual airlines to be big morale boosters learning IFR stuff then putting it to use. Plus it's fun flying a big jet, etc. virtually at least.
 

Athena

New Member
I agree that for VFR pc sims aren't worthwile. (FS 98 the graphics suck) I find when i do mess around with it, I navigate by the instruments. I guess I get this in large part from my nautical background. Can't see squat in the middle of the Great Lakes. Only option: instrumentation.
 

John_Jones

New Member
Been a lot more 'talk' than there really should be for this. Listen, if you want to have a little fun and at the same time get a little more informal about instruementation of general aircraft. Its great...Dont go out and spend 70 Bucks on it to think of it as a 'training tool' because you can probally get more out of an hour long 'real' lesson (or atleast on my rates you can). I bought it though, and I dont think every time I use it (which is 2-3 times a week) "Owh look I'm gunna go 'train' in Flight Simulator". Its more like "Hell babie and wife are asleep, house is locked up. Why dont I go up in an Extra 300 and throw it around the place and break a few FAA Regulations (great fun that is)". There you go...Case Closed!
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
I have FS2002 and played on it several times just to kill some time.

The only time I have found it useful for training purposes is during my Instrument rating. I set up and practiced holds over a VOR and that really helped me.

Outside of that - great game. Loads of fun to play.

Wouldn't consider it a HUGE advantage in training though.

Your milage may vary.

Best of luck!! Keep us posted on your training!!

R2F
 
I used FLY! by Terminal Reality for procedures training, during instrument training mostly, and I think it helped quite a bit. I had already done 20+ holds before I ever did one in the plane. For me, there was no one thing about instrument flying that was difficult, but there were 20 or so easy steps that must be done at the right time, and that was tough. Doing it over and over on the computer helped.
 

Acadia

Well-Known Member
I found it to be a great tool during my instrument training and I still use MS2002/2004 to brush up on procedures when Im feeling rusty (as prep before I go do the real thing).
 

Snow

'Not a new member'
Well let's not forget that PC flight simulators are a good introduction to flying and microsoft premotes going out and having a go in the real thing (with an instructor of course!)

I'd say it's good for instrument and basic flying control familiarsation as well. I pretty much knew what all the instruments did before I ever hoped into a real cockpit, I also knew what effects all the control serfaces had on the airplane etc It won't teach you how to fly a real airplane but I see it as kind of a interactive manual or learning tool.

Another thing I found MS useful for is practicing my radio calls on the VATSIM network, the 'virtual' controlers are often real life controlers as well and it makes for a good confidence builder. Also for practicing proceedures and checklists as others have already mentioned.

The serious stuff aside, it's also a lot of fun to fly planes you wouldn't normaly fly or go places you might never go in real life.
 
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