I just thought you liked eggs.....
Originally Posted by Yolk
Here's a really interesting article on the subject:
Related article http://www.flightsim.com/cgi/kds?$=main/op-ed/ed366.htm
There is a pretty good article in June's "Flying" magazine about this subject titled "Aviation's Best Kept Secret" by Jay Hopkins. The bottom line was that it definately helps.
Sims are great - but be disciplined
Okay - my two pence worth on this....
If you can - spend some money on getting two monitors and a graphics card to support the dual monitor facility in MS Flight Sim.
With scenery on top and instruments below you really have to scan instruments properly and you won't spend your time fixated on the instruments...
Be disciplined - follow checks and procedures just as you would in the air. If you don't - bad habits will follow you into the cockpit.
I've got around 350 hours and just had an 8 year layoff from flying. Prior to revalidating my licence I spent about 20 hours in the sim just going through procedures - circuits - navigation - you name it. Result - got my licence back after only 1 and a half hours flying and I'm not natural pilot I can assure.
So - treat the sim for real! It won't kill you if you crash - but treat it as if it will and it will save you a fortune on training costs.
Oh yea - get the Photo Scenery add on from Just Flight if you are practicing navigation - it is excellent - and if you have an Internet connection set it up to real weather!
I've been flying for 40 years this month. I've had the priviledge of having attended some of the finest flight training academies in the world and I have extensive experience in digital, 3-axis flight simulators with full visual systems.Assuming someone would program one of these real simulators for a C-152 or C-172 or any other basic trainer I couldn't think or a worse way to learn. A computer game has considereably less to offer. I've trained a lot of students and have yet to find one that didn't adapt to the cockpit layout and prodedures of a basic trainer in just a very few hours. For VFR, private pilot instruction there is no substitute for the airplane and a sunny day. If one has serious difficulties under those circumstances they should reconsider their decision to fly.
The house remains divided.
Originally Posted by bluesideup
You're right. Simulators don't substitute for the real thing. Case in point: I can land the C152 in flight sim but tend to flare too early in the real thing. Never the less, Flight sim does supplement, IMHO, my lessons.
The real thing and the simulator are not perfect duplicates. I can't pull carb heat before decelaration in the Sim, unless I switch to virtual view. Then using the controls to pull carb heat creates much more work than real thing. Sometimes, when flying the C172 I'll "pretend" the pitot heat is my carb heat and use it as a substitute. Guess that wouldn't work in the winter though.
Needless to say, I don't get any feel, whatsoever, for what I'm doing on the simulator. Veteran flyers say that flying is all about the feel, (and I agree) so the sim could never replace the real thing. If it could, I'd would have scheduled my check ride by now . In the meantime I've found that the simulator is fun and flying into a granite cloud bears no consequence.
Bluesideup - Congratulations on 40 years. I find that inspiring. If you're ever in Durham NC on a Saturday morning fly (or stop) into 8NC8 for a $100.00 hamburger.
I'm new to the forum, but I wanted to interject here, if I may. I've recently restarted my flight training after a 20 year lay off, and I've found MSFS 04 to be an excellent training tool. I've been a flight simmer nearly all of that laid off time and have even built myself a sim cockpit that I use extensively. I also use Track IR which allows me to look all over the cockpit and watch for traffic with small movements of my head when using MSFS in 'virtual cockpit' mode. I find it most useful for flying my planned cross country flights as many times as I like, I know the en route terrain by heart, know what the airports look like from the air, I know alternate airports and a host of other things that make my real world training better. I also can fly the homebuilt airplane I plan to start construction on over the winter via a free download from FlightSim.com's file library.
If I had to do it all over again, I'd probably spend the money I have invested in my flight sim rig on actual flying hours, but I could also say that about all the racecars, motorcycles, and R/C airplanes I've had over the years.
I just got MSFS 04 as an early Christmas gift. I had no idea how advanced it was. I'm going to invest in the yolk and peddals also. Should be a great learning tool...
I have flown Cessna 150, Cessna 152, Cessna 172, Piper Tamahawk, Luscombe 8A, and a Navy trainer (as a civilian) IRL.
I recently got FS2004 and my first impression was, "Gee, this is pretty close to the real thing." The only thing missing is the tactile "seat of the pants" element.
IMHO, the newer sims are very authentic and a real benefit in augmenting real flying experience. The virtual aircraft behave very much like the real thing and require the same kind of judgement, assessment and control as the real thing. I found that the problems I have in real aircraft, I have in the sim. I tend to fly nose high. I land high and fast. I drift right of course. I climb at speeds under best climb rate. I make all the same mistakes in the sim that I do in a real airplane and the effects are the same. And I can work on them in the sim just as I would in the real thing.
The sim is also great for practicing (or maybe even rehearsing) cross country navigation. There are enough properly modelled landmarks that you can use real charts and pilotage. You can practice flying radials, NDB intercepts and even dual VOR intercepts. These all work exactly as they do in real life an it is very good practice.
The only drawback I have found is that the stick is more twitchy than an actual yoke in a real airplane. It takes more movement and force to control a real airplane than the sim. But I don't think it's that critical of a difference. But it is there.
Do listen to the folks that say, "yeah, right, you're head is in the pit". They're right. Set up the pan views and make a deliberate effort to look around. I use virtual cockpit mode almost exclusively for this very reason. Make sure to set up some weather so the airplane is bouncing around. The real weather download feature is amazing and will ensure you are always having to fly the airplane to keep it straight and level. Also, set all the realism settings to max. (Not the graphics, the aircraft realism settings. They make a *huge* difference.)
Machado's lessons are very good, too. His lessons help you fly the sim like a real airplane instead of a video game. He also gives you a good handle on the basics of ground school. The very basics, but genuine knowledge that you can use as a pilot.
I would say that FS2004 gives you about 80% of the real world mental component of flying.
Go for a couple of demo rides in the real thing. Then fly the sim. Compare the two and determine for yourself if the sim will help you learn to be a better pilot.
Some places you'll find useful for planning your virtual cross country flights:
SkyVector.com - Aeronautical Charts - Flight Planning
FltPlan.com Flight Planning for General Aviation.
Flight sim does help
I was "flying" Microsoft 2002 Flight simulator for couple of years . Software was about $20 (after rebates) and ~$25 for joystick. I do not think it is worth to spend more. Now I have 7.8 hrs of real flying and today I was doing my "stop and go"s .
The important think about MS simulator is that you will get a decent ground school (print it and read it all) and step-by-step flight lessons (take them all). This will make many things easer to understand and you will get a good idea (at least theoretically) what to expect in a real plane. This may save you money in real training (instructor's time is ~$50/hr in NYC area) and help you to decide whether you really want to spend $7-10k on your flight training.
If you have more time than money, start with the simulator. If you have plenty of both - go for the real thing.
Flight Sim does Help
I think both camps are right but miss the most important part of what a flight sim is good for. When you have your flying lesson, you go over the days flight and then go out and fly it. After landing, you review the lesson and you should know what to work on for the next flight lesson. When you go home, review the lesson on the flight sim. Go through the procedures step by step until you have them memorized. Try to understand the maneuver and procedure and if you screw up, just hit pause and figure it out. Restart the maneuver and try again. Each day continue to review the previous lessons. You will continue to reinforce and learn so that when you fly with your instructor he or she doesn't have to reteach you. For me, the hardest part of learning to fly is the time between lessons and the time between when the lesson was taught and the checkride.
The other thing that the sim is great for is practicing radio communications at non-controlled fields. The hardest part is flying the airplane and communicating at the same time.
MS Flight Simulator - or any reasonably accurate flight simulator, for that matter, is an excellent learning tool early on. Many years ago, when MS Flight Simulator was still in it's infancy and not nearly as accurate as it is today, I spent dozens of hours "playing" MSFS before I ever took my first lesson. Much of what I learned helped me and sped up my training.
I used to recommend MSFS to all of my students when I was instructing.