I recently purchased FSX and was impressed by the depth of the “lessons” included with the program. The computerized learning program offers a number of articles on various aviation subjects, along with tutorials and the like.
With that being said, I know that Microsoft Flight Simulator has its limitations; the actual education one can glean from it is rather shallow, and the “flight” experience is artificial, at best.
Assuming that I would go on to an actual ground school and learn from a real instructor, would you recommend Microsoft Flight simulator as an introductory teaching aid for aspiring pilots?
It helps a lot more than it hurts.
Desktop simulators have physical limitations that constrain the realism of the simulation. They have one small screen, instead of the wraparound windows that a real aircraft has. They have very primitive controls, although this can be improved somewhat by adding a yoke, throttle quadrant, rudder pedals, etc. (all of which are readily available for desktop simulators). And of course, they don’t move. These limitations are important mainly for flight under visual flight rules, which depends a lot on visual cues. VFR flight also tends to make more use of “feel,” both for the movement of the aircraft and the use of controls.
For IFR flight, desktop simulators do much, much better. It’s easy to simulate the look of real instruments with extremely high accuracy, and in the case of instrument flight, the lack of visual cues outside the windows and the lack of movement force greater concentration on the instruments, which is the whole idea of instrument flight. So desktop simulation can be very useful for practicing instrument flight.
Overall, a simulator might give you a few habits that could cause brief confusion when you first step into a real aircraft, but the accuracies of the simulator are far greater than the inaccuracies, and simulation resembles real flight a lot more than it differs from real flight.
So, in summary, Flight Simulator is a great tool for the aspiring pilot, and it has the advantage of being very accessible and affordable. You can’t really learn to fly using a desktop simulator alone, but you can certainly get a significant head start. A person who has other forms of instruction plus Flight Simulator has a great advantage over someone who has the same other forms of instruction but no Flight Simulator.
on: 19th August 08
Here are some other related flight simulator sites that I found for you to browse. Thanks for visiting bestflightsimulatorsoftware.com.
Microsoft Flight Simulator as a Training Aid
My PC Flight Simulator setup Demo Flight 1 Part 1 - Boeing 737
What is the Best Combat Flight Simulator for PC