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Flight Sims As Effective Pilot Learning Tools

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the help-the-wright-brothers-never-had dept.

Education 41

Thanks to Wired News for their article discussing the increasing use of PC flight simulators in educating real-life pilots. It references Microsoft's newest Flight Simulator 2004, and mentions: "The Navy decided to see if using Flight Simulator would help... students. It found that trainees who used the program did better in their training, prompting the Navy to issue customized versions of Flight Simulator to all of its flight students." There are still issues with using retail PC products: "Flight Simulator's limited field of view from the cockpit, and the resulting focus on the instruments that it encourages, can cause problems that need to be corrected in flight training", but overall, Microsoft's product is described as "...a highly effective tool to help student pilots learn how to fly."

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FS helped me (3, Informative)

Hee Hee Hee (310695) | more than 10 years ago | (#7282896)

I have been through private pilot training, and have soloed (didn't get my license - got married instead - sheesh!). I used FS before I started my training, not intending to use it as a supplement, but just for fun. It really did help in getting me accustomed to the instruments that I would see, how the plane would respond to certain control inputs, etc. I can't see it being a complete replacement, but it is a good introductory learning tool.

Re:FS helped me (1)

.milfox (75510) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283563)

Hey, if it worked for teh t3rr4r1sts.. *DUCK* *GRIN* *FLEE*

Just kidding. ;P

My friend Osama (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7282897)


He used to use them for training guys how to fly in to landmarks. Never bother to learn how to land, though.

Re:My friend Osama (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283059)

I used it to learn how to take off. Never learned to turn well enough to get into a position where I could land, much less how to.

I find it hard to belive I'm alone. Most people I know got a few planes off the ground, and then either did something too stupid for a real pilot to try; or they got bored and walked away letting someone else turn the comptuer off.

Re:My friend Osama (0)

jobbleberry (608883) | more than 10 years ago | (#7287094)

Well your not alone the Flight Sim really is one of those things you either love or hate. Flying can be potentially boring, I believe the saying goes flying is 1% Excitement 99% Boredom, and most flight sims do a good job of replicating this. I really believe to get any enjoyment out of a Flight Sim you have to enjoy the idea of actually flying cause that's what your going to be doing.

I am one of those people who actually enjoys it but I find my self sometimes wondering why I enjoy it when flying for an hour cross country with a well trimmed aircraft not really doing anything just monitoring the instruments and making sure I stay on course. Of course then comes the landing ... that's the 1 % excitement bit, the getting there is the 99% bit.

X-Plane (1, Redundant)

igabe (594295) | more than 10 years ago | (#7282909)

If they liked Microsoft's Flgiht Simulator, they should try out X-Plane:

http://www.x-plane.com/descrip.html

Re:X-Plane (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 10 years ago | (#7282958)

Yep.

Seemed to me this wasn't a story about flight sims for learning to fly so much as it was about how Microsoft's Flight Simulator can help you learn to fly!

No talk about other sims by name, smelled like Adware to me

Very true... (3, Interesting)

Mattcelt (454751) | more than 10 years ago | (#7282969)

My father used Flight Sim for years to help him with his ILS (instrument landing system) approaches and instrument navigation. At times he even used the instrument panel to obscure the visual field entirely to simulate instrument-only conditions. As the post suggests, FS is limited in visual usefulness, but its physics and true-to-life recreation are more than sufficient for practicing for actual situations.

So in other words... (2, Funny)

Jebediah21 (145272) | more than 10 years ago | (#7282973)

... it's a terrorist training tool. Bad M$, bad.

Re:So in other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7286902)

When you have a crime to investigate, and you have no suspects, where do you start? Obviously you begin by looking at the person or persons who have the most to gain by perpetrating the crime.

This is why we must consider: who had something to gain from the disasterous crimes of September 11th? Obviously not Osama Bin Laden [afghan-web.com] , who would net no financial windfall from the destruction of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Although he has loudly applauded the "terrorist" acts of September 11th and even tacitly taken credit for them, there is no reason to believe that he is anything more than a bandwagon jumper. Being blamed for the destruction of the World Trade Center has done more for his image than any amount of militant Islamic rhetoric.

But if not Bin Laden, then who?

It so happens that on December 11th, "coincidentally" 2 months after the tragedy, Credit Suisse First Boston quietly agreed to pay out US$100 million in order to settle an 18 month old investigation into its handling of certain high-profile technology IPOs (Initial Public Offerings). One of the most controversial amongst these being the IPO of VA Linux Systems, Inc. (LNUX) [valinux.com] .

VA Linux Systems, Inc. [valinux.com] , now known as VA Software [vasoftware.com] , is widely derided as a poster child of the dot-com bust, though inexplicably still in business. At the time of the IPO, VA Linux (Software) [linux.com] shares opened trading at nearly 10 times their $30 offer price, closing the first day of trading at $239.25. This meteoric rise made many early investors rich, strangely on account of a company which purports to sell a hobbyist operating system which can be obtained for free on the Internet [aol.com] . "The VA Linux [msn.com] initial public offering is a prime example of market manipulation in an IPO by investment banks, their customers and the issuing firm," said Steven Schulman [jpfo.org] , a partner in the law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, which specializes in filing shareholder suits.

"Because certain favored customers of the investment banks agreed to buy shares in a new issue at inflated prices in the aftermarket (in return for getting an allocation of the shares at the initial offering price) the share prices to which the IPO eventually soared were actually driven by artificial market forces," continues Schulman.

But what does the VA Software (Linux) [valunix.com] IPO have to do with the attacks on September 11th, and what has that to do with the Credit Suisse settlement? Well, considering that VA Linux (Software) [windows2000.com] got CSFB into trouble in the first place, it stands to reason that the VA Linux (Software) [vaginux.com] Board of Directors were complicit in the stock fraud from beginning to end. As the investigation progressed against CSFB, the unscrupulous VA Software/Linux executives, their pockets bulging with filthy lucre plundered from trusting, hard-working investors, must have realized that their days in the country club were numbered if the SEC discovered their wrongdoings.

The SEC, or Securities Exchange Commission [sec.gov] , is a federal regulatory agency, and cannot be bribed. Therefore, with a possible stint in federal prison looming large [goatse.cx] , Larry Augustin and the rest of the crooks, including outspoken gun violence advocate Eric S. Raymond [tuxedo.org] , decided to undertake more active means to halt the investigation.

The Plan

It so happened that all the evidence in the CSFB/VA Linux [linuxsucks.com] investigation was held at the SEC Northeast Regional Office in Manhattan. More specifically, 7 World Trade Center, Suite 1300. The board decided that a simple burglary or arson attempt would not be satisfactory to destroy the evidence; anything so simple had a significant chance of being botched, and regardless of success would leave too many witnesses or living accomplices.

It was then that Eric S. Raymond [nra.org] suggested something he had read in a book by Tom Clancy. Crashing two planes into the World Trade Center Plaza would guarantee the destruction of the SEC offices, killing the operatives and possibly a number of SEC investigators at the same time. The plan seemed flawless, and would cost little more than the price of a few plane tickets. In a secret session, the board voted unanimously in favour of Eric's suggestion, and began to put it into action.

VA Software/Linux [vashaftware.com] , at the time of planning the attacks, had no shortage of H1-B visa workers, who they employed for the purpose of writing and improving hacking, encryption, and other terrorist tools for the Linux operating system. It had been decided that a hand-picked few of these foreign H1-B workers would be used as the "patsies" in the operation. A contest was held, and the most zealotous Linux advocates were chosen for this secret assignment, direct from the board of directors. They accepted their mission after being told that, if successful, it would guarantee the adoption of Linux in the desktop market.

Alan Cox [analcocks.com] was brought into the fold to provide some planning and logistics for the mission. It was he who determined that since there was no adequate flight simulator software for Linux, the patsies would need to train at a flight school in order to pull off the plan successfully. It was also his idea to hijack a third and fourth plane for the purpose of crashing them into Washington D.C., to express his extreme rage over the DMCA [napster.com] , or Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The board of directors agreed with this addition to the plan in the hopes that it would help divert attention from the purpose of the WTC attack.

The H1-B workers were given false identities by using Linux hacking tools [gnu.org] . Once they had attended the necessary flight training, they stayed at the Massachusetts home of Richard M. Stallman [stallman.org] for a brief "faith building" retreat. During this time spent at the house of Stallman, between the nauseating stench of patchouli, Stallman's incessant, pitiful recorder playing, [gnu.org] and Stallman's droning seminars on the grammatical and syntactical accuracy of various statements by Microsoft representatives, the H1-B workers were effectively hypnotized to the point that they were ready to lay down their lives for Free Software. It was then that they departed for Boston's Logan International Airport to board the planes.

(The preceding inside information has been obtained from a credible source close to the VA Linux/Software Board of Directors. He/she is in hiding for obvious reasons in light of this damning evidence, but has presented hard, physical evidence of VA Software/Linux's complicity in the events of 9/11 to federal investigators.)

additionally.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7283000)

Flight sims also effectively simulate turbulence and other rough conditi... oh wait that's just my wife

Linux Please? (3, Interesting)

bluethundr (562578) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283050)


The only flight sim I know that is free (as in beer) and penguin compatible is something called "FlightGear". [sourceforge.net] It seems pretty cool, but I hear it's not quite up to X-Plane [x-plane.com] standards, which I believe to be neither free (as in beer) nor Linux friendly. I wonder what is available, besides FlightGear, for the open source crowd?

Re:Linux Please? (1)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283269)

While I would normally shy away from this sort of thing, ... does anyone out there have any experience running the MS Flight Simulator under WINE? Although I suppose I could always pull out my trusty Commodore 64s and the attendant FlightSim package and Chuck Yeagers flight simulator (which was cool because you could take the SR-71 (?) practically into orbit-- a point at which I usually decided the best path was to see just how fast of a nosedive I could engineer)... but from what I understand Flight is one of MS' better products.

Re:Linux Please? (2, Informative)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283564)

Part of the reason Microsoft's flight simulator is so good is that they purchased it from SubLogic -- the guys who made your C64 flight simulator.

And did you ever manage level flight in that SR-71?

Re:Linux Please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7287093)

Flight Simulator is one of MS's better products. But based on my limited experience so far (haven't bought the license yet, or a decent stick for my Mac), X-Plane is just as good. Too bad it isn't available for Linux.

I wonder if (1)

Apreche (239272) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283195)

Counter-Strike is an effective tool in training special forces. If so, the GIGN has a few recruits.

Re:I wonder if (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 10 years ago | (#7285048)

The marines have been using custom maps (of things like Embassies that are likely areas of operation since DOOM or DOOM II, to learn layouts and other stuff.

useful in private training... (4, Informative)

orn (34773) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283213)

I'm a pilot and just recently got my instrument rating.

When getting my private pilot license, I picked up a copy of MS Flight Sim 2000 and used it a bit. 2004 came out shortly after getting my rating.

Learning to fly has a lot of facets to it. It's something that anyone can do, but it's a large quantity of knowledge that you have to get your mind around.

One of the most important is learning the muscle motor responses necessary to control the plane: how does the plane react when I do X.

To learn that, the best method is to fly real airplanes. But that's not enough. After flying, you need to go back in the privacy of your own brain and remember what you did. You need to go through the motions of landing (and other procedures) in your brain where you have the luxury of being able to stop time and analyze what's going on.

This is called "armchair flying" and it is a very importat part of the process.

The Flight Simulator is a great tool, but it doesn't replace arm chair flying. It does give you that ability to try various procedures and stuff that you can't do in a real airplane.

But most of all, what I found was that it is the most help in learning instruments. Hence, its use for VFR flight (what your private pilot ticket gives you the right to do on your own) is minimal. But it does keep you thinking about things.

On the otherhand, its use for learning to fly an instrument approach is fabulous! I've always found the computer controls to overcontrol the plane or to just not "have the right feel." But that's not a bad thing - it forces you to rely on the instruments which is exactly what you should be doing in IFR flight.

So, large grain of salt in hand, flight simulators are great!

Re:useful in private training... (1)

Academy Girl (717426) | more than 10 years ago | (#7288137)

Another aspect of virtual or simulated training that it's important to think about is the shift from in vivo to in vitro responding. When people get into real-life situations, even if they have learned a skill to mastery, they can behave unexpectedly as a result of emotional responding in the moment.

As a consequence, in military situations, for example, training over and above specific skill training on a machine is crucial in helping soldiers to control their mental and emotional responses in situations. A flight simulator simply cannot do this. In addition, people have to learn how to apply their skills strategically and in cooperation with other people and units with whom they are working.

Even military observers have to go through this kind of training in order to cope with experiences they might encounter in the field. See this link [www.morh.hr] for example. On top of all of that, effective debriefing from experiences is also necessary.

So, flight simulation is only one, small aspect of a much larger field of professional training. Operating a machine, like an airplane, is still a very human activity which includes more than just technical skill.

Build your own plane? (3, Insightful)

orn (34773) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283246)

One other thing that flight simulators can let you do with growing capability: you can design your own planes with some tools.

In particular, X-Plane [x-plane.com] has a really cool interface that lets you build planes. It uses physical models to determine how your plane will fly, then you can jump in the simulator and give it a shot.

Pretty neat.

Flight sims (generic term) do help - sometimes. (3, Interesting)

DuckDuckBOOM! (535473) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283248)

I used X-Plane during pilot training to work out some issues I had with landings and ground reference maneuvers, plus it's great for "under the hood" instrument practice, spins, high crosswind landings, emergency procedures, and in general all those situations you need to learn to deal with, but would rather not encounter in the real world. Plus, it's great for practicing vertical takeoffs & landings into an 80 mph headwind. :)
Otoh, the graphics aren't really detailed enough for pilotage (navigating by ground landmarks), "seat of the pants" maneuvering is impossible, and control feel is, of course, completely different.
(At the time, MS FS didn't offer a low-wing trainer (which makes more of a difference than you might think) so I didn't check it out. From what I've seen, though, the advantages / drawbacks would be pretty much the same with any sim out there.)
So a sim is, imho, a useful supplement to real-world training, but in no way is it a substitute. I strongly doubt that any amount of time on a PC sim would've enabled Osama's minions to manuever a 7x7 precisely enough to do what they did.

Re:Flight sims (generic term) do help - sometimes. (2, Informative)

EABird (554070) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283678)

I can't see how X-Plane helped on spins and landings. X-plane is great for procedures, instrument enroute and general flying work; but should not be used for training for spins, stalls or slow flight. X-plane utilizes flow algorithms that assume laminar air over the surface of the aircraft, including the airfoils. This means that it does not model the edges of the speed envelope.

The problem with all PC simulators is the inability to teach real world landings. There is no cheap method to create the proper perspective with a PC simulator. I will always remember my instructor yelling at me for landing like I was flying a PC.

I do agree that it does serve as a useful supplement to actual flying (so long as you turn it off when you reach decision height) and I attribute MS Flight Simulator for allowing me to finishing my ticket in 41.3 hours. I continue to use it for approach and enroute practice. I often fly approaches on MS FS before flying them in real life, and I am often amazed at the likeness between the two.

Re:Flight sims (generic term) do help - sometimes. (1)

DuckDuckBOOM! (535473) | more than 10 years ago | (#7289313)

Spins: My bad; should've read spin recovery procedure. And unusual attitude recovery in general. My school prohibited spin training (insurance + older aircraft, I think), & it turns out there's a big, big difference between memorizing "power to idle; yoke neutral; full opposite rudder", and doing it with the scenery whirling in your windscreen. X may not be accurately simulating the spin, but it sure looks like one, and the recovery procedure works. Get one of the hotter single-engines e.g. a P51 to altitude at about 110 mph, and do an accelerated stall with crossed controls. The result may not be a true spin, but it's close enough to freak out this low-time Archer driver.

Landings: Early on, I'd had this tendency to balloon badly on the flare, that was proving quite difficult to shake. Tried a few landings in X. Same result. An hour or so of bookwork and experimentation led me to discover that I was staring at the runway right past the nose through the flare. Not good. Applied the technique from the Butcher book (an oldie but goodie), and let my visual target slide up to the end of the runway just into level-out. Perfect flare; touchdown as the stall warning sounded. Tried it during my next real-world lesson. A couple feet of balloon, easily corrected; touchdown wasn't spectacular but at least this time I wasn't 20 feet in the air at impending stall.

(I don't know why my instructor didn't catch this, and neither does he. He's quite competent otherwise.)

And so all was well until, of course, my first solo landing, and right back up to treetop height on the flare. That missing 200 lbs. in the right-hand seat (and an extra pint or so of adrenaline) makes an amazing difference... Two go-rounds, and I finally got it down with the gear struts intact.

Anyway, I think we're in agreement that fill-in-the-blank Sim is a useful training tool but that's all; you aren't going to come anywhere near real-world proficiency with a sim. When full-motion wraparound-view simulators become affordable for home use, we can re-visit the issue. :)

Re:Flight sims (generic term) do help - sometimes. (1)

EABird (554070) | more than 10 years ago | (#7289687)

Another focus method for landing is to look at the 10 O'clock position. This is how I developed my landings. At full flare in a Cessna, you really should not see the end of the runway (unless the seat is set very high and you are 6'4".) It is a bit unnerving, but it really helped me judge distances and altitudes in those last fearful seconds before touchdown. I am based out of 15G, which has a tiny runway (2360'x37') so those last seconds can be fearful. :) Happy flying.

Money vs motor skills (2, Insightful)

JustAnOtherCodeSerf (181281) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283326)

Flight training isn't cheap. A good flight sim can help you learn quite a bit about flying, especially when it comes to instruments. When you start flying, you're overloaded with all kinds of new things for your brain to deal with. Sims can help with this sensory overload by getting you familiar with these things so that you can spend more of your time and brainpower on actually flying.

I think the most common complaint with sims is a tendency to form motor skill habits that relate to how a simulator flies and not to how an airplane flies. It's like trying to teach skiing or riding a bike with a sim.

While this article (2, Informative)

KMAPSRULE (639889) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283404)

is a bit biased to MS-FS and other alternatives arent really Mentioned, Simulators do and will increasingly play a major role in training Pilots- Commercial, military or private
The main benefits arent so much handling the aircraft although a full motion sim is helpful for this as they are in learning the instrumentation of the aircraft and how to operate the aircraft...learning how to properly divide your attention amonst the myriad things going on in the cockpit.

I work in the military flight simulator field and it is a growing industry

This is really really old news (1)

pmz (462998) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283455)


Personal flight simulators as real-pilot training tools has been common since before I can remember.
My university had a PC connected to a big-screen TV for the aero students, and I knew a doctor years ago who had a really nice simulator on his Mac that he used to help keep his certifications current.

Flight Simulator (1)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283497)


I remember playing on a Apple IIGS. Long ago...

Back on topic...

It's a very realistic program. It actually takes you 15 minutes to climb up to such and such altitude.

Nothing like the 'arcade' style flight games, like JetFighter. Just take up, full throttle, hit 30,000 feet in about 2 seconds....

MSFS useful in very controlled circumstances (4, Interesting)

phouka (224269) | more than 10 years ago | (#7283742)


I'm a private pilot who flies in the upper Midwest (read: oftentimes challenging instrument flying).

The problem with MSFS is that it doesn't really teach the judgment necessary to be a good pilot. Being a good pilot is more about judgment than about the actual 'flying' part: practically anyone can be taught be manipulate a plane; not everyone can learn the judgment necessary to do it safely.

MSFS is best left out of primary flight training, where the most important goal is teaching judgment and an outside-the-cockpit focus.

Once the student becomes more advanced and starts instrument training, however, MSFS can be invaluable. Much of instrument training is simply repetition: forcing yourself to adopt an appropriate instrument scan as habit and learning how to prioritize tasks. Neither of these critical abilities require that you actually be burning tons of money flying around the sky; thus, MSFS excels as a cost-effective way to learn them.

Of the 65 hours or so it will take for most people (that's the national average in the U.S., even though the requirements are much lower) to obtain a PP-ASEL rating, I suspect you can really only knock 3-4 off by intelligent use of MSFS. It's worth noting that 3-4 hours still makes it cost-effective.

On the other hand, I think you could cut your -IA (instrument) addition by 25 percent or more with an instructor who is confident and intelligent in his use of MSFS as a teaching tool.

Pooks

How can a file system teach you how to fly? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7284191)

>The problem with MSFS is that it doesn't really teach the judgment necessary to be a good pilot.
Well, duh! MSFS [ncsu.edu] is a set of client software that allows a Macintosh computer to use AFS file space. The developers of the Macintosh Secure File Server never meant for it to teach people how to fly!

C'mon people, if you really want to learn how to fly, don't try to study some file server; learn it like the pros and go to a flight school.

Re:How can a file system teach you how to fly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7286506)

offtopic? geesh. obviously somebody doesnt have a sense of humor or didnt become bored by 30+ comments on almost the same points (ie. MSFT helped my flight training ... etc etc ... MSFT is not really new). There is a lack of humor in many of these games.slashdot articles, and now I see why.

I learned to fly before I learned to drive (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7283902)

Although it was glider flying... Let me tell you flight sims helped out a lot. I really found turning final to be quite a challenge. I always turned to far or too little and had to correct all the way down. Remember there's no going around again in a glider!!! Anyway I used MS Flight sim to help me get better at turning final and I eventually got it. If I had learned how to drive first the whole thing would've been a lot easier.

Slightly off topic (1)

El (94934) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284194)

What joystick/control system out there is closest to the controls of an actual aircraft?

Re:Slightly off topic (1)

daeley (126313) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284238)

Depends on the aircraft, since there are different sets.

Austin (the guy that does X-Plane) has some recommendations on this page [x-plane.com] (scroll down), and seems to prefer CH Products [chproducts.com] line of USB products, although (as he points out), anything will do.

Re:Slightly off topic (1)

DuckDuckBOOM! (535473) | more than 10 years ago | (#7293554)

As the last poster noted, CH is about the best bet for casual simming. I have the USB yoke & pedal set. Pedals are great. Yoke is a bit flimsy but adequate; throttle / mix / gear levers and a bunch of assignable toggle & hat switches. Reasonably easy to set up & calibrate. Excellent sensitivity & responsiveness.

And the next [avshop.com] step up [avshop.com] more than quadruples the cost.

As with so many other things in life, you get what you pay for.

uh-huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7284384)

yeah...

FOR TERRORISTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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PC flight sims are bad (4, Informative)

Tracy Reed (3563) | more than 10 years ago | (#7284710)

I am an instrument rated pilot with 550 hours and *almost* commercial rated (I've got more than twice the experience required, just need to sign up for the test) and I fly a Cessna 210 or a Cirrus several times a week.

I encourage people NOT to use flight simulators to prepare for initial private pilot training. It is next to useless and teaches bad habits. The private pilot training is all about teaching you how to eyeball it. You fly in VFR (Visual Flight Rules). You barely need the instruments. It is all about looking out the window and learning about weather, judgement, physics, etc. PC based flight sims don't teach you any of this. The view (the most important part) is extremely limited even with todays modern graphics, tuning VOR's with the mouse is just not realistic, and you don't have any control forces or wind noise. Rudder is completely ignored in PC flightsims. You end up relying totally on the instruments without learning anything but how to read instruments which is a trivial skill taught new pilots in just a few minutes.

Flying a PC with a cheap plastic joystick in your hands is nothing like flying a noisy, vibrating, machine where you have a huge view all around you and can feel the aerodynamic forces on the yoke in front of you and the G's on your butt and while trying to keep track of exactly where you are in relation to that class bravo airspace with controllers barking instructions at you on the radio. And this is just stuff the first time student pilot has to learn to deal with to say nothing of actual instrument flying in bad weather.

Before I started flying I used to play with PC based flight sims and I liked to think it was something like the real thing but now that I can look back on it I realize I was fooling myself. I learned a *LOT* more about how to fly an airplane from radio control airplanes. Build the plane yourself, learn something about airframes, control surfaces, flutter, weight and balance, etc. Then actually fly it and learn something about preflighting, takeoffs and landings, airspeed/energy control, the need to be smooth on the controls, making timely corrections, spins and stalls, etc. Much more educational to the potential pilot.

Of course as long as you use consider the PC flight sim as nothing more than a sophisticated game then it's pretty good. They have certainly put a lot of work into things like MS FS. I first used it on my Apple ][c way back when SubLogic produced it.

All that being said, I live in San Diego and fly out of Montgomery Field and I am always looking for people to join me in the cockpit so if anyone wants to go up for a short little spin around town and have a go at flying the airplane (Yes, I will give you complete control of the plane if you are willing) just drop me a line at treed@copilotconsulting.com and check out my photo gallery of flying pics at:

my flying photo gallery [ultraviolet.org] .

Re:PC flight sims are bad (1)

phouka (224269) | more than 10 years ago | (#7287436)

Flying a PC with a cheap plastic joystick in your hands is nothing like flying a noisy, vibrating, machine where you have a huge view all around you....
Bah. I've flown a C210 all over the U.S., Canada, and the Bahamas, and you know as well as I do that the view from a Centurion just plain sucks. MSFS probably simulates that just fine. :) :) :)

Pooks

Re:PC flight sims are bad (1)

Spiffae (707428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7287787)

I wish you lived in the New York area... I love planes, am planning to get a private pilot license, but for now, the money has not materialized. I love small airports, and I've gotten to know some pilots, but no one has offered a flight yet. I'm always hoping though.

G to tha Oatsay! C to the Izzex!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7285390)

GAY-O
By The WIPO Avenger [slashdot.org] , 2003-10-18 18:30
(To the tune of Day-O by Harry Belafonte)

Gay-o, gay-ay-ay-o!
Hemos cum when they suck his bone!
Gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay-ay-ay-o!
Michael cum when they suck his bone!

Suck all night on CowboiKneel's bum! (Hemos cum when they suck his bone!)
Suck Cliff's cock 'til the morning come! (Hemos cum when they suck his bone!)
Cum, Mr. Taco Man, taco-snot all over! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
Cum, Mr. Taco Man, taco-snot all over! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
It's six foot, seven foot, eight foot COCK! (Jamie cum when they suck his bone!)
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot COCK! (Jamie cum when they suck his bone!)

Gay, me say gay-ay-ay-o! (Hemos cum when they suck his bone!)
Gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay... (Hemos cum when they suck his bone!)

A beautiful bunch o' balls on Pater! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
He likes to play the game "Hide the Hamster"! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
It's six foot, seven foot, eight foot COCK! (Jamie cum when they suck his bone!)
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot COCK! (Jamie cum when they suck his bone!)

Gay, me say gay-ay-ay-o! (Michael cum when they suck his bone!)
Gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay... (Michael cum when they suck his bone!)

Cum, Mr. Taco Man, taco-snot all over! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
Cum, Mr. Taco Man, taco-snot all over! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)

GAY-O! Gay-ay-ay-o! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)
Gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay, me say gay-ay-ay-o! (Taco cum when they suck his bone!)

-- The WIPO Avenger [slashdot.org]

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