Question by Mildred’s people: The horse ain’t dead yet…can Microsoft Flight Simulator provide training benefits to a pilot?
A question like this was posted recently, and apparently it’s a hot debate topic. I’m asking pilots ONLY to respond to this question. If you’re not a pilot, PLEASE sit this one out. Apparently some of you non-pilots have claimed that MSFS is “encouraged by Microsoft for flight training” and that it is used “by some airlines to supplement actual training.” Both of these statements are completely false.
Also a bit of a blurred line is this claim: “there is NO other software that can train you for a real pilot’s licence!” B.S. What do you think Elite software, a PCATD, or programs such as ASA’s On Top are used for? With the former you can legally log instrument time. Of course you need all the hardware to go with it, but the software program runs on a PC or server. With the later….you can’t log time, but it is a popular program that pilots (including myself) have used to practice instrument skills with.
So let’s consider MSFS for the moment. There are really two parts to the program. There’s the aircraft, and then there’s the “world”. The aircraft, as most pilots who have played with it by now know…are a joke. The “world” is more or less accurate, except that navaids, fixes, and frequencies in the real world get updated and changed whereas in MSFS they do not.
So I’m asking pilots here to consider ONE aspect of training…and that is instrument skills. If you’re approaching XYZ VORTAC and want to set up a holding pattern on a particular radial, why isn’t a good airplane model (not provided by MS) with fully functioning nav radios and VORs good to practice with? You’re still going to have to visualize the holding side and radial, you’re going to have to tune the radios and slow the aircraft, you’re going to have to compute your entry method and reciprocal courses, etc. Same with an approach. Why can’t you practice an ILS if your “aircraft” has all the equipment? Granted, you might not intercept the gs or localizer signals at the exact places and altitude as you would in the real world. Maybe the marker beacons aren’t placed or received exactly as they are in the RW. So I’m not suggesting you fire up your sim…shoot a tricky approach into say Juneau, call ‘er good and then go try it in a real airplane if you’ve never flown instruments before. But I am saying that for students learning instrument skills, I think MSFS with good aircraft certainly can’t hurt. And if you disagree, then why would pilots buy the software, and why would we use other training software currently on the market?
Pilsner: You’re the kind of smart alec I was asking to refrain from posting. I was hoping to have an intelligent conversation amongst educated, mature pilots. But I forgot this was YA….what the heck was I thinking? 😛
Skipper: lol….well, playing electronic chess can certainly improve your game. Now you appear to be a real pilot. So I’ll ask you to comment on my last paragraph here, regarding the holds and approaches. I think I’ll post this on Pprune and APC forums and see what answers I get.
“Computer games”? Because you get the set of “flight enthusiasts” who wouldn’t know what the terms VORTAC, glide slope, and visual descent points mean. You were a 747 sim instructor? So tell me why PC-based software can’t help out an instrument student?
Answer by Pilsner Man
I thought I was sadistic, necrophiliac bestiality kind of guy, but then I realized I was just beating a dead horse. Please go away with the games.
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!