149

@Pondlife gave a very good answer, and I'll add a few bits to that. Even after having gotten my license, I still use flight sims (mainly Microsoft FSX and X-Plane 10) for some practice. Before flying into an unfamiliar airport, or over an unfamiliar area, I'll often load it up in a simulator, and fly it. Especially when I was a student, I found this ...


59

It can definitely help: when I did my instrument rating my instructor used MS FS to walk through (fly through?) various procedures before doing them for real. He also used it for NDB training because the aircraft we used didn't have ADF. I found it very useful, and if I had bought it myself it would probably have saved me a lot of time and money. The main ...


47

It isn't true, not as an indictment of the simulator software community as a whole anyway. It may be that your pilot friend doesn't have experience with modern simulators, let's take X-Plane for example... X-Plane has a "professional use" version, which is simply the regular X-Plane with a commercial license and a few extra features. The underlying software ...


40

Well, "5 to 10 feet" is not "slightly." One or two feet is "slightly," and in that case you can maintain your landing attitude or pitch very slightly nose-down -- really a matter of the slightest change in pressure, not really a perceptible change in pitch -- and you'll land soon after that. However, for a larger bounce, the concern, especially on the ...


39

X-Plane is a much truer simulation of flying than that flight game Microsoft used to make. In fact, when coupled with certified hardware and a CFI, X-Plane can power a sim that you can actually log FTD time in. Since you ask about airline flying for your comparison, there is a lot more to that than just the flying. An airline pilot is, with few exceptions, ...


36

I believe that there's an element to this question which has not been covered. This is very much a personal response. Your question specifically asks whether it can help you to learn how to fly or become a better pilot. This is actually two questions in one. Physical and mental limitations not withstanding, I would say that just about anyone can learn ...


33

X-Plane offers a "Professional Level" which is mostly about licensing. However X-Plane also has an FAA certified version that if paired with proper controls is legal for certain training/instructional hours. You can find more info on the FAA's approved simulators here and here. The flight school I trained at had a certified sim from the 80's that was pretty ...


30

Almost every pilot learns to fly in an actual aircraft, this is one of the reasons all trainers have dual controls. My first day out, ever, was in an actual plane, behind real controls, in the sky. No sim-time prior to that. The instructor talked me though takeoff and maneuvers (keeping an eye on everything and operating the rudder). All he did was radio ...


29

I posted this answer on FB a while back: I’m a commercial pilot as well as a flight sim fan with somewhere in the neighborhood of 7000 hours logged on Flight Simulator and Falcon 4.0 games. I disagree with the assertion that the sims are so different from the real thing. While it is true that the kinesthetics of being in a real airplane are different from ...


29

When pilots are trained for flying in an aircraft type they have not flown in before, they go through type rating, then line training. During the type rating, they learn where all the instruments and buttons are, what starts which system, how the plane behaves, how to land and auto-land etc. During line training, they spend time in the cockpit together with ...


28

No, it is perfectly normal to operate without any fuel in the center tank. Until your fuel load is over about 17,000 lbs, the center tank should be empty. That’s enough for about 2 hours of flying, plus reserves. If your simulator requires fuel in the center tank in order to start the engines, it isn’t accurately replicating the real aircraft.


28

(airliners.net) Be sure to turn on the appropriate pumps on the lower-left of the overhead panel. The APU can start without them via suction. Otherwise, it's a simulator problem. Also see: Why are fuel tanks in the wings filled first, and why are they used last?


25

Pulseworks makes some full motion sims that are capable of inverted flight and infinite barrel rolls. These sims fall into the entertainment category more than the training category, but they are full motion, in cockpit sims. I have also been in a similar type of sim at a Harris/Boeing sponsored party in Seattle made by a company whose name I cannot ...


25

Based on the variety of tasks that are performed in a simulator that VR would have great trouble accurately replicating, I think the answer is likely, no. There IS a role for "simulators" that are more accurately referred to as "procedures trainers" in that they are non-motion, but this has nothing to do with VR, as those don't use all that much visual ...


25

The question speaks of a very old 747 landing tutorial. And as such I take that to mean it would be of a 747-100/200 aircraft, and that's the reference point I'm answering from. First, concerning the comments below the question that wonder whether you have to worry about unwanted objects on a runway at an international airport, there is no such thing as a ...


25

My experience with the military is that loudspeaker announcements like this do NOT occur in simulator buildings. They would be both distracting and largely unnecessary when there are land lines and published schedules available. Besides the simulators themselves there are briefing and debriefing rooms where crews and instructors are discussing conduct of ...


23

Both! Some airlines operate simulator facilities. For example, United has a training facility in Denver with a number of simulators. In turn, they rent out training services to others who will pay to use the facilities (more info on their offerings here). They can also provide trainers, cabin crew training, ground school training, and other such services. ...


23

My answer applies to the 141 training programs I've been a part of; Michael Hall's answer is correct - there are no loudspeaker announcements made, with one rare but important exception: "FIRE ALARM IN SIMULATOR BAY. EVACUATE. EVACUATE." Of course, since almost any commercial-use building has fire alarms and fire drills, this isn't especially interesting ...


22

Simulators have been in use since the late-20's. Link's first military sales came as a result of the Air Mail scandal, when the Army Air Corps took over carriage of U.S. Air Mail. Twelve pilots were killed in a 78-day period due to their unfamiliarity with Instrument Flying Conditions. They have been invaluable in teaching instrument flying and emergency ...


21

It is not common to call out the height above ground level when landing in a small aircraft. The main reason for this is that there simply is no way to measure it: A radio altimeter, which could directly measure the height, is not typically installed on a small aircraft. A pressure altimeter is not accurate enough. With the correct QNH reference pressure ...


20

Based on the red little strip (notification bar) on the bottom of the instrument panel in the middle, it must be either Microsoft Flight Simulator or Lockheed Martin Prepar3d. The red notifiation bar is specific to Flight Simulator 2004 (FS9) and Flight Simulator X (FSX). Laminar Research's X-Plane uses a different graphics engine and would not have produced ...


20

Computer games try to model the aircraft based on generalized aerodynamic and physical principles and at best "feel". FAA and EASA certified full flight simulators are built with a data package purchased from the airframer, which uses their developmental models coupled with actual flight test data. On top of that, full flight simulators do not simulate ...


20

No, that is not true. There are two concepts here: being close to reality and being certified for training. They are not the same thing. Certified is in essence an insurance policy. It means "sue me if you find my simulation responsible for a crash, because I am so sure it is accurate". That is why it is so expensive. But just because something is not ...


20

Your first reaction should be to advance the throttles. Not all the way, but to around 40%. This keeps the plane flying and avoid it sinking onto the ground in an impact that might collapse the landing gear. Your second instinct would be to avoid large or abrupt pitch changes. If you attempt to chase it, you might end up in pilot-induced oscillations. ...


19

Sorry, I know that's not nice to read but all in all I like to answer your question with a no. Flight simulators on your computer doesn't offer the possibility to learn how to actually fly an airplane, they even teach you to act in a different way and in my eyes this might be even very dangerous especially if you only have a little flying experience yet. ...


18

I spent a lot of time (years) flying MSFS before getting into a cockpit for real. Turns out I had developed a bad habit of using the instruments rather than my eyes. When simming I probably spent 80% of my time looking at instruments and the moving map and only 20% looking outside. The biggest surprise for me about IRL flying was that these ratios were ...


18

Here there is a nice tabular representation of the requirements for each level. Wiki provides a handy summary: Full Flight Simulators (FFS) FAA FFS Level A - A motion system is required with at least three degrees of freedom. Airplanes only. FAA FFS Level B - Requires three axis motion and a higher-fidelity aerodynamic model than does Level A. ...


18

Since that's really three questions, I'll address them separately. 1. Did the shuttle have or use autoland? The space shuttle did have autoland capability, in theory. When the shuttle was being developed, it was imagined that flights could last so long that human pilots might get rusty, or have their ability to function under gravity impaired due to muscle ...


17

Yes the PC software that OP mentions can be used for professional flight training - if it demonstrates to the authorities that it matches aircraft data, and that is where the distinction lies. It has to be FAA/EASA qualified, where EASA has stricter rules on low level devices. The distinction between computer games and flight simulators has been blurring in ...


17

The best recommendation I can give you is to get a VR headset. Yes, they're a bit pricey, but not bad at all compared to actual flight hours in a real airplane. Practicing for visual flight just isn't very good with normal monitors. Personally, I had been playing around with flight sim games for years before I ever flew a real airplane. I do agree that, if ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible