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Thread: Just how easy is it to switch?

  1. #1

    Default Just how easy is it to switch?

    I've been flying flight simulator x for about as long as its been around, it was the first flight simulator I got for myself and was wondering if it was easy to switch from flight simulator to real world flying or is there still another extra hundred things you never heard of even with all of the add ons to make it as real as possible?

  2. #2

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    If you're interested in learning to fly, you owe it to yourself to visit your local flight school and talk to an instructor. He or she will be happy to spend a few minutes with you (for free) and give you a good idea what it's like to learn to fly.

    In my experience, the biggest thing you'll have to overcome is a tendency to focus inside the cockpit. That's where most of the information is in the sim. But in a real plane, you'll get a lot more from looking outside. You should spend about 90% of your time looking outside, with only an occasional glance at the instruments to confirm what you should already know.

    Whatever you do, don't go into it expecting to know everything. Yes, you'll be at a SLIGHT advantage for having mastered some of the basic terminology of aviation through flight sim. But a real airplane has a lot of extra nuances. That's what makes it fun. Trust your instructor, and study hard.

    The basic physical skills of learning to fly an airplane are pretty easy to learn. After 10-15 hours, you'll have the basics of controlling the plane. That's about when you'll solo, too. What's harder to learn is the "headwork," and that's a bit tougher to glean from the sim. But as you fly more, your situational awareness will expand and you'll be able to make decisions about what the airplane should do, and then make it do it.

    If you're interested, go for it. Life is short. Yes, there's a lot you have to learn to be a pilot, but you don't have to learn it all at once. And there are lots of people to help you along the way. Take it one step at a time, try hard to get a solid understanding of the basics before moving on, and you'll be taking your checkride before you know it.

    Good luck,

    Dave
    CFI

  3. #3
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    My experience is that Flight Simulator will not give you a feel for the aircraft. A vital aspect of learning to fly. You won't know how to land because it is so visually different in the real world than FS.

    But with a lot of GA hours in FS, you will have a strong advantage of knowing what the instruments are designed to do, what they are trying to tell you, how they work. You will understand the panel and how it works. What it is telling you. That's a lot of time for folks learning to fly with no prior experience. You can spend those hours actually learning the flying part.

    As mentioned above - you have to keep your eyes of of the cockpit. The plane I learned to fly in most of the time did not even have an HSI or artificial horizon. I learned to measure my attitude by watching the horizon.

    Let your instructor know you have been using FS, but also I recommend you tell him, and keep in mind - what you learn in FS might be the wrong thing for the real world. Your instructor is THE SOURCE of information when you are learning to fly.

    I did some work to find an instructor who was familiar with FS. So he was able to tell me "In today's lesson, you have to forget anything you think you learned in FS."

    One thing which I found FS completely fails to prepare us for is pre-flight planning. It's to easy to just jump in and fly in FS. Can't do that in the real world.

    But go for it. Even though my limited flying costs a LOT MORE than FS, it is much more rewarding.
    Hello Dave

    @ PawPaw's house - near KADS, Addison, Texas, USA

  4. #4
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    It's always been my opinion that those who have flown some real world hours and are at least able to land a GA aircraft......can make the best use of FS because the mind will fill in some of what is missing sensory wise, since you are already familiar with the process. If this is not the case, you more than likely do not have the visual or sensory elements of landing. Flight simulators are very capable......but not on a desktop monitor.

    Lastly, unless you've had formal training from a flight instructor and have discipline.........it is easy to get into some really bad habits using flight simulator on your own, so for many, it probably would be a good idea to forget what you've learned and start fresh from an instructor who will teach you the appropriate way to scan your instruments, where to have your hands on the controls at what times, etc.
    Ricardo
    FSThrottle.com

  5. #5
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    There are tons of differences between real world and FS. Flying in FS, while does a good job at trying to replicate real life, it just cannot do it. Winds in FS are always constant where as in real world they never are. Flying in real life (VFR) is all about seat of the pants and not about the instruments. If your looking at the instruments to see if your level, climbing, decending, etc., you're doing it all wrong. You should know what's going on by the relationship of the nose to the horizon. Above was stated that 90% of the time, your eyes should be outside the cockpit. I disagree on this, 99% should be outside, you should only come inside to a quick glance at the 6 pack and then back outside scanning for traffic, landmarks, and the like.

    Personally, I think coming from FS to real world is much more difficult than the other way around, or going from no experience to real world. The reason I say this is that FS creates too many bad habits. From not coordinating the airplane (see above about seat of the pants aviation), to keeping your head inside the cockpit too long. Most people I know that went from FS to real world spent up to 10 hours just unlearning bad habits created from FS.
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  6. #6

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    It is a lot different. Once you figure out how to start a real fuel injected continental that is hot...youll see there are a lot of differences. After I flew for an hour straight without hardly looking out the window, my buddy put a chart over the whole panel and told me to fly. I was all over the place!

  7. #7

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    I flew cross country in a light canvas plane for 50 hours from 7 to 11, the only thing I didn't do were the radio and landings. I was sort of the "autopilot" through the cruise phase on flights that were normally about 500 nm long. To be sure they were difficult and dangerous flying over sharp snow covered mountain peaks, however it was drastically easier than the simulator. I learned about 99% more from the simulator. Some differences were, I was constantly scanning for a place to ditch and always keeping it in sight, and if the flight failed there was no reset button, for example those mountain peaks really cleared your sinuses just like the peppermint ads w/ Swiss mountains in the background suggest. Another biggie is the winds, especially side winds on landing. They can be so strong that they can and do cause crashes. If you're not at the controls be prepared to get motion sickness, even fighter pilots and astronauts get motion sickness. RW flying is extremely expensive.

    Other than that, I've learned vast amounts about flying from the simulators. Guess I'll have to find a good instructor for my new transition, need someone that can understand an ego as big as all outdoors! I have flight training materials on the way, I waited years to be able to afford them, I can't wait. I studied these same materials 12 years ago, but have had to wait all these years due to the recessions.

    When I start flying a RW plane, I hope I have an exciting model to fly, I had the very most humble plane possible to fly when I was a kid. General Aviation planes (GA planes), are much more difficult to fly than they appear. Many fighter pilots after WWII bought the farm in GA planes, Scott Crossfield X15 pilot did also, and Steve Fossett was flying a plane very similar to the one I flew when I was a kid only it had a bigger engine and was more maneuverable. The mountain winds overcame the plane's ability to escape their down drafts and he went into the mountain. I've mostly flown 747's and biz jets in FS, but have flown GA planes about maybe 1/2% out of 17,000 hours, they were noneventful, but recently flew biz jets and GA planes to a small field at Santa Barbara, the jets were drastically easier to fly, the winds blew me all over the place while trying to land the GA aircraft. Moral of the story is, don't underestimate GA aircraft, they are plenty difficult to fly, and side winds can really ruin your day.

    Almost forgot, the pilot wife of an airline friend of mine gave me a tip, "Stay away from airliners, their jet blast and vorticies can kill you!" Awfully cheery!
    68,000 lbs of thrust..... "Excellent!" --Montgomery Burns, Simpsons tv show

  8. #8
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    I'm not a real world flyer, but if i ever decide to take flying lessons i'm absolutely certain that my flight simming experience would give me a massive head start..
    It'd be interesting to know whether real world instructors are finding that simmers make the best students, rather than somebody who's never touched a sim in his life?

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    You may have a head start with knowing how to use VOR navigation etc., but you or may not be any better when it comes to actually controlling the plane. As has been mentioned above, flight simming can teach you bad habits, like relying too much on the instruments.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScatterbrainKid View Post
    It'd be interesting to know whether real world instructors are finding that simmers make the best students, rather than somebody who's never touched a sim in his life?
    When looking for an instructor - about 75% of the CFI I met were very wary of people with extensive FS experience. Their view was that they were the hardest to train because they thought they knew how to fly. And had many bad habits which were hard to untrain.

    The instructor I ended up with made it very clear, that I have to understand FS is a GAME - and not like real flying.

    There is value from FS experience, if you are understanding of FS limitations.

    I've met four or five other people getting their PPL with FS experience. They all flew mostly jets in FS. Which is totally useless for the low and slow VFR flying a person does when getting a PPL.
    Hello Dave

    @ PawPaw's house - near KADS, Addison, Texas, USA

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