Can you really learn to fly using Aerofly FS2?

  • I have no real world flying experience. The only simulator I have used is AFS2 and since 2016 I've notched up a few hundred hours. Not much compared to many but I did wonder if it would make a difference in the real world. Last Friday I had an hour's "trial flight" in a Piper Warrior, a Christmas present from my wife. I didn't make a big deal of my simming but the instructor asked about my hobbies so I said "tennis and messing around with simulators". He put me left seat and gave me the job of following the taxiway line out to the runway. We paused for some control tower chat then he told me I'd be doing the take off. We thought he was joking - me and my wife sat nervously in the back. He wasn't.

    I was surprised how much extra pull was needed on the yoke but otherwise it behaved as I expected. Also I didn't realise you don't use the rudder once you have some speed up. Once airborne I then basically flew the thing for the next hour under his direction. I managed to hold bearings and altitudes pretty well with a few reminders. I was amazed how much he let me do. I was even more amazed when he told me I would be landing it. No complicated joining of a circuit, we just approached on an angle right of base as the tower instructed and I took it straight in. He said the landing was a "little firm" (which it was!) and he would have landed it like a butterfly with sore feet.

    I may have had my feet on terra firma for the rest of the day but my head was on cloud 9. It completely exceeded my expectations and I haven't fully come down to earth yet.

    If you're in the same situation as me I'd recommend some real world experience.

  • Hi Phil,

    Congrats on your first real world takeoff and landing :)

    Sounds like you're now infected with the aviation virus.

    Fun fact: our Dr. of physics head programmer for the R22 (Marc) did his first hover in the real helicopter all by himself in less than 5 minutes. Of course an instructor was on board... So yes simulator training does indeed work very well :)

    A friend of mine also had a couple of hours on our Aerofly FS 2 R22 before he took his first flight lesson. He too was able to hover within the first flight session and the instructor was amazed by his "natural talent".



  • That sounds like a lot of fun Phil .. :thumbup:8) now I know what you did last weeks in " holiday " :)

    If you ever come to my area, call me ... we (you) will fly

    And also the way the other way around is good, I fly since > 25y in real and when I
    want to fly to a place I never been before, I try to fly it in Sim before. Its working without that ... it's fun and you learn from it also.

    I think when some people had longer "realflight - breaks " its also good to fly on the Sim. (like now in virus times :( )

    Some of my flight club colleagues are really have been very surprised last years here when i let them fly here at home cockpit.

    mfg, Jens ...

    Mein Home-Cockpit ... My Simulator Hardware

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    Alles fliegt irgendwie,
    fragt sich nur wielange

  • Many thanks Jens. Yes, before flying from Carlisle I made the airport and test flew the route using IZOJUB's excellent scenery package. I had guessed correctly which apron we'd start from and where we would taxi so it was great fun to recreate it for real.

  • Nice report, Phil!

    I was given stick/yoke and rudder twice at two sightseeing flights after telling the instuctor I've a bit of experience with simulators, but except for takeoff and landing which he did himself (I wouldn't have dared to ask for the landing anyway). It was a great experience, and yes he gave me some remarks and corrections, too, but basically I could handle the plane quite well (a C172RG and a R400, resp.).

    The most noticeable experience for me were the forces acting on the controls in comparison to my home controls. That's where Force Feedback would come in if it were available in consumer devices.

    Another experience was I paid much less attention to the "scenery" compared to home simming. This was even more noticeable when I made a "flight" in a full-motion 737 simulator with my son and we've got our hands full with all the knobs and levers and stuff.

    Unfortunately, I am too old and poor to think about a real PPL.

    Kind regards, Michael

    Intel i7-6700K 4.0 GHz / Asus MAXIMUS VIII RANGER / Kingston 32 GB DDR4 / Samsung SSD M.2 500 GB + Samsung SSD 1 TB + Intel SSD 500 GB (AeroflyFS2) + WD HD 6 TB / EVGA GTX 1080Ti 11 GB / LG 34UM95 3440 x 1440 / HP Reverb / Win 10/64

  • "That's where Force Feedback would come in if it were available in consumer devices." - absolutely. I was thinking the same. I actually paid quite a lot of attention to the scenery as it was a beautifully clear day and the scenery in the northern Lake District is quite something.

  • Do we have FFB in Aerofly? If so, I could reanimate my Microsoft Side Winder Force Feedback 2. Still a really cool stick.

    Wish for Aerofly FS 2/4:

    - Flightpath recording on hard drive and replay in sim from different view points

    - Smoke for aerobatic planes

    - Multiplayer or at least watching other people flying sitting on ground or inside tower

  • He said the landing was a "little firm" (which it was!)

    Ha ha ha, a bit normal for a Piper Warrior, in my flying experience it's THAT that differentiate low wing VZ high wing.
    I always felt that ground effect is different between the 2. I remember that my instructor always made me keep the front wheel (C-152-172) in the air after a soft landing, just for fun and practicing, something harder to do on a low wing.

    BennyBoy. I5 8600K @ 4,3ghz, 16 ram, GTX 1060 6G @ UW @2560 X 1080. Sim: AF2 & P3D V4

  • Congratulations Phil !

    Watch out, aerovirus are way more contagious and virulent than coronavirus! That grin on your face is a typical symptom!

    One could draw long listings of simmers that went to real flying after eventually pushing the door of the next air-club. I'm one of these and I cheer the memories of that late afternoon some 12 years ago when I climbed for the very first time aboard a venerable WWII Piper L4 and flew her by myself with an instructor just giving directions and ready to take over whenever something went wrong, but he never touched the controls... One year later I had my PPL.

    The opposite way is more seldom despite a sim definitely can bring much to a pilot, but there's a strong generational effect coupled with usually a very conservative mindset towards novelty,

    Regarding whether you can learn to fly with a sim whichever it is, the answer is a mix of yes and no. You'll never replace real flight hours by simming, but you can build up a real, sound aeronautical culture that'll be helpful.

    What you'll ever miss in a sim are the feelings of flight that no sim can recreate, even moving platforms and force feedback. That's the most disturbing aspect when you start learning to fly for real after years of simming, but you quickly get used to it. In many ways flying for real is easier to me than in the sim, because I feel exactly how much pressure I need to apply on that pedal/stick, while in the sim I apply a force against a fix spring without relationship with flight physics.

    It's therefore seldom the case that a simulator's aim is to learn how to handle an aircraft.

    Holding the aircraft in flight is the pilot's top priority, but that's not a task that requests much brain skills. It's quite like bicycle, once you've learned you never really loose it. Flying is not solely about that. The pilot's job is to manage all aspects of his flight : aviate, navigate, communicate => manage the flight from A to Z, keep situation awareness.

    All those tasks request a lots of pilot's attention and skills, while holding the aircraft in flight should really be a background routine that don't request much brain CPU. That's what you train in the first hours of PPL preparation.

    Most "flight management" tasks request frequent training to keep fluent and up-to-date, and that's where a simulator can be very helpful if used properly.

    Back to your flight with an instructor. That's typically what we call initiation flight and the goal is really that the person to initiate gets a feel of the aircraft and how to handle her. Now, how much the instructor let's you do really during initiation flight very much depends on alchemy, how s/he "feels" you.

    One of the first tests is ground taxi where the instructor will gauge you. Nobody'll expect you to taxi perfectly the aircraft, you're not supposed to know how to do it, but the instructor will give you directions and wants to check how good he can establish contact with you, how you react, how you handle...

    Unless touchy conditions, there are not much risks to let a "newbie" takeoff such basic instruction aircraft. The instructor can easily correct whenever you do something wrong,

    Ideally, the instructor wants to feel like s/he's remote-controlling you.

    In my case, he just told me "keep the stick to your belly (TW aircraft) and aim to a point you see ahead of you, a cloud or whatever, you'll gently apply full throttle and keep aligned with the feet. Expect to apply right foot, enough but not too much. When the aircraft rolls, you gently bring back the stick to center point, but never beyond. The aircraft will takeoff by her own..."

    After some 20 minutes flight, the first landing was a nice 3-point on grass. The second was not so nice, ideal to remember that's where the pilot's real job starts in a Piper L4...

    But in many cases the instructor doesn't let you do as much in initiation flights. Not necessarily that you behave bad, but some instructor don't feel so good with it. Anyway, if the person then registers for learning to fly, the instructor will sooner or later have to give you the controls... so better start early and gauge whether there is potential or if the candidate should rather turn towards knitting...

    You can have as many initiation flights as you want, even if you dont intend to go for a Licence (In my case, after the first flight with the L4 I then test flew different aircraft of the air-club to select the type I'd choose for learning), and in case you decide to go ahead with learning, initiation flights may be recorded as instruction in your logbook.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I strongly recommend initiation flight to anyone, even without plans to go any further. They're very affordable and worth the money.



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    Edited 3 times, last by Trespassers (March 26, 2020 at 11:16 AM).

  • I have been using X-Plane 11 since it came out and i must say that Aerofly is really good! I’m 15 and i began to love aviation two years ago and now i have flown a Piper PA28 Arrow when i was 13! That was because of Aerofly and X-Plane 11 so flightsimulators really help if you want to get to fly. I love in Danmark and here it’s pretty easy to get flying. I always ask if it’s possible to visit the cockpit after landing and its a fantastic experience to talk to boing pilots when you travel and have a mind of aviation. I really recommend that next time you guys travel then ask the flight attendants if it’s possible to get a cockpit visit. Personally i asked a real boeing 737-800 pilot if he knows X-Plane 11 and he said “Yes Its a great flight simulator because you can learn from it. I play it every day” I the pilot i asked was the only one who knows x plane out of all my vacations! I travel at least 8 times per year and when i get into those cockpits then my life is getting so much better and i learn so much!

    Hi I am a flight simmer who loves aviation.