FS2021 study level

  • It would be a mistake to let a computer flight sim bias one’s learning from a qualified flying instructor in a real aeroplane. Picking up bad habits from an unsupervised inexpensive simulator simulation would endanger fundamental safety. Any aeroplane handling skills acquired should be as taught by the instructor.

    Aerofly would be fine for visualising the positioning of a plane for circuits and cross-countrys. The planes in Aerofly should really be harder to keep on a straight line and at a chosen altitude. Aero would be good for the corrections required for holding a regular circuit shape with big wind variations but for cross country flights it needs to wander off more without constant alertness. It would help with holding a chosen track and correctly estimating timings.

    The change in manifold pressure with rpm/prop pitch alteration is excessive and the Aerofly mixture needs a lot more work. In the twins the unsynchronised propellor beat noise needs to be very much louder, the rpms are matched by ear. The moving switches and knobs with interactive cockpits would be great for procedure practice (I remember painting and placing non functioning but moving switches in MS FS!).

    Those would be more important with more complex planes than a basic school would use.

    If the wind direction and speed had a bit more random variation and if the ADF needle would deflect a bit towards the low wing in a bank Aerofly might be a first class instrument flying learning aid provided that up to date nav data would not be seen as essential. The needles could be less precise, VORs and ADF/NDBs have finite accuracy and known errors.

    The lack of audio morse code identification of the tuned in (or not) nav aids is unfortunately totally unacceptable. It would be terrible to fail a test or crash a real plane because of dangerous ident discipline learned off Aerofly.

    I think any sim would be useful, having one in a pocket or flight bag would be very helpful.

  • I'll offer my two cents here; starting off by mentioning that Overloaded made excellent points that I won't be able to make as it appears that he/she already begun their flight training. I haven't (not yet at least).

    Although my first true simulator was Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002, where I learned by experimentation by flying with the arrow keys, the majority of what I learned was through mobile flight simulation. I have no doubt that MSFS 2002 helped me grasp the basics of instrument scan and flight control inputs, I would hands down recommend mobile flight simulation as a first step for anyone who is seriously considering flying for a living, or for a hobby. Here's why...

    It's significantly cheaper than spending money for a computer simulator, and is often more simpler to set up. This means less set up, and more time getting into flying. So if you decide flying isn't for you after all, you didn't lose much in the first place. The leading mobile simulators these days are great places to start. The "big three" mobile sims all have Cessna 172s, with live functional cockpits.

    Obviously, if you're able to invest the money for a more powerful PC based sim, I recommend that. The main reason is for the obvious: they're more capable. Aside from that, there is more hardware available that's compatible with PCs: yokes/control sticks, throttle quadrants, rudder pedals, radio stacks, etc.

    And mobile sims don't exactly have that, as the accelerometers built into the device substitute the hardware that computer sims offer. I believe that using a sim with hardware is your best bet for realism, as that's how real aircraft function.

    Does this mean that mobile sims cultivate improper perceptions of how flight controls work?

    Nope. I used to believe that when I would eventually get to flying on a computer sim (or a real aircraft), which of course has a yoke, throttle quadrant, and rudder pedals, I'd struggle to get used to the controls.

    But thankfully, that couldn't be further from the truth! I got the opportunity in December of 2019 to visit the Banyan Pilot Shop in Fort Lauderdale, FL. They have a medium-sized room set aside with simulators in it, including a Redbird flight simulator. Redbird makes good quality simulators for smaller sized, GA aircraft. Some (not all) Redbirds are FAA/EASA certified too. They're used in flight schools and corporate flight departments worldwide. Not trying to advertise for them, but rather trying to show that the sim I got to fly with was a pretty accurate one.

    I felt completely at home, and was honestly taken aback by how well mobile sims replicate sims with hardware. I had no trouble at all with the yoke, throttle, and rudder too! I was able to maintain centerline on takeoff and landing. Brake application came in as second nature after landing. The instrument scan patterns I developed through mobile flight simulation was highly valuable. Even on startup (which to be fair isn't difficult on the 172), I had no issue at all.

    At the moment, at computer sim isn't within reach for me, so I'm sticking with mobile sims. I used to doubt them before, but know I feel much more confident about what I am learning through mobile sims.

    And to reiterate what Overloaded said above, you're being counterproductive if you consistently develop poor habits in the sim, which will follow you to the real cockpit. The whole point of using flight simulation to aid in flight training is to develop good habits and to maintain proficiency without the need to climb into the cockpit.

    Nothing wrong of course with having fun, don't get me wrong. Sims let you do things you can't do in the real world, so there's no need to be 100% serious about it. But don't underestimate the value of a realistic mobile sim ;)

    Blue skies and tailwinds!