Do real pilots use Microsoft Flight Simulator? Yes, and here’s why:

Updated on
Do real pilots use Microsoft Flight Simulator? Yes, and here’s why:

How real are flight sims and how is VR a help?

Pimax’s Joshua talks with Captain Marlon Choyce, captain of the Airbus 320neo at American Airlines, as well as an avid VR pilot, in a one-hour talk (scroll down for the video).

Reasons why real pilots use flight simulators

Aside from fun, modern flight simulators are great for practicing extreme scenarios, such as an engine losing power. Flight sims that you can use at home can either run a scenario, or you can just replicate a scenario by turning off an engine or depleting it of fuel. When an engine has no fuel, the pilot can funnel fuel to the other engines, and also learn how long the airplane can still ‘glide’ to a nearby airport. This is better to train in a flight sim rather than in reality!

Flight sims also help with practice locations, such as approaching an airfield’s new runway. With Microsoft Flight Simulator, locations are based on satellite data and often updated by hand with extreme accuracy. There’s also real-time weather and traffic data.

Another way in which in modern flight simulators are useful for real pilots is practicing and memorizing the cockpit layout and all its switches, buttons, and lights. Pilots use a ‘paper tiger’, a paper mock-up of the cockpit, but in a flight sim you can actually turn the switches and see which ones are simply indicators rather than knobs. Here especially virtual reality is useful, such as with the Pimax Crystal. The Crystal has glass aspheric lenses and 2880×2880 pixels per eye. As such the dashboards are extremely clear and easy to read.

Why extra training is always useful

As Marlon Choyce highlights in the seminar, you can use training to train for real-life scenarios that aren’t that common, yet you still want to be prepared well for. For example, if you lose an example, how long can you still glide the airplane to a nearby airport? Marlon: “You don’t rise to the occasion, you can only fall back on your training.”

Using flight sims not only makes real-life scenario’s easier, also time in the simulators of the airlines is limited (and very expensive!). So with simulators such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, you can do this at home and they’re still close enough to the real deal.


Updated on