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Why do we enjoy flight simming so much?

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Greetings!I have been an avid flight simmer since 1997. I have faithfully bought each version of MSFS, purchased USB yoke and pedals, have many of the freeware add-ons, a handful of payware add-ons, and even have gone as far as buying Sectional Charts and Terminal Procedure volumes. After spending a couple of hours tweaking my AI traffic, I was relaxing in front of the television for some late-night, mindless entertainment. During the muted commercials, this thought struck me: Why do we get so involved with flight sim? For many of us it has progressed from casual hobby to bordering on an obsession. What form of pleasure do we derive from it? What are we striving to achieve? How will we know when we get there?Do we use it for training purposes? (I'm not a real-life pilot)Do we use it for escape? Fly away to places that we can't afford (time or money) to do in real life. At least not as often as we'd like. A cheap and easy way to see the world! Is it to temporarily better our self-image through "fantasy"? Our real-life job fades away as we become a successful AIRLINE CAPTAIN!Do we like the "control" factor? Taking a virtual world and tweaking it with better (more realistic) clouds, weather, scenery, aircraft, etc... I know there are other possibilities, this is all one cup of coffee will provide for me this morning!! ;-)I'll go first, I like the escape factor. I fly both GA and airline equally. At will, I can sit behind my yoke, taxi to the active, and leave the real-world behind. I can spend 30 minutes or two hours in the air with just my thoughts and the "world" below.What's your reason?All the best,John

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Since FS5.0 (I think I was around 13 years old) I loved flight simming. For me it was for the purpose of preparing myself to become a pilot. I read every book and manual I could find and hardly played any games on my computer it was all FS. My father was a pilot so he always taught me things and a lot of the time he practiced with me, teching me along the way. I know that most people would say, FS is just a game and you won't lern to fly a plane" but I did not use it to learn to fly planes, I used it to learn what the instrumants are for, what they do, when to use them, speeds, what stalls are, how to avoid them..you get the idea! Me and my father had competitions to see wh can make the best landing with a 737 or a Cessna in 1/18 of a mile visibility, that was fun for me. Sometimes we tried to see who can put the plane down in 1/18 mile visibility, thunderstorms, turbulence and 30kt crosswind..now THAT was fun! At the age of 18 I finaly finished school and was ready to start my PPL. THe ground school was a breeze for me because I already knew 80% of the stuff. When it came to the intro flight, I took-off amde 4 circuits and landed 4 times by myself, the instructor only told me when to turn, when to reduce power etc.. so I think that prooves that FS did help, oh and he never had to explain anythingon the panel for me because I was at home in the cockpit of a 152, thanks to FLY!2 and to FS. My biggest reason for having FS was to prepare myself and to not get bored. Instead of going to a party, I madee ILS landings...sad huh? People said I was obsessed..I don't know. I just loved flying. Then 1 month into the flying lessons, I took the medical exam for Calss 1 and it they discovered a Brain Tumor in the middle of my brain....."Bummer!!! Now I can't fly!" was the thought in my head, and I was right. I will never be able to get a medical because of a little tumor that I had since I was 13 apparently. NOw taht I know I will never be a pilot I suddenly lost interest in FS and in Aviation. I did not use FS or FLY!2 for 2 months but then I said to myself that it's a hobby and I like it so I should not abandon the FS world. I have regained my intereest in FS but it's not as strong as before which shows me taht before the tumore I used FS as a preparation tool and not as much as a hobby.So there you have it...It used to be a training tool and now it's a hobby.Take careMike

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I started simming with an early release of SubLogic Flight Simulator on the Apple II... and unfortunately, I know how much that dates me. As to why I like it....I grew up in an Air Force family. The people in charge were all pilots. The men everyone had to salute and all of us kids looked up to wore green flight suits to work and risked their necks (and other parts) for America in the air. It's what many of us who grew up in that type of atmosphere wanted to be.Unfortunately, the Air Force had a rule about perfect uncorrected eyesight which just wasn't possible for me. :-grrI got the PPL on my own and I enjoy flying, but my wife feels that I'm much less likely to die in a firey aircraft accident and leave her alone with the kids if I don't fly them myself. :-lol As such, I use the opportunity that FS2002 gives me to get up and fly around.

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Well, being a fairly typical boy I've always been thrilled by aviation...strangely it was not before I was 12 that I actually got to fly. Obviously, being a pilot had been some sort of secret dream for me for a long time...but, sadly, my eyesight is too bad to get medical approvement, and thus my dream burst like a bubble. Had it not been for my shortsightedness (in a physiological sense :-) ), I might even have considered joining the air force...but well, it wasn't meant to be. Thus, as soon as I got my first PC (must have been in '93 as well) flight simulations got a grip on me and would never let me go again - even if that would sometimes mean headshakes or even the occasional nasty comment from my friends. But all that could not keep me from jumping into the virtual 'pit, fire up the engines and depart for lands unknown, or just to beat the sn0t out of some virtual bad guys, depending on my mood. The first true flight sim I played was DI's Tornado...may I be damned if this was not a terribly complex game for the 14-years-old kid that I was back then! Yeah, I admit I got shot down countless times, but every time I stood up and tried again.However, I did not get in touch with MSFS before FS 98, which purchased some time in early 1999, I think. It took me some time until I got to recognize just what this sim offered me - but when we first got Internet access that year the ice finally broke. At last I could pick whatever plane I wanted, put it on whichever airport I wanted, and go wherever my mind wanted me to go. Currently, FS 2002 and IL-2 are the only two flight sims I play regularly (with CFS3 and LOMAC being next in line, provided they will be as good as those preliminary reports promise)...and unless M$ screw up really badly I'm very positive I will get FS 2004, too.

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Being of a aviation familly I grew up with aircraft and was enrolled at first opurtunity to flight school .But to be honest I do not trully like to fly in real world as I consider it all a bit too regulated ,i mean i would never wish to be a airline pilot ,there are too many rules and I am not good with rules .Then i find as you can be a pilot of any aircraft with only the rules you decide, "perfect" for me as you can imagine ,ATC say go to 3000ft I say nawwwwww i prefer to stay where I am thank you very much for the offer :)So this is why i like to flight sim,If you are with a airline they say "you are going to chicago today " in flight sim you say "where shall i go today " So if you have a real good imagine then there is no diferance really in real flight and simulator flight.And I been on the best flight simulation and it is no better than FS2002 really My still heart beats fast on a wind swept approach just the same :)Anniette xxxxxxxxx

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Wow! I am exactly the opposite. If I have nowhere to go then I am bored and I just fly around in FS pointlessly. I cannot decide where I should fly to. If someone suggests a destination for me then I am more then happy to fly there. Usualy no-one suggests anything so I start FS fly around for 10 minutes then exit and sit 1 hour on the AVSIM forums. If I don't have a set of rules to follow I get bored and there is not challenge for me. I like it when soneone tells me to fly somewhere in FS and they tell me do it with 1/4 mile visibility and crosswinds...it gives me a challenge which keeps me busy for a while.I guess it would be good for me to join VA, hen I won't be so bored if I have a schedule to follow.Interesting topic.Mike

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Mike: That my young friend, is one hell of a story. A sad story. I wish you all the best. I know all the simmers here wish you the best and longest life possible. Keep on flying MSFS (flight sim). It is a real good substitute. I am a retired corporate pilot and I enjoy it just like you do. Keep Em Flying, and may the wind be always at your back. Lowell

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There seem to be more NON pilots then pilots who enjoy simming with the flight sims. All the sims. Perhaps some of you can let me know the answer to this? Is there a need for a good training program? One that is easily available? Quickly acessabile? And that is easy to use online or from a downloaded, or Email source? And low cost? Would non pilots, flight simmers all be interested in trying to learn how to not only operate their flight sim product, but to use real world flight techniques throughout? Flight training, via MSFS2002 perhaps and quickly, cheaply and easily? I'd like to know. Oh, and just in case I forgot: I am a real world pilot. Retired. Hopefully about to get my medical back and fly again. I just got my cataracts off and am about to go for a STRESS test, and an ECHO cardiogram. If I pass them I can be returned to CLASS II medical status. Aha. And even or maybe because I have over 15,000 hours of flight time--I really do enjoy the flight sims. I have used: Pro Pilot, Flight Unlimited III, FLY, FLY2K, and FLY II, but now I use MSFS2002 almost exclusively. Great stuff.ThanksLowell Wiley

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Hey Dominik,I gather you are from germany, Frankfurt. My eyesight isnt too good as well, but as far as I know regulations in germany are more strict than faa medical standards. CFR

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I am 16 & I have had an interest in aviation ever since my dad went to work for Boeing. I use the sim now as a training tool, I guess, since I want to be an ATP when I get older. :)

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Thanks Lowell. That's really nice of you to say. I was going to tell you about my situation but for some reason your e-mail address, along with many more, is gone from my address book on yahoo. The tumor is not life-threatening so you guys will be stuck with me for a loooong time!! :-lolTake careMike

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Since I cannot be a real pilot I would love a simulator that would train me to be like a real pilot (or as close as possible). A sim like the one you describe would make my day.Take careMike

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