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Robi77

How realistic is FSX ?

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I purchased PMDG's B-747 and MD-11 for FSX.There is a lot to learn,the manuals being well over 1000 pages long.My question is how realistic is this compared to a real B-747 or MD-11 ?Could two good FlightSimmers replace the two pilots ( imagine the real pilots got sick and are not even in the aircraft ) and fly the airplanes ? Start,cruise and landing.a) From a cold and dark state ?:( When the planes are ready to taxi ?My gut feeling tells me "no way" but I wonder what the opinion of FlightSim experts are ( I am a newbie ).And: what features are not included in FSX but only in the real aircraft ? Can anybody name a few ?Just curious.Robi77

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Sitting in front of a computer screen pressing buttons on your keyboard and waving a joystick about.Sitting at the controls of several hundred tonnes of aeroplane hurtling through the air at several hundred knots, miles above the ground, with several hundred lives in your hands.They are about as far apart as you can get :)The more advanced addons like the ones you mention can be used as an educational tool. You can use them to learn the cockpit layout, maybe learn quite a bit about the instrumentation, aircraft systems and flight deck procedures, but that's about it.At the end of the day, no matter what anyone tells you to the contrary, MSFS is just a game, albeit with the capability to become a rather sophisticated one :)The reality is if one of us simmers were to find ourselves at the controls of a heavy, we would probably complain that the framerate with the VC is apalling, the glass on the windshield is too reflective, the autogen looks terrible and some obscure function of the FMS isn't working properly and VNAV is broken. We would then post an angry message on the Boeing/Airbus website proclaiming the sky is falling and our life is on hold until a patch is released, and wishing they could make it more like the PMDG one.

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And: what features are not included in FSX but only in the real aircraft ? Can anybody name a few ?
Unfortunately these are very nearly taboo questions to ask on an FS forum. The unfortunate inference underlining an answer to questions of this sort is that individuals with an interest in transforming aircraft into weapons of war could use FS to acquire experience flying a complex airliner. I'm sure we've all thought about what would happen if the entire flight crew were disabled, there were no RW pilots on board, and the call went out for any simmers to help out at a time when the prospects of those involved looked otherwise pretty grim. I'm sure that each of us would answer the call as best we could. But to ask for an accurate comparison between our favourite simulation and RW operations could be seen by some to be provocative.Search the forums for similar questions to these and you'll find that there are surprisingly few of them.

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Sitting in front of a computer screen pressing buttons on your keyboard and waving a joystick about.Sitting at the controls of several hundred tonnes of aeroplane hurtling through the air at several hundred knots, miles above the ground, with several hundred lives in your hands.They are about as far apart as you can get :)The more advanced addons like the ones you mention can be used as an educational tool. You can use them to learn the cockpit layout, maybe learn quite a bit about the instrumentation, aircraft systems and flight deck procedures, but that's about it.At the end of the day, no matter what anyone tells you to the contrary, MSFS is just a game, albeit with the capability to become a rather sophisticated one :)The reality is if one of us simmers were to find ourselves at the controls of a heavy, we would probably complain that the framerate with the VC is apalling, the glass on the windshield is too reflective, the autogen looks terrible and some obscure function of the FMS isn't working properly and VNAV is broken. We would then post an angry message on the Boeing/Airbus website proclaiming the sky is falling and our life is on hold until a patch is released, and wishing they could make it more like the PMDG one.
Thanks.So my "gut feeling" was correct.

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The reality is if one of us simmers were to find ourselves at the controls of a heavy, we would probably complain that the framerate with the VC is apalling, the glass on the windshield is too reflective, the autogen looks terrible and some obscure function of the FMS isn't working properly and VNAV is broken. We would then post an angry message on the Boeing/Airbus website proclaiming the sky is falling and our life is on hold until a patch is released, and wishing they could make it more like the PMDG one.
Aint that the truth!!! ROFL

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Unfortunately these are very nearly taboo questions to ask on an FS forum. The unfortunate inference underlining an answer to questions of this sort is that individuals with an interest in transforming aircraft into weapons of war could use FS to acquire experience flying a complex airliner. I'm sure we've all thought about what would happen if the entire flight crew were disabled, there were no RW pilots on board, and the call went out for any simmers to help out at a time when the prospects of those involved looked otherwise pretty grim. I'm sure that each of us would answer the call as best we could. But to ask for an accurate comparison between our favourite simulation and RW operations could be seen by some to be provocative.Search the forums for similar questions to these and you'll find that there are surprisingly few of them.
I agree and did not think about theses possibilities.On the other hand I was not asking how to use and operatethese features but only to be aware of what is not in FSX.Frankly I do not understand why this should be a tabu.Robi77

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There have been plenty of simmers who have become good at flying flight sim addons such as PMDG, LevelD and others that have gone into full motion simulators that train actual airline pilots and have done well. I may be wrong about this, but I think that many airlines train their pilots in full motion simulators which pretty much prepares them to fly the real thing soon there after.It seems to me that if you study and practice an addon such as PMDG's 747-400 you should be able to step into a full motion simulator and fly it just fine. I had the opportunity to fly in a C-130 full motion simulator and prior practice and familiarity with the CS C-130 helped tremendously to allow me to fly it successfully.As far as taking over an airliner if both pilots were incapacitated, there was a "Myth Busters" TV show which looked into this. The two myth busters, who had never had any flight experience, sim or otherwise, and didn't even know what an altimeter was were successfully talked down in a full motion simulator of a large airliner by someone posing as an expert on ATC. Besides, if you happen to be lucky to be on a flight in a modern airliner with full auto land and rollout and you have to take over the aircraft, then you don't have to fly the plane just know the systems. :(I have thought about this some. If I were on a flight in a modern 747-400 and both pilots became incapacitated, who would I want flying the plane, a real life pilot who only flew Cessna 172s and knew nothing of the 747-400 systems or a flight simmer who knew the PMDG 747-400 systems like the back of his hand from countless hours of simming with it but never flew a real plane before. I think I would take my chances with the flight simmer, although it would be good to have both in the cockpit.Mike

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Sitting in front of a computer screen pressing buttons on your keyboard and waving a joystick about.Sitting at the controls of several hundred tonnes of aeroplane hurtling through the air at several hundred knots, miles above the ground, with several hundred lives in your hands.They are about as far apart as you can get :)The more advanced addons like the ones you mention can be used as an educational tool. You can use them to learn the cockpit layout, maybe learn quite a bit about the instrumentation, aircraft systems and flight deck procedures, but that's about it.At the end of the day, no matter what anyone tells you to the contrary, MSFS is just a game, albeit with the capability to become a rather sophisticated one :)The reality is if one of us simmers were to find ourselves at the controls of a heavy, we would probably complain that the framerate with the VC is apalling, the glass on the windshield is too reflective, the autogen looks terrible and some obscure function of the FMS isn't working properly and VNAV is broken. We would then post an angry message on the Boeing/Airbus website proclaiming the sky is falling and our life is on hold until a patch is released, and wishing they could make it more like the PMDG one.
If so I suppose that with regard to realisn I might as well stay with the FS9 version of PMDG 747-400?

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They are about as far apart as you can get :)
I believe they are closer than you think.There have been simmers proficient in aircraft from developers like PMDG and LDS that have done well in real Level D simulators. Mike Ray, a retired 747 captain, has written several books on simming with these high quality aircraft and says they are very accurate. The owner of PMDG is a type rated 747 pilot. I have no doubt there are some hardcore simmers that have enough working knowledge of these high quality sim aircraft that could take over the same RW aircraft in flight and autoland it.

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Oh yes I agree, there are probably many hundreds (thousands even) of flight simmers who thanks to PMDG, Level-D, etc could quite easily find their way around the flight deck of a 737NG, 747-400, 767-300, MD-11.If push come to shove, I would think it's entirely possible that in an emergency, one of those simmers, with help from the ground could get one of these aircraft into a position where they could execute an auto-land.Could they start up the aircraft, take-off, fly a flightplan and then land at their destination? No way. That's why real world airline pilots have to complete many years of study and training before they are given command of even the smallest regional airliner, let alone a "heavy".Put it like this - how much confidence would you have giving a high performance sports car to someone who's only driving experience was Forza Motorsport or Project Gotham?

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Frankly I do not understand why this should be a tabu.
Sorry for the appearance of hostility, Rob. It simply occured to me when I read your post that someone wanting to operate an airliner under real world conditions might not be motivated by the best intentions. It is one thing to think about getting a big bird safely back on the ground in an emergency situation, but quite another to think about entering a secure area at some airport and nicking off with one.And if you do happen to find yourself in an emergency situation, get someone to work the throttles for you while you do the driving. It's all about speed when you're approaching in a big airliner, and if the weather happens to be a bit dicey on finals then someone is really going to have to focus on the throttle.

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Could two good FlightSimmers replace the two pilots ( imagine the real pilots got sick and are not even in the aircraft ) and fly the airplanes ? Start,cruise and landing...............Robi77
Hi Robi,This is a question that comes up every so often.I fly (when I'm current) a C172 at my flight club. I would agree with another poster here that I would rather have someone who knew the systems from using FSX and a PMDG (or equivalent) product up the front if everything went south and the real pilots were not able to fly. However, I'm thinking of a serious simmer, not just someone who jumps in and takes off and who knows what "VNAV" and "FLCH" are but would freak out when alarms went off.Ironically, FSX is probably closer to reality for that serious simmer who was placed into the above position on an airlines, than it is for someone who really wants to fly and starts the conventional way of learning VFR flight in a small Piper or Cessna, where the visual illusions of looking at a flat screen several feet in front of you but pretending that you are seeing to "infinity" is very unlike the real thing with real 3D, real depth of field, and of course real interial sensations. One day simming will get there, as virtual reality becomes indistinguishable from the "real" reality.Bruce.

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Sorry for the appearance of hostility, Rob. It simply occured to me when I read your post that someone wanting to operate an airliner under real world conditions might not be motivated by the best intentions. It is one thing to think about getting a big bird safely back on the ground in an emergency situation, but quite another to think about entering a secure area at some airport and nicking off with one.And if you do happen to find yourself in an emergency situation, get someone to work the throttles for you while you do the driving. It's all about speed when you're approaching in a big airliner, and if the weather happens to be a bit dicey on finals then someone is really going to have to focus on the throttle.
I totally agree with you but who is talking about nicking off with an aircraft ???After reading the PMDG manuals and watching the "Queen of the Sky" video I intended to ask afew harmless,hypothetical questions.1) How realistic is this program compared to the real thing ?2) If not then what was left out.Please note that I am not asking how to use those "secret left out" features. Only what they are. Ex: the manual and the video shows and explains how to start the engines.Quite frankly I would be disappointed if am told that in reality the procedure to do so is different.Robi77

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The truth is that current add-on aircraft for Flight Simulators are very much like the real thing in a lot of respects. One thing which points to this is the fact that several years ago a real world airline pilot would have seriously avoided mentioning any interest in Microsoft Flight Simulator, but you don't find that to be the case these days. Lots of airline pilots are quite happy to be associated with it and the development of more sophisticated add-on aircraft. Many will happily admit that they use FS and things such as the PMDG 747 to brush up on the occasional procedure; a few years ago the only thing they would have used for that on a PC would have been Precision Pilot, Elite or the good old Aerowinx 744 Precision Simulator.Avsim's key note speaker for the upcoming Fancon is a real-world airline pilot, you also have former United skipper Mike Ray writing tutorial books for FS aircraft based on his real world knowledge, and you might also remember that a current Virgin Atlantic 747 captain was involved in PC Pilot's series of tutorial articles for the PMDG 747 not so long ago. Ten years ago these guys would probably have had a hard time from their colleagues for even thinking about such involvement.Having said that, there are still many systems on an airliner which are either not simulated at all in FS, or are merely emulated by pressing buttons which don't actually do much under the hood of the sim. Cabin pressurisation is one, circuit breakers are another, and there are several other things too. But, providing you did not freeze in complete fear if the proverbial simmer's dream scenario of a panicked cabin crew member asking you if you know how to fly a plane came true, I reckon you'd be in with a shout at landing the aircraft via the autopilot, because that is very much like the real thing in the FSX incarnation.In practical terms, you might actually struggle with some very basic stuff, for example, do you know where the 'push to talk' button is for the radio on a real 747? (it certainly isn't the tab key on a PC keyboard). If you could find that, there'd be a good chance that you could get on 121.5Mhz and ask to be patched through to a current 747 pilot who could talk you through setting up an autopilot approach.This you might know, is a scenario portrayed in the movie 'Turbulence', where the stewardess has to program the CDU on a 747 to get the thing down after the crew have been killed. Whilst not totally accurately depicted in the movie, it's not far off how it could be done, and if you know how the CDU works on your simulated 747 and you know the mode control panel properly, you'd pretty much be in business providing your hands were not shaking so much that you couldn't press the buttons! Incidentally, if you like trivia, the movie Turbulence is one of the few airliner disaster movies which actually portrays a real airline rather than the usual 'Oceanic' or 'Global' you get in movies of that kind. Good fun film if you like 747s by the way.Manually flying the thing however would be a very different story I reckon; there's a good chance a sim pilot would overcontrol the real thing and possibly cause a structural failure, so in that instance, I think the 'Cessna pilot' somebody mentioned in an earlier post would be a better bet. Someone with real flying experience is usually more aware of those kind of dangers - I remember being shouted at by my instructor years ago for giving the rudder too much delfection when we were above maneuvering speed, because I did not know any better at the time.The real advantage sim pilots have over real world pilots is that they are very much more accustomed to trusting the instruments than your average real world pilot, this is because, with no motion, it is often the only real feedback they have for what their simulated craft is doing, and you find that real airline pilots sometimes stuggle with that aspect in even full-motion simulators.I hope you never have to try it for real, but if you can fly the PMDG 747 properly, I'm guessing there's a chance you could get a real one down in one piece.Al

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The truth is that current add-on aircraft for Flight Simulators are very much like the real thing in a lot of respects. One thing which points to this is the fact that several years ago a real world airline pilot would have seriously avoided mentioning any interest in Microsoft Flight Simulator, but you don't find that to be the case these days. Lots of airline pilots are quite happy to be associated with it and the development of more sophisticated add-on aircraft. Many will happily admit that they use FS and things such as the PMDG 747 to brush up on the occasional procedure; a few years ago the only thing they would have used for that on a PC would have been Precision Pilot, Elite or the good old Aerowinx 744 Precision Simulator.Avsim's key note speaker for the upcoming Fancon is a real-world airline pilot, you also have former United skipper Mike Ray writing tutorial books for FS aircraft based on his real world knowledge, and you might also remember that a current Virgin Atlantic 747 captain was involved in PC Pilot's series of tutorial articles for the PMDG 747 not so long ago. Ten years ago these guys would probably have had a hard time from their colleagues for even thinking about such involvement.Having said that, there are still many systems on an airliner which are either not simulated at all in FS, or are merely emulated by pressing buttons which don't actually do much under the hood of the sim. Cabin pressurisation is one, circuit breakers are another, and there are several other things too. But, providing you did not freeze in complete fear if the proverbial simmer's dream scenario of a panicked cabin crew member asking you if you know how to fly a plane came true, I reckon you'd be in with a shout at landing the aircraft via the autopilot, because that is very much like the real thing in the FSX incarnation.In practical terms, you might actually struggle with some very basic stuff, for example, do you know where the 'push to talk' button is for the radio on a real 747? (it certainly isn't the tab key on a PC keyboard). If you could find that, there'd be a good chance that you could get on 121.5Mhz and ask to be patched through to a current 747 pilot who could talk you through setting up an autopilot approach.This you might know, is a scenario portrayed in the movie 'Turbulence', where the stewardess has to program the CDU on a 747 to get the thing down after the crew have been killed. Whilst not totally accurately depicted in the movie, it's not far off how it could be done, and if you know how the CDU works on your simulated 747 and you know the mode control panel properly, you'd pretty much be in business providing your hands were not shaking so much that you couldn't press the buttons! Incidentally, if you like trivia, the movie Turbulence is one of the few airliner disaster movies which actually portrays a real airline rather than the usual 'Oceanic' or 'Global' you get in movies of that kind. Good fun film if you like 747s by the way.Manually flying the thing however would be a very different story I reckon; there's a good chance a sim pilot would overcontrol the real thing and possibly cause a structural failure, so in that instance, I think the 'Cessna pilot' somebody mentioned in an earlier post would be a better bet. Someone with real flying experience is usually more aware of those kind of dangers - I remember being shouted at by my instructor years ago for giving the rudder too much delfection when we were above maneuvering speed, because I did not know any better at the time.The real advantage sim pilots have over real world pilots is that they are very much more accustomed to trusting the instruments than your average real world pilot, this is because, with no motion, it is often the only real feedback they have for what their simulated craft is doing, and you find that real airline pilots sometimes stuggle with that aspect in even full-motion simulators.I hope you never have to try it for real, but if you can fly the PMDG 747 properly, I'm guessing there's a chance you could get a real one down in one piece.Al
Thanks to all for your replies.I can guarantee you that I never have to try for real. I am retired,72 years old and started Flight Sim as a new hobby since I developed an interest in aviation.But I am just curious.Robi77

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Welcome to Avsim Robi. I hope you find Flight Simulation as rewarding as so many enthusiasts you'll meet here do. There is a great deal of subtlty modelled in the sim, and the representation of our beloved planet is given as much consideration as the means by which we may explore it. I'm sure you'll find no end of features to captivate your fascination.

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One could ask your question in reality too-not just sims. There was an interesting thread on one of the boards I frequent recently on pilot time. A 15,000 hour commercial airline pilot posted that he thought the conventional hour method of rating a pilot by hours was bogus. He said that a good deal of of his 15,000 hours were button pushing autopilot's on a commercial jet liner-and he didn't think that qualified as "flying". He also felt that a piper cub pilot with 2000 hours of flying only in the pattern of his local airport also didn't mean much. His contention was that actually flying by hand, under a variety of conditions, weather, system failures, in different geographic realms is what counted.I also recently read an article (I wish I remember where) that attributed some recent airline accidents to a degraded stick and rudder ability caused by the current automation in airliners-Capt Sully's flight being the exception....(let's see -a glider pilot among other hats in his spare time?).All the commercial airline pilots I socialize with own their own 172's, Barons, c310's that they take out on the off days so they can "fly". I even know a pilot that took a demotion from a 747 captain to a lesser aircraft so he could hand fly-his company mandated autopilot from practically liftoff to landing and he had to do simulator work all the time to stay current-he hated it.So in your scenario - yes I'd probably take the button pushing fs simmer over a 172 pilot to land a commercial airliner-as long as all the systems are working and there is nothing abnormal going on. If the engines ingest birds and flame out I want a stick and rudder guy like Captain Sully.But perhaps a question remains-how realistic is flying if a computer is doing it-most of the time-real or sim. Is button pushing really flying? In any case-I find the sim-any sim very useful for real flying. However-I think a relationship with real flying is essential. Once you know what to expect then your mind/imagination fills in the holes that may be missing in the sim-and it becomes a very useful tool. If you don't have this experience-then your mind may fill in the gaps with incorrect expectations.

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I wanted to add something interesting here that I've experienced - First off, I am a fueler for Great Lakes Airlines, whose fleet majority is made up of B1900D's. Now, we all know that PMDG has a great 1900D simulator, which I have used long enough to be pretty familiar with the operation of the 1900. The other day, I climbed into the left seat of one of our 1900D's to try to challenge myself to see if I could start up and operate the aircraft - without actually doing anything physical of course. But I tried to run through everything in my mind and play it out in real life, and I gotta tell ya, even with a relatively simple aircraft like the 1900, it is NOT as simple as "hey, this is just like PMDG's sim!".Yes, theoretically, PMDG did have an accurate enough sim that I generally recognized where most components were and what their function was... AFTER hunting and looking around and trying to figure out the general layout of the cockpit. For someone who can fire up the 1900D simulator, (which we all know is a reasonably accurate representation), without hesitation, it was really awkward to plop down into the left seat of the real thing and then have a go at it (albeit mentally, without flipping any switches). It truly is a different world being in the real thing. I would also mention that I am a real-world pilot so I am familiar with being in real aircraft, but it truly is different being in the real thing compared to looking at it all laid out on my 27" monitor.Took me the better part of 15-20 minutes just to get my bearings on where most of the stuff was that I would need just for start up, let alone all phases of flight.Yeah, I was able to get to the point where I would have been able to fire her up and go flying, but comfortably and confidently? No.FSX is a realistic simulator - I have had a better feel of flight in general with FSX than any other simulator. But, it CANNOT *replicate* the real thing - nothing but the real thing can. The only way you can get close to replicating the real thing is with an exact replica cockpit and motion simulator. Even then, you still know youre not in the real thing - thats the key. BEING in the real thing puts you in a different mental state than you would be otherwise, no matter how realistic the sim is.

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I'd certainly agree with the sentiment that a lot of P1 'stick time' in an airliner doesn't necessarily equate to expertise at hand flying.Being primarily a glider pilot in real life myself, I tend to bump into more than a few airliner pilots at airfields, and when I chat to them, it seems most want to fly gliders because it involves more of what you might call 'traditional piloting skills'. This as opposed to pushing buttons, doing the Daily Telegraph crossword puzzle and occasionally glancing up at the TCAS. So it didn't surprise me to learn that Chesley Sullenberger was one of that crowd when we had such a graphic demonstration of his excellent airmanship.If you want a good laugh, go to a glider airfield on a Saturday and watch the number of gliders being flared sixty five feet too high off the strip, because they are being landed by guys who've been sat on a 747 flight deck all week!Back on topic, oddly enough though, you do find that most gliding clubs use PC flight sims as part of the orientation training for new pilots, although to be fair, they often have a tired glider cockpit which they've cannibalised into a 'simpit', but the heart of such systems is usually either Condor or Silent Wings, and rarely FS.Al

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OK I am going to give you a reverse scenario. My landlord owns two aircraft...Cessna 172...and some twin that I can't recall but I think it is an Baron. He flies at least every weekend and takes numerous weekly trips. He is a very successful business man here and has been flying for years. Even though I don't know him well he would stop and talk with me as his office is under my loft apartment. A few years back the discussion of FS9 somehow came up. He asked me if I could land the 172 in FS9 on full realistic settings. I told him I could but it took many uncounted hours of practice before I could do that. He asked would I show him. He came into my apartment and watched me do it a few times and he was quite impressed. He remarked "If you can do that you can land a real 172". I laughed and told him I did not think so. I asked him to show me his stuff on my PC. He told me he couldn't. He said he had used several versions of MSFS but could never get the hang of it. I was shocked. He did sit down and try it but even after many attempts he could not do it. When I got my new i7 rig he saw the UPS man dropping off the parts and asked if I had FSX. He came up a few weeks later and remarked how great it looked compared to the previous versions and tried it also...but still could not land the 172. Now this man had yoke...pedals...everything one would want. His son is currently flying and using FSX to learn as much as he can to get his license. He explained to me that the PC has no feel or feedback. Now I know there is no way I could land a 172...and I don't think that FSX in any way can prepare anyone to fly much of anything...other than familiarization of instruments and locations of those instruments and switches. The company I retired from maintains several flight simulators all over the US and the world. I have been lucky enough to try some of them out such as C130...KC135. I died every time. Things happen way too quick and things get out of control. I can only imagine in a 747-400 it would be as bad if not wosre....no matter how well one knew where all the controls were. I am no pilot....but have been around aircraft and pilots for my 30 year career in missiles. Many people get stirred up when someone calls this a game....it is a simulator only in the aspect of setting certain parameters that will cause certain possibilities to occur...or not...depending on how you want it to act. The PC can make a perfect PATRIOT Air Defense simulation and it would represent the real world completely. I just don't think MSFS is quite ready to do the same for real world aircraft. Regards

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First we need a definition of 'realistic'. If you mean if it flies the same as the real aircraft then the answer is yes and no. In normal flight modes and light weather I think FS does a great job. Obviously there is no sensations and our monitors are small so in that sense it is not realistic. Another way that it is not realistic is that you know you can stuff up the landing in the sim and you can reset it. If you get a good crosswind gust in the real-world the sensations you experience is wholly different form simming. The corrective action in the real aircraft and the sim might be the same but you would come away thinking that the sim wasn't realistic because the emotional pressure and physical sensations are very different. that is why I say normal flight modes and weather. In normal flight modes and light weather simmers and real pilots don't feel a lot of pressure and have only minor physical sensation differences so the sim is able to match real life better.While I have been training for my pilot certificate I have found that there is a one to one relationship between the mistakes I make in the air and those I make in the sim. Mistakes such as those in radio calls, the approach, maintaining heading and attitude, handling turbulence, navigating, etc. So for me it is very realistic. This is a good thing of course because it means I can practice at home to get it right and I need that because I have always been a slow learner. To sum it up: I reckon the mechanics can be very close but the physical and emotional sensations are very different (for most of us). The visual ques are often different too because of the lack of depth perception and small screen real estate.Steven.

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The only things I have to add here are two brief statements and then I would like to pose a question of my own.1) Even under ordinary circumstances, there is a huge difference between REALLY having your life, and the lives of others "on the line", and sitting at your computer running FSX with a payware aircraft, no matter how "realistic" the aircraft is.2) There is a huge difference between knowledge and airmanship.Now, my question is this:Why do so many flight simmers ask the perverbial "I'm a passenger on a large commercial aircraft and the flight crew all drop dead of heart attacks and there are no realworld pilots OF any variety on board. As an experienced flight simmer could I land the aircraft?"When they should be asking the much more likely, "I'm in a small GA aircraft with a private pilot friend who has a heart attack. As an experienced flight simmer could I land the aircraft?"Which is more likely to happen? Why does this theoretical scenario seem to usually happen in a large commercial jet? :( Thanks for making me smile today. :oNo disprespect intended to anyone. :( Best regards all. :(

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Now I know there is no way I could land a 172...and I don't think that FSX in any way can prepare anyone to fly much of anything...other than familiarization of instruments and locations of those instruments and switches.
You speak for yourself!I had a go in a Level D simulator many years ago, before I'd heard of FS, and was useless. Crashed all my landings, despite having a BA pilot sitting next to me, talking me through it.Much later, after I'd been 'playing' on FS for years, I started real lessons in a Piper Warrior. My instructor let me land it three times on my second lesson. He was amazed that I could. I'm damn sure my FS experience helped me that day.If you've got some aptitude I reckon FS can help a lot.

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Okay, here's one for you: I learned to fly a real aircraft before I was really into flight simulators, for one thing flight sims were not anywhere near the realism they display these days and more of a novelty, so I doubt they'd have been much use. That being the case, before I went for my flying lessons, I read absolutely tons of books on the theory and even rigged up a dummy stick and rudder with bits of wood and bungy straps in order to to teach myself to coordinate feet movements with hand movements.When I finally got to the airfield to start learning the real thing I was massively prepared from all my study and probably better on aerodynamic theory than I am these days! Nevertheless, it was initially a shock to the senses to be in a small aircraft, and I think it would be a similar shock for anyone not familiar with flying to be in that same position. But, four days later, after precisely 7 hours and 15 minutes of dual instruction, I was sent solo, which just goes to show what preparation can do. So I think all the prior study I did helped, and I can only asume that experience on flight sims would have a similarly positive effect on other people when they got into the the real thing, and I envy people the advantage that would offer when learning.Nothing but real flying experience can teach you to be a good, safe pilot, because there's nothing like a 'good old real life scare' to drill a lesson into you. With no danger to life and limb in a simulator, a sim can't compete, but a simulation of it can still teach you a lot of what you need to know.I reckon a good knowledgeable simmer could fly a plane, I just wouldn't want to be a passenger on board that plane!Al

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