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Could I fly a real Boeing 737-800?

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Hey, 

 

I am (sort of) able to fly the PMDG 737 NGX. If I would learn that airplane in much more detail, could I (in theory) fly a real Boeing 737? I was thinking that because of the incredible amount of realism and the co-operation with Boeing themselves for the PMDG. Of course, I'm not trained to fly in specific situations and maybe I would get an heartattack if some of the warning lights went on in reallife, but by knowing the cockpit and what everything is doing, it should be possible to at least start, taxi and depart a real airplane, shouldn't it? 

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No, you won't.

Just because you can find your way around the inside of a car in a driving simulator, does not mean you will be able to drive around without crashing. You'll miss the finesse of doing things, the feeling of actually being there.

 

Unless of course you're talking about one of those multi million dollar Level-D simulators actual airlines use. That's a whole different ball game.

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Ah, this topic never get old.

 

If you study documentation comes with PMDG 737NGX, and practice a lot in PMDG NGX, and weather is nice, and aircraft is completely serviceable, and you are extremely lucky, you can actually fly it via autopilot.

 

Manual flight? Forget it, not even taxi. You couldn't taxi or take off or land even Cessna 172 with simulator practice only.

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Yes, I already thought that. Besides from controlling the airplane as a captain, could I, lets say, start up the airplane and set up the cockpit (up to a certain level, of course)?

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The first time at the controls of a small plane after years and years of nothing but flight simulator was almost complete sensory overload for me. Glad I had a real pilot in the left seat or I would have never made it. I cant imagine what it would be like in a jet where everything is happening even faster than in a Cherokee.

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Why not , you would but under the conditions only :

The aircraft is good serviceable, calm weather in a diameter of 2000 km around,all air traffic is quiet,all other airplanes grounded and a captain on your side !

Best regards.

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Yes, in good weather conditions without any failures. Flying in real life isn't that much harder than in sim, especially not in a very automated modern aircraft like the 737NG.

 

 

You couldn't taxi or take off or land even Cessna 172 with simulator practice only.

 

 

 
I'm pretty sure I could, the taxi part can't be much more difficult than driving a car.
 
Just because you can find your way around the inside of a car in a driving simulator, does not mean you will be able to drive around without crashing.

 

 

Yes it does if there's no other traffic & the car has automatic gearbox. 

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The thing about simulations like PMDG is that they allow you to learn the systems, procedures, and planning which are essential to the operation of the aircraft. What it doesn't provide is the ability to fly. There are no forces at play, your actions have no consequence, there's no physical feedback to whether you're pushing the limit or not. You can't feel the stuggle to control the aircraft with an engine failure, or in a crosswind. While you may know the procedures to handle those situations, could you still perform them in your sleep with the real feeling of your aircraft slowly slipping out of your control? Probably not.

 

With that said I think flight sim is still an invaluable tool for training. It gives you experience and education in all manner of different areas from planning and dispatching your own flights, to fuel planning, aircraft systems, normal and abnormal procedures, maintenence etc. Some of those things aren't even expected of a real airline pilot, for example people are employed to handle flight planning according to company and civil regulations, the pilot is responsible for safely carrying out that flight plan.

 

So there's certainly a lot of learning to be had, and it would likely be a great advantage in training, but what is emphasised in the real world cannot be simulated; stick and rudder pure flying - physically handling the aircraft.

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Yes, I already thought that. Besides from controlling the airplane as a captain, could I, lets say, start up the airplane and set up the cockpit (up to a certain level, of course)?

There are many small items not simulated in our flight sims.

 

For example:

 

Do you know how to open 737 door first?

Do you know how many gear pins there are?

Do you know all safety equipment and their locations on deck?

Do you know how to adjust your seat?

Do you know how to set your harness?

Do you know how to use audio panel for different operations (we simmers tend to leave it at mic/vhf1)?

Do you know where is push to talk button?

Do you know where to connect your headset?

 

And many other simple things you cannot do in sim.

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I'm pretty sure I could, the taxi part can't be much more difficult than driving a car.

I'm wondering: what was the last car you drove where you had to properly account for inertia, steer with your feet, and control the speed with your hands? (No, cruise control doesn't count.)

 

Terribly sorry to burst your bubble, but this sounds like OCSS to me (OverConfident Simmer Syndrome).

This whole discussion is part of why Simmers aren't exactly "liked" with most professional pilots. When guys with pretty much zero experience try to come and tell you how to do your job, you can't really take them serious. Being a bit more humble might actually help us, not push us back.

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I'm pretty sure I could, the taxi part can't be much more difficult than driving a car.

 

 

It's not about whether it's difficult or not. Flying is not that difficult, but it's different, and if you never experienced it (from flying seat), you do not have skill required.

 

Taxing C172 is nothing like driving a car. Not even close. I never taxied 737 but I assume it's nothing like taxing C172.

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You couldn't taxi or take off or land even Cessna 172 with simulator practice only.

 

Ehh it varies person to person. With me, using the Saitek equipment, I found flying a Cessna 172 in real life not to be too far off from the simulator. 

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Ehh it varies person to person. With me, using the Saitek equipment, I found flying a Cessna 172 in real life not to be too far off from the simulator. 

 

Some are more talented than others, and some people have better equipment than others. Truth to be said, I flown like 5 different C172s and they all felt a little bit different. For example one C172 I could taxi with ease, an other one were just painful to steer around. One has very tight controls and an other one is somewhat loose. One has a very nice, powerful engine while an other one with the same engine type was kinda underpowered...

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Greetings Sir,

I wrote an article about whether or not a sim pilot could actually manage an aircraft. I'll hit some highlights for ya. There are two things that are key and essential to operating an aircraft. Procedures and avionics management. The flying part is actually easy once you get the concepts. Its the procedures that you must master. Here are some things to be mindful about.

 

Preflight would be interesting, you would have to know exactly what you are looking for. Could you live without a preflght? Sure, during alert when I was in the Air Force, we would run a thruflight to safe the jet and takeoff. Would you know the critical items to be removed before start and takeoff? Weight and balance is another item that can get you in trouble. Would you know how to align the navigation systems? It's also different when you have to reach and look around the cockpit vs looking at your monitor. Taxi would not be hard but it's the obstacles that make it difficult. We use references through out the cockpit to know where your wings, engines, nose , and mains are tracking at all times. People damage planes all the time during taxi. I've had a couple of friends who have put the main wheels of DC10s in the dirt and smashed taxiway lights.

 

The feel of the aircraft will be different. The yoke is actually heavy and will take some force when actuating at low speeds. At rotate, you will have to add some pull to get it going. Even at speeds, you will realize that there is a window of force to maintain so trimming is constant and important. For example, after rotating a properly trimmed aircraft, you will quickly add some nose down trim as you capture V2 plus 10. The jet is trimmed for V2 at takeoff so as she accelerates, the nose will continue to rise. That would get you in trouble if you didn't act quickly. Managing automation, avionics and descents can be a chore also. You have to know when to descend and configure for approaches.

 

Landing will be another issue. VFR patterns are a little different in jets. You have to be on top of everything and we also use plenty references for position, when to configure, what speed we should be flying, when to drop the gear, how much descent through base and final, and when do I start my turn to final. With the speeds involved, things happen quickly so we break the approaches into steps. Straight ins would be fairly easy. The touch down can get squirly if you are not used to it. In the real airplane, crosswinds can get testy. I prefer the wing low method. There is alot of things to focus on during the touchdown and how much rudder shouldn't be one of them. I like warming up my hands and legs no later than 300ft agl. This lets me get good feel of the winds and a good null on my crosswind controls. Ground spoilers and thrust reversers can aggravate crosswind controls so you have to be ready. Reversers stir up the air near the rudders and it's worse with tail mounted engines. The ground spoilers take away your roll assist spoilers requiring immediately increased input during heavy crosswinds. Some jets also weather vane into the wind requiring more input. The jet will also roll on you like a barrel so you have to keep the wings in check. You don't get all of this in the sim. The plane will go where ever you point the nose when the nose wheel touches so you have to stay aligned. Braking is also different and can get squirly if you are not used to it. especially braking during crosswinds.

 

Aside from the things I pointed out, I think it's possible for a sim pilot to fly if he is aware of the issues I mentioned and know the procedures. It's the surprises that usually get you in trouble while flying. 

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