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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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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.

I got my PPL before I got my drivers license. When I first drove a car I thought that steering it would be a lot easier if I could do it with my feet. Lol

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That only adds to my point, really.

The reason you found that, was because you were used to doing it that way. Most simmers don't have a clue what to expect.

The equipment we use (barring a few exceptions, of course) doesn't give the correct feeling.

Once you get in the actual cockpit, and not the virtual one, it'll be a completely different feeling.

Sure, you might be able to get it down after a few tries, but the scenario we're talking about does not include "a few tries".

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Actually, there are many real pilots that say simulator training is one of the best way to improve much needed skills that can't be done in the seat of real aircraft because of cost. However, if you ever get the chance to take your knowledge of learning the NGX and then go pay to fly in a real simulator you Might surprise yourself.

 

I have been lucky enough in my lifetime to log about 25 hours in a Boeing 737-800NG Level D fitted with MOOG 6DOF electrical Motion System and EP1000 Visual Systems.

 

However, I agree with everyone here, the hard truth is no, a simmer with no real flight experience could not fly a real 737.

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Actually, there are many real pilots that say simulator training is one of the best way to improve much needed skills that can't be done in the seat of real aircraft because of cost.

In that case, they're not exactly talking about the kind of simulator we use.

Purely from a professional standpoint, the NGX could be useful for procedure training, but that's about it, really.

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Here's how I (an avid flight sim enthusiast and non-pilot) look at it:  If I were on an airplane and one of the flight attendants asked "does anyone here know how to fly an airplane" and nobody else raised their hand, I would offer to help explaining that I while I am a flight sim enthusiast only I do know my way around a cockpit and could assist the PIC to reduce workload if and only if said PIC thought I could be more help than hindrance.

 

On the outside chance they didn't laugh in my face and order me back to my seat, I'd only do what I'm asked when I'm asked and would keep my mouth shut and hands in my lap between instructions.

 

That being said, I doubt any pilot would accept the risk of having a non-pilot in the cockpit.

 

As for just jumping aboard a "cold and dark" plane and doing a full flight on my own?  NO WAY.

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Well,

 

I started piloting at the age of 16, and still do :-)  But I never flew anything else, as a PIC, than gliders.

 

One day, some years ago, during a long hiatus from RL flying that put me closer to MSFS ( fs9 by that time ) I was completely dedicated to an excellent airbus add-on by Phoenix Simulation Software, and I received an invitation to "fly" TAP's ( the Airline of Portugal ) Airbus LevelD sim at their training center, just a few hundred meters from my office.

 

During a whole hour ( a one in a lifetime experience ... ) I started with cockpit prep brief, then engine start and taxi. I asked for severe weather at LPPT, took off from rw 21, and headed to LPMA.

 

Taxiing was already a great experience with the excellent Lisbon Airport graphics in the sim, but taking off and initial climb under real bad weather, was ... WHOW!!!!!

 

After skipping to LPMA I asked for the visual app to rw 05, which I performed flawlessly. The chief instructor who was with me then asked if I wanted to land with limiting weather conditions at Madeira rw 05, which I promptly accepted, and performed again without big difficulty.

 

Was it because I flew gliders for many years before that, even though I had been away from RL flying for more than 2 years by that time?  Was it because of Aerowinx PS1, fs9 and PSS's Airbus?

 

Probably a mix of it all.

 

I think you could actually fly a 737 NGX. Yes the sensorial aspects of flying an aircraft differ even from the full LevelD sim to reality, but they actually become even easier to manage, with the main factor then, in such a situation, being the stress you would be in ....

 

I can only compare simulated flight with the real thing in as far as simulators like Condor or SW go for the simulation of glider flying. I can tell you that the RW counterparts I have flown of the modeled gliders in, for instance, Condor Soaring, are a lot easier to fly IRL... It's very easy, and extremely rewarding to fly a good glider ( not necessarily a modern one ) IRL, compared to flying it in a sim.... 

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You can fly in some small plane wothout any training when you buy a flight from some give-a-gift company. In UK such pleasure costs about 180 pounds for 1 hour flight. After a briefing you will taxi, take-off and fly in small, one engine plane. of course all the time with instructor on board and this instructor of course will land. This is only chance to be a pilot (only for just one hour, but still a pilot) in real life without serious training, exams and spent a lot of money.

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I like to believe if I'm on a plane, and both the pilots are by some reasons knocked out, I would be able to at least program the FMC with an arrival STAR and runway, enter the course and ILS frequency on both COMs and carefully watch the speed at we automatically descent toward the glide path. Then, just before landing I would deactivate autopilot, then auto throttle and land it beautifully, with roaring applause from my fellow passengers. Well, at least I was their only hope..

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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.)

 

 

Well, I'm quite sure anyone who owns a proper driving game &  driving wheel and pedals can drive a real life car on an empty road without any problems. Similarly anyone who has practiced with FS pedals & some kind of a throttle could taxi a C172 on a big airport with wide taxiways. 

 

 

 

Taxing C172 is nothing like driving a car. Not even close. 

 

Sure, it's different, however not anything that one couldn't learn in about 5 minutes or so. After all you just need to steer your front wheel & control the power and brakes. Shouldn't be any hard on a big airport with taxiways that can handle a 737. 

 

I really can't see how I couldn't possibly make a survivable landing with a C172 on a runway of a major international airport in ideal weather conditions & perfectly functioning aircraft.  

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The scenario we are talking about is of course that in which both pilots had fish.

 

Well, in that case, if it is a Boeing, I would step up, enter the flight deck, and LNAV-VNAV it until final approach, after which: LAND3. My experience is mainly iwth PS-1 and now PSX, so my reference is a -400.

 

Manual landing? I wouldn't be so sure: a lot of mass, a lot of speed, much more than your average car. I wouldn't bet on it.

 

An Airbus? OMG.... THAT would be grim: I wouldn't know what to expect and would be afraid of touching anything and go belly-up.

 

My "real" experience is on a Level-D md-80 simulator: in that case we did multiple circuits (three hours) and everything went very well with manual control; I guess the psycological strain, knowing that you only have ONE chance, would make things a tad more difficult tho.

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