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[Discussion] How close to realism are modern day flight simulators?

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Probably been discussed before but i'm intrigued. Lets say you have no experience in real world aviation, yet you have many many hours in flight simulator using the a2a, aerosoft, pmdg aircraft (the 'realistic' ones). And suppose you are on a jet liner coming back from holiday or a business meeting - you name it - and a very unlikely event of both pilots becoming unable to fly or help - Would you step in to help? If you were the only person on that flight that had any idea how planes operate, would you take on the responsibility of landing a jet liner with only flight simulation experience? 


So like the title says -- the question really is apart from the burden of great responsibility in real life aviation, how close to reality are modern day sims with all these new addons?





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If you knew how to work the Mode Control Panel to work the autopilot and could also work the radio in order to get some assistance from ATC for things such as the correct ILS frequencies in order to perform an automatic landing, I daresay you could land an airliner okay. However, since 9/11, most cockpits are locked, so if both pilots became incapacitated, you'd never get the chance to try, because you wouldn't be able to get into the cockpit. However...


Like probably quite a lot of flight sim enthusiasts, I am a pilot in real life too (but only of light aircraft, I've never piloted anything bigger than a GA twin in real life, although I have had a go in an airline's Level D simulator of an A320 and did manage to fly the thing fairly well and land it okay), so I daresay that'd help a bit. Of course we all have loads of 'hours' in simulated realistic airliners on our computers, so I'm fairly sure I could land one for real under these fantasy circumstances if using the CDU to set up an automated ILS approach.


Of course unlike in a flight sim, you can't press F7 to lower the flaps or anything like that, so you'd have to know where the real physical controls all were, such stuff as where the transmit button is for the radio in order to contact ATC for help. If hand flying, you'd have to know how much you can get away with moving the controls (give it full rudder in your sim and you'll be okay, do it on a typical airliner at 350 knots and you'll likely break the tailplane off the thing, which is also true for GA aeroplanes, i.e. no massive control inputs at high airspeeds unless you want to have bits fall off your aeroplane).


So yeah, I reckon most experienced flight simmers probably could do it. Of course if you really want to know if that is true, you can always go somewhere like the link I've posted below, where Virgin Airlines will let you fly their airliner simulator for half an hour or so, for a bit less than 100 quid, which is actually less than the FSL A320 costs. So finding out if you really could do it, and indeed how close such things as the FSL A320 are (i.e. very close), is not beyond the pocket of most serious flight simmers if they really want to do so.

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I seem to remember there was a lengthy thread about this type of discussion before on AVSIM, may have been in hangar chat, but I cannot find it at the moment. Plenty of interesting reading for the OP if they do find the thread.

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