Help Me Break Out of My Flying Rut

Hi all,

Longtime flight simmer and RW pilot here. I have always done most of my flight sim flying in my favorite place to fly: the Caribbean! To keep this short, I want to find something new. And MSFS is the perfect vehicle, so to speak, with its amazing scenery.

So I decided the other day to fly a flight on every continent. I started by flying around Mt. Kilimanjaro. The scenery and the area surrounding the mountain were gorgeous!

Then I went to Japan. I flew from Takamatsu to Tokushima, two of the photoreal cities. They were brilliant as well.

Now I’d like to continue expanding my horizons. Areas I’d like to visit (flying small GA aircraft):

More of Africa - a lot more!
New Zealand

Really I’d be open to flying anywhere that you guys find interesting.

Suggestions appreciated!

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Ok, here’s a question. How realistically are you flying? As a real-world pilot I know it is easy to get into unrealistic habits when simming. Unless practicing for a BFR or other test I guess :slight_smile: But even RW pilots differ too. How many RPT pilots still fly basic VFR just for fun? I ti s now a job for them. I lost programming as a hobby when I became a programmer.

I can understand the desire for scenery but for that I flew from YPAD to Europe in the Mooney Ovation. Basically I just piked airports using the OnAir app to make $$$ along the way. But scenery to me is secondary.

As a general question for everyone in a similar boat that any RW pilot would already know.

  • Are you using real-world altitudes?
  • Are you using auto-pilot?
  • Are you checking the windsock direction before picking the runway?
  • Are you entering traffic patters properly (entry angles and altitude, descending on the dead side, etc)?
  • Are you navigating by GPS or using landmarks?
  • Are you spending too much time looking at instruments and not outside? (assuming AP is off)
  • Do you take into account cloud minimums or just fly right through the?
  • Do you ensure you obey restricted and dangerous areas and altitude limits?
  • Do you create realistic flight plans and fly procedures (whether it is a STAR or pattern) properly?

MSFS is perfect for realistic VFR flying. No GPS required and the flight model isn’t even important. It is how well you do what you need to do as a VFR pilot that is important and that is perfectly usable even with the MSFS bugs.

If the answer is “yes” to any of those questions then by doing the real procedures, like in real life, you can make flight much more interesting and rewarding.

How does it do that? Because it requires skills and when we do something that requires skill and do it well we appreciate it more. At least many of us do anyway :slight_smile:

I get lazy in sims too so I’ve started a back-to-basics regime for myself. I’m back to flying 2+ hour flights without any auto-pilot at all. I even wrote a program to log my flights and check my flying quality so that I can keep a record outside the sim.

I haven’t flown a real plane in a few years. God I miss it. But when I win lotto I want to make sure I didn’t pick up any bad habits so I’m back to treating the sim realistically.

I’ve flown many aircraft from A to B in flight sims using AP and I only looked forward to the landing. That is missing out on the sim experience big time.

Sometimes I think a club for real or sim pilots that like to do the above (fly GA aircraft realistically) might be a good idea. We could share and collaborate on flight planes and local knowledge but I’m a bit too lazy to set one up.

With OnAir I started doing 4-5 hour flights so I could get more XP but then thought “what’s the point?”, I spend all the time looking at at the aircraft on AP or watch TV and try to remember to go back to the computer when it is near TOD. That gets boring quick, maybe because I an appreciate how much of the flight experience I’m missing. So now I am doing 100 to 250nm missions and doing them more correctly. It is soooo much better.

Gee, a longer post than I thought!


What a fantastic response - thank you!

It’s funny, because I’ve always flown as realistically as possible with flight sims. I fly a Cherokee and a 150 in real life, and in this sim so far most of my flying is in the 152. I’m also quite interested in the TBM and have flown it a few times, but one reason I hesitate to fly it more is that I don’t really see the point in “flying” something I have no idea how to fly!

As an example, I see people asking questions like, “How do I capture the glideslope in the A320?” And they clearly aren’t pilots and don’t have nearly the level of aviation knowledge to be flying that plane. But to each his own, and there are clearly people who get a kick out of pretending to be an airline pilot. And more power to 'em!

But as I spent more time flying the TBM, it got me to thinking - is automation and the magenta line taking the fun out of flying? I started flight training in 2010, before the iPad revolutionized GA flying. We had no GPS in the plane (a 1966 Cherokee at the time). It was VORs and the DME. And I loved it! Once it clicked it was so cool to be able to navigate the skies in a way that the layman couldn’t. And so I started applying that to my sim flying recently. I mean how much do you really get out of watching the ETE tick down as you fly along the magenta line with the AP on and then let George fly the approach to minimums?

So hopefully those are some answer to your questions. And it seems like we’re on the same vibe! I’ll have to check out the OnAir app.


Hey Mike, yeah. It is often a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know”. Like most simmers don’t really have an idea of what a pilot does (or should be doing at least). I “think” I could fly a 737 because I use study level versions of that aircraft. BUT, can I really? Who knows. Certainly there is information we don’t get in the sim such as “if you turn the weather radar on with people in front of the aircraft then they may no longer be able to have children”! I’ve heard that from a real aviation source but I’m not 100% sure it is true. But as a real 737 pilot I’d know that and a ton more that I’m sure I don’t know.

Getting an aircraft from point A to B is pretty easy. Being a real pilot is much more than just doing that!

I still like to fly a 737 as realistically as I can but I know enough about flying to know that does not make me a 737 pilot. :slight_smile:

I only fly LSAs so there is no AP and no GPS (unless I use my phone or bring a tablet). Two hours of that flying by-the-book in even light turbulence I find to be exhausting. We don’t get that from a sim either!

I’ll tell you about one flight that I had in X-Plane that made me just go WHOA! If MSFS could simulate the same effects on the aircraft it would be perfect.

I was flying between some islands and flew into a storm, normally we would avoid them but hey, this is a sim. I’m pretty sure I was in a payware TBM, a very nice aircraft. All was good until I got to around 7,000 feet then as quick as a flash I was almost completely inverted. I pulled out at 300 feet over the water in IMC. I kid you not, I spent around 15 minutes stalling and recovering between 300 feet and 1,500 feet before I got away from the storm enough. Those winds must really have been howling along.

It was the most amazing sim event I’d ever had. Add that to MSFS visuals and it would be perfect.

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I’m fully with you here, I treat the sim as I would areal plane and flight, and it brings me a lot of joy doing this (and a lot of RL benefits too, keep the navigation skills up and it’s really great at doing recon before flying to unfamiliar airports!)

The only thing with that is, we’re missing out on a lot of things!
I don’t have maps or charts or anything really for most of the world, so I miss out on many great places to fly (also it’s hard to get ideas on where to fly)
Any ideas for proper aeronautical maps/charts for places in the world where my Foreflight subscription isn’t covered?

Note that I did find NeoFly which is free and generates missions for you so that already gives a lot of new possibilities (try it, its really nice)

Agreed on the planes also, I’d really like to fly the turboprops, but I have no idea how to really fly them and that to me is a nogo

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And great thread, with very good answers!

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Fantastic answer, seconded!

I do all these things, I don’t see the point otherwise! It just wouldn’t feel right to not treat the same as a reality simulation.
MSFS is indeed perfect for a slow GA’er!


Hehe, thanks, yeah. It is much better because then no AP bugs will hit you if you don’t use it. Though I can’t even turn on the boost pumps anymore without a CTD so again, another patch removes the ability for any kind of realism. Sigh.

I’m getting so desperate for even a somewhat working aircraft I actually reinstalled X-Plane.

Luckily for me I don’t have any of these issues! But I do fly the generic aircraft only

I did reinstall XP as I wanted to go and play in the Cherokee… countless CTDs later I got it to at least let me fly a bit, and it is just a lot worse than I remembered. Back to the importance of MSFS eye candy :slight_smile: seriously, I couldn’t stand XP anymore even with the orthos (and it has its own flightmodel, weather, athmosphere etc issues)

Ah, but I have Orbx’s UK. That looks really nice :slight_smile: But I’m Australian and like to fly in my homeland so, yeah, I’m a bit stuck. I do miss some of my X-Plane aircraft but that is about it. MSFS is much smoother for me than X-Plane with Vulkan and I had micro-stutters.

I can only suggest what I do, really.
And for me it’s all about the level of immersion.

So I fly exclusively GA.
And I fly as realistically [in method and mode] as the sim will allow me to.
I use only steam ships which helps me focus on VFR rules and VOR and NDB navigation.
I don’t fly too high or for overlong periods between stops.
I follow all airport protocols and only start from ‘cold and dark’ aircraft.

Apart from short ‘test’ flights, I am only ever flying the current leg of my current ‘round the world’ trip.
You can compile RTW trips of infinite variety either of latitudinal or longitudinal orientation.
I make great use of flight planning before I fly a leg [necessary to avoid flying yourself into a ‘corner’]
I ‘bag’ airports as I go and I keep meticulous records.

All the above , and more, should keep you involved.

Just enjoy!


I’m in the middle ish of a round the world sight seeing tour. He’s a link to my blog

I’m new to simming so not really forcing myself to follow too many rules.

However I’m already working on my next adventure. That’s to visit every capital city in the world using the most efficient route i can find. I’ve built a little excel spreadsheet that is currently on its 5th day of grinding out as good a solution to the “travelling salesman problem” as I can manage given I’ve not got a supercomputer that can solve the optimal route through 227 cities automatically. Ideally I’d do this stopping only in the target cities, but there are places like French Polynesia where I don’t think I’ll be able to do that.

Maybe some inspiration there for you


Similar to me. Though I did get lazy.

I wrote a flight logger to keep track of my flights because there was nothing that worked with MSFS that I liked and I’m too lazy for manual records. Unfortunately it is only now in a state where I can use it reliably so I’ve lost the first 180 hours of my MSFS flying but I’ll soon be starting another around-the-world flight with it so then I can have an overview map of everywhere I’ve visited.

I love flying a whole flight manually then using my graphs and pressing the “Load in Google Earth” buttons to be able to critique it.

It is all about finding what “you like” and that can vay a lot between us. But it looks like there are a few kindred spirits here :slight_smile:

My cruise heights are either 3,500 or 4,500 AGL. MSFS shines at those altitudes.

Haha. All good!

You must be a nerd, like me! I make extensive use of excel sheets for everything from logging flights to logging airports to generating flight flans and even things like crib sheets for my yoke et al.

Clear skies.

Kindred spirits indeed.

It’s good to see that that pioneering, intrepid, what’s round the next corner frame of mind is alive and kicking and finding some expression via this splendid simulator.

Fly on gentlemen [and, of course, ladies] The world is our lobster.


Good to see I am not the only one here who does everything as close to real as possible (and only on steam ships)

How do you go about gathering the information for the routes and airports you travel to?

Yes there are the AIPs, but maps and charts etc?

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Hi StatesideSiren4, have you checked out yet? It’s a great website that a community member has made for users to share their own flight plan files, with each upload automatically generating a detailed map.

I’ve uploaded a few from New Zealand that might interest you, where I am also a RW pilot. Check them out here:

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