How simmers get IFR knowledge and skills?

I’ve always wondered how 100% pure bred simmers learn all the advanced stuff? IFR is pretty complicated, are there any learning materials and resources for the simmers? MS does not provide anything. (Not a valid question for the real world pilots)…


Googling, watching actual cockpit videos of flying and fiddling around. I remember trying to learn the PMDG 747 FMC was tearing my hairout as I didn’t know what an airway was or a intersection blah blah blah. I’ve been simming for years you just gotta learn and practice. Plenty of youtube videos out now these days you’re spoilt. When I was learning sims there wasn’t much around.


I don´t consider myself a “pure breed” simmer, but I´m very interested in both engineering and flight, so I´m naturally inclined to learn in depth how things work.

When it comes to flight simulation, I´m particularly interested in instrumental navigation and Airbus Airliners. I´m really looking forward for something that can be considered “study level” (whatever that actually means), and for now I´m using the A320NX, which is not there yet, but is improving every day.

How to learn?

Well, FS2020 isn´t exactly helpful in that regard, and I really miss FS98´s flight school. It was basic, but at least they explained traditional VOR to VOR navigation and gave you what I would call reasonably solid basics.

I guess today they don´t do it because we live in the internet era and there are a lot of resources online.

  • I know it probably won´t be very useful for you, but since it is quite simply the best refference I have found, if you speak spanish you can check out this guy´s You Tube Chanell. There are maybe more than 100 hours of classes, from basic VOR to VOR navigation to advaced B737 and A320 lessons. It is simply amazing, I wish there was something comparable in english (if there is, I don´t know).
  • You can also chek this amazing channel from A320 Sim Pilot.

He is a real airliner pilot, but he is focusing in a wider audience and is not as specific as Mr Valtueña. Even if he focuses in the A320, a lot of what he teaches is generic and can be used in any airliner.

  • This forum is a useful tool too. It can be used not only to complain about Asobo (I often do that). There are a lot of real pilots here and you can ask very specific questions and have useful answers. I have found good threads about RNAV in this forum, If you use the search bar, you will be surprised about how much information is already here.

  • Even if it is not only about navigation, Airbus has a very nice website with a lot of advanced, real life information. Here is an interesting example, but obviously there is a lot more in the site.

I´m sure Boeing has something equivalent.

  • And lastly, again not only about navigation, if you are serious about an aircraft, you should take a look at its FCOM (Flight Crew Operations Manual). Of course today we have nothing as detailed in FS2020, but it gives a lot of detailed insight in the aircraft.

Again, you can search for your favourite aircraft.

There is no lack of information available.

Hope this helps, even if it´s a bit too centered in the Airbus point of view.

Best regards.


I hadn’t used Flight Simulator for a long time, so I needed to refresh my knowledge, so beside the documentation of FSX I started to use the documentation of X-Plane. If you google X-plane IFR you will find the basic information on the page X-IFR Flight School and well explained.


Check out P Gatcomb’s youtube channel, he has a growing series of tutorial videos covering many aspects of IFR, VFR, flight planning, systems, tools, etc. For example:


The US FAA has a number of excellent handbooks that you’ll find for free download at this link. Aviation Handbooks & Manuals ( . As an instrument instructor myself, I always encouraged my instrument rating students to get a copy of the FAA’s Instrument Flying Handbook, which you’ll find on the above link.

The Airplane Flying Handbook is a great source for VFR and the Instrument Procedures Handbook one for understanding area navigation, GPS nav, and interpreting instrument approach charts. While the latter book uses the US Government format, the basic layout and information is the same for Jeppesen and LIDO.


I second these handy dandy videos… just a teeny tiny bit. :grin::+1:


Boston Virtual ARTCC has an awesome WINGS program that not only teaches you VFR and IFR step by step, it also teaches you how to fly on VATSIM for an incredible realistic experience. Highly recommended.


If it isn’t on YouTube, it never happened.

And for the really old fashioned (like me), there are still books… :smile:


You can download this manual :

[Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 Pro / PC (DOS/Windows) / Downloads - replacementdocs]

It came with fs2002 and i learned IFR basics with it :grin:


using online ATC like VATSIM, IVAO or other and reading, reading, reading


Makes no sense using VATSIM, IVAO etc. when he has no clue about anything.
First he has to read a lot, and try and error flying offline. When he gets to know how to fly his preferd aircraft “safely” from A to B then he can join VATSIM etc. to get more realistic.

A few years back, I forget who it was but they came up with an amazing system of disseminating knowledge. I think they called them “Books”. Then an even wiser person came up with the idea of a place where you could actually borrow those books, AT NO COST!

Sorry for the sarcasm. :grin:
But seriously, I would pop down to your local library. Browse through the aviation section. I would start with “From The Ground Up”. Although geared toward the PPL ground school curriculum it does contain the base knowledge ALL IFR pilots start with. From there, “Instrument Flight Procedures Manual” teaches basic scan and navigation fundamentals. After that, just mow through as much as you can.

Google is a great place to learn, but be careful. A large percentage are just simmers trying to get you-tube hits and the procedures are often flawed and too many sim shortcuts. Self taught sim users are probably not the best teachers, if you want to really learn the RIGHT way to safely fly IFR. If you learn the basics from actual training manuals, then you can spot the fools pretty quick.


As someone already mentioned - FAA is a great free source of materials. As for videos, I learned a lot from free workshops available on pilotedge website -
There is a bunch of very detailed videos covering both VFR and IFR aspects. I also strongly recommend pilotedge service as probably the most realistic, publicly available, and cost effective online ATC environment to learn ifr/vfr using any major sim (msfs/p3d/fsx/xp)


This. There are lots of credible YouTube tutorials, but there are about 10 times as many that will fool you right up until they say or do something that makes a real pilot go, “POSER”!

The only way to tell is if they get called out, or you learn the basics yourself from legit sources.


I’m a simmer only, I learned mostly from the tutorials in previous flight sim games, and the amazing “Microsoft Flight Simulator X for Pilots” book by Jess Van West. I’m sure I only know about 10% of what it takes to actually fly IFR, but it’s good enough for me.


Hi Normal. I was in the same position. Over the last 3 months I’ve gone from 100% ignorant to much more confident in my IFR Sim skills. Pretty much work, sleep, ignore the family, and then spend every other waking moment on YouTube and FS testing new skills/knowledge. I’d start with some Goggling a subject you’re interested in. Then YouTube more if a deeper understanding on a specific skill was needed. Also look up videos on IFR flying in general, not just FS related. Good luck!

Just to add, fS2020 can set up an IFR flight for you. You can select a departure/arrival runway and it sets you up. You have to know how to get the plane to follow the flight plan and set it up for an approach/ILS landing so the plane follows the Glide Slope. That takes some research in itself.

Learning how to follow VORs is another way to use instruments for “low tech” GAs such as the Cessna 152.


IDK. If a person can build a house from YouTube videos, surly we can become Commercial Airline Pilots from a few vids! :grin:

Currently brushing up my resume now to submit to United Airlines…


Rather than watching you tube videos and picking up other people’s bad habits and interpretations of the procedures, if you’re dead keen on aviation then there is nothing stopping you from buying the same theory books every RL pilot reads to gain their knowledge.

Grab some second hand books of ebay, start of with the basic aeronautical stuff, move on to nav and meteorology and then start reading the cpl/ifr stuff. Go at your own pace. It’s not like you have to cram for exams or anything. I’ve been out of RL flying for a few years now but recently bought a full set of books to read again from scratch. Starting at basic BAK. Unfortunately for me, I sold all my theory books once I got my license.


FS Academy has an excellent IFR course on the SimMarket. I highly recommend it.

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