I have several hundred hours in C172’s, Piper Archer III (that I owned), Zodiac SLSA that I was a distributor for & a Alarus 2 seat trainer - similar to a Cherokee. I have flown a few others like a SR20/22 & DA20. I’ve also flown simulators since Sublogic’s FS1 on an Apple II. Here are my conclusions.
I find it more difficult to control simulators than real aircraft. I’ve even had a high end yoke as part of a commercial FAA approved basic flight training device for IFR instruction. Now I use a Saitek yoke & am considering the Honeycomb. So unless you trim the simulator so you don’t have any back pressure on the yoke, it hard to maintain an altitude to within 100 feet or maintain a decent at a fixed rate. I”ve also found it more difficult to slide slip a landing to loose altitude more quickly in the Sim than in real life. But Zodiac SLSA was much harder to maintain the correct decent rate for landings unless it was perfectly trimmed since the stick was so sensitive. I did many go-around in that aircraft the first 50 hrs or so I flew it. Kind of ironic that a sports plane for sports pilots with less hours is much harder to land than a 172 or Archer. So I think any simulator is just OK for teaching the feel of flying, but GREAT at teaching procedures & other non stick & rudder things a pilot mush learn. The climb rates on most of the GA aircraft I’ve flown are OK, so you can practice best climb Vx or Vy but must trim the aircraft to do this since I find it difficult using the yoke only. But if someone learns all the procedures of flying, navigating they will adapt quickly to a real aircraft.
Having said that I LOVE flight simulators & really like FS2020. I’ve done many RNAV, ILS & GPS approaches, holds, procedure turns & really feel FS2020 is a useful tool for IFR flying. I especially like the G3X touch GPS in the X-Cub & some other aircraft because it’s easy to use with a mouse & as fast as in real life. The Garmin 430 that I flew a lot with is very difficult to twist the knobs & the same with the G1000.
One of the most exciting things about FS2020 is the ability to do VRF flying by using a sectional map from Sky Vector web site & just looking out the windows & using your heading indicator & stopwatch to navigate. This is such an important skill to master in flying & now you can do this ANYWHERE in the whole world. I wish I could have 2 monitors for the instruments & out the window, but as you can see in the picture a wide screen monitors works well.
I have maybe 150 hrs in FS2020 over the last 2 months & look forward to the product maturing. It was definitely release prematurely, but I’m OK with that so long as they keep fixing the bugs & adding the missing features.