Three Possible Uses of MSFS

Other topics elsewhere have discussed “Game or Simulation” extremely well. I think there are potentially three other ways MSFS can be used: aerobatics, training, and marketing.

Aerobatics: There are at least four aircraft in MSFS designed for aerobatics. MS must have a reason for having all these aircrafts even though it is impossible for any simulator to simulate the G-forces that happen. If you’ve never tried it, aerobatics are aircraft maneuvers very difficult to learn and perform correctly all the time. I have not seen very many discussions about aerobatics here or in other forums. Personally I know very little about aerobatics and find there aircraft difficult to control. IRL I’ve enjoyed watching aerobatic performances at air shows. I wonder if MSFS multiplayer is capable of hosting aerobatic air shows maybe live streamed. Anyone interested?

Training: Many years ago when I was studying for my PPL, I was hoping that my MS Flight Sim hours would somehow count towards the hours I needed. However, the FAA has to certify simulators before they are permitted as part of flight training. None of the MS flight simulators have ever been certified nor do I think they ever will be. MSFS is not designed specifically for flight training. However, it can and is used to learn about flying and aviation. I think my use of a flight simulator saved me an hour or two of instruction because my CFI didn’t have to explain the controls and radios from ground zero. Also, I used my simulator to “pre-fly” my solo cross country which was very helpful. Since MSFS was released there have been many educational videos for MSFS on YouTube. Content creators should tag videos for PPL, IFR, Commercial, or ATP ratings or at least beginner, intermediate, or advanced.

Marketing: MSFS is a aircraft manufacturer’s dream. It is an economical way to showcase their aircraft editing out the MSFS bugs in promotional videos. Many photos that have been taken are stunning and worthy of being published on manufacture’s web sites or in brochures.

Another topic not discussed very much is the recent category established for “Light Sport Aircraft” (LSA) and pilot’s license. European countries have a similar category. MSFS includes a number of aircraft designed for LSA requirements. For anyone interested in flying inexpensively, take a look at LSA. A good example is the Icon A5 include in MSFS which can land on water and land. Its wings are collapsible and the Icon can be put onto a trailer and stored in a garage (not simulated in MSFS) saving hangar or tie-down costs. I wonder if flying a LSA in MSFS has sparked interest in flying one IRL.

I’m sure there are other uses for MSFS I haven’t considered.

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It seems like I remember one of the MS Flight Sims were certified so that one might use up to 10 hours of sim instrument flight in your log book. I was working on my commercial well before that happened. I may be wrong but it sure seems that a 10 hour max simulated instrument flight training could be used in some syllabus… just not sure which.

Back during the MSFS 98 era the U.S. Navy issued special variants of the FS 98 software and specialty built computers to student pilots so that the students could practice the classroom procedures discussed before they went up in their A4 Skyhawks. According to what I was told, this was a pretty successful experiment the Navy conducted. However, a computer/desktop sim cannot, and will not, ever be able to replicate real world training. All it really can do is help students learn and practice the operations and procedures their instructors are giving them,

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I think the sim can be very helpful for training so long as you keep in mind that skill actually controlling the aircraft is a bit of an illusion. The lack of control feedback, feeling inertial forces, sight and sound of the aircraft, will all prevent you from becoming any master of how a real airplane handles in sim. It will provide the basics, and maybe reinforce some key configurations to memorize, but not any fine skill.

That said, it’s very good for teaching flight theory. As in, accompanied by structured exercises, could easily replace a student pilots first several flights. Be a cheap and safe environment to explain the controls, what the knobs and switches do, and get a general familiarity for an aircraft. It’s also a perfect environment to demonstrate what not to do.

I’m currently reading Stick and Rudder by Wolfgang Langewiesche. I highly recommend anyone wanting to know how to fly read it. In that book the author details things not to do, and assuming the flight model is decent, those scenarios are perfect for trying in flight sim just to demonstrate how having the wrong ideas on how to control a plane can make a bad situation worse. For example, how you can easily stall an aircraft in a vertical dive, it doesn’t sound logical, and is not safe to try in most aircraft, but in sim can be easily demonstrated and you don’t break an airplane or kill anyone.

Also flight planning and instrument practice. I hope to be flying real aircraft again one day, but I bet I still use flight sim to go over planned trips and new airports so I’m more situationally aware for the real flight.

Back when I had MSFS 2000, I flew it a lot, before I had my first real flying lesson. On my first flight, my instructor had me hands on the controls from takeoff to landing, and my first landing was completely me on the controls. That was partly his style, he was very hands on learning oriented, but I think MSFS helped a lot. I wasn’t clueless about what to expect, and with guidance was able to stay in control. When the instructor told me what to do, I knew what he was talking about. He didn’t have to explain the bare basics, but go straight to showing me how. He coached me but did not take the controls, and even remarked about it afterwards that I had flown my entire first flight unaided.

So I’m a firm believer a flight sim can assist in making you a pilot. Within reason of course, but definitely a valuable teaching tool.

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As I recall, none of Microsoft’s flight sims have ever been approved (by the FAA) to log time with. There’s a version of X-plane you can use as long as you have the certified controllers to go with it.

“MS must have a reason for having all these aircrafts”

Yes. It’s called “providing a fun game out of the box.” Call of Duty also has lots of guns and stuff to choose from as well. :slight_smile:

“On my first flight, my instructor had me hands on the controls from takeoff to landing, and my first landing was completely me on the controls.”

Absolutely nothing unusual about that. But I’d bet you 100 bucks the CFI still had his feet on the rudders and a couple of fingers on the yolk. You just didn’t notice it. It’s part of being a good CFI. :slight_smile:

I’ve lost count how many people I’ve let “fly” the airplane while I make supple (unknown to them) corrections to their ham-fisted flying.

Even more so with MSFS, and its VFR Bing Scenery… Should be no landmark surprises on you VFR Cross Country - it should b like you have already flow it before.

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Which is a cool idea, but sorta cheating at the same time. A student pilot should be able to do the flight without “pre-flying” the event. That’s the whole purpose. :slight_smile:

Well, also a Student should prepare !!! But I get your point, this is a “TEST” and of course, pre-flying in a Sim invalidates the test results.

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I mean to be fair…there shouldn’t be anything in a flight test that is a surprise. I wouldn’t call it cheating, but moreso a “practical substitute for mental self-briefing”.

Back when I took my test all they gave us were a new pair of carboard shoes to replace the wet ones from walking in 3 feet deep snow… UPHILL BOTH WAYS… to get to the FBO. And we where GREATFUL!

The kids these days just don’t get how good they have it. :slight_smile:

You got Shoes !!! All I got was a steep Bill

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Only because they wanted to keep the floor dry. Past that, we where on our own.

Speaking of steep bills…

I was renting 150’s for 5 bucks an hour (wet) in 1971 at Ft Gordon, Georgia. And I’d like to thank the kind taxpayers for subsidizing our military flying club. :slight_smile:

That’s about right … 50 cents a gallon for Avgas, and the plane was FREE

There’s gotta be a song in there somewhere? Those words roll off the tongue way too easy. Ah… it just popped in my head, “Money for Nothing.”

Now I have that Dire Straits song stuck in my head. At least it’s a cool tune. :slight_smile:

And I think a sub-category of marketing is tourism. I’ve flown some of our vacation trips and was surprised at how many sights we missed. Goals that we absolutely have to aim for again. I have just flown out to new islands in New Gueinea, and when I saw what it looked like there, I thought you had to go there.

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I beg to disagree. As a long time simmer I took off and landed just fine the first time I set foot on a real plane (PA-28). This was way back in 97. If anything, the extra sensory input from the real thing makes handling the plane easier than the simulator. The only thing that I find more difficult in real life is dealing with vertigo, when/if it happens.

I value the opinion, this piece of software could be also useful in terms of aerobatics, training, or marketing. However, this software (“this title”) does not work as proposed.
It is not a simulation because the aircraft model is incorrect for all planes. The modeled world is incomplete (which is okay) but many navaids/airports are missing or they are false (which is not okay).
It is not even a working game, since constantly controller input gets lost because memory internally is overwritten, i.e. the software model is inconsistant.
What is left is nice pictures and views, which is not enough to keep me playing. It just keeps me trying new versions, looking for bug fixes and improvements.
But, what I find is just “new and improved bugs”.
Overall assessment: poor project and software management! How can it be, that solved software problems pop up aigain every now and then.
This is a paid alpha test software! I am disapointed.

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