Using Flight Simulator for Flight Training?

I don’t know what you’re all talking about.

There is a simple answer to this question: no!

Interesting video . I’m sure some of us would make a fair attempt … :wink:

Well something similar happen with MH370 where investigators was trying to blame the pilots because they found similar flight plan save on the Captains flight simulator computer. The sim he was using some speculates it was P3d which was created using FSX codes .

All software is a tool. How you put that tool to work is up to the end-user. Can you use an entertainment product to learn something, you bet! People have been trying to find better ways to enhance the learning experience for years. Can you use training software for entertainment? Yes, I have seen many people enjoy flight training.

However, I think it is critical that when you are going to use software that proper oversight is provided be it digitally included in the software or overseen by a professional instructor. The company I work for is in the middle of creating software solutions that will reduce the workload of instructors. The software monitors the objective performance allowing the instructor to spend more time interacting with clients. The software will also find client trends and provide that data back to the instructor and client. As VR becomes more prevalent in the training centers (we already use it in Cockpit Procedure Trainers) this will allow more clients self-paced practice with feedback. This can really help when they have issues with a concept.

I am a fan of more tools but do realize that all tools have their limits which is why the instructor will remain a critical element in flight training.

Can MSFS, XP, P3D, etc be used to enhance flight training? Well, this is not only my belief but the FAA FAAS team also agrees that yes, understanding the limits this software provides you can enhance proficiency using non-training certified software. Just don’t expect to get your Commerical Pilot License using MSFS.

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MSFS is perfect for improving your flying skills under supervision of an instructor. (Except for landing practice. That is so different from real life)
So the question is, are you practicing proper procedures when you’re alone at home?

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The OP also started this thread a few days back. Evidently they have an issue with anyone suggesting MSFS is anything more than a game.

As others have said here, MSFS is a tool. It isn’t a certified sim, but there are things to learn from using it. I will be starting my own flight training in a month or two. I fully intend to use MSFS to practice some of my training (with the agreement of my flight instructor), whether that’s practicing my radio work on PilotEdge, practicing my navigation for cross country flights, or practicing procedures/checklists. I don’t expect to use it for any stick and rudder practice, but there’s a lot more to flying than just stick and rudder… Especially when you’re doing it in busy, complex airspaces. In the immortal words of Mr. Miyagi: Wax on, wax off.

My thoughts on this are, seriously lighten up guys. The idea that using Microsoft Flight Simulator for training could be dangerous is just patently ridiculous on so many levels.

It’s not like the average person has a Cessna 172 accessible to them, much less a Citation or an airliner. If you want to solo fly a plane you at least need to get a private pilot’s license and that involves being trained in the real world.

Nobody thinks playing Project Cars or Dirt Rally could be dangerous for people learning to drive, or that playing Fifa could harm your ability to play professional soccer, its just absolute nonsense.

Nobody can fly a plane unless they receive professional training, or illegally steal a plane.

If the former then they will learn the correct way to fly, if the latter then there are more serious issues at stake than them playing a simulator.

Stop overthinking this.


I learned stick and rudder reflexes in FS98 under the supervision of my cousin (pilot) using CH yoke, pedal and throttle quadrant made in the 90s…

Then in a real C152 the muscle memory was there when it comes to stick and rudder, yet in real life a C152 was stinky, metallic, shaky, uncomfortable and cold… But I had an instructor with me of course…

And it was easier to fly the real C152 vs the choppy and twitchy Cessnas in FS98…

Also feeling an aircraft under our controls inputs and by being in the cockpit is radically different from watching it on a screen…

This being said, any simulator we use are for entertainment obviously… Yet they can give good habits if supervised (as being said previously), or very very bad habits (sims are very forgiving usually) without instructors or qualified pilots near our PC…

this topic pops up from time to time, but the jist is this:

There’s certification requirements to make a flight simulator capable for allowing to accumulate real world hours.

A consumer level flight sim: IL2, DCS, FS2020, XP, P3d etc will at most give the “Average Joe” familiarization of an aircraft. It will never really provide the same sensations you might get with gravity, gusts, up/downdrafts and experiencing all the little quirks of flying a given type of airframe.

I once read somewhere that a common thing a CFI might tell a flight simmer on an introductory flight or going through flight school is there is too much heads down on the instruments. And it makes sense, even at 35,000 feet at night with “nothing else to look at” you could have something come out of nowhere…right? Maybe it was just in the experience of that particular poster

It could be a problem indeed, sometimes bad habits are difficult to get rid of, I have been a flight instructor for a long time, sometimes it’s not a benefit at all if a student has been simming a lot. I mean in MSFS slipstream effect (right rudder required) is not really a thing in For example, you will be able to get away with not using the rudder at all, no so in real life. The correct wing doesn’t stall in turns, and so on. It helps as a procedure trainer, not really to really learn how to fly. I never used any commercial flight simulator (including Xplane) to develop or improve flying skills, only as a procedure trainer. For type ratings is especially useful to pick up a high fidelity 3rd party aircraft, not to learn how to fly it but practise flows and procedures.


I believe a flight simulator can help you. You learn the basics, like what do the rudder pedals do and so forth. Having that knowledge will aid you if/when needed.

Agreed, I made actually this in a LH A320 full motion flight training sim and it went nearly perfect for all three landing attempts. :slight_smile:

One flight started with takeoff at EDDL 32L, left base, and landing again on 23L to full stop as being the CPT/PIC. The other attempts were at Funchal airport (LPMA) on runway 05.

Of course the situation was pretty basic without intense weather and an empty aircraft but still with the knowledge from simming it was possible to just step in :slight_smile: The real pilot (a nice real world FO fella from Aerologic) was basically there to prevent crashing the simulation and destroying the hydraulics :stuck_out_tongue: also he provided some tips on how to steer the A320 correctly (he also was flying A330 and B738 before joining Aerologic).

Anyway for real flight training I agree that MSFS is not the correct tool as it’s not approved for this task. Real simulations which can be used for training mostly focus on one aircraft type for the best possible experience :slight_smile:

Home simming is nice and may be able to recreate stuff close to real world flying but it’s not guaranteed! :wink: This btw. also includes X-Plane which can be used for flight training BUT with the correct aircraft only! (Don’t expect some third party aircraft there to fly as the real one with the FAA approved license…)

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You mean 23L.

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Typo corrected - thanks!

Yes exactly. Too many armchair pilots and overanalysers here. Just enjoy your sim for relaxation and fantasy. My former real life instructor said to me to ditch the sim and fly the plane hands on. Study the landmarks , outside, visual, only glance at your instruments when you need to, fly like a 1940s pilot technique. AND read the books and maps, use the published charts.
I took his advice, and it made a huge difference in my lessons.
Flightsimming can give you bad habits if you’re not careful.
Stop staring at the gauges and fly the plane.
My humble input.


I don’t think everything can be learned at MSFS.
The simulator is useful for previewing and reviewing engine startup and touch-and-go operating procedures.
It is also useful enough to practice VFR navigation. (In fact, I practice with it and it saves me a lot of money in flight costs.)
I don’t think it is useful to learn how to feel the controls of the aircraft, but on the contrary, I think it will make you develop bad habits.
I think it is best to understand the good and bad points of simulators and use them accordingly.

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BAA are using it to train pilots, at least in the beginning stages - so there’s something and it isn’t FAA certified!

A Day in the Life of Jonathan, a Student Pilot at BAA Training - YouTube at 1:24 you can see MSFS being used.

-It replicates the, pitch/power/airspeed relationship, quite well.

-It replicates the, “power curve” (staying ahead of) quite well.

-It sharpens the instrument scan, quite well.

-It reinforces, “staying ahead if the airplane” theory.

-It simulates compass errors (turning accelerating/decelerating), dead on.

-It teaches flight-planning and navigation (VFR/IFR), extremely well.

It is a very useful tool for a student pilot.


Sounds like very sensible advice to me. Also nice to hear that you had an instructor and you couldn’t just turn up at an airfield and rent a plane based on having used a flight sim.

Seriously, the people who think it’s dangerous to use a flight simulator, I’d love to hear them describe an actual scenario where this could a problem?

I love flight simming, but I have never flown a real plane. If I learnt to fly I would be starting from the beginning as to actually handling a real plane with real physical forces acting upon it. I’m really struggling to even imagine a scenario where I could cause harm. I presume in my first lesson the instructor is coming up with me, and that he will be in control of the plane. Unless he dies at the controls on my first day I think I’ll be fine, and even then I’d say my simulator knowledge would still give me a better chance of coming down safely than if I had no idea at all what I was doing.

Imagine thinking in your final, plummeting moments, if only I hadn’t played Microsoft Flight Simulator and now have an incorrect perception of how slipping works, if only I could go back to a virgin state of not even knowing what any of the gauges and instruments do I’d be ok.

It’s so silly.

As far as I know no simulation software gets certificates. Only in connection to an hardware simulator. And there are different kind of certifications. Also I know there is a simulator certified for specific training running the FSX in Germany. So nothing special to this and we should not give much weight on this if a software is good or better than the rest.

Of cause you can use a flight simulator for flight training. Many flight schools do this. Only don’t expect to have countable hours for your flight experiance.

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