Why so many UK simmers as compared to the US or elsewhere?

I don’t know how many flightsim.to have, but there’s 129 listed here https://www.gaac.org.uk/airfield-status/. Obviously many have disappeared since WW2, although some were gloriously repurposed as racetracks. Not sure how many there were at their peak.

Not sure how accurate either of these links are (both cannot be correct) but there are 1650 listed here:
A Google map
and 2,400+ listed here:

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I can’t see the first link, but I think the abct.org site is listing historical sites in addition to current ones. For example:

So we can say with some confidence that the figure lies somewhere between 100-2400!

Yes, it is fascinating, but I don’t know how unique the UK is in having quite a few dialects.

But there are still c.150 Native American languages (as opposed to dialects) spoken to some degree in the US today, albeit with only a very small number of speakers for some. Apparently, the Americas were even more linguistically diverse than Europe before the conquests. Source:

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Link edited (thanks).
Maybe we need to take an average! :laughing:

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From the latest Navigraph survey.
Full writeup here; Simulated Flight, Real Navigation – Navigraph


Thanks for that, I didn’t know the results were out.

I can’t understand a signle thing Guy Martin says, even tough it sounds like English sounds.

My company has a London office and other than occasionally using a different word, they are clear as can be to my American ears. But then tell me they can’t understand someone from the other side of London. And London is just a city.


Most Londoners would struggle to understand a Newcastle, Liverpool or Glasgow accent! And I say accent it’s actually a whole dialect.

I’m from Leeds so I’m used to a Yorkshire accent but struggle to understand the above accents when these guys are only 100 miles or so away.

What’s always interested me is the American accent was originally built from these British accents. E.g. New York sounds like a cross between Irish and Scottish with a smattering of Italian…and the rest. Love all these accents!

Are there any stats for DCS population usage?
I have a suspicion that the stats would be skewed the other way, i.e. a lot more US players?
I think in the US people have a lot more interest in their various armed forces than generally in Europe (not a bad thing!) so platforms focusing on that angle might have different population splits

These wouldn’t be represented at all or only as a minority in this survey since the typical combat summer won’t be using Navigraph or even be aware of it

Londoner (though I’m originally a Midlander) here. Full-strength Glasgow dialect, maybe I’d have some trouble with, just because of the unfamiliar Scots words (and Scots proper was largely comprehensible the few times I’ve heard it), but I have no trouble understanding Geordies and Liverpudlians, Yorkshire or Lancashire, Brummie or the South-West drawl. They may use the odd ‘local’ word I’m not familiar with, but I never have fundamental difficulty getting past the accent. Same for pretty much any other accent in the UK that I’ve ever been exposed to.

I’m honestly always surprised when Americans say they can’t understand some of the major regional English accents (dialects I get, that’s always going to be much harder) because I’ve never had a problem understanding any American accent I’ve heard, either. Though of course I haven’t been exposed to that many of them and mostly via media, so they aren’t necessarily full-on ‘real’, though I have been around the US a little bit, North, South and West, and always understood what people were saying to me.

I guess some people are better at this than others but honestly, I love the diversity of the Anglosphere accents and I love to hear them all!


I spent 22 years in the UK armed forces. We had people from all over the UK and Commonwealth and apart from one person I never had any problem understanding any of them. The one guy I could not understand was from North Uist in the far flung Outer Hebrides of Scotland and his accent was extremely difficult to understand.

My wife is from the Philippines and I have to translate Rab C. Nesbitt for her :wink:


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How are you with Guy Martin? I really need subtitles with him. :laughing:

But nowhere in modern day US, you will find that level of dialect variety. Your basic London accent here just sounds vaguely sophisticated and intelligent. Which I’ve heard Brits find the Americans’ perceptions of such funny.

You can go to Cape Cod in New England, where you still get that kind of British accent, like the Kennedy’s have.

But simming around the UK, I’m just amazed at how compact all these regions are from a GA flight perspective.

I’m mostly all British ancestitry and apparently, all my great grandparents couldn’t stand each other because of what part of the UK the others all came from.

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No issues with Guy. I’ve heard broader accents than his in my time :slight_smile:

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You have to remember that the bulk of the aviation activity has a lot to do with the actual physical size and economics of that country. In the US aircraft are a common mode of transport between cities but in the UK domestic travel by air is not at all a big thing. Internationally yes but not domestic. That has a massive influence when trying to do comparisons.

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I would say you already have the right answer. Access to real world flying in the UK is unattainable for most of the population due to the costs involved. Flight training has always been excessively expensive both at GA and professional levels. Fuel, aircraft, maintenance, bureaucracy, weather and training costs all contributing to this. The UK has an amazing history in aviation so I think people are drawn to flying in the UK, but flight simulators are the only entry into the world of aviation
The UK clearly offers some of the best training in the world but with training costs to become an airline pilot exceeding £100,000, the market is limited to those you have have already had a successful career or those who can access the bank of mum and dad at an early age as loaning money for pilot training unlike medicine / law etc is almost impossible in the UK.
Furthermore a pilot career is not a profession pushed to children in early education although clearly the passion for flight is high, as can been seen by the flight simulator numbers. In my opinion until, professional flying is offered like many other professions at an educational / university level where costs are covered in full or part we will always struggle to gain enough new pilots in the UK as the industry continually grows. Sadly GA in the UK seems to have become just an entry to professional flying saved for those with funds rather than like in the US where it is still a recreational activity open to a much higher proportion of the population. Microsoft / Asobo thankfully have created a stunning visual product so more people can experience the wonders of flight at some level.


I have to say this discussion has been really interesting. Thanks to all for the topic.