Flight Simulation


  • Personal flight simulators can be an effective and way to train while ultimately playing a game
  • Professionally, the FAA certifies flight simulators, or Aviation Training Devices (ATDs), for augmenting training, decreasing cost and increasing scenarios pilots would otherwise not be able to simulate in the aircraft
  • In addition to an effective training tool, flight simulators allow for the real time practice of maneuvers at a fraction of the price

Flight Simulation Purpose:

  • The advantages of flight simulators are numerous
  • They allow you to efficiently practice your maneuvers and procedures (no start, taxi, takeoff required)
  • Simulators further allow for practicing maneuvers that are more dangerous or dangerous such as emergencies
  • Flight simulators allow you to fly a flight ahead of time, interactively chair flying
  • Simulators also allow pilots to train on new avionics before doing it live in an aircraft
  • When multi-player is an option, it opens your eyes to something you may not have seen before in the home enviornment which allows you to do further research and learn more, becoming better
Microsoft Flight Simulator

Flight Simulators:

  • Microsoft Flight Simulator:

    • Microsoft flight simulator is one of the most popular flight simulators on the market
    • The software comes standard with the most common types of aircraft but is customizable to allow additional aircraft

    • Pros:
      • Very basic, not requiring a lot of knowledge or prep time to get started
    • Cons:
      • Not entirely realistic, real life performance can be either exaggerated or non-existent in certain aspects
      • Requires a lot of computing power in order to run smoothly, pay attention to "recommended setup"
  • FAA Certified Simulators:

    • Certain simulators are certified by the FAA, and provided a letter of authorization that allows that device to meet certain training and currency requirements
    • These simulators provide pilots with the ability to conduct training such as practice approaches, meeting the requirements of FAR, without requiring an instructor or safety pilot
    • A detailed list of FAA certified simulators can be found by going to https://www.faa.gov and in the search bar, typing "ATD"
Amazon, X-Plane Simulator

Simulator Accessories:

Flight Throttle Quadrant


  • You will not be using a mouse and keyboard to fly a real airplane and so if you are serious about using simulators as a training aide, you will want to purchase peripherals if you can afford them
  • Joysticks are fun, and for some games they work just fine, but they still lend themselves to non-standard controls and buttons which you will not have in the aircraft
  • Yokes and rudder pedals allow for an exact simulation of what you will use in the aircraft but can create a bulky setup


  • Flight simulators allow for real time decisions and practice which can be invaluable to your flight training and save you a lot of money
    • Software even allows integration of applications like ForeFlight
  • Next to typical flight hours costing well over $100, a simulator looks like chump change if you expect you will see reduced flight hours required on the back side
  • While flight simulation at home can be enjoyable, pilots must be cautious not to learn bad habits
  • Remember, its not the hours in your logbook that matter, its the experiences you can learn from over time
  • Still looking for something? Continue searching: