Microsoft flight simulator

I don’t know if this is a dumb question but is it good or beneficial to play realistic flight simulator games? Like could I learn a lot before starting ATP and while there etc?


"Play is the operative word. It is just that, a video game. You will hear conflicting opinions on this, but I for one think that it teaches bad habits and that your time could be better spent elsewhere.


1 Like


All I’ll say is my son was awesome (ranked) on Call of Duty but I wouldn’t want to follow him into a war zone and the Marines haven’t called yet :slight_smile:




I played a LOT of MSFS as a kid and I would say the most significant thing I learned how to do on there is input a localizer frequency for an ILS approach. That was a big deal to me then, but not all that impressive when actually undergoing instrument-rating training.

Flight simulators are an incredibly valuable tool to flight training for things like procedures and checklist usage, but only with the proper equipment and under the guidance of a certified flight instructor to help prevent, as Chris mentioned, bad habits that could be difficult to break later when you’re actually in flight training.



Man… I have to admit, I have thousands of hours flying on Microsoft Flight Simulator from both the disc and steam version flying the PMDG Boeing 737, but that doesn’t do me any good - not only am I not flying a Boeing in real life, but I’m learning to fly an Embraer. BUT to be honest, I thought I was pretty good at turning the autopilot on and talking on VATSIM, I didn’t really know what I was doing though… until I went to flight school and got the certificates and ratings. There’s a difference between online sim and flight school; You can crash on an online sim and click the reset button… while at flight school, we can’t click reset so it’s important to learn from the fundamentals and build upon.

The only beneficial flight simulator I would say you could start with would be an Aviation Training Device, my local airport in my hometown has what is known as a Redbird FMX; Where you need an instructor to be present to teach you the fundamentals. It’s all fun and games to turn the thing to maximum turbulence and since it has motion, bounce around - but to really learn from it you have to go in with an objective and expected outcome from lesson.


MSFS isn’t as realistic for smaller aircraft as it is for larger aircraft. Your private course is really learning how to fly by the seat of your pants so you don’t have to look at your instruments. Like being able to feel when you need to add power after dropping flaps to 25 in the Archer and calling your glide slope on base. Nothing like hitting a thermal before crossing the airport boundary and then having the aircraft sink over the grass after crossing the airport boundary. Then, after having stabilized your approach, feeling when you are in ground affect and recognizing the nose drop to begin your flare after bleeding your airspeed in the glide above the runway. For those reasons flight sims aren’t helpful if it’s not a full motion sim.

Otherwise, MSFS is great for instrument because IFR conditions are meant to be flown by staring into your instrument and trusting them over your sensory system. Flying more advanced aircraft is also a plus on a sim but you need to remember you only get a few hours flying autopilot in flight school. So be comfortable learning how to read approach plates, getting ahead of the aircraft and multi task with everything else going on.


MSFS is not remotely realistic for flying larger airplanes. Yes, some of the switches might be the same, but it is very different than sitting in a jet and actually flying it across the country.

I decided to go the other way. Since I’m already an airline Capt, when I fly I imagine I’m playing MSFS (there’s much less stress). Only problem is I can’t seem to find the pause button? :wink:


I think MSFS has calculated not making it so realistic where it takes the fun away from the meta verse. At least as a professional pilot, your getting paid to stay ahead of the aircraft by tracking weather, finding alternatives in mid flight and reviewing the approaches to those alternatives. That’s just my speculation of the task going on in the driver seats during y’all’s cross country. For me it is a weekend getaway to pretend I flew to somewhere I haven’t been. Helped unwind from work.


There is certainly a place for relaxation and escape. My boys and I like to go try and catch trains in our area. Whatever works!