Should Pilots Really Train Using Flight Sim Games? Pros and Cons
A lot of people, (pilots included) have different opinions about the use of a flight simulator game in teaching people how to fly, some are good, whilst others bad. One theme that seems to flow through all of the thoughts is that flight simulators are not a full replacement for a flight instructor in a real aeroplane, but since the cost is astronomical just for lessons most people agree that a flight simulator game is a really good place to start. Of course the flight stimulator has to be of high quality and significantly resemble the aircraft.
For starters, flight simulator games will teach you the placement and importance of your flight panel instruments. Even if they can't duplicate the visibility and movement of an actual cockpit they are still a great starting point for pilot enthusiasts. If you do get a simulator, make sure that it is programmed with different visibility levels so that you can at least pick up the importance of following your instruments instructions, a vital aspect of true flying.
Even though a flight stimulator can not mimic the changes that you will really be faced with in a cock pit they will at least teach you how to deal with certain atmospheric conditions, before you are really faced with them. Simulators can not completely duplicate the disorientation that can come from a change in altitude or atmosphere. Although the stimulator will at least give you the knowledge and trust of your instruments without a risk to you or your plane.
A huge argument is that games will teach you 'bad habits', or habits that are heard to break once you really begin to fly, but as the case is, all types of planes are different, and habits must be changed from cockpit to cockpit. If you are unable to do that, than you will not be able to switch from a Cessna to a 747, an important part of being a commercial airline pilot. Any bad habits that you may pick up from the game would be minor and easily changed when you begin real flight hours.
A lot of pilots actually begin with flight simulators, since the risk to plane and body is so great, and just recently flight simulators have been manufactured for civilian use. It is unrealistic to think that you can fly a plane just because you have logged long hours on a flight simulator, but it is also unrealistic to think that you would not know enough to at least get yourself around the control panel.
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