July 25, 2007

Flying in the Virtual Skies of Microsoft Flight Simulator

myflightblog_flightsimulato.gifI recently upgraded my home computer and finally have the processing power to play the most recent versions of popular Flight Simulators. I know that X-Plane is extremely popular but I opted for Flight Simulator X Deluxe Edition mainly for one reason. I grew up playing the first version of SubLogic Flight Simulator then moved into the Microsoft Flight Simulator 2 (Right). I remember fondly reading a flight simulator manual that gave me my first taste of aviation and started to not only build my love affair with flying but also my aviation knowledge. I recall flying out of Meigs field and joy riding over pixelized lines that showed a few of the sites of Chicago. I decided to reward Microsoft for the years of enjoyment they provided me back then by trying out the latest installment in the series.

Boy, have times changed. I had fun today looking at a history of Microsoft Flight Simulators on Wikipedia. Amazing to see the changes in the quality of animations. I can only imagine how much more realistic flight simulators will be like in the future.

I have really enjoyed flying around my favorite airports this past week. To improve the game play I have been using a xBox 360 controller but may someday have to invest in a yoke and rudder pedals. Last night I decided to conduct a comparison experiment in which I would fly a virtual flight mimicking a an actual flight I had flown and documented.

A little over a year ago I took a flight from Lincoln Park Airport in New Jersey, through the Hudson river corridor to New York City and back in a glass cockpit Cessna 172SP. When I did the original flight I took several photos, so I loaded up the glass cockpit Cessna 172SP in the simulator and flew an almost exact route hoping to capture similar photos from the virtual world. Below I have put photos from the actual flight with a similar photo from the virtual flight. I was amazed how realistic the scenery is, especially the cockpit imagery.


fs_comparison.jpg

Posted by at July 25, 2007 4:55 PM
Comments

Ah yes, I remember that Microsoft Flight Simulator 2 screen well. It has definitely come a long way. Be sure and get the Service Pack 1 upgrade for FSX. It really helps. You can also get the scenery to match much better by increasing the haze and installing scenery addons for FSX. Have fun :)

Posted by: exgravelcruncher at July 26, 2007 1:40 AM | Reply

I see you made it over to my site too, thanks for the comments!

I've been flying MSFS for years, and I think I've learned a lot from it. Unfortunately after flying for real it's just not the same, and I think could be bad for me if I continue to fly with it.

Unless I had one of those insane flight sim setups with fresnel lenses and projectors and all of that, it's just too hard. I can barely fly the pattern in the sim, and the aircraft performs very differently than the real thing, even though they're both C172s with 180 horses.

What I learned from it over the years is where everything is in the C172, some procedures, and basic theory of flight.

I think it has uses though, you can get a decent idea of what an unfamiliar airport looks like, but just beware that trees and buildings could be present where there are none in the sim!

Posted by: Ben Sinclair at July 30, 2007 8:23 PM | Reply

Ben I know what you mean flying flight simulator cannot replace the joys of real flying once you have learned to do that.

Great point about using it for airport Familiarization.

Posted by: Todd at July 30, 2007 11:08 PM | Reply

Interesting Read there!
http://simmiles.com
Virtual Airlines Flight Simulator Online Flying Flight Simulation

Posted by: Touy at August 30, 2009 3:06 AM | Reply

Flight Simulator allows you to fly anywhere in the world...
If you want to fly over the Eiffel Tower... do it!
If you want to fly over the Great Pyramid of Giza In Egypt... do it!
If you want to fly over Mount Everest... do it!
If you want to fly over the highly restricted Area 51... then do it!
If you want to fly under the Golden Gate Bridge... then just do it!
Where you choose to fly is only limited by your imagination...

Posted by: Flight Simulator Fan at June 14, 2011 4:53 AM | Reply

Very nice! A great way to practice as well as fly an airplane in places you couldn't normally go!

Posted by: Al Waterloo at July 30, 2012 12:47 PM | Reply

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