Real Answers from Real Pilots

Flight Simulators

So I have 6 months before I start working on my private pilot license and other ratings, I was wondering if buying X-plane 11 simulator that just came out to the market, would it help me be more prepare when I start my training or it does it worth buying it?, I don’t have any experience in flying, I just want to be sure if a Computer simulator does help before I spend my money on it.

thanks for your help, and answers!

Hi Jason,

I’m sure you’ll get different opinions on this one but personally I’d say save your money, at least for now. Until you actually get flying it’ll be more like a game. Sims are great learning tools but really more for learning procedures which requires more hardware. What computer based sims are very good for is helping develop your instrument skills and your scan (an important instrument skill for gaining info from your instruments while not fixating on any one), but again that’s for later and your flight school should provide sim training. I’ve had new students show up boasting they have “5000 hours in MSFlight Sim” bla bla bla. They do no better than those who haven’t.

If I were you I’d focus more on maybe increasing your knowledge of aerodynamics, weather and other aviation related material. But that’s me.

Adam

Jasson,

I would strongly recommend against using any flight simulator software. You can learn some very bad habits from it that are difficult to unlearn once you get in the airplane. Save your money. Instead I would start preparing for the written exams, that will be far more help to you.

Chris

Thank you Adam, thank you Chis.

Thanyou for the advice, I was about to pay $200. Do you know any website that would help me prepare for the writting exam and Increase my knowledge in Aerodinamics, and weather… Insted I would invest my money on this.

Jasson,

There are many great books and courses out there. I’d start with the FAA Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge as that’s the FAA’s book and what the Private written exam is based on. It’s available free from the FAA (https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/phak/). I’m also a big fan of the Jeppesen Private Pilot manual. It goes deeper into the material and is a bit more interesting reading. You don’t say what flight school you plan on attending? I would consult with them. No point in investing in a course or a library if they recommend or use something else. ATP provides all the materials you need and also prepware for all the writtens.

Adam

I will disagree with our Pilot Mentors on this one.

A PC flight sim like X-Plane is very good at teaching speed/time/rate/distance based on instruments. If you learn the basics in X-Plane, you will absolutely be ahead of your peers who did not learn to fly a PC flight sim.

It may not be great for visual pattern work, but if will help you solidify the concept of a 3:1 glideslope and calculating it in your head constantly. And once you have that down, you will find that it actually DOES help you with pattern work. Not to mention clearance limits and more advanced things you will encounter later.

X-Plane is every bit as good as any FTD you will fly in flight training. In fact, X-Plane drives our Precision Flight Controls PFC CRX FTDs.

It will help you with your instrument scan even before you know what an instrument scan is. Start your self-study and the PHAK/Instrument Handbook and X-Plane will become even more useful to you.

I highly recommend spending as much time as possible on a PC flight sim.

Justin, Adam

I also think simulators are helpful, you and Adam stated and agree that simulators are helpful when it comes to instrument scan (I didn’t know that). But I agree with Adam, thats for lator because first I have to get my private, but I’m going to self-study the PHAK/Instrument Handbook then I will buy X-plane when I star workings on my Instrument ratings.

Thanks for the advice!

As I said, opinions may vary :slight_smile: