Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

Moderator: AndyR

User avatar
By lobstaboy
#1684909
SimFlyer -
Like I said, it's your money. You enjoy spending it how you like...
At a rough guess you are going to need anywhere up to 5 hours additional instruction if you are a dedicated home sim user (I admit I've no real evidence for that, just 10 years instructing experience). Could be more.
5x£180=£900
#1684983
Personally, flight sim taught me to land. I was in Florida. I couldn't land. I had to come back to the UK, so in the gap, I thought through my landings and, having loaded FS on my PC, practised them. When I got back to Florida a couple of months later, I could now land! :thumleft:
#1684991
I remember back to my first couple of lessons and my instructor quickly identified the fact I was looking at the instruments instead of outside. Problem solved on the next sortie... suction cups were retrieved from his bag and placed over the instruments. I then had to fly by reference to outside attitude. I found Flight Simulator great for teaching myself bad habits on VOR tracking etc. but in using them in the sim it made so much more sense when I came to do it for real when I was taught the proper way of doing so. However, a for instrument training I believe a sim does help in your situational awareness, i.e. working out which radial you are on, what is your QDM to the NDB etc. (and you can pause the sim for this!), great for that but visual attitude flying... nope not in my experience anyway but then I'm not an instructor so what do I know?!
#1685010
I don't get this concept of "losing hours"

It's flying; they are the best bloody hours of your life. Five or ten more? What's the worry?

Rob P
MachFlyer liked this
#1685014
Rob P wrote:I don't get this concept of "losing hours"

It's flying; they are the best bloody hours of your life. Five or ten more? What's the worry? Hi

Rob P


:) No worry at all Rob, particularly as it pays my wages!

In one way I agree with you - a few hours one way or another shouldn't be an issue - it's all flying.
But where it matters, for example, is where those extra hours are taken up by the student struggling to learn to fly straight and level because they are fixated on the instruments and can't/won't learn to look at the natural horizon, or can't/won't learn proper look out scans. When this happens it's frustrating and demoralising for both people in the aeroplane.
It only happens with avid sim players.
T67M liked this
#1685081
Thanks for the input guys! I appreciate the patience with my questions and I hope I can get more answers as some of these obviously push against how I've understood things so far. :thumleft:

@JAFO
Not entirely sure what you mean by it not being an intellectual matter -- are you talking about developing muscle memory? As for practice, which is how I understand sim flying and armchair flying outside of actual practice in the aircraft, won't sim flying give the student practice and so it clicks (or becomes muscle memory) sooner rather than later?

Can you tell me how you can say sim flying different from armchair flying, and how one is beneficial while the other is frowned upon? From the way I'm reading your last sentence, are you saying that sim flying may be beneficial at later levels of training? I guess during nav exercises and IR?


@WelshRichy
Like I said, I've identified bad habits from my sim flying and my recent flight made me appreciate looking outside even more! I wonder what instruments he's covered up? All of them? I don't think I can fly without the airspeed gauge and the altimeter though, but I'm going to try and break this habit of looking inside a lot. I do love the flying and experiencing how things in real life are different and making myself a better pilot, so this discussion gives me a lot to think about!


lobstaboy wrote:But where it matters, for example, is where those extra hours are taken up by the student struggling to learn to fly straight and level because they are fixated on the instruments and can't/won't learn to look at the natural horizon, or can't/won't learn proper look out scans. When this happens it's frustrating and demoralising for both people in the aeroplane.
It only happens with avid sim players.

So if you have an avid sim player, but does not struggle to fly straight and level, is working on looking out and scanning, and is picking up things very quickly, will you re-evaluate your stance?

I can understand where you're coming from here, especially as others can go "but that's not how it works in my simulator!!" and even as a fellow flight simmer, I facepalm at stupid statements like that. Real life performance trumps whatever sim experience anyone has; if there is a discrepancy between sim and real, then obviously real is real and that aspect of the sim is flawed.
User avatar
By Rob P
#1685115
lobstaboy wrote:
Rob P wrote:I don't get this concept of "losing hours"



In one way I agree with you - a few hours one way or another shouldn't be an issue - it's all flying.
But where it matters, for example, is where those extra hours are taken up by the student struggling to learn to fly straight and level because they are fixated on the instruments and can't/won't learn to look at the natural horizon, or can't/won't learn proper look out scans. snip It only happens with avid sim players.


My post was in answer to statements made by the OP about taking a break and then "losing hours" revising stuff already done. I hadn't even thought about the flight sim game part of the thread. We all know its not an effective tool for ppl training.

Rob P
Last edited by Rob P on Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
By JAFO
#1685124
SimFlyer wrote:Not entirely sure what you mean by it not being an intellectual matter -- are you talking about developing muscle memory?


Well, not quite, there's no such thing as muscle memory but skills such as the manual skills required to fly an aeroplane are eventually dealt with by different parts of the brain than those which you are initially using to consciously learn to fly the aircraft.

SimFlyer wrote:As for practice, which is how I understand sim flying and armchair flying outside of actual practice in the aircraft, won't sim flying give the student practice and so it clicks (or becomes muscle memory) sooner rather than later?


I'm afraid that I'm running out of ways to say no. The best simulator you own weighs about 3lbs and sits between your ears.

SimFlyer wrote:Can you tell me how you can say sim flying different from armchair flying, and how one is beneficial while the other is frowned upon?


I think I already have.

I am not the world's best or most experienced pilot but I first flew an aeroplane 36 years ago and I'm still learning. I have experienced simulators from ones on tablet computers to home PCs (from the BBC micro to X-plane) to back projected Flight Sim X with full sized controls to full-motion airline and military flight simulators and, more recently, VR simulations of light aircraft. They were all interesting and fun but none of them would have helped me get a PPL.

SimFlyer wrote:From the way I'm reading your last sentence, are you saying that sim flying may be beneficial at later levels of training? I guess during nav exercises and IR?


Possibly for some procedural things but definitely not nav.

I'm going to have to end the discussion there, please feel free to disbelieve me or prove me wrong, that's just my experience.
By johnm
#1685125
As we've said a lot depends on how good a sim you actually have and how closely it matches a real aeroplane. If it's very close then it might be a useful tool for practice.

VFR and IFR flying are rather different and take off and landing are different too.

From a personal point of view I find flight sim very useful for maintaining an instrument scan and practicing IFR procedures for anything else it's useless and I can't land an aeroplane in MS flight sim with anything like the facility I can land a real one.
User avatar
By T67M
#1685157
To add my tuppence, an instructor can tell within ten minutes if the student has been using a flight simulator, and their heart sinks when the answer is yes. The instructor will have to un-teach a whole load of bad habits that have been self-taught before starting the syllabus properly. Both the instructor and the student will get frustrated at how slow progress is through the basic exercises of straight and level, climbing, descending, turns and on in to the circuit - indeed many "flight sim students" will get disheartened and give up their dream completely. Navigation will also be a nightmare. Indeed the only part of the syllabus which will be easier for the instructor and less frustrating for the student will be the 180 instrument turn.

Do PC-based flight some have any role to play in GA? I'd argue that they do - but only in training for the IR(r).
#1685202
SimFlyer wrote:@WelshRichy
Like I said, I've identified bad habits from my sim flying and my recent flight made me appreciate looking outside even more! I wonder what instruments he's covered up? All of them? I don't think I can fly without the airspeed gauge and the altimeter though, but I'm going to try and break this habit of looking inside a lot. I do love the flying and experiencing how things in real life are different and making myself a better pilot, so this discussion gives me a lot to think about!


He covered up the Attitude Indicator and Direction Indicator primarily to make me look outside and use outside references to maintain straight and level / climbing / descending / turns / scanning for traffic etc.

Just a side note it is possible to fly without an Airspeed Indicator by flying known Attitudes and RPM/MP combinations. If you were unfortunate to experience an iced up Pitot Tube you'll need to do just that. Probably wouldn't try a short field landing but you should get down safely.

As you know flying is absolutely brilliant and the views we have of the outside world can be breathtaking. Wish you all the best and remember to enjoy your journey on learning to fly.
By PaulW
#1685249
If you need the enforced breaks, instead of using a SIM why not watch PPL training on YouTube. I use these frequently and find it really useful to watch through a flight or routine with a fellow student. Some students film their full training through to 1st solo on there so you can track their progress and align what you watch with whatever stage you are at with your own training. If you have something you have a particular problem with then search for it to see how other students go about things.
Watch the ones with ATC audio included as it gets you familiar with this part of your training. I've found I've improved with my own ATC comms just by doing this.
I even watch the ones using the airfield you use and sometimes even the aircraft you fly.
It's not the real thing but it's a very good substitute and better than any SIM.
By SimFlyer
#1686450
@lobstaboy I'm sorry you think that this is a waste of time, but thanks for your insight nonetheless.

Appreciate the explanation @JAFO , just really confused... the best sim is the pilot's brain.... if he sits in a chair or in a standby aircraft and armchair-flies, that's fine but if he sits in a simulator and sim-flies, that's bad?

At this point, I'm not claiming simulators will help me get a PPL, simply that it would aid in practicing stuff I've been taught (PAT, APT, LAI, etc.) and possibly reduce what is "lost" during periods of no flying. I have seen people try to "accelerate" or jump start their PPL by flight simming and buying some "PPL add-ons," let me be clear in saying that even I facepalm at such ideas. I've been flying combat flight sims for a long time now but I have no illusions about my abilities as a combat fighter pilot! :lol:

I'm not here to prove anyone wrong or question the opinion of experienced pilots, I'm simply trying to understand why/how your opinions have come to what they are!

@johnm, I agree and have noticed I'm instrument-flying more than I am looking out the window so I've really appreciated the difference! Trimming and all forces involved in flight are also obviously more appreciated in real flying, no contest there! As one of my buddies once said, "the view sure beats any 4K monitor!" :mrgreen:

@T67M , thank you very much for your input! Can you tell me what bad habits you had to un-teach and what challenges you've noticed that are particular to sim flyers? If I am more aware of these pitfalls, I hope I can be more successful in avoiding them!

I would greatly understand the sentiment here if I had encountered the same difficulties but so far, my flight lessons have been straightforward with positive debriefs afterwards (no issues with climbs, turns, descents, straight and level, trimming, flaps, takeoffs, and taxiing, although I tend to taxi on the slower side) and both insturctors I've flown with are aware of my simulation background, albeit combat flight sims and not really civilian flight sims.

Do you think I should have another word with my instructors as to their evaluation of my flight performance? As mentioned earlier, I need to work more on my lookout and flying visual rather than keeping my head inside the cockpit, but this issue I've identified myself and was not due to a comment from any of my instructors.

@WelshRichy , you're correct with the airspeed indicator and going with RPM/MP combinations. I assume that with experience comes the "feel" of speed? I would love that challenge of learning to land with a "broken" airspeed indicator! Thanks for confirming that will be the case, @Paul_Sengupta!

@PaulW , thank you for that constructive input! Do you have any specific channels to recommend? One guy I was watching seemed okay... until he made a video where he showed that he didn't understand how airplanes fly! D'oh!!