Why do People ‘Play’ Flight Simulator?


If you’ve ever wondered why people do this… Rotate! Or this… So, let’s go around! Or this… Look at that guys! Or this! Well, then you’ve arrived at the right video. In this video I will try to explain why some people ‘play’ flight simulator. Well, ‘play’ is really kind of an insult to any serious flight simmer. We don’t play flight simulator. We… do flight simulator, we fly flight simulator… we fly a flight, using flight simulator. Now when you post a video like this on YouTube you get comments like ‘when people tell me that I’m nerd I’ll show them this video’. Or ‘find a girlfriend’, or whatever you know. So I think there’s quite a bit of confusion surrounding flight simulator and people that fly flight simulators, so let me explain. First things first though. What is flight simulator? Well, flight simulator is simply a computer program which you can use to simulate a flight. There are many different flight simulators out there. Probably the most well known simulator is Microsoft Flight Simulator X, and older versions like FS2004. And also newer simulators like Prepar3D by Lockheed Martin, or X-Plane. So there are many different flight simulators out there, and these flight simulators can be expanded with so called addons, or if you’re in the X-Plane world, plugins. Now the addons are what really make the flight simulator realistic by giving you scenery allowing you to really get a very nice and very accurate replica of an airport or a country in the real world. And especially the aircraft where real world airliners, or general aviation aircraft, or fighter jets are simulated with a great deal of accuracy. Take for example this well known airliner, the Boeing 747, it’s simulated in great detail, in this case by PMDG. All the systems that are included, ranging from the flight management system, to the fuel system, to the hydraulics, to the air conditioning, it’s all simulated in great detail. So basically you can learn how to operate this airplane. Of course you cannot really learn how to fly the airplane, that’s something you have to do in the real world, but system-wise these aircraft are very very accurate to the real thing. And add to that online flying! You can fly with other pilots on networks like IVAO or VATSIM. And this really creates a very realistic picture. With a good flight simulator, a great addon that simulates an airplane very realistically, and online flying by talking to people who act as air traffic controllers… …and using real world procedures, you really create a virtual world where everything is simulated very close to what happens in the real world. So what’s the point of all this? Well, that’s a good question! I mean, what’s the purpose of flying flight simulator? Now I think I can vouch for any serious simmer that for us flying a flight from A to B, and taking off and landing properly, already feels like a purpose, you know. We don’t need to get money for it, we already feel fine if we can simulate a flight from A to B succesfully. Simply, flying a flight for us is not boring. We feel very content after we’ve made a very nice landing and have made a very good flight. Nice! And I’ll tell you, if we don’t make a good landing we feel very bad. If the flight simulator crashes or a crash to desktop happens on short final… Oh no, are you kidding? We’ve just crashed! …you know, our flight is not complete, the purpose has not been fulfilled, and that’s what it’s really about: really completing that flight from A to B succesfully. So let’s explore three reasons why people would engage in the flight simming hobby. Now first of all, this hobby provides a great way for people who cannot become a pilot or cannot become a pilot yet or want to become a pilot in the future, to experience flying. Whether that’s flying an airliner from Europe to the US, or whether that’s flying a fighter jet in a formation flight in DCS World: there’s a lot of options out there that really allow you to experience the type of flying that YOU like. And this also includes simple general aviation aircraft or flying turboprops across the country. And doing so online on a network like VATSIM, you can experience flying with other pilots, and you know, this creates a very realistic picture overall. This is especially great for people who simply cannot become a pilot. Either due to some medical conditions, or maybe times were tough when people were young they could not afford to become a pilot. Or maybe they just picked another career path, and choose not to fly. Because let’s face it, there are also negative sides to becoming a pilot, so using flight simulator you can kind of experience the good part of flying without having to fly every day and every week. The second reason why people would be flightsimming is simply they might be already a pilot in the real world, and want to experience a different type of flying. I mean, imagine if you’re flying airliners all day, maybe it’s very nice to do some fighter jet flying or maybe fly some general aviation aircraft. And tying in with the previous point, basically any career that you pick that’s different from what you want to simulate using your flight simulator, you can still experience the life of an airline pilot or a fighter pilot, by flying flight simulator. And the third reason, which I think is the primary reason, is that it’s a massive learning environment. You can really really really, learn a lot about aviation. I mean, think about it, you get to face a fully simulated airliner with all its systems. You can learn a lot about how to fly that aircraft, how to talk to ATC, how to follow real world procedures. That’s really a lot of information that is great to learn, especially if you want to become a pilot in the future. You really learn how to operate, for example, an airliner from A to B using all that knowledge. And every flight you gain more knowledge, whether it’s by experiencing something during your flight or maybe reading up on some manuals as you’re cruising along through the virtual skies. And yes, maybe that is a little bit nerd, but us flightsimmers and aviation enthousiasts already have a term for that: it’s called AvGeek. In the end, we’re all aviation geeks, or hashtag avgeeks! So let’s think about how to sum this all up and kind of put this into perspective. Let’s just put it this way. While some people like to prepare a good barbecue or a meal for family or friends that are visiting, and want to have a good time… …We like to prepare flight plans, and have a good flight. And while some people like to play a bit of piano and hit a lot of different piano keys… …We simply hit a lot of different knobs and switches onboard the airplane. And while some people like to aim for tomatoes and hit them with their airguns in their backyard, and take a good hit… …We like to aim for touchdown zones, and make a good landing! And to be honest, those were all things that I do myself in my spare time sometimes as well, because otherwise I would not have been able to record all that video footage. So yes, don’t worry, we do have other real life activities out there, including outdoors. And no, we don’t sit behind our PCs all the time, just flying flight simulator all the time. I think I can safely say that people who ‘play’ flight simulator do have other activities in the real world out there. So I hope this video has been helpful for any of you there who don’t understand why people fly their flight simulators. If you want to learn more about flight simulator and all the great stuff that surrounds it, make sure you check out some content on this channel, including for example VATSIM Full Flights, so you can really see it all in action. So thanks for watching this video here on the AviationPro channel, good luck with your flightsim career. And if you still don’t understand this hobby, well… You know, just watch some videos. It helps Maybe sometime you’ll become a VATSIM pilot!

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