Current Flight Sim Memories

In the interest of having a through record of my piloting experiences, I feel compelled to do a post on my current flight simulator memories. Well, they’re all terrible.

I wish I was exaggerating.

First time in a flight simulator: Shuttle landing sim at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, 5th grade. Absolutely tragic. Killed everyone no matter how hard I tried. Great fireball images I guess.

First time I did a Microsoft flight simulator: I think we were running Windows ME? My dad was a private pilot once upon a time and I think he was curious if his skills were still sharp (I wasn’t even born the last time he went up). Anyways, again, I was terrible at the controls. Abandon simulators until starting ERAU.

Cue excited freshmen with fancy new computers and too much free time. When they weren’t parked outside the airport watching planes take off for hours on end, they were playing flight simulators. I was always awful at them – could never stay on runways during takeoff/landings. Budding pilots tried to help correct my techniques, but I think they thought I was just goofing off. Bleh, I wish I was.

The flight school I chose in Fairbanks has a simulator in their office for people to train on. As part of the initial flight school visit, I was invited to sit in the pilot’s seat.


During taxi, you steer with your feet…uh, okay. But I kept over correcting and zigzagged over a ton of grass before the CFIs took pity on me and increased engine power to allow takeoff (before I hit that pond).

Sim flight around Fairbanks – not too intimidating although one wing seemed perpetually heavier than the other – leading to turns which seemed unnecessarily hard and uncontrolled. CFIs did something to the controls to try and help….but it didn’t. No worries.

Landing. “Fly towards those lights. That is the airport.” Sigh. I couldn’t manage anything but a crazy zigzag pattern through the sky, never actually getting any closer to the airport. More pity. With a click of the mouse, I was set up to land. Real life should come with those types of teleportation phenomena.

Tried to land at least 10 times. More zigzagging…never actually touched the runway. No fireballs though – yay? I had a wounded ego for sure that time I took out a windsock and several trees. We didn’t need those right? We also discovered that if you hit the pond at the right angle, you can get a nice sim splash of water. *shaking my head*

Up to 2 hours of logged flight time can be on the simulator. Woo, $$$ savings! Although I know I will be back to defeat that machine, it’s gonna take me a while to work up the courage to perform with someone else in the room. I’m already planning practices in the middle of the night.

The CFIs assured me that a real plane is much easier to fly. For everyone’s sake, I sure hope so.


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