How to fly your simulator like a real aircraft

Hobbyist or Pilot

Whether you use a Flight Simulator for fun or for flight training will probably determine the type of aircraft you fly and the type of missions, lets face it most of us would love to fly an F-16 over a Cessna 172S and the flight simulator lets us do just that. This site helps you to enter the fun, exciting world of aviation at any budget. Any pilot will tell you that training is key and there are many things you can do in a simulator that you simply can not do in the real world safely and certainly not on your own. If you are student pilot, using a simulator during your training whether its VFR or IFR will certainly lower your total costs and make your lessons much more productive especially on those IFR approaches. If you are already a pilot simulators are a great way to fly a flight into a new area before flying it for real and help keep those skill level up. Flight Simulators together with realistic Hardware & Panels allow you to practice various instrument and engine failures and emergency procedures from the safety of your home or ground facility. Finally if you are a hobbyist or a Pilot its great fun to fly anywhere in the world and escape reality.

How to Start

Plan your flight. Check density altitude, Weight and Balance, Weather and NOTAMS, runway distance for takeoff and landing and don't forget fuel requirements. You can obtain Sectional Charts, WAC, Terminal Charts, Airport diagrams and Approach Procedures depending on the Country from a number of sources, we have included links and some charts in our Flight Resources area.

Approach your session the exact way you would a real aircraft, this may even positioning the aircraft in parking rather than on the threshold (especially if you are using tools like pilotedge). An abbreviated pre-flight would be all that is possible so use a real checklist for the type of aircraft and mentally do the steps that are not possible such as visual check of fuel. I have some checklists for aircraft in the Flight Resources section of this site. Assuming everything is OFF (1) Master ON, (2) Check Fuel, (3) Brakes SET, (4) Start Engines, (5) Avionics ON, (6) Check Instruments and Radios, remember the Transponder, NAV and COM. (7) Obtain clearance and ATIS, (8) Set Altimeter and Check Controls, (9) Position for Takeoff. (10) Final Check Lights, Camera, Action. (11) Take Off! This includes 3 steps (a) Ground Roll, (b) Rotation, (c) Initial Climb.

TIP: Try using a Pilots Operating Handbook (POH) for the settings, I have some available in Flight Resources or search the web for your aircraft type.


After the initial climb you are in an en route climb to your intended altitude, this where especially in a simulator its time to use those instruments as you cant normally see the ground, just remember like in real life you can push the nose over to get a look but make sure you have safe altitude and don't put yourself in a dive. On your Climb you should be a full power and holding an attitude that gives you either Vy or Vx, that is airspeed for best climb over either distance or time. Lets assume terrain is not a factor so we will aim for Vy, this speed will vary depending on the aircraft. If you are flying the Cessna 172S this will be 70-80 KIAS. As you are already at full power, to control your speed control the attitude of the aircraft (pitch control), use the attitude indicator (artificial horizon) to set the speed and hold it. Use the Vertical Speed indicator to find your climb rate, again this will depend on your aircraft and density altitude. As you climb the air becomes thinner so you may need to lean the fuel mixture