Microsoft Flight Simulator is making a comeback by releasing a new version entitled Flight with a free access to its basic version for all users. The Microsoft computer program has been known as the main instrument for the aviation enthusiasts and students training towards improving their flying skills. Together with the Flight Training Organization Ab initio’s students and instructors, BAA Training has conducted a survey aimed at determining the pros and cons of using the virtual flight simulator.

The survey has revealed that an astonishing 80% of all 20 airline transport pilot course students have been actively using the Microsoft Flight Simulator. The respondents indicated numerous advantages: the simulator was very helpful in getting acquainted with the instruments, introduced its users to procedure processes and helped them to familiarize with the general handling of an aircraft. As the cons of using the simulator concern, the respondents highlighted the possible addiction to the simulator program that might result in turning the users into a ’nolifers‘. Another possible drawback that was mentioned – the negative effect on the eyes spending much time in front of a computer may have. After all, everyone knows the importance of perfect vision to pilots who are all required to obtain the first class medical certificate.

’I have been practicing on the Microsoft Flight for four years. It has been a great way to develop strong background knowledge of all aircraft controls and instruments. As I am currently studying in an airline transport pilot license (ATPL) integrated course, the previous experience is a real advantage – the course material is easier to comprehend and even the Full Flight Simulators used for type rating training sessions look familiar. This spring my group will start its first flights, so I guess I will have to spend some extra time preparing on the virtual flight simulator”, said Pranas Drulis, the ATPL integrated student at BAA Training.

’I became a pilot only because of intensive and accurate studying – two decades ago there were not so much electronics and programs for practicing, everything depended on your invested efforts. Nowadays the statistics show that 78% of all crashes result from a human error, mainly a choice to overly rely on an aircraft automatic system. On the other hand, I appreciate the flight simulator as it enables to immediately tell which student has stronger knowledge of what to do during his first flights”, said Robertas Svabauskas, the FTO Chief ground and flight instructor.

The Microsoft Flight Simulator X, or, as it is known within the community, the FSX, is the latest version of the Microsoft flight simulator package for Windows computers.  It has become the standard in PC simulation accounting for an estimated 75% of the entire virtual flight simulator market.  The package is designed for a whole range of PC simulation uses, including fun flights for complete novices to the IFR and navigation practices for trainee real-life pilots. The new version of Microsoft Flight is to be anticipated in spring of 2012.

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