Pilot Instructor Tests Microsoft Flight Simulator

Pilot instructor Stephen Maltz tested one of Microsoft’s recent video games, a flight simulator that claims to be the next best thing to real flying.


Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020: What Is It?

It is currently the most popular flight simulator game on the market today thanks to its highly detailed aircraft, realistic world, day and night flying, and different types of aircraft, ranging from monoplanes to wide-body jets. 

Users can also choose different weather conditions and perspectives (for example: behind the control panel or the entire plane). 


The Flight Instructor’s Verdict 

The flight instructor said that while the game may not be enough to help people fly the real thing, at least it will provide a bit of experience that could help them if they decide to proceed to actual flying. 

Another downside he mentioned was that the flight simulator was “squirrely and sensitive,” adding that it gave him “this over-controlling feeling that’s not going to work well in real life.”

“Let the airplane do what it wants, then just apply general control inputs,” he further explained. 

Despite some limitations, Maltz said that Microsoft Flight Simulator will at least allow people to “take something home to practice” and “hopeful and eventually will turn into a better performance in real flying.”

Maltz also mentioned that despite the video game’s realistic landscape, the technology couldn’t help players hone certain skills such as orientation. For instance, seasoned pilots know their physical location by looking at landmarks like bridges, cities, trees, and coastlines. By contrast, the flight simulator had everything almost spoonfed–for instance, the landing site has a big blinking post visible from a great distance. 

Another downside, he added, is that the flight simulator provides players “too much control” even though pilots have less control in actual flight because of external factors such as the wind and heat. For instance, flying over land generally results in a “bumpier” experience than sea because water, vegetation, and concrete absorb heat differently.

Meanwhile, some users have claimed that Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has a significant learning curve for beginners, which is not surprising since learning to fly is not really a breeze. 


Additional Information

The flight simulator is available in multiple languages, including American English, French, Mexican Spanish, Spanish from Spain, Dutch, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Polish, Chinese, Norwegian, Finish, Russian, and Swedish. 

Meanwhile, this flight simulator comes in three different versions, with the standard one priced at $59.99 with 30 airports and 20 planes, whereas the deluxe edition costs $89.99 and includes five additional airports and five more airplanes. 

By comparison, the average cost of flying lessons is $155-$170 per hour; this already includes the professional fee of the flight instructor (average of $45 per hour) and the airplane rental cost. So, in total, you can expect to pay between $5,100 and $16,100 to complete the lessons and earn your pilot license.