Infinite flight / Flight Simulation and Real Flight

Hey guys, so I am trying to figure out something in terms of flight simulation, when your learning to fly in the real world I’ve heard that flight simulation is bad for real flying because you don’t want to get used to any inaccuracies in a flight simulation, and I not necessary talking about Infinite Flight just any simulator. Just wondering your opinions on the matter.

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This heavily depends on your level of expertise.

Someone who knows nothing about aviation will benefit from first using a simulator to learn the basics. Yes, actual classes and lessons are better but these are not as widely available as flight simulators.

For people who are more experienced, there are slight inaccuracies. However, these inaccuracies won’t really interfere with a person’s learning. All that really happens is that some stuff has been simplified for players’ benefits.

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That does seem plausible but I’m not sure it affects you 100% in a bad way, I mean you get the feel for the physics and handling of an airplane if nothing so I do think that there are some real advantages to flight simulation.

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Yes, exactly, as @Rastko_Roza said, the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Infinite Flight is designated as a semi-realistic flight simulator. Once a pilot gets past the level of simplification that Infinite Flight offers, they can move on to more professional simulators; there are simulators out there that are virtually identical to real life and are used by airline pilots to practice.

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Exactly, as a beginner I would highly recommend simulators

While you may get used to some inaccurate handling/flying characteristics, getting out of those habits is probably easier than starting from nothing.

I’d say it is good for general familiarity but can cause bad habits. And that’s speaking from experience

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I think that coupled with actual flight training, even in the very early stages it promotes faster learning.

I even remember a very old article about the US Air Force observing during the early years of PC based flight simulators, that some of their pilot cadets were progressing faster in training than others. When they investigated, they found these faster learners were regularly playing around with flight on those early PC flight sims. (I’ve been trying to trace that story down recently but have so far failed).

There are aspects of the actual aircraft environment that cannot be replicated in even the most sophisticated simulators. And in the end, part of that is psychological - no skin in the game unless you’re in a real aircraft, which obviously has a huge impact on the quality of your attention.

I agree with @Cody_M about the hazard of bad habits. If you start on only a sim, before actual flight, there are things you will have to re-learn, big time. There’s no getting around it.

But, I had my ppl irl before I ever touched a sim. After quite a break from flying I later went back up with an instructor, but only after practicing many circuits at the airfield where I did the check-out ride, in a pc fs. It without question made a big difference with how fast I came back up to skill actually being in the air again.

My preference for IF is significantly based on that experience, and the way it has abundant features that appeal to real pilots.

I think there’s an argument that for a lot of flight scenario practice, which is a big part of the total knowledge requirement, practicing on a sim is way more cost effective than being in the air. It’s most ideal to mix sim and real training.

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As a flight instructor, I will say that for the most part the students who spend the most time in the sim are the most likely to succeed in the actual aircraft. Nothing will ever replace time in the plane but the sim, if used correctly, will make you a hell of a lot better.

I don’t know that there’s any empirical evidence on this. I’d love to see if anyone could find any research on the topic.

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The following current example is from The Future of Pilot Training | Air & Space Forces Magazine (airandspaceforces.com)

"HIGH TECH, LOW COST

Perhaps the most dramatic change in pilot training is taking shape now in Austin, Texas, where the Air Force is experimenting with low-cost consumer technology to develop initial pilot skills well before anyone actually begins to fly. Pilot Training Next (PTN) started in February 2018 with 20 students. Four months later, 13 had graduated early, having cut two months out of the training schedule.

All 13 graduates met or surpassed the skills of their peers in the conventional 24-week course, Doherty said, and six others went on to be fighter and attack aircraft qualified. Even the lowest-rated of those is now “absolutely crushing” defensive basic fighter maneuvers, he said. “That shows you the acceleration we were able to achieve.”

The key to their success: consumer-grade HTC Vive headsets and gaming computers coupled with flight simulator software, which supplemented academics and replaced up to 80 flight hours in a T-6. Students were provided simulator headsets to use in their private quarters and were encouraged to practice as much as possible."

edit: So, as for the OP’s question, the above suggests IF can be a very useful tool for practicing the rhythm and timing of irl procedures.

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About using IF to supplement flight training, I’m gonna steal this line from another article on that Air Force program mentioned above (2nd article on that program: These Air Force Trainees Spend Less Time In the Cockpit, More Time In Flight Simulators | The American Homefront Project (wunc.org)

"We have a tagline: ‘Sim to learn and fly to confirm.’ "

Beyond that, it occurred to me a big concept IF is very useful for transferring to irl flying is internalizing “energy management,” in the sense of tradeoffs between speed, distance, height and time.

Even with landing skill, which is maybe the toughest skill to transfer to irl flying, in terms of all the cue’s, forces and stability, peripheral vision, control response etc. Energy management is still embedded in landing skill as much as other aspects of flight.

So, for all aspects of irl flying, in differing degrees depending on the phase of flight, IF is supplementing knowledge (saving dollars in an actual aircraft).

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