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YouTube - Microsoft Flight Simulator in Action
Have you ever wondered what you would do if both pilots on your flight were incapacitated by the same airline meal? Could you step up to the plate and bring this baby down safely? Do you know what ILS, VOR and a Stabilized Approach mean?
Well, Microsoft Flight Simulator can teach you to answer yes, yes and yes to all those questions. For example, in this game you could be landing a jumbo jet at JFK while talking to ATC. At the end of your flight, I guarantee that you will be laughing like a maniac.
Many enthusiasts have turned rooms in their homes into full cockpit simulators, with their spouses reluctantly acting as flight attendants or co-pilots. This is not necessary. All you really need is a computer, a joystick and pedals (for helicopter flying or yaw control).
There are many add-ons available online. Many of these are free, and include extra scenery or aircraft and even special effects such as fire and explosions. Although those effects might not be the best choice when learning to land an airplane safely.
You can take the journey from Student Pilot to Airline Pilot in a matter of weeks. You can even join a virtual airline. At some stage you may start looking around for an Airline Pilot uniform. This may be an indication to you to get a real life. Many flight simmers turn their hands to other aspects of virtual flying and become virtual Air Traffic Controllers, for example. Sadly, the burn-out rate for them is high. Because of that, there is an increasing demand for virtual Air Accident Investigators.
It is comforting to realize that the sky is full of brave men and women who are prepared to wrestle with the controls of a real airliner for the first time and attempt a landing. You could be one of them.