Flying on Instruments with Flight Simulator

by Jonathan M. Stern


Thousands of airplanes take off, fly to distant places, and land every day. There are many different types of airplanes and many different types of pilots. Some pilots fly to earn a living; some fly strictly for pleasure.

Perhaps more numerous than the daily airplane flights are the copies of Flight Simulator—the extremely popular flight simulation available on a host of microcomputers—which have been sold. People of all ages and all professions use Flight Simulator. For pilots, Flight Simulator is an opportunity to try things they wouldn't dare try in a real airplane. For nonpilots, Flight Simulator provides fantasy, education, and diversion.

No More Weekend Pilots

Pilots who fly for pleasure are sometimes called weekend pilots. As their name implies, they fly on fair-weather weekends. Most professional pilots, on the other hand, are licensed to fly on instruments, so that when the ceiling is low or the visibility is reduced, their flights aren't canceled.

Flying on Instruments with Flight Simulator can take you from being a weekend Flight Simulator pilot and turn you into a professional Flight Simulator pilot. You'll quickly see that instrument flying on Flight Simulator makes the simulation even more challenging and even more enjoyable.

Flying on Instruments with Flight Simulator lets you go a step further. The book teaches you how to take off, fly to another airport, and land when the clouds are only 200 feet above the ground. It teaches you how to read and fly the instrument approach procedure charts that instrument-rated pilots use daily. And it provides you with the actual instrument approach procedure charts for the geographic regions included on Flight Simulator software:

Flying on Instruments with Flight Simulator is not an instrument-flying training program. If you are not qualified and licensed to fly an airplane in instrument conditions before you read this book, you won't be when you finish. The Federal Aviation Administration prescribes stringent requirements for airplane pilots, and the Flight Simulator software, with or without instruments, obviously does not meet these requirements.

Before trying to learn instrument flying from this book, you should be familiar with visual flight on your own version of Flight Simulator. Know all of your controls, such as throttle, aileron, flaps, and cloud-height adjustment.

Because this book may be used with any version of Flight Simulator on any computer, references to specific controls (function keys, joystick, or mouse, for instance) are not made. Any reference to Flight Simulator includes Flight Simulator and/or Flight Simulator II.

What's Here

Chapter 1 explains the function of the flight instruments.

Chapter 2 shows how to fly various maneuvers with reference to your flight instruments. This is called basic attitude instrument flying.

Chapter 3 describes the charts that you'll use to fly on instruments with Flight Simulator.

Chapter 4 describes how you'll use the aircraft electronic equipment (avionics) to begin an instrument flight, and then lets you practice departing on instruments.

Chapters 5, 6 and 7 take you through VOR, NDB, and ILS instrument approaches.

Chapter 8 shows you some variations on the basic procedures with which you will already be familiar. You'll learn how to make approaches to land over water at night and what to do when part of your instrument landing system fails and you're in the clouds.

The Appendices contain the charts that will guide you down in the worst of weather, show you the procedure for taking off again before the weather clears, and plot your longest flights.

At the beginning of each chapter, if necessary, instructions are given on parameters to set up with Flight Simulator. As you go through the various maneuvers and procedures, you should pause the simulation whenever you find it necessary to read ahead. Then undo the pause and continue.

If you're ready to begin, sit down at your computer, strap in, and turn to Chapter 1. Get set to fly on instruments with Flight Simulator.

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