Thursday, January 23, 2014

Simulator or stimulator

I've always felt that flying was very stimulating.  I think that most pilots feel the same way.  It brings out another side to the personality that a pilot craves.  And one way to fulfill that desire is to use a PC Simulator.  One of the simulator programs that I have is the Microsoft Flight Simulator Professional.  I know there are other systems, but I have had this for years and it has always worked great.

This version offers me a chance to actually download weather from the Internet and overlay it in the simulation I’m in.  Another neat thing is that I can use the simulator program to pick a city and plan a cross country flight, before I make the flight.  And many times the airport in the simulation has many of the topographical things to give me a perspective of the area.  No, it is not the same as being there.  But I’m not there!  I’m pretending to be there.  And that makes it fun.  I can pretend to be almost anywhere.  And I can fly aircraft I don’t own or can’t fly in real life.  My desire has never been to fly an airline, but I can, on the simulator.

And if I want, I can make the flight, shoot a couple of approaches (and I’m not even instrument rated) and be prepared for the trip.  It’s a rehearsal for the actual flight.  And the old line “practice makes perfect” has never been more accurate than in aviation.  The more you fly the better it is.  And that doesn’t mean just flying in an aircraft. 

Want more?  There are lots of extras in today’s flight simulators such as real time weather, lots of cool visual effects and quite an assortment of airplanes.  One of which is my dream aircraft, the Cessna Caravan on amphibious floats.  I have always felt that the Caravan on amphib’s could replace a fifth wheel travel trailer, a testosterone filled truck and my airplane. 

 It could be a flying motor home…although I don’t foresee owning one in the near future.  Now that I think about it, I don’t foresee owning one in the distant future either.  Not unless all of you readers want to contribute to the “SkySmith, I want to own a Caravan on amphib’s fund”.  But until then, I’ll be stuck flying the computer version.  Which really isn't too bad.  I was able to fly to a lake, land and see the wave’s splash around the floats while I taxied to the dock. 

And when it came time to refuel…I shut the program off and didn't have to worry about paying for the hundreds of gallons of fuel that I burned during the flight.  My Discover card thanked me.  Kind of a nice thought. 

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