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What Equipment do I need?

While it is possible to use most flight simulators with a mouse and keyboard the minimum equipment should be a joystick. These can be obtained at little cost and enhance the flying immensely and is expected of all flight simulator manufacturers.

Can a desktop simulator be used for real world training?

It is definitely the case that using a flight simulator can help you become familiar with the basics of flight, what the control surfaces do, what the basic instruments are for, etc.  It can also help you when it comes to practising flight procedures such as instrument approaches and with decent photo scenery installed visual approaches to unfamiliar airfields. However, other than the obvious, there is a major difference. A part of learning to fly is handling the experience the aircraft's movement can have on the body; the perception of climbing and descending, banking left and right, in other words the senses gained through seat of you pants. 

I know some instructors who feel that a flight simulator has no place in early stages of official training so if you are starting lessons, speak to your flight instructor.  

I plan to write more on this subject in the future so please keep your eyes open on the website.

 

Which is the best flight simulator to use?

The difficult ones first, eh?  It's a bit like asking which is the best car... It depends what you want to do.

The most popular flight simulator by sheer volume has to be Microsoft's Flight Simulator (FSX) which has been around for so many years. [https://fsxinsider.com/] The number of add-ons which have been produced commercially or available from the flight simulator community free of charge is vast. Then there is P3D, or 'Prepar3d' from Lockheed Martin who have built on FSX and improved it.

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