Skip to main content

Throwback Thursday


The logo for this site from way back when.  Back in the WordPress days and when a different website name and domain were present.  The visual above was a flight simulation I flew from Detroit to Shanghai-Pudong (DTW-PVG).  I loved my days on this program and still do whenever I get the chance to sit down and do a short or medium range simulation for fun.  There is one thing though, that this program could never re-produce, no matter how realistic the payware is, and no matter how sweet your set-up is in your own den or living room on that huge flat screen painted on your wall. That re-production is:


This "feel" is achieved through the following four basic flight maneuvers:

  • Straight & Level Flight
  • Turns
  • Climbs
  • Descents

It's one thing to make a turn or program the automation on the simulator to turn the plane for you, however, another to feel the effect of a pilot's sense of feel and ability to use the controls correctly when making inputs in a real aircraft.  It's one thing to do a mechanical maneuver with an aircraft in real life for its own sake; but to feel the effects of it is what is just as important, especially operating at low airspeed.  One example of this is slow flight - low airspeed, high angle of attack, high power and constant altitude.

In the same simulation as the photo above, I was nearing final descent into Shanghai and there were five aircraft ahead to land and only one runway in use.  After flying for 13 hours, a go around wasn't on my list of wishes.  Yes, slow flight was the answer in a 777 on the simulator to maintain assigned speed and requested priority approach.

When I performed slow flight in a 172 for the first time - it was a totally different story.

So... exactly, why again, am I comparing simulator to real life flight?

Because I realized that once I started flying real planes, it wasn't as easy for me to adapt to the feel of the plane less alone using certain controls (simultaneously) having used the simulator before for so many years - since 1999 to be exact.  For me it was an inexplicable difference.  Every (student) pilot is different and has different levels and needs.  However, had I not used flight simulator before reality came, it would have been a totally different story.  I would venture to say it would have been much easier to get this feel.

PC Flight Simulators are a great way to get a young dream of flying to take off, however, I would personally venture to say that as soon as one is able to take an intro flight and a couple follow up lessons - do it.  PC flight simulators will never feel the same way to you again.

Jeremy D. Carlisle



  1. Jeremy, this is a great post and so important. The feel of the plane is essential, and something that many new pilots are in a rush to bypass to get that glass jet job. Flying is more than punching buttons. You will get that feel and it will stay with you.

    1. Exactly, flying is definitely more than punching buttons, Karlene,, A lot of ATPs have told me that they love getting behind a 172 every now and then because they feel like they are really flying a plane rather than punching buttons. Yes, that feeling will definitely stay with you.. thank you so much!!

  2. I did lots of simulator flying before starting my primary flight training. I found real airplanes with that seat-of-the-pants feedback easier to fly but I had a bad habit of keeping my attention inside the cockpit on the instruments. Difficult to overcome once ingrained that way.

    1. John, you are absolutely right. Keeping an eye out on the horizon during VFR flight was problematic being that I was used to flying IFR on the simulator. Eyes being trained on looking at the instruments will do just that, and yes very difficult once ingrained especially with many things going on at once. Thank you so much for stopping by and your comment!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Understanding Air France 447 by Bill Palmer

Cet article est un hommage et de mémoire des passagers à bord Air France vol 447.  Les âmes doivent les ailes d'anges pour nous aider dans la poursuite de rendre le ciel plus sûr .
This article is in memory of those souls which perished on board Air France 447.  May their souls grow the wings of angels which will help guide us in pursuit to make the skies safer.
Este artigo está na memória daquelas almas que morreram a bordo 447 da Air France. Que suas almas crescer as asas dos anjos que irá ajudar a guiar-nos em busca de fazer os céus mais seguros.

"Understanding Air France 447"
by  Bill Palmer


Looking into the eye's of the passenger profile photos of some of those on board after having read this book, I could never begin to understand what was going through their minds during their final thoughts and moments alive on aboard Air France flight 447.

A 26 year old doctor from Ireland, an 11 year old student from the United Kingdom, 29 year old Brazi…

Pure Perfection


One of those most grand moments in life is where we discover and cherish the perfection within the imperfection.

Have a great week everyone.  Take nothing for granted whether its perfect or not.

Flight For Sanity

"While it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk, the more alive we are. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took."

Grand Rapids, Michigan
April, 2017

With seconds to go, I was making a mad dash down the concourse.  Of course my gate had to be the last one at the end.  The chances of me making the next flight out after to the concrete jungle were growing very slim.  In the distance, I could hear a small boy ask his mom, "Why is that man running?"  Barely hearing anything over the sounds of rushing blood and adrenaline, I heard the mother explain that I was running to catch a plane.
As I ran, I flew into my subconscious and thought about the times where I wish I had ran towards something, risking everything valuable in life because of something I believe in, instead running of away from something due to fear of how bad it would impact my life.   Risks that were worth taking, that I never…