The Benefits Of Having A Flight Simulator In Your Basement

And I don’t just mean the powerful effect it has on women.

Today my real-world flight lessons cancelled for low ceilings. I used to stress about that, but now I know it’s just part of the process. But my routine for flight training is solid enough now that I just went down to the basement, fired up the sim, and flew what I would have likely flown today: departure with a downwind leg, fly out to the practice area, go into slow flight, maneuver, practice a power-off stall, practice a power-on stall, fly an engine-out procedure, do some steep turns, and then head back to the barn, enter the pattern, and land. I flew it all by the book from ramp to ramp, using the same checklist I’m using in the real bird. And because I ran with real-world weather, some of the flight was in the clouds so I got some instrument work as well. All told it felt like great practice, and like I was at least keeping current if in a virtual way.

Virtual …

One thing I learned today was about the flight model in the A2A Piper 28-180 Cherokee. I fly a PA 28-161 Cherokee Warrior II in the real world, and while the A2A is quite close, it is a bird with slightly different aerodynamics and 19 more horsepower. In slow flight in the real bird I cut the throttle to 1,500 RPM, put out all the flaps, pitch up to keep the bird at current altitude, and plug along around 53-55 knots.

The real thing ...
The real thing …

Today in the sim I needed to run about 1,900 RPM to do the same thing. On my pattern work in the sim bird I’ve been cutting the throttle to 1,500 RPM, and I’ve often felt like the sink was too rapid. Today’s work pretty much confirms that, even though the Pilot’s Operating Handbook for the real 180 says the RPM should be 1,300-1,500, too. So there’s a bit of a variation in the flight model, but that’s fine. I’ll keep a bit more foot on the pedal on approach from now on in the sim.

So, in the end, I was disappointed not to get into the sky today, but not terribly so. And I felt like I still made progress on the process, which is a great thing in itself.

2 thoughts on “The Benefits Of Having A Flight Simulator In Your Basement

  1. It’s a great thing. I used to use the old (green dot) Microsoft flight sim to practice my ifr procedures to help me get ready for my instrument ride. It was great for that but not much to look at for vfr type stuff. I hadn’t payed much attention to the simulated flying world since then but i stumbled on your YouTube stuff one day a month or so ago and i couldn’t believe my eyes .. Almost looked like a level D sim. I am happy to say i have just purchased my two windows..(side monitors ) amd am on the lookout for a projector … Look out sim works here i come …lol

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