It has been nearly forty years since the original 1982 Microsoft Flight Simulator was released, and fourteen years since its last update courtesy of 2006’s Flight Simulator X, but the wait is finally over, and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 delivers. The latest version takes advantage of the robust capabilities of current and future computing systems that support rendering of the virtually photo-real graphics courtesy of Azure AI.
Besides the countless hours of pure entertainment derived from virtual flights to new airports around the globe and piloting all sorts of exotic aircraft in customizable or real-time meteorological conditions, the updated Microsoft Flight Simulator has practical training potential. It supports realistic skill development in multiple areas. Log some quality time with your simulator, and the next time you head out to the airfield, you will notice the difference.
Some of the many skills you can hone with the Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 include:
1. ILS Approaches
Pilots who are working on their IFR certification can practice flying ILS approaches into a variety of airports. This is also useful for IFR certified pilots who want to scope out the ILS approach to a new airport they have not flown into before. Even seasoned IFR pilots can benefit from investing some extra time practicing and polishing their approaches so they are effortlessly smooth.
Yes, you can bypass the checklist feature in the simulator by assigning the pre-flight checklists and tower interactions to your copilot, but you may not want to. If your intent in flying the simulator is to gain competency and sharpen your skills, going through the full pre-flight checklist adds to that realism. It also helps you develop muscle memory for systematically working through the checklist and confirming each item without overlooking anything.
3. ATC Communications
It is not uncommon for pilots to count radio communications with air traffic control as among the most nerve-inducing aspects of flying. New pilots especially can worry about remembering what to say when and how to respond to transmissions from a controller. One of the most low-stress ways to practice and build on this skill is through realistic simulation like that gained by time spent training on Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.
One of the ground reference maneuvers that pilots are tested on during check rides is s-turns. This maneuver tests a pilot’s ability to maintain a steady track relative to a fixed point on the ground regardless of wind conditions. An extra benefit of drilling this skill in the flight simulator is that you can quickly change the simulated wind conditions so you get to practice flying the maneuver in all different types of winds rather than just whatever conditions happen to be present on the day you and your CFI designate for s-turn practice.
5. Cross Country Flights
Cross country flights are another key skill that pilots must demonstrate to earn their certifications. With the Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, you can create and then fly your custom cross-country flight plan. This gives you practice with the planning stage and a feel for what it will be like to actually fly the route before you do it for real.
Ready to try out the new program? Head over to Microsoft to purchase and download your own copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Remember to check and be sure your gaming system meets the minimum and preferably the recommended system requirements. The new simulator features very advanced graphics and uses a lot of data, so you will want a quality gaming computer running Windows 10 OS version 18362.0 or higher and preferably with at least 16 GB memory, 4 GB video memory, an Intel i5-8400 | AMD Ryzen 5 1500X processer, and NVIDIA GTX 970 | AMD Radeon RX 590 graphics card.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 works best with a Yoke and Pedals (Or a Flight Control System). You can find a full selection of Flight Simulation Hardware at Pilot Mall.