Microsoft Flight Simulator X For Pilots: Real World Training

A surprisingly good training aid.

I just want to take a moment to heap some praise on a computer book I’ve found very helpful with my recent Instrument flight training studies: Microsoft Flight Simulator X For Pilots: Real World Training by Jeff Van West and Kevin Lane-Cummings.

The book is, on the surface, a user’s guide for Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX), a Windows PC program that supposedly simulates flight in different aircraft. (I have issues on the realism of its simulation, as I reported here.) It takes you through the pilot ratings, one at a time: Sport Pilot, Private Pilot, Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot. But instead of flying a real plane, you’re flying a simulated plane in the software.

What’s amazing about this book is its ability to communicate valuable and real information about flight training and knowledge required by pilots. I’m concentrating on the Instrument Rating chapters in the second half of the book. I read the first two chapters of that part yesterday and learned more about making departures and planning en route flights using real FAA charts than I did in three days trying to decipher the same charts with other study material.

The book’s text is clearly written and easy to understand. Best of all, it doesn’t put me to sleep — which is always a challenge, since I do most of my reading in bed at night.

While I can’t comment specifically on the exercises to be followed with FSX since I’ve been skipping them, if they’re half as good as the background information, the book is an excellent source for anyone interested in learning to fly using FSX as a training aid. I look forward to finishing the Instrument Rating chapters. And, with luck, I’ll be able to try a few of the exercises myself using the FSX software.

From one computer book author to others: Good job, guys!

What do you think?