Getting Started

Step number 1. Install Flight Simulator. You can use other flight simulators but instructions and procedures will be using Microsoft’s flight simulator. The version doesn’t matter. In my books, I used 2002, then 2004 and in these blog pages and pictures, you will see FSX with the expansion pack.

The lessons remain the same. Remember, we are learning to fly, not learning to use flight simulator. We will learn some menu items along the way, but that’s not the focus. Imagine if we were to sign up for a real pilot license and instead of learning to take off and land, we learned all about the airplane parts. Give me any airplane, then teach me the skills to safely leave the earth and return again. Flight Simulator is that vehicle. Even if you simply install the defaults and then “Fly Now” you will be ready to take off. So I don’t focus on a thousand menu options. We get it installed, pick our local airport and start learning to fly using real flight lessons I had when I learned for real.

Let’s get it installed: Flight Simulator of any version (they all have accurate runways and procedures), and then plug in a yoke. Yes, a flight yoke. So many people try to fly flight simulator with the cursor keys or the mouse. They crash, then they say its a stupid game. They don’t know how to fly and never will know using arrow keys and mice.

Step number 2: Buy a plastic yoke from anywhere you can find one. I bought most of mine online but sometimes bought more at pilot shops, like the ones in the Toronto area. Every major airport has a pilot shop. You will love just dropping in and seeing what they have. Now I say I bought a few… well to run a school I had to have one for every person and some classes had 12 or 14 people. I could have had more, but didn’t have enough yokes.¬† Here is a simple setup using an HP Envy laptop:

YokeAndSoftware¬†That screen snap was a Cessna 172 on the tarmac at Toronto Island Airport with the Toronto skyline in the background. Sweet! Now I also installed the FSX Expansion pack. You don’t need anything else. There are plenty of add-ons and a huge market here. Just learn on the Cessna 172 like most training schools do. When you graduate, start qualifying on other aircraft.

You can even have more screens if your computer allows, but this will do for most of your flying. You can also add rudder pedals, but for beginners, we use the default “coordinated flight” so we don’t need rudders. Rudder pedals are used to steer on the ground and to make “coordinated turns”. Our beginner classes don’t worry about that. Here is a picture of the software I installed.

FSX FSXacceleration

Next blog entry will have me running the software and setting you up on the tarmac, engine off at Toronto Island Airport. This is exciting and you will learn using real flight plans and checklists.

-Howard

Welcome to First Visitors and Flying Enthusiasts

CYYZ_aircraft_viewer

My name is Howard Forder.

Learning to fly is the dream of millions of people since long before we started to fly. Then as we see others become pilots of their own planes or rental planes, it sparks us even more. There is a reason so many people attend air shows. Even the low and slow planes spark our interest.

When we pursue the hobby of flying or the career of flying, it’s going to cost money. Lots of money. That is why most of us cannot afford to learn to fly. Or at least we think we can afford it until the lessons keep going, the funds dry up and other things in life keep our money busy.

This is where I come in. I my life-long pursuit of piloting an airplane for sheer pleasure, I took the one tool I had been using for years and applied it to the real lessons of flying from real flight schools. The lesson by lesson cost of learning to fly was reduced below 50% and made my pilot license reachable. Because Microsoft’s Flight Simulator is so real, with real runways, real radio frequencies and real cockpits, we can practice for free again and again before we step back into a real plane for the next lesson.

Here in this blog, I will step you through lessons, show examples, share videos and lesson plans. You can get your pilot’s license very inexpensively, just as I did.

I just started this blog by the recommendation of many graduates of my learn to fly school, where we used flight simulator in the classroom in multi-player mode. Yes, we saw each others’ plane on the tarmac and in the air from familiar airports in our area. You can too… check back often and let the dream become reality!

-Howard