While I’m counting off the days until my medical, I thought I would reminisce about some of the aviation related activities that I’ve enjoyed over the years – in this instance, virtual ones. First up, I’ve mentioned elsewhere on the blog that I have previously played Flight Unlimited on my Windows 95 PC. Well, there were some other games I enjoyed too for the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga:
During the years of 2001-2006, I also spent a fair amount of time playing the IL2: Sturmovik series of games and flew with an internet based virtual squadron called Vultures Row. Part of being a full member of Vultures Row involved taking an online virtual flight test which demonstrated basic radio communication, aircraft handling and navigation. I passed with no issues. Together we had some really great fun participating in online multiplayer battles, running co-op missions and even meeting up in real life for a couple of years running at the Flying Legends airshow at RAF Duxford.
However, it was in 2004 that I discovered the Microsoft Flight Simulator series and began to take virtual piloting a little more seriously. In the years since, I’ve flown tens, if not hundreds of virtual hours in:
- Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight
- Microsoft Flight Simulator X
- Microsoft Flight
- Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D
- Laminar Research’s X-Plane 10
- IPACS Aerofly FS 2
All of the above virtual flying experiences have contributed to my understanding of many of the basic principles of real-world flying, including general aircraft knowledge, handling and navigation and they’ve shown just how fun and engrossing aviation can be. But of course they are nothing like the real thing, so in my next post I’ll be reviewing my previous experience with real aircraft piloting.