Real life civilian and military pilots ... what inspires you to flight sim?

I’m not a pilot … I’m a “sim/gamer” short on leisure time and when I get home after a long workday I just wanna have fun. :slight_smile:

What inspires you guys to file a flight plan, kick the tires and light the fires? At this point in my life, that sounds like work to me! Billable hours!


For me, I was playing flight sims long before I was flying in real life, so it’s something I’ve always enjoyed.

I’ve used it as a tool at various stages, such as learning to be confident on the radio and not sound like an idiot - which is like half of what flying a fighter is all about - on VATSIM, or learning how to navigate with VORs, but it’s mostly just because I enjoy it.

I’ll do the VATSIM airliner type stuff because I actually enjoy that side of the route planning and execution, plus my day to day flying involves going to one of a few areas to execute a tactical flight and returning to home field; it typically doesn’t really involve too much flying on the road.

At the end of the day, it’s just fun. It’s nice to jump online with your friends and screw around shooting Flankers without being critiqued on everything you do or worrying about getting FNAEB’d or flight violated because you had too much fun some place you shouldn’t have.


So this DOESN’T happen? :slight_smile: :+1:

I basically drive a very nice Limo and I really enjoy what I do. Having said that, there are many types of flying that my career path never touched.

At the age of 46, I’ll never be a fighter pilot, I’m unlikely to fly for the Airlines and will probably never fly small airplanes into rough strips in Alaska , B.C. Sims are the only way I can get a taste of what it is like to do these types of flying. Also, as @boomerang10 mentioned, it’s fun, and without any of the rules and regs associated with RL flying.

I have also found sims such as X-Plane useful for practicing challenging approaches or to airports I haven’t flown into before.


I always thought of the rules and regulations associated with RL flying were the bread and butter of simulated flying. Anything else is anarchy.

Because shooting other aircraft down is generally frowned upon, in civil aviation… :wink:

That’s part of my reason, why I flightsim. I never got to be a fighterpilot, and I have always been intrigued by military flying, ever since reading about the dogfights of WWI and seeing the movie ”Battle of Britain”, as a kid.

I have also always been an airplane nut. I have always read aviation magazines and books and marveled at the beautiful pictures of aircraft. I just love airshows and watching aircraft fly. I have built model aircraft, both flying and static, since I was a kid.

Let me put it like this; Why shouldn’t I flightsim? :wink:

I was also a flightsimmer before I started flying for real.

I just happen to have a job that I love doing. They even pay me to do it…!* :smile:

Flightsims of today are a dream come true, for the little kid that started out with SubLogic Flight Simulator on the C=64, in the 80’s.

Sometimes I sit with my VR HMD on, just watching virtual aircraft… :vr:


To me certain communities that ‘follow’ the real life rules strictly in simulators always seem to lack a certain hands down knowledge of how aviation operates. It never feels real to me.

I’m not a pilot, I just throw bolts at aircraft and hope they stick together long term because that means I did a okay job. If the front falls off(not very typical, mind you) then we’ve got a bit of a situation going on I fear. For me, simulators offer a different aspect that I can’t really mess about with in real life, although it still feels like a sterile piece that always runs perfectly.


This is going to be a most unsatisfying answer because I myself don’t understand my obsession with sims. In addition to the answers above, I think for me there is the belief that flying is the ultimate motor skill. Good flight sims let us perform those skills risk-free and cheaply. My airplane has arguably done as much for my maintenance skills as it has my flying skills. I’ll never need to turn a wrench in X-Plane.


For me, flying stuff i will never get to fly in a way i would never be allowed to fly in real life.


In my best Forrest Gump voice…“I just felt like simmmminnnng”

and I simmmmmed

and I simmmmmed

and I simmmmmed


For me, it’s a chicken-egg thing. I started simming at 12 years old, and decided I wanted to fly jets for the Navy (this was before Top Gun, BTW, and I wanted to fly the A-6). I got my ROTC scholarship, got commissioned, got the NAMI-Whammy (eyesight kicked me to the backseat) and then they retired the A-6. :frowning_face:

Anyway, operational flying is a grind punctuated by moments of awesome. Simming is many of those awesome moments (albeit scaled) without the grind, the rules, the worry about grades, or the chance of buying the farm in real life. I enjoy simming because I can skip the grindy part (CHUMming charts, studying procedures, reading the gripe book and seeing what’s wrong with the plane, dealing with what’s wrong with the plane during preflight and while inflight, etc.) and skip straight to the fun stuff. I can flat-hat (like buzzing friends at 50 feet while supersonic) without worrying about a FNAEB (like Boomerang said), and I can take the MOA boundaries as seriously as I want to (I usually don’t).


what inspires you to flight sim?

I just want to relax. Either fly few quick missions vs AI or beat the pattern. I don’t care about flight plans or “by the book”.
IRL you don’t get to do stupid stuff as in a sim…heck nerve wracking iRL approach wouldn’t raise my pulse in the sim.


Agreed. Zero pucker factor in a sim…

Yep, its not pucker factor but definitely adrenaline rush is there and real when you are in intense dogfight.

And dogfights are the reason I started to sim.

I started with sims on my 486 DX4 but my favourite werent sims with greate story campaigns but sims focused on dogfights like :

Later it was WARBIRDS, masive MP online sim where you can dogfight with people around the world. This was before dedicated servers.

And now? I want to dogfight badly, but not enough spare time I can dedicate to it these days.

So I am flying X-PLANE and FSX to keep my self curent with all the types I fly.
And also to learn new types when I am going to be type-rated on them.
It is realy convenient to get the feel for the new cockpit in front - like to see where all the butons, switches and controls are located and to try normal and emergency procedures from within the virtual ofice.

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How I got into flight sims - I watched history teacher use school computer for Aces over Pacific in middle school. He let me have a go. So then even though I could never get AofP or AofE working on PC, I bought ATF and CH-joystick…haven’t stopped since.

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I was heavily into Warbirds back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Before that I played Air Warrior 3. Great times.

What are you flying now IRL ?

Cesna 152 / 172
Zlin 226
Robinson 44
and working my way to this one


Very cool! Helicopter’s have always fascinated me but the cost of training always put me off. Fixed wing training was expensive enough!

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Don’t want this to sound like a complaint but all too often acronyms or abbreviations that are commonly used in the industry are Greek to a strictly sim pilot such as myself, and Google can be a bear when it comes to figuring out their true meaning.

These were my best guesses from that search.
FNAEB - Field Naval Aviator Evaluation Board
MOA - Military Operating Area

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Totally valid.

Yup FNAEB is the process in which a pilot goes up on a board to determine whether they should continue to fly. Typically they get there due to a mishap or a series of incidents. Not always damning, and you can survive it, but definite not a process you want to wind up in.

MOAs are portions of airspace which are intended for military use but which civilian VFR traffic are not prohibited from using. I wouldn’t expect ordnance release but stumbling in there without talking to the controlling agency can be a nuisance at best and dangerous at worst during events with dynamic maneuvering and multiple aircraft. I’ve had multiple close passes with VFR aircraft which were technically legal to be there but not talking to anyone.

Definitely don’t hesitate to ask, sometimes we get so used to the way we talk that we forget that normal people don’t use the same lingo.