Instrument Flight 16: Microsoft Flight Simulator

I hadn’t done any instrument work in two weeks, so I wondered whether the progress I made last time would continue. Since then I got the new version of Microsoft Flight Simulator and found some Tampa-area scenery on the Web that includes the airports where we do our practice approaches. Using the real plates, I tried a few of the same approaches I’ve done in training.

I found the simulator to be a big help. I can record a flight, play it back, pause in flight to read the plate, adjust the weather, etc. It’s harder to fly than the real thing, but it’s great for practicing procedures, and it’s inexpensive. (Less than the cost of an hour’s flying.) More details are in the Flight Simulator Reviews article.

Today we did some VOR holding, two VOR approaches, one localizer and one ILS approach. My flight instructor demonstrated an ILS approach, and it was disgusting to watch how perfectly aligned with the runway we were the whole time, considering that he was under the hood. The needles stayed centered as if the indicators were turned off.

My own approaches look like the giant amusement park slides people ride sitting on burlap sacks. My VOR problem makes it tricky, because I have to follow the glideslope of VOR 1 and the localizer of VOR 2. VOR 1’s localizer is off about 15 degrees, so it still moves, and it’s hard to ignore that needle while chasing the other two.

Overall the approaches went well today; they still need work, but they’re getting better, and I’m doing most of the radio work now.

Today: 1 hour instrument time
Total: 22.1 hours instrument time

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