When flying with your flight simulator, the goal is to train and gain proficiency not develop bad habits that could potentially be brought into the air.
First and foremost you should always abide by all the same checklists and procedures that you use in your airplane.
However, sometimes flight simulators have limitations that can prevent you from flying correctly.
Thankfully there’s some updates you can make to solve the most common bad habits.
Reduce Staring At The Instrument Panel
Staring at the instrument panel too much is one of the most common habits that flight instructors have to break during initial training.
If you’re using a single-screen flight simulator it’s normal that you would look straight ahead with your eyes on those instruments.
However, overusing the instruments can result in badly affecting your visual scan technique.
Thankfully there’s some products out there to help you out and make sure your head stays on a swivel at home.
The cheapest upgrade you can make is to your flight simulation software. Prepar3D, X-Plane, and Microsoft Flight Simulator are updating graphics and scenery with each new version.
Specifically with MFS2020, the photorealistic scenery makes it easier to keep your eyes moving and off your instruments.
Another great way to improve your situational awareness while you fly your flight simulator is by using a three-screen setup.
This expands your field of view to enhance your overall training.
Use Your Rudder Pedals More
If you’re using your rudder pedals infrequently or inconsistently it can create bad habits during all phases of flight.
Pilots who underemphasize proper rudder inputs tend to have issues with staying in coordinated flight, slide slips, and other related skills.
Upgrading to realistic pedals like these from Elite Simulation Solutions and these from Brunner Elektronik is even better and will give you more psychomotor benefits from your simulator practice.
Reduce Your Time Flying In Silence
Push-to-talk phobia tends to affect most pilots at some point in their flying but can get worse if you consistently neglect air traffic control (ATC) communications in the simulated world.
Thankfully there’s services like IVAO, VATSIM, and PilotEdge that allow you to fly in a simulated air traffic control system.
Even better, pair one of these services with a conversion box that allows you to use your headset with your home flight simulator and you’ll be rockin’.
Ideally no one wants to create bad habits in the flight simulation world but it happens.
Try some of these updates out and keep them in mind next time you’re taking your simulator for a spin.
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