Microsoft Flight Simulator X includes many features and capabilities that make it an ideal complement to formal flight training and real-world flying. With Flight Simulator, you can fly to almost any airport in the world using navaids and airways or GPS, fly precision and non-precision approaches, communicate with ATC, deal with real-world weather from takeoff to touchdown, and review your performance with flight analysis.
The wide variety of aircraft in Flight Simulator — from single-engine personal machines to jet transports — provides a range of experiences and challenges and gives you the opportunity to learn about and practice using many types of avionics and instrument displays.
Savvy pilots have long appreciated the benefits of using Flight Simulator to keep their skills sharp, and aviation professionals are seeing the benefits too. Flight Simulator is an integral part of training programs conducted by the US Navy, FlightSafety International, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
You can learn more about how to use Flight Simulator to complement your flying by reading Flight Simulator as a Training Aid.
Key Flight Simulator Features for Pilots
- Jeppesen NavData database, including navaids (VOR, NDB, ILS), low- and high-altitude airways, intersections, and approach lighting systems around the world
- More than 20,000 airports worldwide. Airports include taxiway signs and markings, accurate lighting systems, beacons, etc.
- Interactive air traffic control (ATC), with traffic at most airports around the world (including non-towered airports), altitude changes en route, pop-up IFR clearances, precision and non-precision approaches to multiple runways, VFR flight-following, Class D transitions, and Class B clearances
- Dynamic weather system based on realistic atmospheric physics with true three-dimensional clouds that form and dissipate and automatic real-world weather updates (METARs and FDs) when you're connected to the Internet
- Weather themes that generate a wide variety of stunning — and challenging — flying conditions with just a few mouse clicks
- Interactive 3D "virtual" cockpits that let you tune radios and operate key aircraft controls and avionics by pointing and clicking in the virtual cockpit view
- Garmin 500 and 295 series GPS with color moving maps and airport/facility information, GPS approaches, approach transitions, and more
- Garmin G1000 integrated avionics system (Deluxe version only)
- Full-color map view with terrain display
- Improved support for 3D graphics hardware acceleration in multiple windows and across multiple monitors
- The "Learning Center," including a Key Topics visual guide to the features in Microsoft Flight Simulator, direct links to flights and lessons, flight briefings, how-to procedures, aircraft handbooks, and more
- Flight planner to create realistic VFR and IFR flight plans and navigation logs
- Flight analysis to play back a flight on a moving map that shows ground track, key flight data, and a vertical profile
- Improved multiplayer features including the ability to share an aircraft with another pilot or to act as a Tower Controller (Deluxe version only)
- IFR training panels for selected aircraft that include all key instruments, avionics, and controls in one window for realistic IFR flights
- Failures to test your ability to handle inoperative instruments, aircraft systems, avionics, and engines
For a complete description of Flight Simulator X, see the Product Information pages.
For Pilots by Pilots
Microsoft Flight Simulator is made by pilots for pilots. The team currently includes many pilots with a wide range of experience, certificates, and ratings. We fly everything from basic trainers and piston twins to high-performance aerobatic machines, gliders, jump planes, floatplanes, and helicopters. One of our team members is a former airline pilot. Another flies sky divers on the weekend. And every year, more and more folks on the team are taking the plunge and getting their licenses.
To create the realistic, detailed simulation that pilots and enthusiasts demand, the Flight Simulator team works with leading experts in aviation and training, including:
Rod Machado, one of the most respected (and entertaining) instructors in the aviation community. Rod is also the in-cockpit instructor in the lessons included with Flight Simulator. He described the value of Flight Simulator to pilots and instructors in his "License to Learn" column in the August 2003 issue of AOPA Pilot. If you're an AOPA member, you can read the column online.
King Schools, Inc., the world's leading producer of aviation training videos and computer software. King Schools provided Learning Center articles to help novices and experienced aviators alike understand and use key features in Flight Simulator.
Patty Wagstaff, one of the top aerobatic/airshow pilots flying today. Patty lent her aerobatic expertise to the simulation of the Extra 300S.
Jeppesen, the world's leading supplier of aviation charts, training materials, and aviation services. Jeppesen provides its NavData database and has created SIMCharts, a set of departure, arrival, approach, and airport charts available on CD that matches the data in Flight Simulator.
AOPA, the world's largest pilot organization and publisher of AOPA Pilot and AOPA Flight Training magazines. AOPA provides valuable content from its archives, and offers special information and resources to Flight Simulator aviators.
Garmin, the leading manufacturer of GPS-based avionics. Garmin helped us create a detailed simulation of the G1000 for Flight Simulator X.
Boeing, which assisted us with the simulation of their 737-800 and 747-400 aircraft.
Cessna, which helped us model their Skyhawk SP and Grand Caravan aircraft.
Robinson Helicopter, which provided information that allowed us to accurately simulate their R22 Beta II helicopter.