The new MS Flight Simulator taught me how to fly an actual plane

0 Posted by - 1st October 2019 - Technology

  • Two GoPro cameras were mounted in the Cessna 172 plane that I flew over the Seattle area. I had never flown a real plane before. I had only played the new Microsoft Flight Simulator for about an hour; that was my only training. [credit:
    Sam Machkovech ]

RENTON, Wash.—This month’s Microsoft Flight Simulator world-premiere reveal event, held at a hangar just outside Seattle, was designed for two types of people. The first is the plane enthusiast, the kind of person who purchases pricey equipment in order to recreate the experience of piloting aircraft. Members of the new game’s lead development team, Asobo Studio, were on hand to speak about reviving the decades-old MSFS brand and the inherent scrutiny those fans will direct at any rebirth.

The second type is me, a person who has logged very little time in one of those pricey, realistic flight-sim cockpits, let alone flying a real plane. I didn’t even grow up playing MSFS, Janes, or other classic flight-sim series. Nobody in my family held aviation in esteem. For all the notes I took at the event about rotational weather systems, drag coefficients, and friction models, I got the feeling Microsoft and Asobo wanted to bowl me over with something a bit more specific and literal with its new Microsoft Flight Simulator, slated to launch on Windows PCs in "2020."

My MSFS kiosk was set up with a pre-loaded virtual flight opportunity: to take off in a Cessna 172 from the Renton Municipal Airport, then simulate flight around the cities, forests, and valleys of the Seattle area. Hours later, I would do the exact same thing… in real life, in a real Cessna 172, as the pilot.

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