Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Slip the surly bonds of simulated Earth.

The other day I bought a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight. My interest in flight simulators ran out somewhere in high school, but reappeared unexpectedly a week or two ago. In part, this is because it occured to me that the relevant technology has improved by a factor of several hundred since I last ran one. FS2004 has clouds, dynamic weather (updated every fifteen minutes from the web!), and fairly detailed geography for the entire planet, including 24,000 airports.

Playing it has also made me realize that I knew nothing about flying. Well, not nothing--I could fumble through the sky the moment I started it--but the built-in training program introduced me to the foreign concepts of coordinated turns and control surface trim--both rudimentary aspects of flight. ("Wait, you're telling me that Wing Commander isn't realistic?")

What's worse, my sudden interest in the subtleties of flight have me eyeing sim-geek accoutrements such as high-end yokes and scenery add-ons. Let's hope I get over this before I start buying add-ons for random aircraft.

1 comment:

  1. Shoot man, I hope I'm not responsible for this purchase. If so then make sure I'm not responsible for any further ones related to flight sims. 2004 FS is good if you've got the gears in your PC to run it. You know though, if you are interested in flying, you should take a look at your local airport (a smaller one preferably) and try the real thing for yourself. In pilot training had a download for the T-37 and that's how I actually learned to fly an ILS. It's great for basic instrument practice.