7:59 PM

But can you FLY it?

In a matter of about a week, I will be a Windows machine owner for the first time in my computing life. That’s when our agency's new Macbook Pro arrives at the office.

But wait, this is no ordinary computer...This thing has a double life.

I’ve used Apple Macintosh machines my entire professional career. Nothing against PCs, I just choose to use Macs because back in the days of Photoshop V1, Macs seemed to be better at rendering graphics. PCs were – so I’m told – better at crunching numbers, but since I tend to avoid math, I’ve never witnessed the immense calculating powers of Windows.

If you haven’t been around the latest Macintosh computers lately, the chip inside them gives you a “twofer” because they’ll run either Windows or Mac OSX. I’m also installing an app called Parallels that will allow me to actually run both op systems simultaneously… that is really almost unbelievable.

But today I was thinking about what I will do now that I’ll have easy access to a PC, right there inside our Mac laptop. I could finally use AOPA’s flight planning features on their web site, or I could finally try out Microsoft Flight Simulator’s latest version X.

I have always been an X-Plane desk flyer, and all is well in that camp. X-Plane is as real as I need, but I have never been bowled over by the scenery. So with this new computing capability, maybe I should try MSFS X, because according to gamespy.com, the scenery is just nuts:

“From the moment our demo loaded, it instantly became clear that this isn't going to be your father's Flight Simulator. The demo took place in an eye-popping tropical paradise that featured sandy beaches, lush foliage, and crystal clear waters. One could seemingly see miles into the distance with perfect clarity. There's no denying that this will be one of the best looking PC games ever released.”
O.K., so maybe MSFS X might be pretty, but many questions still remain. How does it fly, I mean really fly. Is it a game or can it be a valuable training device? Can you fly a hard IFR approach and feel confident that the experience is as real as it gets? Can you tweak the planes like you can in X-Plane? I have never, ever been a “gamer”, so I have zero clue about MSFS.

So with that said, I am putting the word out to both the pilot and flight simulator communities to contact me with a report on the realism of MFSF X. Will a licensed pilot serious about training find the game real enough, or would it be best to stay with X-Plane, which I know is as accurate as I can afford without enrolling at Flightsafety.

You can contact me using the link at right below my profile.

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