Welcome to FSA’s Learning Flights!
These five flights are designed for flight simmers who want a crash course—hopefully not literally—in safely operating aircraft within the air traffic control system. Whether or not you fly online with human air traffic controllers, this program will take you from flying simple VFR closed traffic patterns to complex IFR procedures like instrument approaches, SIDs, STARs, holds, and more!
This educational course is designed for serious flight simmers who want to take their simulation flying to the next level. The flights are written for a relatively novice simmer who is able to taxi, takeoff, land, and conduct basic enroute navigation already. If you're at that level, you’re ready to begin the program.
Each flight will take you between 2-6 hours to complete, depending on how much time you spend reading the briefing materials and how much you already know. For example, if you’re an instrument-rated recreational pilot in real life, you likely already know most of the VFR subjects discussed in the first flight. If you’re getting into flight simulation for the first time, you may spend more time on every flight reading, watching, and searching.
Based in the U.S. Rockies, the flights offer scenic views of stunning terrain and challenging, high-level airport operations. Because the flights are conducted in the United States, the content here focuses on operations in that area. However, many of the concepts discussed are equally applicable to IFR flying around the world.
If you want to learn more about U.S. airspace requirements, flying full instrument approaches, and flying RNAV ‘descend via’ procedures, FSA’s Learning Flights are for you!
To make the most of this course, you should:
- Pick the Right Airplane
- Be Familiar With Your Aircraft
- Consider Flying With Human ATC
- Think About Scenery
The first Learning Flight is an introduction to VFR operations and can be flown with a General Aviation aircraft. However, subsequent flights focus on IFR operations. For those, you’ll need something that has modern RNAV capability, a programmable GPS, and up-to-date navdata. Most default flight simulator aircraft aren’t ideal for this. Also, you’ll also need something with a bit of power to it: you’ll be flying 100+ NM flights over 13,000 ft. terrain!
- PMDG 737
- Fenix A320
- FlightFX SF50 Vision Jet
- Hot Start TBM 900
- iToLiss A319
- FlightFactor A320
- Zibo Mod 737-800X
- AirFoil Labs King Air 350/350i
Remember that these flights are about simulator flying, not real-world training. The concepts we’ll discuss (in very limited detail) are for flight simulation use only and can never replace real training from certified professionals.
Although you should be able to fly these flights using any simulator with full IFR support, the program has been designed for pilots using one of Microsoft Flight Simulator, Prepar3D, or X-Plane.
About Boston Virtual ARTCC
FSA’s Learning Flights are based on Boston Virtual ARTCC’s Wings Over New England (WINGS) program, a much more comprehensive set of training flights. With Boston Virtual ARTCC’s program, certified air traffic controllers act as "instructors" during each flight, monitoring pilot performance and providing feedback in real time as each mission is completed. Anyone flying Microsoft Flight Simulator, Prepar3D, or X-Plane can participate in WINGS for free by applying to join Boston Virtual ARTCC. Visit http://bvartcc.com/welcome for more information.
Boston Virtual ARTCC has also produced a free series of "Ground School" resources designed for flight simulation pilots. These hour-long briefing seminars cover common flight simulation subjects, specifically designed for pilots flying online with air traffic control. Throughout this program, applicable Ground School seminars are linked for pilots who want a little more detail on the material covered.
Flight Simulation Association thanks Boston Virtual ARTCC for their contributions to this program!