In about 2009 I was living in a location that had only an occasional internet connection, so since I could not indulge in my usual online entertainment in the form of Secondlife, Hulu, YouTube, etc I decided to indulge in offline entertainment in the form of Microsoft Flight Simulator. I also bought a Thrustmaster Joystick. To increase the range of planes I could fly, I learnt how to add more into the program by downloading them from FlightSim.com
Ok its not real flying, but its the next best thing and has many advantages. Fly anytime you like, in any location you like, it costs practically nothing and you can't get killed !
In fact through flying planes in Microsoft Flight Simulator I was able to discover which planes I really do like and would like to fly in real life, if I had sufficent money and opportunity, and surprisingly one of my top favorites are Sailplanes. I can imagine how nice it would be to be towed into the air and then fly all day if you can find enough thermals without having to listen to a roaring engine, and then land without having used any fuel whatsoever. To me is seems a more natural form of flying, more "organic" because you have to fly in harmony with the air, rather than forcing your way through it.
Below is a video I made using Microsoft Flight Simulator, where I am piloting the DG 808S Flugzeagbau, taking off from La Cholla Airpark nr Tucson, thermalling to 5000ft, and then landing on the same airfield. The peeping sound that you hear is the Variometer, its lets you know whether you are in Sink or Lift, the high pitched sound is Lift.
Its was out of this discovery in the Flight Simulator program that I bgan to search for Ultralight Gliders, and I came across the "Goat" as designed and built by Mike Sandlin, who refers to them as "Airchairs",
these are Gliders that have to be homebuilt and quite a number of people have done so, if you are interested in the ideal of an Ultralight Sailplane you can visit the web site at m-sandlin.info/goat/goat.htm
Below are the first two pages of the building plans
This is one aircraft I would like to build, but you know me, I have never built an aircraft in my life and I wouldn't trust my workmanship, in any case I have no place to build something this size and where would I fly it from ? - All unanswerable questions, so back to the subject of simulated flying. Below is a video I took flying a Republic SeaBee in Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX.
If I lived near water, and had plenty of money and a pilots licence I think an amphibious aircraft would be my ideal plane. Take off from any lake, land on any lake, or the sea, that would be wonderful, but I don't have any of those things so I am limited to flying in a simulator.
This next video was taken while using the free online flight simulator, GEFS Online. Its not as good as Microsoft Flight Simulator, but you can meet and communicate with other flyers here, so that's something, and the terrain is very close to real life, other than the fact its 2D. Here I am flying a Cessna152, and you can see all the controls that I see when i'm flying with it.
Finally, lets not forget Secondlife. Its not a real flight simulator or anything simulator, but you can fly planes and helicopters in there is you have any, and I have quite a few, and they are very nice to look at but unfortunatly the whole experience suffers from the terrble lag in there.
Below my avatar Tanith Lane flies an MD900 Helicopter. This is the new Tanith Lane, by the way, not the same as the one you will see on the Secondlife page of this web site.
The other advantage of Flight Simulators over real life is that you can fly aircraft that you could not possibly fly in real life. For example, below is a short clip I made whilst flying a Harrier II AV8b vertical take off "Jump Jet" in Microsoft Flight Simulator. Many of these aircraft can be added to FSX free of charge, like the one below and these enable you to have something of a flying experience that would not otherwise be possible.
I think we are done with Flight Simulators, so the only other thing I can add are pictures of aircraft I have taken over the years. I hope you enjoy seeing them !