Topic Author
Posts: 448
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 1999 12:01 pm

Flight Sim - How To Get Started

Sun Feb 16, 2003 7:33 am

Hi everyone, I am a regular on the civil aviation forum, but have never posted on this one. I am interested in getting flight simulator software for my home computer. I am not very computer-literate (I have a brand new Dell but am not familiar with how much RAM, and all that stuff.)

Anyway, what would be an affordable software program to buy?
How hard is it to learn how to use?
From where would one purchase the other stuff needed (joystick, or that kind of stuff?)

Sorry for not dropping many clues, but I am totally clueless on this issue, but I figured that you all may have some words of wisdom.

Posts: 9973
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2001 10:12 pm

RE: Flight Sim - How To Get Started

Sun Feb 16, 2003 8:24 am

if it's a new computer with decent hardware, it should run the current flightsimulators.

The main civillian flightsim out there at the moment is Microsoft Flightsim 2002 (its replacement has been announced and will be released sometime next summer).

Affordable software:
- MS Flightsim 2002 should be going on discount soon if it isn't already to keep sales up while people wait for the next version. It's pretty good already so you might as well go for it if you can get it cheap (or if you don't want to wait half a year before getting started).
- Most good computer stores will have joysticks, but for the better ones (and yokes, rudder pedals, etc.) you're likely limited to either mailorder or specialty stores. is a great site with their own online flightsim store (all proceeds go towards running the site) which is an option if you're in the US (import duties make it less nice in the EU).

Basic operation isn't hard to learn, but does take practice.
As in real flight training, start out in a small aircraft flying circuits and build up from there. Most people who give up take huge steps and fail and get frustrated.

Start with the basic FS and maybe some downloaded scenery. After you can fly the default Cessna and Baron, start looking for some quality addon aircraft like the Archer and Cardinal from
Only when you can fly light aircraft well is it really time to move on to airliners.
The best there are provided by and

In my experience most of the best aircraft addons are payware. While there is good freeware out there, most is not as good by far as the commercial offerings (especially the panels and flight dynamics are usually lacking).
I wish I were flying
Posts: 723
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2001 3:00 am

RE: Flight Sim - How To Get Started

Sun Feb 16, 2003 9:32 am

IT pains me when I hear from someone about their computer and they have no idea about what they have inside it. Anyhow If its fairly recent then it probably has enought CPU speed and RAM to handle FS2002 with ease. Since you probably bought it at a store then Im betting it has a crappy video card. If that is the case I would recomend replacing it with a dedicated 3D video card aimed at the gaming croud. Names like ATI radeon andthe nVidia Geforce series come to mind. I think 64mb of texture memory on the card is the accepted minimum today.
As to flying the plane in a flight sim, you gotta learn how to use the instruments to be able to fly from airport to airport and land using only a flight plan. Personaly I couldn't understand the concept of using VOR's, but one day something clicked in my head. I was supprised how easy it is, once you get the concept. There's alot of guides on the net on it. YOu will also need a good program for making flight plans, etc. I always used FSNavigator 3.0(free) for FS98, now a version came out that can be used with fs2002. Flight simming can be cool, if do it right...otherwise it gets boring fast.
Posts: 1076
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2001 6:24 am

RE: Flight Sim - How To Get Started

Mon Feb 17, 2003 12:58 am

Graphics card will be fine.
Most new DELLs have either GeForce 4 64MB or Radeon 9700 128MB.

Don't knock the guy for not being a computer geek. The DELL is, in my opinion, the best PC out there at the moment - great choice!!!


[Edited 2003-02-16 16:59:53]
Posts: 1595
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2000 7:10 am

RE: Flight Sim - How To Get Started

Mon Feb 17, 2003 6:19 am

Yeah, but some of the low-end Dells have integrated video, which is horrible.
Posts: 1459
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2002 7:08 am

RE: Flight Sim - How To Get Started

Sat Feb 22, 2003 12:52 am

Yeah but surely you don't have to be a 'Geek' to know the basic spec of your machine?.... and yes, I know... I know, don't call you Shirley!  Wink/being sarcastic


Flightlineimages DOT Com Photographer & Web Editor. RR Turbines Specialist
Posts: 3532
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2001 12:57 am

RE: Flight Sim - How To Get Started

Sat Feb 22, 2003 5:45 am

If anyone has Flight Sim questions, I am THE GEEK with computers.
so you can e-mail me at
Or, give me a BUZZ! On Yahoo! Messenger.
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