Microsoft is good but compared to the real deal it's not even close. While it may help someone in locating the radios, autopilot etc. to set the autoland, if a person were to use their "superior" FS skills to land any transport size aircraft manually they'd be f***ed!
As long as you use MS
Flight Simulator correctly and you do every procedure as you really would in real life, it could be a great learning tool and a wonderful way to practice procedures. My flight instructor has always said that if I am going to fly the Cessna 172, I better do it by the books, going through every procedure as I would in the real thing or else it's of no use to me. With that said, there are some wonderful payware add-ons for MS
flight sim that recreate say, a 737 experience just about as close as you can get so that you cannot get the plane to start up or take-off unless it is done correctly. The key here is, procedure. As far as physically flying the aircraft, and getting a true feel for it, it will NEVER happen on a computer simulator. Like I said there are some truly wonderful recreations of aircraft that are created down to the smallest detail possible and learning how to use these, you can obtain a good idea of what's going on.
I sit back and laugh at those that say b/c they have FS2004 they can master any a/c.
Again, speaking for myself here, I never said I could use FS2004 as a means to master a real aircraft. I realize it is far from the real thing. However, procedures, and cockpit management CAN
be achieved on FS2004 and this coming from some pilots I have spoken to who have given FS2004 a try.
Two major keys to flying are the use of a checklist, and flying by the numbers (airspeeds etc.). Both are things that a flight simulator can
hit on rather well.
ALL YOU COMPUTER FREAKS GET OVER IT YOU HAVE NO CHANCE AT THIS ONE!!!!!!
First of all, it's a DREAM!! Something that when bored, crosses my mind...a WHAT IF
...I'm not sitting around waiting for that day to come!
I know the original question posted was about a non-pilot trying this so I guess technically, that rules me out. But using a computer simulator, and real-life private pilot training, one can learn and become familiar with far more than the simple basics of flight which can be applied to this "dream".
Just to clarify my original statement:
What I meant was with my procedural knowledge obtained by FS2004 added with my real-life flight training experience, I would definitely think about giving it a shot and be comfortable...remember, the thing here is could we get the plane on the ground, and live to tell about it. I'm confident with my current knowledge, I could POSSIBLY do it. However, that confidence could, and probably would go right out the window at first instant I take the controls of an airliner if I were to find myself in that position.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.