I stumbled upon this group recently and find it to be quite interesting
and helpful as I go about the discovery phase of my interest in
aviation. I am a computer systems analyst and applications/database
developer by trade, but my wife recently took a job as a pilot/customer
relations specialist at a small privately-run municipal airport. (I say
"small", but this particular airport could accommodate a 737 as I
understand it.) With this new job, she has taken a bit of an interest
in the world of aviation. She is learning the various makes/models, the
terminology and more, as part of her job also involves communicating
with the pilots over the radio.
Naturally, aviation being the interesting field that it is, I have also
developed an interest by mere association. We stopped by the airport on
her day off recently to drop off a couple of rental cars needed for
customers but for which the rental company had no personnel to effect
delivery at the time (yes, she is that dedicated), and I got to tour
the facilities. I was fascinated by the various small passenger jets,
an old WWII era plane (fighter/short-range bomber, maybe?) as well as a
few small prop planes. I can at this point only imagine everything
involved in successfully getting an aircraft off the ground and then
landed safely again in varying conditions. Then there is the promise of
the countless spectacular views available during flight.
So, I've been looking into the various flight sims out there, and
presently have it narrowed down to (as you may have guessed) MSFS 2004
A Century of Flight and X-Plane. I'm leaning toward MSFS for a few
1. I get the impression that MSFS manages getting the novice pilot up
to speed better than X-Plane. Are there tutorials or comprehensive
documentation in this regard?
2. From what I've read, the terrain in MSFS looks noticeably better. A
good part of my interest is in experiencing many beautiful locations
from around the world from the air.
3. I understand that MSFS has more custom content available than
X-Plane in the way of different planes, helper applications and such.
Please correct me if I'm wrong on any of those counts. Additionally, I
have a few questions, if I may:
1. I've read that X-Plane offers the ability to download the current
weather conditions from around the world to the sim and then fly in
them. Is this true? Does MFSF offer anything like that? It sounds very
2. X-Plane offers basically the entire world (from +/-60 degrees
latitude, anyway, with a few minor omissions?) of mapped terrain - some
60GB of terrain data. Does MSFS compare in this regard?
3. I would think that, while a chase camera view would be stunning in
it's own right, the view from the cockpit is where the realism is
truely found. Are either of these titles better than the other in the
ability to see the world and otherwise effectively operate the plane
from the cockpit view?
4. Are there any other real-world metrics or data regarding possibly
current weather conditions or flight path/airport statuses downloadable
from within either sim? In other words, for example, if a particular
airport happens to be closed temporarily, can that be reflected in the
sim? Any other real-world data to interact with?
5. Does either sim cover the filing of flight paths?
6. I'm not really concerned with combat right now, so would the CH
flight yoke controller be a good investment?
Sorry for all the questions, but I'm very new to the world of aviation,
and have a lot of ground to cover. I figure it all starts with
selecting the sim that is right for me at this point in my "training".
Thanks for your time, and I look forward to future discussions with you