Flight Simulators (entertainment)


Flight simulators were invented soon after airplanes were invented because mistakes made while learning in flight were too hazardous. Mechanical simulators existed for decades before computers were incorporated. The first computers were analog computers, not digital. While analog computers were hard to program, they were more representative of flight. Digital computers allowed for greater complexity in the modeling of the airplane, atmosphere, geography, and failure modes. Pilot training in simulators has progressed far enough that pilots spend more time in simulators than in flight.

The pilot's learning environment has evolved from hazardous flights, to obviously mechanical systems, to higher-order motion via analog, to totally immersive in modern digital versions.

As computers became more powerful, flight simulators developed purely for entertainment became popular. Players could simulate flight on their computer using only keyboard and mouse controls. In addition to the above training lessons, flight simulators also allow players to design their own vehicles, thereby teaching them about physics and engineering.

The dominant home flight simulator has been Microsoft Flight Simulator, but many others exist as well. (e.g. Instrument Flight Trainer 1988)