I’ve changed the subject or title of this blog post a few times since I started typing all that I wanted to say. At this point I’m really not sure what it will be called….so it is just as much of a surprise to me as it might be to you the reader.
As I have stated many times, I’ve been flying computer sims on various computer hardware platforms for over 25 years. In those early beginnings I was still in high school and was one of those kids that wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. But airline pilot was really never in my top 10 list. So having said that, I never really got all that serious about learning all the procedures and perhaps this is why I struggled for so long on learning how to correctly land my airplane.
In the post Windows age of computer simming I have changed my ideas on what once was only a game to me. While airline pilot is still not in my top 10 list, at the age of 44 I guess I need to stick with just being an IT guy and not change careers. But learning and understanding how things are done is important to me.
Over the years my landings have sort of gone from being non-existent to crashes to controlled crashes to where I am today. Yes today I can pretty much make a great landing and my FSPassengers don’t complain much and my tires don’t pop. At least not all the time.
I learned how to fly SIDS and STARS back in the 2001 timeframe. It was sort of a requirement for VATSIM…at least for me. I say this because I know there are a lot of computer pilots today who do not know how to fly SIDS and STARS. You can see this from the way some pilots file flight plans. Now being involved with a VA and especially one that requires all flights to be flown online (VATSIM) I know from first hand experience that some of this is a lack of knowledge and some of it is just laziness. It’s easy to fix the lack of knowledge….but much harder to fix the laziness.
When I began learning SIDS and STARS, I looked at it as just a road map. After all, this really is all a SID and STAR is. It is a road map either to an airport or a road map from an airport. Of course we know there is a little more to it…but when I explain SIDS and STARS to new pilots I first get them to grasp the road map concept. It makes all the rest a little easier.
Anyway….I still find there is something new to learn with this hobby. One might think with nearly 30 years of experience that I know everything there is to know. Simply put….I don’t. However, I’ve also forgotten a lot from the days of heavy online VATSIM flying in the years 2001 – 2005. The five year or so hiatus I took from the hobby caused me to forget a lot more than I truly ever knew in the first place.
Back in those early VATSIM days for me I did fly a lot of “over the pond” flights. I don’t remember the heavy influence on NAT Tracks (North Atlantic Tracks). Perhaps we (or I) just ignored them….I just don’t recall. However, today there seems to be more information about them and I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to better understand how it works and what it means to me as a computer pilot.
Unfortunately I didn’t start my “learning” with enough time to participate in the VATSIM “Cross the Pond” event which took place a few weeks ago. So I did the right thing and stayed far away from the event, but am working to understand for next time. If you are interested in learning more about how NAT’s work (especially for VATSIM use), please visit the following link.
There truly is something in this hobby for everyone. I know many who frequently read this blog only fly offline and several who are like me tend to fly mostly connected to VATSIM. This is what makes the hobby what it is.
Well…I think I’ve settled on the title for this blog post. While I choose to fly computer sims as a way of de-stressing from my IT job….I find the challenges of learning and even making mistakes to be very therapeutic. If there is something you don’t know….just learn it. Practice makes perfect and don’t worry about making mistakes. We all make them and best of all….in our computer sim environment no one gets hurt.
Until next time…happy flying.