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Old 04-14-2009, 03:16 PM   #1  
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Default Microsoft Flight Simulator Syndrome

With an increase in the number of students, I've begun to see a pattern that I can now attribute to a certain computer game...I speak of the 'Microsoft Flight Simulator Syndrome.'

It manifests itself in overcontrolling, instrument fixation, and general intolerance for stick and rudder. Has anyone else observed this phenomenon?

I've found the only remedy is to continuously harp on someone for overcontrolling, covering up the instrument panel, and teaching a light grip on the yoke. I understand much of this is attributed to being nervous, as if the plane is going to fall out of the sky---but even then, it seems to be the largest barrier to expediting someone to solo. I figured I would post on this since I've become ill when I sense a death grip on a Cessna 152; an aircraft easily flown with a minimum of two index fingers.
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Old 04-14-2009, 04:49 PM   #2  
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Agreed!!!!

I haven't instructed in a couple of years but I noticed the same thing with a couple of students. I politely told them that it is a good tool for instrument training but not for private pilot training. If this didn't work, the sticky notes came out (I was too cheap to buy those things that cover up instruments). Before they new it, sticky notes on every single instrument minus the airspeed indicator.

The most annoying thing was when they told me they did the lesson already on MS Flight Sim the day before the lesson.
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Old 04-14-2009, 04:50 PM   #3  
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Hmmm, must be me because I don't do Flight Simulator, but I still have a death grip!
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Old 04-14-2009, 04:56 PM   #4  
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Its interesting that you guys bring that up. The student that I had that used FS were usually the best students.
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Old 04-14-2009, 05:10 PM   #5  
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I have used Flight Simulator since 1995. I can see where you are coming from, but Flight simulator is a very helpful tool not only for IFR practice but also a tool, if used right, that can help you become more confident in the cockpit as a student pilot. It helps people become familiarized with the aircraft systems and how airplanes work. it shouldn't be used for training since it is not FAA approved but it does help either way. Some third party addons for Flight Simulator are so advanced they could just as well be used for real flight training however.
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Old 04-14-2009, 05:13 PM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 250 or point 65 View Post
Its interesting that you guys bring that up. The student that I had that used FS were usually the best students.
I won't lie that I believe it to be valuable for instrument training. By that point, aircraft handling has become smooth and brisk so it doesn't interfere anymore in control. However, the guys I have going for their PPL who use flight simulator all share a commonality.

I'm thinking it must be the sensitivity of a joystick or computer yoke (yes I've tried it myself) that makes them feel like something more null needs to be man handled. At any rate, its getting to be a tricky habit to break despite extensive research on how to get them to settle down, relax, and look outside. Of course too, I teach my guys to be laid back on the yoke from the first lesson. These guys have come in from other schools and have been difficult to retrain.

Any thoughts? I like the instrument cover-up with stickies. I didn't have those one day so I just threw my very large pea coat over the entire instrument panel.
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Old 04-14-2009, 06:04 PM   #7  
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Nice work with your Pea Coat.

As far as the death grip on the yoke....I've made students grip a pencil along with the yoke. Have them grip the pencil so it goes under their index and pinkie finger and over their middle and ring finger. Hopefully that made sense. They are pretty much forced to use their thumb, middle, and ring finger to control the aircraft. Also, the harder they grip the more it hurts. Which can be fun if they have a serious hold on the yoke.

Or, you could just break their ring and pinkie fingers.

Whatever you prefer.

Last edited by neibert12; 04-14-2009 at 06:06 PM. Reason: added more content
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Old 04-14-2009, 06:51 PM   #8  
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I guess torture can change behavior in some circumstances.

On a similar note, has anyone ever done a Flight Review for a really out-of-date, low-time GA pilot? Or even been with a low-time student and seen the behavior of being very 'heavy' on the controls?

I feel like in eight months of instruction, I've become pretty comfortable with untrained strangers holding the yoke, but these guys made me very nervous because they tend to want to overpower you in controlling the plane. For instance, I did (still in the process) a Flight Review for a low-time, out-of-date GA pilot who hadn't flown in fifteen years. He wanted to overpower me on the controls during a hefty crosswind and when taxiing, he wanted to deflect the rudder pedals very wildly while ramping up the tach to 2000 RPM to get the plane moving! Even after reminding him many times, he still is very heavy on the pedals and yoke and feels it necessary to jam in an excessive amount of power to get the plane rolling out of parking, the runup area, etc.

What to do with these folks, I don't know---but I'm definitely not going to put my signature on a guy's logbook for Flight Review who man handles the aircraft.
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Old 04-14-2009, 08:20 PM   #9  
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Just tell each student that this applies to, "You're over controlling....use less pressure on the stick".

Sorry, couldn't help that one!



atp
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Old 04-14-2009, 10:05 PM   #10  
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haha, the euphemisms in flying are endless aren't they?
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