Preparing for emergencies

Hi! Randy Witt here, from the X-Plane team. This is the final email in the course on using a flight simulator to become a better pilot. For this final email in our series, I’d like to show you how you can simulate instrument failures in X-Plane, so that you can fly safer and with greater confidence.

Simulating failures

X-Plane can simulate a huge number of systems failures. This lets you experience what happens when important pieces of equipment don’t do what they’re supposed to in flight, making you better prepared for these situations in the real world. You can configure these failures using the Equipment Failures window. To open this window, move your mouse to the top of the screen (causing the menu to appear), then click Aircraft, then click Equipment Failures.

The World/MTBF tab of the Equipment Failures window controls things outside of the airplane, such as bird strikes and airport equipment failures. You can also use the control at the bottom of the window here (labeled Allow random failures) to make all systems fail randomly. When this box is checked, the simulator will use the value to the right to determine how often, on average, each piece of equipment will fail. For instance, if “Mean time between failues” is set to 1000 hours, X-Plane will decide that each piece of hardware in the plane has about a one in a thousand chance of breaking each hour. Since the airplane has a few hundred pieces of hardware, that means a failure might occur every 5 to 20 hours or so.

The other tabs in this window let you set the frequency of specific failures for hundreds of different aircraft systems. You can even set a system to simply “inoperative,” meaning it has already failed.

The general failure categories available to you are:

  • Equipment (3 tabs worth!)
  • Instrument types
  • G430 or G1000 (if you have a real G1000 attached to X-Plane)
  • Engines
  • Flying Surfaces

Signing off now . . .

If you’re still using the demo, remember that you can upgrade to X-Plane 10 Global at any time. Doing so will remove the time limit from the simulator, and you’ll get the global scenery package to boot.

If you’ve enjoyed this course, drop me a line at (or just hit the “Reply” button in your email program) and let me know what your favorite part of X-Plane is.

All the best,

– Randy