Me on the wing, mother holding my daughter at Wallis Island airstrip, circa 1981. That is the same A-36 in which I passed my Command Instrument Rating test.

I’m a 72 YO retiree with a PPL, Command Instrument Rating and Aerobatic and other endorsements. Due to financial and health issues I no longer fly, much as I enjoy it. X-Plane gives me the opportunity to practice my old skills (especially instrument flying) plus the sheer fun of flying WWII aircraft I have always wanted to get my hands on. The simulation “feel” is excellent as are the flying characteristics of the various aircraft available.

One of my very favourite machines is the P-38, and I use that both in WWII settings with the Munda airbase sim, and for general purpose touring. I have loaded the latest Mesh V3 scenery and just sight-seeing at the 350 mph of the P-38 is great fun, as is following rivers and valleys in circumstances which would be illegal and/or extremely foolish in real life.

Same goes for unusual attitudes and approach/landing practice. One of my favourite means of losing airspeed and landing in a hurry is to fly down the strip at low altitude (100 feet or so) overshoot, pull the P-38 up into an Immelman at around 400 mph IAS, drop the gear and select full flaps while inverted as the airspeed decays over the top of the loop, and then hold airspeed to 110-120 with throttle for an easy final and landing. Great fun and something you would have difficulty practicing in real life.

I have a 2014 iMac i7 Retina 4k with 24 Gb of memory and the 27” screen. I use the Saitek X-52 stick and throttle controls and find them excellent. It is a superb combination for running X-Plane with the Mesh V3 scenery package.

A decade or so ago I was a great fan of the F-18 simulator on the Macs, and if there is one thing I miss in X-Plane, it is the absence of a decent dog fight AI. I realise that is not X-Plane’s main purpose, but it would make the package well-nigh perfect for my purposes.

All in all, I find X-Plane a really superb flight simulator.

— James Walsh