“I have always been interested in aviation – when I was a kid, I would always ask to eat at the restaurant near my local small airport because you could watch planes take off and also listen with headphones to the radio chatter. I even asked for a video training class for a PPL for Christmas one year when I was a pre-teen.

When I grew up, I even worked a few years in a news helicopter as a cameraman just to be close to aviation… but I never did have the time or money to get my PPL. Always wanting to learn how to fly has been a goal of mine, but working almost 70 hours a week, I just didn’t have the time or money to dedicate to it.

When I found out how far computer simulation had come, in particular with X-Plane, I started using the sim as well as an online network to learn real world procedures and teach myself.  While I wouldn’t be a real world pilot, I could at least learn what real world pilots do, how everything works, and the dynamics of X-Plane are so realistic that I felt that I was flying.  I trained in real world weather, with real world maps, with real world landmarks, with real world training books from the FAA.

After several years, including training with people in the online community (who many are real world pilots), I have completed my goal. I get to fly using X-Plane whenever I have time – if that is 30 minutes, so be it. I also get to fly planes I would have never been able to afford, learn new things each time I am in the simulator, made friends with fellow enthusiasts, and train from PPL all the way to ATP (and even take tests and earn ratings on the online network). I may not be able to fly a plane in the real world, but I trained like I did and have an amazing time every time I load up X-Plane. It feels real to me, and I have satisfied my aviation dreams with X-Plane. What an amazing program!

I am most looking forward to the weather and all that it affects in X-Plane 12 – no other simulator will have gone so in depth to how weather interacts with the flight surfaces and environments – how it dynamically changes as you fly along to different areas and terrains, how the wind moves the trees, or puddles up on the ground after a rain shower. The unpredictability of weather and how it affects flying is something that has never felt right in any simulator, and X-Plane 12 will be the first to really model this with true accuracy.”