View Full Version : From IL2 addict to real pilot - my personal journey

08-03-2013, 09:10 PM
Hi guys,
I am just checking back to let everyone know: I passed the final practical skill test to get my private pilot licence.

I was an avid simmer, playing flight sims since last century, but around 2005, I got bored with MSFS and discovered IL2. I became addicted, with 1-3 hours of virtual flying every night, sometimes well past midnight into early morning hours on weekends. I remember our beloved debates, how real is actually Full Real and the effects of the Refly buttons in DF servers.

After 5 years of heavy addiction, my little daughter became seriously ill in 2010, she nearly died. Of course I stopped all playing and even after she recovered, I spent most of my free time with her for about 1 year.

I came back to play iin 2011, but things weren't so exciting anymore. I also tried CLOD, ROF as well, but apparently the magic was gone somehow.
I started to think about additional ways to increase immersion, e.g., larger HD monitors, motion chair, home-made cockpit with real aircraft controls.
But looking at the cost, I started to discover that costs can go so high, I might even consider using the money for real flying instead.

Just about this time, my colleagues at work, who knew was an aviation fan, gave my a gift card for a 20 minute intro flight, with the possibility of taking the controls of the small airplane. Interestingly, it took me months to use it, because I was afraid that either real flying is not so nice as I thought; or worse, it's much nicer than I thought, but I wouln't be able to afford it. But here comes pure luck: the guys selected the cheaper option, so I got a flight not in a regular Cessna, but in a Scheibe Falke 25, a popular German-made touring motor glider. I had my suspicons about its capabilties, but during the flight I was blown away, it was climbing welll enough, it was fast enough, you could do 2-3 G turns with it, and it was scary enough to do a snap-stall in it and watching the runway over the top of the canopy glass :) And it was nearly within reach in economic terms. I did some more research into flight scool and I even found cheaper ones, closer to my home and embrarked on the jurney.

In November 2011, I started theoretical training, and in March 2012, started flight training. Needless to say: the difference between sim flying and real flying is unspeakable - in real life, if you make mistakes, you either damage something expensive or kill yourself (and perhaps even your instructor, or someone else on the ground). It's also a totally different sensation in the inner ear and in-depth view, e.g., diving at only 190 km/h towards the ground is different when you sit in a cosy chair with a beer in your left hand, or when you actually face the approaching ground while hanging by your seat-bealt. Overcontrolling was another typical issue, so in short, I had to re-wire a lot of things in my brain between my eyes, inner ears, hands and legs, before I could solo in the circuit in summer 2012 - in this area, the sim experience rather hindered me unfortunately. However, sim experience was good for an overall discipline, tracking the gauges, serving the various aircraft systems (radiator control etc.), RT discipline. It was also an advantage for visual and basic instrument navigation (VOR radials). So in total, I believe the overall balance of my sim playing background was about zero - disadvantage in fundamental aircraft control, advantage in other areas.

The training aircraft was ovehauled during the autum and winter, so I re-started training in May 2013 and passed the practical skill test with the aviation authority examiner last week. Of course, learning doesn't stop here - it will continue for years, this is normal for pilots who fly for leasure only 20-40 hours per year. I am also going to play IL2 or CLOD sometimes, e.g., during winter nights, when the wind is howling outside, the airfields are covered with snow, and the airplanes are sleeping in the hangars. I know I will suck at it and will be shot down far too many times - I won't mind :)

But my advice to all avid flight sim players - if you are really into simulated aviation, MAKE SURE you try it in real life as well. Having a good rig is not so much cheaper than going on a few real flights with an instructor. The most cost-concious option is gliding / soaring, it's awsome, lots of "aerial combat" with rough termals. With more money to burn, ultralight and motorized gliders are the way to go. If you are damn rich, go for the big ones, e.g., C-182 and impress your girlfiends.

Wishing your many happy landings.

PS. If you are interested, here is how a typical take-off/landing circuit goes, and how a solo flight looks like in the type I am rated for.
There are not mine, but I have flown my practical test in the very same aircraft.

08-04-2013, 04:43 AM
Well done and good on you. Also some good advice for all, especially the comments about over control.

08-04-2013, 01:21 PM
Congratulations zoli!! That is great! A buddy of mine just did the same thing.. Although I don't think he went the route of IL2..

08-04-2013, 04:46 PM
Good job! Enjoy your new skills. Fair winds and smooth air to ya.


08-06-2013, 04:11 AM
Congratulations on the accomplishment rnzoli. :cool:

Your story reminded me of Dart taking a similar journey three years ago.
Flight Sim to Flight Line - My Journey from Sim Pilot to Sport Pilot - August 30, 2010 http://www.simhq.com/_air13/air_451a.html


08-06-2013, 11:01 PM
Wow, that's great to hear, I didn't know. But I was a big fan of his fantastic IL2 instructional videos, so I am glad he also went along a similar path.
I can confirm everything he wrote. I was quite happy when I could finally "integrated" the accelerations into my stick and rudder flying, so for example, I was able to do rough corrections to turbulence while still looking at my map. My aircraft type is also less stable than the high-wing Cessnas, especially in glider mode :) Ironically, I needed all that practice during my exam, as the winds were the strongest I ever flew, throwing our plane around in rotors and broken thermals.

Do you know if he got his LSA licence eventually, and does he fly in both real and sim nowadays?

08-13-2013, 08:20 AM
As far as I know Dart got his LSA pilots licence.

Here's another story from Dart on another of his first flying experience with a tail dragger.
Dart one, landing light zero: http://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/3331008#Post3331008

Dart was building a Nieuport 17 kit plane and he was showing the build progression on the 2GvSAP forums but those have been down for a couple of months. At the moment the forums are down and so is his site and I haven't seen him post anything anywhere since March. :(


08-14-2013, 12:33 PM
Thanks for the follow-up story, another good one. Incidents like that happen more often that I had previously thought. There is always some unexpected element in all flights - people waking over the runway threashold when you're on final, langing gear damage from too high flare, aircraft nearly missing each other during takeoff or in the air, wind gusts causing go-arounds....it's all part of the job to prevent these small incidents becoming accidents.

I also tried to connect to his site, but it's down for me too. However I saw his famous tutorial videos continue to live on youtube :)
The possible explanation is that he got his airplane together and he is happily flying around in it, while the good summer weather allows. Hopefully he will be back to tell with more story-telling when the bad weather sets in for long enough....

http://www.kekeg.hu/kekeg/kekeggaleria/kekeggaleria/MegujultFalke2-kicsi.jpg http://www.kekeg.hu/kekeg/kekeggaleria/kekeggaleria/MegujultFalke1-kicsi.jpg

08-15-2013, 12:21 PM
Congratulations :)

03-26-2014, 09:14 PM
Thanks, I can only encourage everyone to experience real flight. This spring I made a no-frills simple video clip how it looks....