A Corona Sim-Challenge - Fly when you’re grounded


Many of us are currently sheltering-in-place, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be doing some zero-risk flying, keeping our skills sharp, and maybe even generating some entertainment value. All it takes is a modest home simulator and the desire to e-travel.

This short video is a challenge derived from “World’s Most Dangerous Airports” on Stefan Drury’s excellent YouTube channel:

On this low-production-value video I kick it off, rather imperfectly, with visual approaches to two challenging Caribbean airports, St. Barthélemy (TFFJ) and Saba (TNCS). What airports have been challenging to you in the past or are on your wishlist? Post your thoughts… or better yet, fly a visual or instrument approach on your home simulator, capture a quick video (in X-Plane… File, Toggle Video Recording), and post the link here to your video. Ping me here if I can address any logistics questions.

Thoughts, questions, and suggestions? I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for your insight and enjoy the video!
Wayne, the GeezerGeek Pilot

Looks like now would be a great time to either get into simming or do far more of it. I would appreciate knowing what equipment and software people are using; e.g. PC vs MAC, RAM/video cards/etc, X-Plane vs other programs out there, types of yokes/sticks and pedals, types of monitors. Also, what preparations if any are people making to optimize use of upcoming MS Flight Simulator. No offense to those who have Fly This Sim or other high end certified products; I’ll plan to rent time at the FBO when I need those. I’m interested in a system I can jump on any time at home, whether there’s a pandemic or not. I have an iMac, so I’m particularly interested in being able to set something up without having to buy a sim-dedicated PC, but willing to do that if necessary, especially to accommodate new MS software.

Thanks to all.


I have an iMac Pro with X-Plane 11. I bought a Saitek “Cessna” yoke, throttle quadrant, and rudder (before I bought the Cirrus) that works great.

You don’t need a lot to run X-Plane unless you’re looking for photorealism. There are no specs available for MS Flight Sim yet, though expect to need Windows. You should be able to Bootcamp your iMac and install Windows if you want to check it out once it becomes available.

Michael, the modest home sim I use in the video is:

Software: X-Plane 11, stock C172/G1000
Hardware (minimal): MacBook Pro (Mid 2015), 2.2 GHz, 16 GB; Logitech Joystick

This minimal hardware doesn’t give a good visual realism, but I’m much more interested in the fidelity of the avionics and the ability to fly complex instrument approaches, and for this my little setup works just fine.

Here’s a primer I put together for my 20-something son:

Best wishes,

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Michael, kind of like saying, “Looks like now would be a good time to stock up on toilet paper and canned food”, [;)] as putting together a good sim may not be an easy task while deliveries of products and customer support may be spotty. However, to answer your question. The best “low budget”, home PC setup that I have found is…

  1. Lockheed Martin P3D (https://www.prepar3d.com/) Base Simulator

  2. Flight1Tech Garmin G1000 Student Simulator (http://www.flight1tech.com/consumer) Home PC based, consumer product for G1000 panel. Flight1Tech also has high-end units for flight schools so make sure you go to the “consumer” site. FYI - Jim Rhoads (Pres. of Flight1Tech) is a COPA member

  3. Flight1Tech Cirrus Perspective SR20/22 Plug-in (http://www.flight1tech.com/consumer/Products/CategoryID/1)

  4. FSXFlight, to send GPS info to an iPad (https://fsxflight.com/)

  5. Pilotedge (https://www.pilotedge.net/) for REAL-life ATC. Pilotedge is the key to sim use and is a total game-changer. Absolute must!

  6. Logitech Attack3 side-yolk (or something similar)

See this thread… https://www.cirruspilots.org/copa/member/cirrus_general/cirrus_flying/f/4/t/151176.aspx



I went with a relatively robust Windows gaming desktop PC, Dell Alienware Aurora R8 with a GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card.

I use the same software as Paul posted above, which works pretty well.

My intention with the windows gaming PC setup is to be able to take advantage of other developing software on the horizon, like MS flight sim 2020.

Noble has just recently announced a new tempting hardware and software pkg which would work well with a gaming pc, but it’s a bit pricey. Perhaps others who have tried it could tell us how it’s working out?

I agree 100+% with Paul that THE KEY is PilotEdge.net… that real-person ATC puts adrenaline into the flying and makes it unbelievably “real”. Some say that “well, PilotEdge only covers Western USA”… that matters not at all… what matters is the real person element, and not whether you’re flying in SoCal or your home area.


Thanks very much for the info, Paul. I totally respect the issue you mention regarding delivery. I have the great good fortune not to need to order anything online at this time and, unlike some of my high-risk friends, I don’t utilize home food delivery either. I have no intention of straining the home delivery workers any more than they already are and will pursue any further hardware when it becomes ethically appropriate.

I went to the thread from 2016, which was very helpful, though at least one of the links to flight1tech is no longer active. Their website has filled in somewhat for that. I also have the Pilot Workshops primer on setting up and using home sim, though some of the hardware recommendations appear to already be somewhat dated.

Thanks again.


We have a fairly substantial contingent of COPA’ns who fly DCS together. Suggested if you want a more substantial sim experience.



Recommended Hardware

I-7 or higher with SSD AND 32 GIG

HP Reverb Pro VR headset

Thrustmaster Warthog HOTAS with pedals

or Saitek X-52 HOTAS twisty stick

Alexander… awesome stuff… thanks!

Alexander is right: DCS in VR is an amazing experience (although I’ve never flown with other COPAN’s). Sadly I have NO idea what I’m doing up there. My callsign would be “TARGET.”

For those looking to use a sim for non-loggable proficiency, I echo the sentiment that a home sim setup is well worth it. You may not have all the tactile buttonology, but especially for procedures and engaging the flying brain, I think it’s an excellent investment, especially (as others have said) if you set up an account with PilotEdge. Full disclosure that the founder of PilotEdge, Keith Smith, is a friend of mine though I get nothing from them and pay my own frieght.

Some things to do if you’re not flying real-world for a while:

Alan, agree fully… key with PilotEdge is to treat it like a real flight… from engine start, to clearance, to taxi, SIDs, enroute, approaches, landing, taxi, shutdown… i.e. from A-to-Z. The adrenaline is absolutely real world. The various “ratings/scenarios” on PilotEdge are excellent workouts.

Michael, totally “busting your chops” in good fun! [:D][:P]

The truth is that it will probably take you a week or two to put together all the parts (Hardware and Software), and then a few days to get it all up and running…so, unfortunately, you won’t be simming by tomorrow.

However, it IS awesome and worth the effort. And, it IS a good time to start looking into your options, since we all have nothing else to do!

Spend the money on a dedicated gaming computer as Clayton mentioned.

Simming really keeps your brain “in the game”. As an example, I am literally just getting back into REAL-world flying after a two-year hiatus. So, I’m very rusty. Yesterday, I “flew” out of Centennial KAPA - Denver, to KCOS - Colorado Springs. I went on Pilotedge and filed an easy single VOR route thinking ATC would just vector me etc. Clearance gave me an unexpected DP and complex route that I was TOTALLY unprepared for! I’ve been plagued in the past with Mic-fright, and it’s amazing how that carries over with Pilotedge. I couldn’t believe how nervous I was, and was SO glad I was not in a real SR22. The nerves will subside over time as I spend more time on the sim.


MS Flightsim 2020 looks AMAZING! I think we are in for a mind-blowing experience.

I also have seen the hardware/software combo from Noble. I am waiting to see if they will support MSF2020. I am willing to shell out the $4K if so, as I know it will save me that much in actual Hobbs time (I rent SR20/22’s)

Hopefully, Flight1 Tech will put together an intermediate package similar to Noble in terms of price, so that we will have options. I have some brand loyalty to Flight1Tech as it has been so awesome, but then Dr. Noble is a Virginia Tech Hokie, as is my daughter. So, I’m torn [*-)]

BTW Paul instead of using FSXflight to connect Foreflight to P3D, now you can simply:

Start P3D, goto options General and check “Broadcast GPS data to network”,

then with Foreflight connected to the same wifi, select More … Devices and enable P3D.

Thanks Paul. There are probably few things better in life than having your “chops busted” by a DDS! :wink:

I’ve got access to a Thrustmaster 16000M FCS Hotas, so the plan is to download the free trial version of X-Plane and see how/if it works on my iMac. And then I’ll just go from there. Pilot Edge looks super interesting and I expect to access the free trial version of that as well. All without further belaboring any already overtaxed delivery people.

I don’t know when the new MS FS is due out. I’ll be looking for pireps on it.

Thanks again.


My 10 yr old is practicing his acrobatics…

trim.49EF49C8-3AEF-46EF-885E-209B95C83D7D.MOV (9.83 MB)

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Ha ha! If only real aerobatics was so forgiving. My son tells me that all one needs to do in his battle games is “respawn”.

The Carenado SR22 is very UNimpressive in VR. It also crashed my sim. I far prefer the vFlyte SR20.

Today’s amusement. The author is a pretty standup guy. He’s a paraplegic but does great content.