Pandemic spurs simulated flight training growth

The introduction of FS2020 has substantially improved the simulation of VFR navigation. In this scre

The introduction of FS2020 has substantially improved the simulation of VFR navigation. In this screenshot, a CTLS flies amongst clouds over Central Florida - Credit: Microsoft Flight Simulator

Navigraph’s annual flight simulation survey found that almost half of users have increased their time spent in simulated flight over the last year

Read our review of the Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

Read our review of the X-Plane Flight Simulator - free mobile App

Navigraph, a Scandinavian simulation firm, has just released its annual flight simulation survey (one of the largest conducted globally), and unsurprisingly found that almost half of users have increased the amount of time spent in simulated flight over the last year.

The Navigraph survey traditionally provides a realistic picture of serious flight simulator users (80% of the participants use a flight simulator at least six hours a week), also giving flight schools important hints about pilot wannabes.

About one in five respondents of this year’s survey already work in aviation. Specifically, 4.7% are airline pilots, 2.4% are engineers, 0.8% are flight instructors, and 0.9% are ATCOs. The training component is very important, with about 20% of the participants using their home-based sim for technical flight training (including for cockpit and airspace familiarization).

One quarter of the survey respondents are considering taking real-world flight training within the next year, while 8% are already enrolled in flight school.

It also appears that the community of simmers happily spends a fair amount of money on virtual flying: about 50% of the 23,500 participants spend at least $500 a year for flight simulation software and hardware.

Finally, the gender distribution seemed to be more unbalanced in the virtual flying world compared to the real one. While the International Society of Women Airline Pilots states in fact that 5.1% of all pilots globally are female, only 0.9% of simmers identified as female in the survey.

Most Read