In the world of flight simming, there are two main approaches that I’ve seen people take. There is the gaming side, which encompasses the enjoyment of flying various airplanes, along with online multiplayer sessions and virtual airlines, just to scratch the surface. On the other side of the spectrum is the training component. Airlines, flight schools and even NASA use very advanced simulators to train pilots and keep them sharp. If you scale that training concept down to the home simulator, pilots can still benefit greatly in various aspects of their training by using even a simple home simulator setup.

A recent addition to the Clayviation brand is the “Bucket List Flights” on the Clayviation YouTube channel.  In this unique video series, fly along to explore different locations that many pilots dream of flying to. While the style of the video series ties in a few elements of the gaming side, it is more heavily focused on using the flight simulator as a training tool. The videos flow as a multi episode series with the framework of a “bucket list flight” as the plot line, adding an entertainment value that even those simply curious about aviation can enjoy.

“Let me say I was on the edge of my seat watching”
-JohnMak, X-Plane.org member

The first series was the seven part “Bucket List Flights: Bound For The Bahamas,” and features seven episodes beginning in Augusta, Georgia (near the Clayviation headquarters), flying out to and down the coast of Florida before heading out to the Bahamas. Each leg of the flight discusses various navigation techniques, beginning with the classic pilotage and dead reckoning before adding VOR Navigation and then GPS Navigation. Techniques to effectively apply these navigation principles to the simulator are discussed and culminates with a session on connecting an iPad running Foreflight, a widely used navigation software, to the simulator for the ultimate chair flying experience and the ability to master the software on the ground. The series concludes with the flight over the ocean to the island of Bimini on the Bahamas, but it’s not just a joy ride. The episode explores how to set up and activate random failures at various time intervals in the simulator. By setting up multiple redundancies using each navigation technique we explored, we monitor our systems like a hawk as the Florida coast fades into the distance and components begin to fail, requiring us to generate solutions.  Watch the whole series here (or add it to your “watch later” videos):

 

Each episode has a theme to explore, which is usually a real world aviation topic like weather or GPS Navigation, that brings in some nuggets of wisdom from the real world and adds in a tutorial style element to that aspect of the sim. Pilots can then enjoy exploring different training topics while learning how to best apply their triaining to practice on the sim. Simulator pilots can learn more about how to make the most of the simulator and gain deeper into real world aviation. Viewers are able to explore aviation topics, make the most out of using the simulator, and be entertained all at the same time.

“This is the most interesting, informative and well thought out series of instructional videos for X-Plane.  I strongly recommend these videos to any pilot, whether virtual or real.”
-Mike Nixon, X-Plane.org member

The second Bucket List Flights series is a five episode flight from Nashville, Tennessee, to the famous EAA Airventure Oshkosh fly-in at Wittman Regional Airport. The series explores elements such as VFR into IMC, landing in the simulator, emergencies. It’s an event that many pilots aspire to fly to, and with thousands flying in every year, the series finale concludes with studying and flying the famous NOTAM of arrival procedures into the event, adapting it for the simulator but making it as true to real life as possible. Fly along as we make our way to Oshkosh and rock our wings for ATC before landing on one of the legendary colored dots at Wittman Regional. Find the first episode here:

 

The goal of these series is to encourage and inspire viewers to persue deeper learning and participation in general aviation and beyond. By making a complicated topic like aviation somewhat simplified and understandable, my hope is that simulator pilots, aviation enthusiasts and anyone curious about aviation will understand that aviation is accessible for anyone who is interested.

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