Starting the Simulator

The flight simulator is left up and running and is the only application set to run on the designated PC. Staff will assist you with the login. You must "check out" the simulator with your library card.
If the simulator is not functioning properly, simply restart the PC through the Windows Start Menu. If the PC hangs up, press the reset button on the top of the PC. This button is identified with a yellow sticker. The computer will boot up into the simulator. Please wait for it to finish. While it restarts, you will need to ask staff to log you back in to the simulator.

image of the four forces enabling flight

Basics of Flight

There are four forces applied to aircraft:

  • LIFT – Lift is the force generated by the wings makes the airplane go up.
  • WEIGHT – Weight is the force generated by gravity and makes the airplane go down.
    • These two forces, lift and weight, work to counteract each other. If there was no lift, gravity would keep the airplane permanently grounded. If there was no weight, lift would send the airplane up forever, never returning to earth. When lift equals weight, the airplane maintains level flight.
  • THRUST – Thrust is the force generated by the airplane’s engine.
  • DRAG – Drag is the force generated by the friction of the airframe moving through the air.  Every surface making contact with the flow of air creates drag, much like sticking your hand out a moving car window (not recommended).
    • These two forces also work to counteract each other. Thrust powers the airplane through the air while drag restricts how fast the airplane can travel. If there was no thrust, the airplane would not move. If there was no drag, the airplane would never slow down. When thrust equals drag, the airplane has achieved constant velocity.
image of menu options in X-Plane flight simulator

Getting Up in the Air

To start flying right away we suggest using the tutorials. Though these won't cover as much as the flight lessons and they won't help you when you make mistakes, they are a good place to familiarize yourself with the simulator. If the simulator is already loaded with an aircraft begin with Step 1; if the Main Menu is present, begin with Step 4:

  1. Move the mouse cursor to the top of the center screen
  2. Select File
  3. Select Main Menu
  4. Select Flight School
  5. Select X-PLANE BASICS
  6. Select Continue when the intro concludes


Landings are easy once you understand the principles. 

  • Use throttle to control the descent
  • Use pitch (nose up/down) to control the speed
  • Fly straight over the runway
  • When above the runway, idle engine and keep nose pitched up until you settle on the runway

See? Easy. Now sign up for lessons and we'll show you just how easy it is!

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