Getting Help On The Fly
Finding answers when you need them
In addition to modeling the experience of flying, Flight Simulator includes a large virtual library of content to help you with all aspects of using the product. Various Flight Simulator tools help answer your questions. Each of these is useful in its own way and complements the others. Take time to explore each one so you know where to go to find what you're looking for.
Getting Started offers a great starting point for both new and experienced Flight Simulator pilots. New users can orient themselves to Flight Simulator features, and veterans can learn what's new in the product.
The Learning Center
This version of the Learning Center is "Web-Based" and similar to the built-in Learning Center in the Flight Simulator game. Although we refer to Flight Simulator as a "game", it is in many ways just as challenging as real-world flying, of course, without the risks. When you make your first precision approach into Kennedy Airport flying a heavy jet, you will understand and appreciate the challenges and complexity of real world flying. As a former real-world pilot myself, I can tell you there's nothing as satisfying as the feeling of accomplishment after you've shut down the aircraft and are heading for the parking lot! (SK)
Rollover help is one of the most useful and most overlooked tools in Flight Simulator. Move the pointer over a button or box, and a description appears in the lower left corner of the screen (see the large arrow in the image below).
In some instances, rollover help contains a description of the element that the pointer rests on, and in other cases it will include short instructions on how to use the button or element. Try moving the pointer over different parts of the screen to get an idea of how useful rollover help can be.
The Kneeboard is a very important information tool available while you're flying. The concept is derived from the kneeboards used by real-world pilots. Real-world kneeboards are usually aluminum or plastic boards that pilots literally strap to their knee or clip onto the airplane's yoke in order to keep information—charts, briefings, navigation logs, and other details charts, briefings, navigation logs, and other details—at hand during flight.
To access the kneeboard in flight
To move the kneeboard
The Kneeboard includes six pages: Briefing, Radio, Navigation Log, Key Commands, Checklist, and Reference. If you close the Kneeboard, the same page will appear when you reopen it. The kneeboard is moveable just like any window. For more information, see Using the Kneeboard.
All preconfigured flight scenarios include a flight briefing. The briefing includes instructions on how to make the flight. You will only see briefings on the kneeboard when flying a preconfigured flight, or while flying flights that you created with a briefing. For more information, see All About Flights.
The radio page includes a log of the ten most recent messages between your aircraft and ATC. This is especially useful when receiving IFR clearances or when traffic is busy and you can't remember what the controller said to you a few moments ago. The most recent ATC messages are also saved whenever you save a flight, so you could return to that flight many days later and pick up right where you left off with ATC.
Real pilots use navigation logs to keep track of headings, altitudes, time en route, and fuel burn. If you create a flight plan in Flight Simulator, the Flight Planner automatically generates a navigation log. The navigation log is also automatically written to the kneeboard so that you can reference it in flight. For more information, see Using the Flight Planner.
Did you forget which key raises or lowers the flaps? The kneeboard contains a list of all of the key commands. For more information, see Using the Keyboard.
Wondering where to find the correct manifold pressure for takeoff in the Douglas DC–3? For both large complex airplanes and small simple ones, pilots use a checklist of procedures in most phases of flight to ensure that they don't miss an important step. These checklists are specific to the model of airplane being flown; the kneeboard displays the checklist for the airplane you're currently flying.
What's the "never exceed" (VNE) speed for the Boeing 747–400? You'll find the answer—and other important information—on the Reference page of the kneeboard.
You may already be familiar with ToolTips, the little bubbles that appear when you pause over buttons or other elements. In Flight Simulator, ToolTips are different than rollover help. ToolTips are used only on the aircraft panels and, as illustrated in the picture below, are small pop-up windows containing labels.
Many Flight Simulator aircraft have dynamic ToolTips that display the label and instrument values. For example, if you hold the pointer over the altimeter, it shows not only the name of the instrument, the instrument's current reading.
The aircraft with dynamic ToolTips are: