Let’s say you wanted to leverage a Cessna 172 simulator to supplement or to take the place of actual flight training in the air. How effective would a simulator be as a training tool?
Today’s Cessna 172 simulator software is so sophisticated that you interact with it just as though you were interacting with its real counterpart.
In fact, for instrument rated flight trainees (who must learn to fly solely by reference to the instruments with no visual reference to the ground), there is very little difference between a simulator lesson and an actual lesson “under the hood”.
The sum total of all aircraft controls, aircraft aerodynamics, and control responsiveness, and the simulator aircraft’s interaction with simulated weather conditions are an extension of real world physics, aerodynamics, and mechanics.
The feat of software engineering involved in the development of Cessna 172 simulator software is constantly evolving and improving to become more realistic and to encompass a broader range of real-world scenarios. You can literally control every aspect of an Cessna aircraft within a simulator. You can experience the actual effects of your control inputs and their subsequent effects of weather on a Cessna aircraft.
This realism is so accurate that the transition from flying the simulator to flying a real aircraft is seamless. You would have no difficulty “readjusting” to the real world counterpart of the simulator aircraft.
It goes without saying that Cessna 172 simulator programs for the PC are as true to life as you can possibly get.