Can a simulator pilot with no real flying experience fly a perfect pattern?

Steve, the blogger behind a mile of runway will take you anywhere, has posted a story and video about how an airline pilot named Steve Satre (who is also a blogger and the author of two of the “greatest aviation threads in internet history”: Two Plus Two and FlyerTalk) met a guy named Tyler with a huge amount of flight simulator experience who wanted to see if that type of experience could turn him into a real pilot in a real aircraft – on the first try. Of course, there were some rules in the experiment e.g. Steve could not say anything unless Tyler was endangering their safety or the aircraft and then he would have to relinquish control.

You can read an introduction to the whole story here on Steve Satre’s blog along with a detailed follow-up post about the flight itself. Tyler has also put together a lengthy 14 minute long video where he begins by talking, talking and talking some more for the first several minutes of it with the airport action starting at the six minute mark or so:

To spoil things a little bit, Steve already had his mind made up in the very beginning about how the experiment would end:

There was no doubt in my mind that I’d have to take over the plane, but I wanted to see just how well he could do on his first time in a plane.

However, Steve ended up writing that he had to congratulate Tyler because he had just made a “mockery of my entire life” while the later acknowledged that the real airplane is “a whole lot different than flying the simulation software, but it obviously gave him the basics.”

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