I retired one year ago this month as an international captain for a major airline. I’ve been flying since I was fifteen and have over 25,000 hours of flight time. I knew I wanted to keep my hands in aviation after I retired. I thought about buying a share of a single-engine DA42. The cost was $1,500 a month. It would have provided me with 100 hours of flying a year. I also looked at the possibility of buying a share of a DA62 twin-engine at the cost of $5,000 a month. For reasons related to price and availability, I decided instead to invest $5,000 in a desktop computer and a VR headset to fly MSFS in VR.
I made the initial investment several months before my retirement and couldn’t wait to try it. I had a mixed reaction at first. I realized there was a huge learning curve, and the first time I tried the stock A320, I discovered that most of the aircraft’s functionality was missing. I put it on the back burner and waited until I had the time to learn the program.
In the weeks and months following my retirement, I went online and educated myself on exactly what I would need in the way of additional programs like Simbrief, Navigraph, and the Fenix A320 that would allow me to get the most out of MSFS.
I’ll admit that I spent way too much time watching Youtube videos. But the time was worth it. I can now say that flying MSFS in VR is as close as you can get to actual flight. And I’m someone who has hundreds of hours in multi-million dollar full motion simulators.
After conquering the basics of flying in VR, my next goal was to find something interesting to do. I started by recreating some of the more scenic flights from my airline days: Dallas to Jackson Hole, Las Vegas to San Francisco, and Seattle to Phoenix.
Then I noticed a few people doing around-the-world flights. That’s it, I thought. Why not see the world from the air? I set my starting point as DFW. I then worked my way across the Atlantic via Greenland and Iceland and on to Scotland, all in the A320. My most recent stop was London Heathrow. I also added a twist to my around-the-world flying. Wanting to see more of the surrounding landscapes, I decided that once I reached a new destination, I would fly around in the DA62 to take in the sights. If there are a lot of lakes and mountains, I’ll take off in a seaplane and land at some random mountain lake. I may even fly around in the sailplane if the conditions are right. Then it’s off to my next stop.
Had I spent the $1,500 a month to fly a real plane, my destinations would have been limited. I have completed only one-tenth of the destinations on this around-the-world journey. Once I complete it, maybe sometime this year, I plan to do another one, this time going in the other direction. Thank you, Asorbo and Microsoft, for creating such an immersive experience and allowing me to continue my love of flying.