Student Forum - Ask a CFI


I don’t know how many students there are out there that use flight aware, but I thought it would be nice to post a blog for students to ask questions to those of us CFI members here at flight aware. If you have questions, be sure and post them…I am quite sure that one of us will be able to find the time to help you with the answers…

Safe Flying!



I’m not a pilot (YET!!!) but I fly on FlightGear ( When I’m turning onto final, I usually turn too slowly or not fast enough to line up with the runway. :frowning: How do I line up with the rwy on my base to final turn? Thanks, this a good thread.


Well fltsiming is much different than real flying, and we dont really want to go there. But as a rule of thumb, you want to start to reduce power and start descending when the airplane is abeam the end of the runway on a downwind leg. You can usually turn base when the airport is 45 degrees behind your shoulder. The turn to final is more of a ‘feel’. Depending on your speed and wind conditions, you have to practice at it until you get it right. You’ll get a feel for how soon you should turn at a normal rate to get lined up. In a real plane it can be easier to increase or decrease the bank angle to time the turn just right.
On the sim, you can turn base as late os you want, give yourself a nice long final to get lined up, then you can practice turning base sooner.


Note that I am not a CFI. I have my private, and I was heavy into flight sims prior to beginning my training. There are advantages and disadvantages to becoming flight sim proficient prior to taking flight lessons. For those, like myself, who approach a flight sim as more than a game, one of the best things is that you have a sense of procedures and terminology before ever stepping in a real cockpit. You know and can use instruments with ease. However, one of the disadvantages is that you know and can use instruments without appreciating the necessity of looking out the window for traffic. Also, bad habits learned on a flight sim may be hard to break in the real airplane.
Yet, even with my license, I do find the flight sim to be a useful tool. I use it to keep proficient when I’m away at school and don’t have as many oppotunities to fly in reality.
As far as the turn to final - it’s a lot easier in real life than on the flight sim, and once you do it in real life it becomes a lot easier on the flight sim.