Flight Sim Coach

Bring a certified flight instructor into your home flight simulator

I'm a real-world pilot
I'm a flight sim enthusiast

Welcome to FlightSimCoach.com! I'm Mike, and I'm excited to help you get the most out of your flight sim experience.

I provide remote coaching services to clients using any type of flight simulator, including: X-Plane, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, FSX, and Prepar3D.

Subscribe for my free flight sim landing tips guide and invites to group training sessions.

Real-world pilots: Save time and money. Maximize proficiency.

Setting up for slow flight. The procedures for handling an engine failure. Radio phraseology. VOR navigation. Briefing an instrument approach.

Should these topics be introduced in an actual airplane, where you are under stress and paying $200/hour with instructor? I don't think so!

Do you have a computer and a joystick?  If so, my Remote Flight Sim Coaching sessions could save you $1000 on your Private Pilot training.  And give you a priceless amount of confidence. Don't believe us? Ask Rod Machado.

The benefits of desktop sims in the news

Training Modules

Private pilot training modules - click for more info
Instrument rating - click for more info
Misc modules - click for more info
Over a period of two semesters, a young college student with two intro flights in his logbook acquired approximately 60 hours of supervised training using a desktop flight simulator.

Instead of riding along passively, he asked the accompanying flight instructor to let him do everything—and I mean everything—including talking with ATC, taxiing, flying, et cetera.

The result? With less than two hours of actual flight time, the student handled the airplane and ATC with ease. The instructor touched nothing, much to his surprise.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the guidance of a highly skilled instructor…Rod Machado

Example: Benefits for Private Pilot Training

Save over $1000!

Click for further details on pricing

The average time to get a private pilot certificate is 60-75 hours.  The FAA only requires 40 hours.  Can you finish at the minimum cost, while being trained to exceed the minimum standard?

Suppose that with 20 hours of simulator instruction, and substantial "solo" simulator practice, you could shave off 10 hours of real-world aircraft training time.

This is a tremendous cost savings!  Considering a $140/hour airplane and $60/hour instructor, around $2000!

Spending 20 hours of remote simulator instruction at $40/hour (for a total of $800), means that effective simulator instruction can save you a net total of: $2000 (airplane cost) - $800 (remote sim instruction cost) = $1200!

Using desktop simulation, it is much easier to clearly communicate certain maneuvers and concepts than in a real aircraft.

  For example, I frequently draw graphics directly onto your simulator, such as an example technique to fly a proper traffic pattern size.

Improved training quality and efficiency

Desktop simulation offers many other training advantages that will improve your flight training experience.

The power of "pause". Unlike in real-world training where it's not possible to do an in-depth debriefing until you're on the ground (and probably an hour has passed!), in the sim, we can pause at any point to discuss a maneuver in-depth or help you fully understand a confusing concept. This is extremely powerful, and it is one of the reasons that each hour of simulator coaching can be far more impactful than an hour of real-world instruction.

Improved confidence. You can efficiently practice procedures many times before you ever step in a real aircraft, and learn to handle situations that are much more difficult that you could safely or reliably practice in real life. After all, this is how the airlines approach training - and for a good reason!

After your training session, you will have an effective platform for solo practice at home. In any weather. At any time of day. At zero cost to you.

Scheduling flexibility and consistency. Pre-solo training at night? This is no problem in your home sim, where we control the environment.

Your home sim is a more relaxed environment than the real airplane, leading to improved learning.

I teach strict discipline to real-world procedures and airmanship principles - for example, clearing turns and constant engine out landing site awareness.

You can start practicing practical procedures and maneuvers while you’re studying for your written knowledge exams, making the information you’re learning more meaningful.

Finally, with desktop simulation, it is far easier to conduct Scenario-Based Training, given the ability to set any scenario on demand (weather, aircraft loading, airport, etc.).

Training in the Cessna 172? We have partnered with the Reality Expansion Pack (REP) 172SP as our preferred X-Plane 172 add-on. 

The REP provides an unparalleled level of realism. Above all, the flight dynamics are replaced to match the real world data provided by Cessna, giving your simulator the most realistic takeoff/landing speeds, pitch/power settings, stall characteristics, etc. This will make it easier to transition between our coaching sessions and your real-world training.

Visit SimCoders.com for more information.

Flight simulator enthusiasts: Learn real-world tips and tricks

I work with flight sim enthusiasts of all levels to bring their flight simulation experience to the next level.

Maybe you just purchased your first flight simulator and need someone to walk you through the basics.

Or perhaps you've been flying for hundreds of hours, and want to know how make your sim experience even more realistic.

At some point, you may want to connect to an online ATC (air traffic control) network. For many people, this can be quite intimidating. I can help by walking you through every step of the process so that there is nothing to fear, whether you fly on PilotEdge, VATSIM, or IVAO, and provide individualized training, following the network's training syllabus.

We can train in any aircraft that you choose and at any airport in the world.

No longer do you need to spend hours reading confusing tutorials and watching endless YouTube videos. You will have a patient, experienced instructor by your side to help you achieve mastery of your simulation experience. In just one session, you will likely learn much more than you could have with many days of self-study.

Finally, if you have ever dreamed of taking flight lessons in real life but the cost has held you back, now is your chance! I offer this training at a fraction of the cost of real-world flight lessons.


Example training goals

  • Follow my actual flight training syllabus (private pilot, instrument, commercial, etc.) as if you are a real life flight student, at a tiny fraction of the cost of real-world flight lessons
  • Learn how to talk to Air Traffic Control
  • Practice simulated multi-pilot crew operations
  • Practice emergency procedures
  • If you just purchased a new flight sim add-on, get guidance in learning to fly your new aircraft
  • Get guidance flying in/out of the world's most challenging airports
Sim enthusiast training modules - click for more info

Frequently asked questions and concerns

  • For some topics, like those involving motion, seat of the pants feel, or dependence on muscle memory, yes.
  • However, consider that if you’re trying to save money, the Redbird likely costs upwards of $80/hr to operate.  A desktop simulator costs $0/hr.
  • Other advantages of desktop training:
    • train from the convenience of home
    • can easily record/replay maneuvers
  • The value you get from simulator training, and the likelihood of not developing bad habits, is highly dependent on the quality of the instruction you receive.  An FAA-certified instructor is trained in the fundamentals of teaching and learning. One of the most important aspects of this is the “law of primacy”, which the FAA describes as:
    • Primacy, the state of being first, often creates a strong, almost unshakable impression and underlies the reason an instructor must teach correctly the first time and the student must learn correctly the first time.
  • A high-quality real-world instructor will be able to teach you properly, using real-world procedures and airmanship thinking, from day 1.  This will help to avoid costly “reteaching” of material and fixing bad habits you would otherwise develop on your own, without the help of an instructor.
  • An experienced, real world CFI can help mitigate this, by explaining what things may feel or behave differently in the actual aircraft versus the simulator.  In general, like we discuss here, we do not attempt to train skills that are highly dependent on seat of the pants feeling.
  • Even though the simulator may not react to your control inputs in the same way the real airplane would, this can be a good thing for developing your flexibility as a pilot.  You will have to learn to adapt to multiple aircraft types as you fly new airplanes as a pilot; think of your simulator as being just one of those many aircraft types you will eventually want to learn.
  • We maintain a list of suggested aircraft models to use with superior aerodynamic modeling

No, this type of desktop simulation is not considered loggable by the FAA because it is not in an approved simulator. It’s simply a supplement to your real-world flight training. However, we are confident that training with us will reduce your actual number of hours required in the actual aircraft – significantly reducing the cost of your pilot training.

  • Your CFI will simulate ATC communications
  • Optionally, you may connect to a virtual ATC network such as VATSIM or PilotEdge

Joystick/yoke sensitivity can be adjusted. We can help you with this. However, keep in mind that if you’re able to come even close to meeting standards with a sensitive joystick, doing so in a stable, real aircraft will be much easier.

No; video sharing can be done at the discretion of you and your instructor

We provide support for setting up your simulator in the form of articles and setup consultation

If the instructor is marked as having a flight simulator setup of their own, they will be able to provide demonstrations (see instructor list)

Yes, although one advantage of simulator training is that it’s easier to debrief maneuvers immediately after they happen, when they’re fresh in your mind.

No! Virtual pilots from the enthusiast flight simulation world are also welcome to receive instruction/coaching from our team of CFIs – giving you an unparalleled simulation experience.

There is no minimum age to work with our instructional team. Only a willingness to learn!

  • Our sim training is all about maximizing the benefit relative to your real-world flight training.  Each student learns differently, and may have different goals. When you sign up, however, we will recommend two possible paths relative to your real-world flight training:
    • complete/introduce as much of the syllabus as possible, before starting real-world flight training. Based on your preference, we could consider this “complete” either when you’ve:
      • had a basic introduction to the maneuver, or
      • met PTS standards
    • train in-line (in parallel) with your real-world lessons, coordinating with your real world CFI.  For example, your real-world CFI plans to have you practice slow flight tomorrow, so the day prior, with your ZeroSideslip instructor, you spend an hour practicing the procedures and techniques for slow flight in preparation for the lesson


  • This is a valid concern.  This is one of the main reasons to use a skilled instructor – to ensure that the proper habits of using “sight picture” are taught from day one.
  • This can also be mitigated by using a more realistic view point
    Good for VFR students

    Bad for VFR students
    (too much focus on the instrument panel)

    While I firmly believe in the value of desktop simulator training, there are definite limitations.  Here are some items that impractical to teach well in a desktop simulator environment:

    • Takeoffs / landings:  While there is definite training value in practicing traffic patterns and approaches, we cannot effectively teach landings in a simulator, as they are highly dependent on seat of the pants feel, proper height above runway/visual cues with peripheral vision, etc.  However, the good thing is that when you don’t have to think as much about the other tasks which we can effectively train in the simulator (the relationships between pitch and power, approach procedures, monitoring ATC, etc.), you will be able to focus more on just landing the airplane, and learn landings more quickly.
    • Preflight / fueling procedures / walkarounds / postflight
    • Seat-of-the-pants cues, such as the feeling of uncoordinated flight and buffeting as you get close to stall
    • Muscle memory (pushing buttons on the GPS, for example) – unless you have a more sophisticated setup with physical hardware or touchscreens

    Minimum Equipment

    • Internet upload speed of approximately 2 Mbps (check yours at Speedtest.net).  This is to ensure that I’ll be able to see your simulator in real-time and at a high enough frame rate. There are alternative solutions available if you have less than 2 Mbps – just ask.
    • Skype or other VoIP program with screen share capability
    • A simulator, such as:
      • FSX
      • X Plane
      • Flight Gear (free!)
      • Prepar3D
    • Yoke or joystick
    • Headset/mic

    Additional Preferred Equipment 

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    About your flight instructor

    The key to your simulator training saving you money (and avoiding bad habits) is to have a high-quality, experienced instructor by your side.

    My experience with flight simulation began early on. In third grade, a routine trip to a local department store turned into a life-changing experience.
    A flight simulator in the game section called ProPilot caught my eye, and with the persuasiveness of a 9 year old, I managed to convince my mom to buy the game.
    My intense obsession with this computer program worried my mom. "Don't you ever think about becoming a pilot!" she warned me, as if becoming a pilot would be a sure death sentence.

    Looking at the photo of me and my mom in the flight deck, you can see what happens when you tell a 9 year old to not do something!

    I owe my life to flight simulation. Without it, I wouldn't have had the life-changing experiences of becoming a private pilot at age 17, flight instructing throughout the US, designing new flight deck technologies at Boeing, and flying Embraer jets throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico.

    Today, my passion lies with teaching - and helping others utilize their flight simulators to achieve their goals.
    Whether you're a student pilot trying to save money on your flight training, or a flight sim enthusiast trying to maximize the realism of your flight sim experience, there's a training plan for you.

    I have 10 years of experience in guiding students of various levels towards achieving their aviation goals. I'm passionate about aviation safety, and my former students can attest to my patience, high standards, and safety-focused approach.

    After years of flying general aviation aircraft and airliners across the United States, I can easily adapt to local airspace and procedures. This allows us to work together regardless of where you typically fly.

    My training philosophy is simple. Safety is the top priority, so I teach correct habits and procedures from day 1. It's always easiest to learn it right the first time! I am also obsessive about customer service and ensuring my students get the most out of each hour of training together. Each time we work together, you can expect a well-planned, interesting, and efficient lesson.
    It’s simple. If you're not happy with our training, I don't want your money!


    In my first session with Mike, we used a sim flight from KDEN to KASE to go over the subtleties and challenges of flying a SID from a Class B to a challenging mountain airport using the G1000 flight planning and autopilot.

    In addition to being a commercial pilot, Mike has an extensive knowledge of X-Plane. I learned a lot of new X-Plane tricks like speeding up the sim to bypass sections of the flight not relevant to the training goals, how to video tape and retrieve your flight with actual instrument readings from each moment of the flight, activating an approach vs. a leg, and the use of VNAV in departures and approaches. We also discussed how to best handle autopilot settings with ATC vectors that deviate from the SID.

    Can't say enough about Mike's knowledge and teaching skills. It's like having a CFI on call for simmers, as well as those training for their PPL or Instrument Ratings. His fees are super reasonable. Serious simmers and pilots in training are fortunate to have this resource available!

    - Scott F.

    I realized that it would be a great idea to have a real instructor somehow next to me. I found Mike’s website with exactly the services I was looking for - remote flight sim instruction. I have already had three lessons with Mike who is a real world CFI. I would like to say thank you to him and here is why.

    1. Mike is a good coach with a great flying experience. He really works hard and he is a professional at what he does. He provides lots of theory and practice knowledge.

    2. He has built a clear training plan for me based on my requirements, which we follow.

    3. Remote sim training is a rather new service in the market, but Mike has organized the whole process very efficiently.

    Of course, there is huge difference between sim and the real plane. However, in sim you can learn how to do the exercises and to do them correctly, you can study and learn most of the in-air procedures, you can correct your mistakes and train your muscle memory.

    I would recommend this service to all real-life student pilots. Moreover, this will save you money, believe me.

    - Leo


    Free Consultation


    • Ensure a good instructor-student match
    • Discuss your training goals
    • Verify your sim setup

    Small Group Sessions


    Per 90 minute session
    • Ride along on Zoom as Mike flies his simulator
    • Maximum 4 participants – allowing you the chance to ask questions and participate in the flight
    • Various topics, suited for a range of of skills and interests
    Learn more

    Let's go fly!  To get started...

    Whether you would like more information or if you're ready to jumpstart your training, simply provide your name + email address (minimum) and I'll get in touch.

    I'll check that your internet speed is sufficient, develop a training plan, and provide you with my online calendar to schedule your training.

    If you have questions, please contact me directly at mike@zerosideslip.com

    Training Sign-Up Form