These are the positively true adventures of a pretend pilot in his imaginary airplane.

In 1985, my father bought me a copy of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 2.0. He said that if I showed “some serious work” in using the simulator, “we [would] see about getting a joystick.” For the record, trying to fly an airplane with a keyboard is slightly more difficult than it sounds.

In those days, software came with books about how to use it. MS Flight Simulator 2’s had with fold out charts, marked with the radio frequencies for air traffic control towers, VOR beacons, and ILS’s of each of the four regions that had “detailed” maps in-game. While I confess to using the joystick to engage in childish antics, like buzzing the Willis Tower (was the Sears Tower at the time), taking off from the parking ramp at Logan, and landing on the GW Bridge (truly a test of skill), I had also learned how to triangulate my position using azimuths from two radio beacons, call air traffic control and callously ignore their instructions.

I routinely flew a run from Logan International (BOS) to LaGuardia (LGA) to Block Island (BID) just to practice. It was the only video game where I practiced playing it.

It’s fair to say I developed a lifelong fandom for “sims.” The first two video games I bought for myself were Wing Commander and Gunship 2000 (purchased them both at the same time). I got my first credit card because I had worn out a flight-stick (broke two inferior replacements in a weekend) and the quality one I wanted could only be purchased online. My rig includes a stick, throttle, and pedals with toe-brakes.

I have thousands of simulated hours. Most of them are mundane, but sometimes something worth telling a story about happens. That’s what you’ll find here.


A Little Excitement Over Georgia
Bingo Was What They Called It
Shiny New Aircraft Wreckage
My Un-Helpful Co-Pilot
A-10 Ground School
My Un-Helpful Wingman
Alternate Egress
My Un-Helpful CAP
Revenge of the Pig-Eye
Don’t Text and Fly Helos
Spooky Luck
Practice Messing Up or Mess Up Practicing

Disclaimer for real pilots