We currently offer a massive range of downloads for FSX, as well as older flight simulator add-ons for the ever-popular FS2004, FS2002, CFS3 and now becoming ever popular with dediced virtual aviators is Laminar Research's X-Plane series.
Step one: Take out an Insurance policy to cover the airport, the plane, you, your passengers, the town and anything else in your path. Well just kidding.
THE REAL STEP ONE: Buy a joystick. It is possible to land a plane using the keyboard, but a perfect landing will require a joystick. I would suggest Microsoft products, but everyone has there favorite. My current joystick is a Sidewinder Precision 2. I would recommend that you buy a stick with rudder and throttle functions as well, such as mine has. Try out several at a store to get one that feels right but expect to pay at least $30. Sadly, you do get what you pay for.
Step two. Get good at controlling the plane. Start with the 172. I know it seems plain and boring to many people, but it will help you get good. Fly it without the auto pilot. Practice smooth climbs, descents, and turns. Get a feel for how slow the plane will fly with the flaps both up and down. In real life, a student learns to fly the plane in the air, and after a few hours, the instructor will let the student land the plane.
Step three: After you get good at flight, you should get good at approaches. To do a good approach, you should set up a rate of descent that requires you to hold just a bit of power. If you see that you are high, you can cut the power and increase your rate of descent. If you are low, increase the power and slow the rate of descent. Do not climb, just slow descent. This will bring you up on the proper descent path. Under no circumstances should you dive on the runway. If you are that high, go around and set up a better approach. With practice, you will be able to see just how high you are at any given time in relation to the runway.
Step 4: At the end of an approach, you will find yourself over the runway, at around 15-20 feet. You want to decrease power and slowly bring the nose up by pulling back on the stick. Your speed will lessen, your rate of descent will slow and you will hopefully stall just inches over the runway.
Problems you might ecounter. 1 Pulling back too fast on the stick when landing will cause you to climb. Your speed will also drop. You can attemp to slavage the landing by adding power and lowering the nose to keep the speed up and stop the ascent. Of course, check to see that the runway is long enough. You can also go around. However if you do nothing, You will stall many feet above the runway and crash.
2. Not pulling up fast enough. You will hit on the nose gear or not slow your rate of descent. It will be a hard landing. You will also bounce. In a worst case, you can than start to climb again. If this is the case. Start a go around.
3. Poor dirctional control. Make sure to land on both mains. If you land on just one wheel, you might head off the runway. The reason is that you are not level. THe only time you land on just one main is if you are battling a crosswind. DO NOT battle crosswinds while training.
GO AROUND. First of all, go arounds are safest when started early. Thus if you see that your approach is about to get you a DUI, you should go around, rather than try to land and risk crashing. The important steps in a go around are.
1. Increase power and stop the rate of descent. Bring the nose up.
2. Reduce the flaps. Do it slowly, one notch at a time. You should be careful not to sink. If you are at full flaps, immediately go to 20. Then start a shallow climb, when the speed comes up, go to flaps 10. Then retract them all the way.
3. DO NOT STALL. If you are low and then try to go around, but do not watch your speed, you will likely stall. Be careful
A stall is when the plane flys so slowly that it begins to fall from the sky. This is a simplified definition but will work for a student's purposes. Stalls are very dangerous when they happen at low altitudes. You should practice stalling with the flaps up and down around 3,000 feet to get a feel for them. To enter a stall reduce power to idle, then start pulling back the stick to hold altitude. Don't climb just hold altitude. When the plane starts to sink and you can not pull back any more, you have stalled To recover, you need altitude. But apply full power, push the stick forward, then start to pull back. If you have any flaps down, slowly bring them up. The trick is to pull back fast enough to not lose anymore altitude, but not so fast that you stall again.
Hit control + W to hide the panel for a better view of the runway.
Hit Shift + Enter to lower the view angle. This will affect your viewpoint, so hiding the panel is the better bet.
Most important part of making a good landing is a stabilized approach! That means (if flying a jet) you need to be lined up with the runway and at the proper approach speed with gear and flaps in the final landing configuration by the time you're about 3-4 miles out (for heavy metal like the 747, you should be maybe about 7 miles out). For larger jets you need to have a few degrees up pitch trimmed in as well. Once in this configuration you should regulate your decent rate using VERY GENTLE adjustments of the throttle (+/- 5%) and control airspeed using VERY GENTLE pitch adjustments (+/- 3*). In real life this condition is sometimes referred to as the reverse control region (throttle:altitude, pitch:airspeed). Maintain alignment using the rudder - again, gently! If you need to input larger changes, you're not in a stabilized approach.
And, as always, practice, practice, practice!
HINT: use the autopilot to maintain runway alignment (ILS/Localizer) and concentrate on pitch and thrust until you get comfortable with those controls. Kill the autopilot though before you cross the threshhold because it gets very sensitive and may result in overcorrection - and that's how they fly the heavy metal in real life anyway