As a consequence of my reanimated interest in Rise of Flight, I’m haunting flight sim fora. They are unpopulated, and the regular users engage in recriminations and fingerpointing to the nth degree, clearly symptoms of contracting demand. I have no idea why the market for this has gone away and don’t really care enough to try to figure it out. But today, buried amidst the unappealing crumb-fights, I came on a new phrase.

One of the responses to the commercial abandonment of the sector was the emergence of varying open-source sims, one approach of which is generically termed DCS, for digital combat simulator. I think the idea was initially to create a reference data set incorporating feature definitions and APIs that would permit cross-platform, open-source development of various hardware simulations, not just airplanes.

At any rate, the outcome in flightsim-land has been incredibly detailed simulations of cockpits for a variety of aircraft. The primary application of the sim, then, is procedural familiarization for extant real-world aircraft. The new term I learned today? “Study sim,” for sims that emphasize extremely detailed interactive representations of every little thing necessary to complete an actual flight procedure on an actual aircraft. I love the term.