March 6, 2009

Flight Simulator X vs. Flight Schools

Are people more interested in Microsoft's Flight Simulator X for home computers or actual, real flight training?

I am fascinated with Google Trends, I think it's a thought-provoking resource. Type in two or three or more search terms and see how the number of searches varies over time. For example, type in "air shows" and you will see a seasonal peak in the summer flying months, and little in the off-season. Type the search term"online" and you see that people are increasingly looking for more and more things online.

Is this a good measure of a population's interest level in different topics?

Try "flight school" or any variation of that phrase. The results show a waning interest over time. That's no surprise if you are familiar with the FAA civil pilot statistics. Also try the search term "FSX" for Flight Simulator X. We see FSX was non-existant until mid-2006 when it was unveiled. At that time, interest in it skyrockets. For about a year the search volume for FSX is close to the search volume for flight school. Then, in 2008, FSX pulls ahead. More people are searching for a home flight simulator game than they are real flight training.

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