Nope, it's not real radio. I see it as a simulation of real HF. I don't own an airplane, but I enjoy the sophisticated flight simulators available today and "fly" for a virtual airline.
My trap dipole lying on my roof, 80M Isotron and discone in the attic let me get out on "real" radio. But, at the bottom of the sunspot cycle, while I can do OK on CW and other digital modes, I don't do too well on voice.
Until I can put up a full size antenna again that doesn't have to be hidden, I don't see anything wrong with using QSONet and EchoLink to simulate what I can't do on the HF bands right now.