Simulators in Civil Aviation

Simulators in Development, 2008 PFC Cirrus II Legacy Simulator that is re-certified Level 2

Simulators for aviation have been around a long time, certainly since I began using my home PC in 1989. I wanted my home PC to work flight sims since I was a new commercial pilot. I could see advantages to my aviation experience through the early flight sim software like Microsoft Flight Sim. Things have come a long way for sims from that time.

As an aspiring Private Pilot, how are these types of simulators an advantage?

Flight sim work in aviation training can be credited if the simulator is Accredited or Certified. These types of sims are attached to Flight Training Schools and serve to build skills necessary for the Private Pilot Licence and The Commercial Pilot Licence. Some flight time in these simulators is credited to the Instrument Flying portions of each licence. The alternative is doing this same work in the aircraft at twice the price. In some cases savings can be considerable. This sim time is allowed to be logged in your personal Logbook or Training record. However, nothing beats a real plane.

Can I get some skills and will they make me better?

Yes, you will become better and Simulators will build your skills. The whole point of the Simulator is to use it to practice knowledge given to you by your Flight Instructor. In fact it’s not the Sim that makes you better it’s what and how your Instructor uses it as a tool for your flying education that makes you better. A sim is just a fancy Game Boy… but with an experienced Pilot Instructor who knows how to use the sim to your advantage, is where the dynamics of learning aviation that makes you better really shines. What you practice and learn in the Sim is then used directly in the airplane the next time you fly. “I remember how we did VOR tracking in the sim, can we do it today in the plane”?

Does flying a sim really mean that you can really fly a real plane?

Yes and no, and some will debate me on this point of view. You need a real airplane to learn to fly in the real world, the sim won’t get you all the way there. The simulator will not give real world feedback that is needed for the total flight experience. One needs to fly a real plane initially to get the most out of Flight Simulators. I can’t learn to ride a unicycle by playing with the unicycle simulator, nor can I use the simulator to learn to do a real takeoff in the real world. But… I can practice in the simulator some knowledge and skills about how I will attempt to use a real airplane in a real environment in a real world takeoff. In the simulator you will try… But you need a real airplane to DO or DO NOT…

Can I save money with a Flight School Flight Sim?

You can save lots of money by using a sim, both at home and at the flight school. The simulator rents out at less than half the price of a real airplane, but the instructor fees are fixed at the instructor rate. The Cessna 172 is about $250 Canadian for an hour of flight training. The Simulator here rents out with an instructor at $100 CDN. Solo it’s $32.00 for practice that is not log able. So the required flying that you can do with your instructor in the simulator is significant. You will still have to do other required instrument training in the airplane.

Can I use the Simulator for Fun and still practice stuff that my instructor shows me in the airplane?

By all means, and if your instructor has developed good flying procedures in the airplane with you, you can practice them in the simulator to good effect that will enhance your overall ability to get ahead of the airplane in many flight situations. Some simulators that are good will be easy to do the normal things like traffic pattern work, slow flight, stalls and upper air exercises.

The Sim is Super at practising EMERGENCIES.

The most under used aspect of flight simulator practice is doing in flight emergencies and the Simulator is a device that shines at getting individuals to work through all the emergencies scenarios that one may or may not encounter in their aviation career. Everything can be practised and the big simulators use in the airline industry are used mostly for complex emergency procedure training. Your Flight Instructor should treat you to a few sessions in the simulator for doing fires, failures, and emergency landings. A good flight simulator will do all these kinds of things going wrong where one can practice what is reasonable to do.

Worth it

The time you will use in the simulator is worth it, and it’s a good plan to talk to your friendly neighbourhood flight instructor on how you will use the simulator to your advantage. They will know how to treat you to some good training in aviation with the simulator, don’t discount the sim sitting there in a back office of the local flight school.

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Free Aviation Education

Free you say?
I have to shell out big bucks for every flight for the airplane and the instructor. Yup you do, but just remember that education is all the time, in the plane or out.

The moment you put a booking onto the flight sheet for the next flight, is when the education for that flight begins. You are committing to a future event that you know will make you a better pilot. Perhaps its getting to solo, perhaps it’s a practice flight prior to your commercial flight test. So now that the mission is booked what do you do? Many people do very little, perhaps read a bit of assigned material that their instructor told them. Perhaps some people do more. So you get to your flight session and your instructor asks, “did you read that section on landings yet?” and you say “ah, no, not really”. Just then, you experience your flying account money get drained out sooner because now your instructor has to review more extensively the things he wants to cover in the flight, in the pre-flight briefing. Had you read that material beforehand then he would have skipped or skimmed over the material recognizing that you have a reasonable grasp of the things he wants to show you in the plane. Pre-Flight prep saves you big time in the briefing room and the airplane time.

The Aircraft is a horrible environment to learn something new, with the stress, noise, movements, yacking instructor. So you want to make the most of the things you do with the airplane while flying. It’s the place to practice the things that you have already learned. It’s a place to do stuff with your hands, feet and brain. Sure at times, your instructor will demonstrate new things, or fly the plane for you and do things with the plane that you would not have seen or done before. “hey, I have control, let me show you something that we are going to be doing next, or soon”… But at that point you will have many questions

So you go through your flying lesson and you do the aircraft handling that your instructor asks, and all is OK. You land, and complete the flight, fill out the papers and go away from the flight school. The rest of the day, or early evening, you review what the flying day was like and you go Hmmm. Why did my instructor do the landing the way he did? How does he do that? Why can’t I do that?

So you now realize that this is the opportunity to do some homework and review the mission of the day. “Just Because The Flight Is Over” does not mean that the learning has stopped. Many people go on with the rest of the week not giving more review thought to what went on during the last flight. They just barely do some minor review of what is to go on for the next flight. But some magic occurs in that reviewing the previous flight and getting your understanding of what you did wrong or what you did not like are clues that you can use to do some more homework.

Make a list of questions for the Instructor.

Practice the procedure routines for the different flight exercises that you have already completed. Commit these routines to memory. How you do Slow Flight, How you enter, and recover from a spin. How you set up your circuit, approach and landing.

Look up education, videos, anything on the internet to help you learn about your flying.

Read the manuals that your flying institutions provide, they are the backbone to what your flight instructor is going to do and show you.

Remember, the time you spend after each flight and before each flight is free flight training, you will not work so hard in the airplane and the briefing room with the pilot instructor that costs you big money.

The time you spend reviewing what you have done in the airplane that day, is a big deal that saves you good money. What if, as you sit there, with your coffee, you remember that demonstration of the approach your instructor did, but you were too distracted at the time being in the plane. Now, you review and remember just what he did and what he said at the time things were happening, just what was happening. AND Click… “I get why he did that”.

So you just taught yourself some flying and saved at least another circuit at, at dual rates. So next flight you remember, “I am going to try that, what he did on last flight” and so you do and it works.

The power of pre-flight and post flight preparation is a game changer, we all need to be working more, out of the plane, in our resting times, reviewing more and reading often.

The words your instructor says in the plane are words that come out of the textbooks. The last thing you need to be doing in the plane is not knowing a important word.

Take the time, do the homework read and review things you do and you will be a better pilot and save money for the future dream plane that you want, for real.

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Aviation Education Consulting

I have decided to open for business as an aviation education consultant. What is this and how can it help you? An aviation consultant can support your aviation activities in many different ways. Weather its airplane ownership, Flight Training education, General aviation flight operations or person to person, private aviation education in person or remotely delivered. The aviation enthusiast may find the need to contact someone like myself in order to be directed on the right path, in their journey through our experiences in general aviation. Rates are reasonable and can be tailored to your needs. More details in my Aviation Education section.

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    Project Log

    New addition to this website is a modest presentation of the repairing a 1966 Alon A2 Aircoupe. These are popular airplanes of the period and it’s nice to see another one getting improvements to make it work better. They are a fun airplane, sturdy, and forgiving. A fantastic conversation piece at fly ins and gatherings. Please have a look at the link on the home page for more details.

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    1966 Alon Aircoupe Rebuild Log.

    This website is going to be presenting a Rebuild thread on the very popular Alon A2 Aircoupe. It is a 1966 model in good condition and worthy of its progress being presented for those with an interest in Alon A2 Aircoupe to follow along and compare. This aircoupe in question is from BC. Canada and has recently changed hands to a new owner that has taken on the task of making much needed changes to bring this airplane up to Snuff.

    1966 Alon A2 Aircoupe
    66 Alon A2

    The project can be found in the main menu under 1966 Alon Aircoupe Rebuild Log.

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    Flight School in Trying Times

    Now is not the time to give up on your flight training just because the industry is on hold due to restricted travel. If you are in Private, Commercial, or Flight Instructor training phase, Keep Going. The industry is not in a demand downturn, its just on pause. Demand for travel will snap back and the industry will resume quickly. This may be a good time to focus on your flight training in order to be ready for the industry when it happens. Some flying job opportunities will remain around, like flight instruction, water operations up north and feeder airline flight activity. Find a flight school that is operating, they are deemed an essential service and are not closed. Find a way to fly every day, or at a minimum 3 times a week to keep pace. Remember that frequency of missions is the only way to save money, by not stretching times between flights. Flight schools will be happy to accommodate you as they need the business to keep the doors open. Stay on track, don’t let the health restrictions slow you down. Find a way.

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    Brandon Manitoba For Flight Training

    The heart of the flat land, makes Brandon Manitoba a great place for flight training. In the early stages of WWII, between 1939 and 1943, flight training was conducted here because of the great opportunities to develop pilots for the war effort. Weather is consistent and reasonable with many days remaining VFR. Winds are favoring into wind approaches that are regularly favoring the major runways. Local practice area is not far away, less than 10 minutes at normal cruise speeds. We have ILS, ADF, GPS approaches here into a 5000 foot runway which makes for reasonable IFR training. Surrounding area offers many smaller airports for short cross-country practice each with hard surface runways. Countless grass strips to explore and many places that entertain fly ins and breakfasts regularly. Traffic pattern activity is not busy and the ATC here is supportive of all flight activity. Local resources include the typical drive up windows for any number of eateries, and sometimes local transport can be obtained for the asking. Aircraft parking and fuel is always at hand with served or self serve support and hangarage at the local FBO. Happy faces are always here to greet you for support. Fly ins are always welcome.

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    An attempt at aviation blogging

    In an attempt at creating content in aviation related subjects, I have begun to blog some ideas and points of view for aviation enthusiasts on a regular basis. This post is an initial test.

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