How is the sim different than Microsoft Flight Simulator?
The sim is an FAA-accredited training device. Unlike Microsoft Flight Simulator, time spent in the sim with a qualified flight instructor can be logged.

Does the sim move like a real plane?
No, you are probably thinking of the big simulators that are used by the airlines. The older term for the smaller stationary training devices was FTD, standing for "flight training device." Our sim is technically called an "advanced aviation training device", abbreviated as an AATD by the FAA, and it is equivalent to a level 3 FTD device.

Does it count towards flight time?
No, time logged in the sim cannot be counted as flight time. It is logged as FTD (or simulator) time and also as dual received. The flight instructor logs it as dual given and FTD (or simulator) time, but not as flight time.

Do I have to have an instructor with me?
In order to use the sim and log the time, you must be working with a certified flight instructor.

Where in the FARs does it say that an instructor must be present to log the time?
Actually it is not in the FARs. The requirement is in the FAA letter of authorization for the sim.

How much time can be counted towards an instrument rating?
20 hours of time spent in an AATD with a qualified flight instructor may be counted towards the minimum of 40 hours required for an instrument rating being pursued under Part 61. However many instrument students find it to their advantage to do more than 20 hours in the sim because it is so cost-effective.

Is it only useful for instrument work?
Not at all. It has many other uses, including GPS and autopilot training, as well as multi-engine training. It can even be used for part of the requirements for the private pilot license, although it cannot be used to fulfill the three hours of hood time required for the PPL. See our page on advantages of the sim.

Can it be used for instrument currency?
Yes, it is approved for the approaches and holding required to maintain instrument currency. It can be used for most but not all of a complete IPC. The FAA has ruled that certain tasks must be done in a plane (See Advantages)

Does it have different aircraft models?
Yes, it has several different aircraft models for both single-engine and multi-engine training. These are listed on the aircraft models page. You may not see your particular aircraft model listed, but the performance characteristics of most general aviation aircraft can be simulated with the listed set of models. The sim can be quickly switched between aircraft models and has the appropriate throttle quadrants for both single-engine and multi-engine training. It can even be configured as a King Air and has a King Air throttle quadrant.

Does it have glass capability?
The current sim can only show the standard "six pack" flight instruments. However Sim Flite Minnesota is adding second sim, and this is a G1000 model. Delivery is expected in the summer of 2010, as soon as our new sim facility is ready.

What are the big advantages of sim training?
In a nutshell, saving dollars! Sim training is the most cost-effective tool available to a pilot today. An expanded discussion of the advantages of sim training is available at advantages of sim training. The major advantages are

  • Teaching scan, both initial and remedial
  • Ability to realistically fail instruments
  • Ability to freeze everything in order to discuss what is happening.
  • A quiet sim is a far better learning environment that the noisy cockpit of a plane. So the learning process is truly enhanced in the sim environment.
  • Training scenarios that are not possible in a plane due to safety considerations, such as failing an engine at very low altitude.
  • Ability to reposition a student to repeat an exercise, such as an approach.
  • Time effective -- a lesson that would take three hours or more in a plane can be done in a hour or so in the sim.
  • Low cost! It is half the cost of renting a single-engine plane and a quarter the cost of renting a multi-engine plane.
  • Ability to learn the new technologies, such as a glass cockpit (G1000) and the integrated Garmin 700 autopilot, in a stress-free environment.

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