The question is what does a good sim facility offer a pilot? The answer, simply put, is a lot. There is a reason the airlines use sim training. The bottom line is that it works.

Let's face it; it's getting increasingly expensive to fly. The economy may be going south, but that's no reason to let your skills follow suit. The sim offers you the most cost-effective means to keep your skills sharp. Its effectiveness goes far beyond obtaining an instrument rating. Here is a quick look at the many advantages of sim training.

  • Initial instrument rating
    • The sim can be used for 20 hours towards the initial instrument rating under Part 61.
    • The basis of all successful instrument flight is an organized method of looking at the instruments. This is called scan, and the sim is superb for teaching scan. It forces the pilot to really look at the instruments, because there is no feedback from external stimuli, such as aircraft motion.
    • The ability to pause (or freeze) the sim and discuss what the instruments are really telling you. Frankly the cockpit of an airplane is a terrible teaching environment. The sim, with its ability to go into freeze mode, allows the instructor to teach the pilot what is happening real-time without having to try to fly the plane at the same time.
    • The ability to fail an instrument in a realistic manner.
    • The ability to instantly reposition the pilot to repeat the exercise.
    • It is a much better and much less expensive teaching environment.

  • Instrument currency and IPC
    • The sim can be used for instrument currency, as all the necessary approaches and holding can be done in the sim.
    • The sim can also be used for most of an IPC. There are some tasks for which the FAA does not allow the sim to be used. Per the January 2010 Instrument PTS, for an AATD (Advanced Aviation Training Device, like the Elite), three tasks must be done in an airplane. Two apply to both multi-engine and single-engine aircraft. The third applies only to multi-engine.
      • Circling approach
      • Landing from a straight in or circling approach
      • One engine inoperative instrument approach (multi-engine)
    • Really give your scan a workout. How long will it take you to detect that your attitude indicator went south ten minutes ago and has slowly been feeding you bad information?
    • Maybe you think you are doing a great job of holding altitude, but then again maybe it's because your pitot-static system is frozen.
    • Many customers come in monthly. A monthly session will keep your instrument skills sharp and also allows time to focus on handling emergencies or less common instrument procedures.
    • Sim Flite Minnesota can provide a certificate of training for your insurance company.

  • Learn Glass
    • With the impending arrival of the G1000 glass sim, you can learn how to fly a glass cockpit in a stress-free environment.
    • You will be able to take advantage of experienced instructors in order to gain proficiency with the G1000 and the concept of the glass cockpit.
    • If you are an instructor seeking to enhance your skills, the addition of proficiency in glass will be a big plus for you.

  • GPS training
    • Learning how to truly use an IFR GPS is much easier in the sim, as well as far more economical.
    • The computer-based simulation programs provided by Garmin are certainly better than nothing, but many people find them difficult to use.
    • The transfer of knowledge from the computer simulation to the actual GPS in an airplane is less than effective. The sim, with an actual Garmin 430, allows you to push buttons and twist knobs exactly as you would do it in a plane. This knowledge transfers directly to the plane, making it an ideal way to learn the GPS.
    • The current Garmin 430 GPS in the sim will soon be upgraded to a Gamin 430W, so you can learn the latest in WAAS capability.
    • The sim can also provide training for the Apollo GX50 series of IFR GPS units.

  • Autopilot and flight director training
    • A good autopilot is an instrument pilot's best friend. The sim can teach you how to smoothly integrate an autopilot into your cockpit resource management.
    • The sim provides hands-on experience in using a KAP 150 autopilot
    • The sim also provides hands-on experience in using the KFC 150 flight director, which is a KAP 150 autopilot that incorporates a flight director.
    • You can also learn the Garmin integrated 700 autopilot in the G1000 sim

  • Multi-engine, both initial and recurrent training
    • The sim is an excellent way to learn both the normal multi-engine procedures as well as the engine-out procedures.
    • Again, the sim forces you to really learn the engine-out procedures very methodically since you must rely on the instruments to tell you what is going on.
    • An engine can be failed at 50' or 100' agl, which would never be done in a plane.
    • The sim will teach you to really respect a Vmc roll-over. Lose an engine on a short-field take-off and you may find yourself upside down.
    • Recurrent training is vital in today's world. Although the sim is not approved for insurance-mandated recurrent training, it is a great tool for the aircraft owner wishing to to demonstrate on-going training when it comes time to renew their insurance.

  • Trip training
    • If you're planning a trip, the sim is a great place to run through the approaches you might need at your destination as well as refueling stops.
    • If you are planning on flying as co-pilot in an unfamiliar airplane or perhaps with unfamiliar avionics, the sim can help familiarize you. If it doesn't have the exact aircraft model or avionics, it can most likely provide a similar configuration.
    • Are you a snowbird headed south for the winter? The sim is a great way to take an advance look at the approaches at your winter home airport.

  • Interview prep
    • The sim is a great tool for preparing you for an interview.
    • Most airlines use a sim to test an applicant's flying skills.
    • The sim can be set up for approaches all over the country, making it possible to customize the training for your interview.
    • The sim can also be configured as a BE-200 King Air. This gives you the opportunity to become comfortable with turbine instruments as well as flying at higher airspeeds.

  • Part 135 training
    • The sim is routinely used to prepare pilots for a Part 135 checkride.
    • You can really hone your engine-out skills as well as other favorite Part 135 checkride exercises, such as DME arcs and holding.


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