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Importance of Simulator Training

Source:, Featuring Doug Stewart

Subscriber question:

"What is the value of training in a simulator rather than in the airplane (aside from cost which is obvious)? Specifically, I'm referring to Instrument training. Do I need to find an instructor that uses a simulator as part of the training?" - Doug P.


"You want to find an instructor who has a simulator. I can simulate every failure, the way they really occur. What these failures really look like!

So when I simulate a vacuum pump failure (in the sim), I don't just whip out two Post-Its and slap them over your attitude indicator and your DG (directional gyro). That's not what it looks like when a vacuum pump fails. I can actually simulate the way it really fails. That attitude indicator starts to drift slowly. The heading indicator won't hold. You kind of wonder what's going on. Nothing's making sense. DG's turning one way; turn coordination is showing another. You're scratching your head.

Did you remember to include the vacuum gauge in your scan? Let me guarantee you that if you go in a simulator and have somebody do this to you, actually fail the vacuum pump, you'll start to explore that.

Or, perhaps maybe they fail your oil pressure. Have you looked at your oil pressure on departure? You're going to take off into a 300-foot ceiling. On take-off roll, your oil pressure is gone. Your engine's going to quit not too long into the flight. You didn't notice your oil pressure was gone. Well, if you've done this in a simulator, you can get up in the clouds and your engine will quit. And you know, you crash and you laugh. But you've learned: Hey, I'll check oil pressure next time I take off.

So simulators can be incredible."

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