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Value of Simulators


Featuring Doug Stewart

You want to find an instructor who has a simulator. The simulator doesn't necessarily have to be a fancy Level D that Flight Safety is running down in Orlando. I've just got a desktop PCATD - personal computer aviation training device. It's the least expensive that Elite makes, but I can simulate every failure, the way they really occur. So when I simulate a vacuum pump failure, I don't just whip out two Post-Its and slap them over your attitude indicator and your DG. That's not what it looks like when a vacuum pump fails. I can actually simulate the way it really fails.

A lot of people say, Well, I can't log that. I can only log 10 hours of that towards my rating. Once I have my rating, I can't log any of that. Who cares about what you put in your logbook? What's really important is what do you log in the way of experience? What's put in that experience logbook.

What do these failures really look like? Let me tell you, when a vacuum pump fails, it isn't somebody just slap, slap two Post-It's over two gauges, saying, "there - you lost your vacuum pump. What are you going to do?" That attitude indicators 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, Ha, ha, and you go have a cold frosty one, but you've learned. Hey, I'll check oil pressure next time I take off.

So simulators can be incredible.

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