Pilot's tip of the week

Simulating IFR Emergencies


Subscriber question:

"I've read that the only way to really simulate IFR emergencies is with a simulator, but my instructor says it's fine to just use the airplane. Do I need to find an instructor who will do simulator-based IFR training?" — Daisy P.


“You want to find an instructor who has a simulator.

Now, the simulator doesn’t have to be a fancy Level-D that Flight Safety is running down in Orlando. I’ve just got a desktop flight training device. I can simulate every failure—the way they really occur.

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.

You know, that attitude indicator starts to drift slowly, the heading indicator won’t hold. DG’s turning one way; turn coordination is showing another. You’re scratching your head. You kind of wonder: What’s going on? 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, you’ll start to explore that.

Maybe they fail your oil pressure on departure. 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.

A lot of people say, ‘I can’t log that.’ Well, who cares about what you put in your logbook? What’s really important is: What you log in the way of experience? What’s put in that experience logbook? Simulators can be incredible.”

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