Pilot's tip of the week

Using a Sim at Home

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Subscriber question:

"While my IFR training is on pause, I'm trying to keep sharp. My instructor says if I buy a home sim he can set up automatic failures and give me exercises to fly. But we can't log any of it and the sim isn't cheap. Is this worth it?" — Daisy P.

Doug:

“Simulators can be incredible.

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 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 do you log in the way of experience? What’s put in that experience logbook? So, simulators can be incredible.”

Was simulator time part of your pilot training? (VFR or IFR)

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