Instrument Currency Training in the Sim

Aircraft Instrument Training in a Simulator

By Art Hayssen and Jim McCord, Instructors at Aircraft Simulator Training

If you have ever done any instrument training in an aircraft you know that the aircraft is a terrible teaching tool. What you don’t know, if you have never worked in a high end motion sim, is that you can do so much more for so much less and do it safer and quicker.

Let’s look at a list of comparisons

There is no wasted time taxing, or waiting to takeoff, especially in real IMC conditions. You can do the approaches you want, when you want them without concern for:

  • being vectored endlessly
  • opposite direction operations
  • or needing to do the entire missed approach procedure.

You can fly to minimums with weather, time of day, and turbulence set into the program. There is less time between approaches.  This also translates into less fatigue and a more productive training session.

A 90 minute to 120 minute sim session that could easily accommodate all of the elements of instrument proficiency, and more, would likely require 3 to 4 hours (possibly over multiple sessions) in an aircraft to reach the same objective.

Are There Cost Savings?

A simple single engine example

Your own Aircraft: 9 gph at $4.50/gal+ $20/hr. for maintenance & overhaul set aside would cost $181.50 for a 3 hour session

A Rental Aircraft: $150/hr. would cost $450 for a 3 hour session

Full Motion Simulator: 1.5 hours, would cost $105, saving $76.50 over the owned aircraft scenario, and $345 over the rental scenario

Other Benefits to the Simulator

  • You can do simulated failures that would be impossible or dangerous in the aircraft.
  • You can dial in the weather (any type) that you want to train in and you don’t wear a  hood.
  • You and your instructor can use quick repetition to fix bad habits and cement good ones.
  • You can pause the sim and take breaks.
  • The sim does not require rescheduling due to bad weather, maintenance or other issues that an aircraft would have.

Whether financial cost, time cost, or overall capability, a simulator session comes out ahead over the actual aircraft and you accomplish your instrument currency faster and safely.

Our sims handle a multitude of aircraft including turboprops and jets!


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