Simulators are not Airplanes


Training is only as good as the teacher. When using a sim, even solid instruction can be unnecessarily inefficient (expensive), defeating the simulator’s major advantage.

For example, one CFII started each lesson on the ground, going through the start-up, taxi and takeoff. But, this student was well versed in ground procedures and just needed some VOR work. He paid for a lot of wasted time. Another CFI wasn’t sure how to reposition his student to repetitively practice procedure turns, so he vectored him all over the imaginary skies.

I came up with a few basic guidelines that I distribute to my CFIs as they start to use the sim.


• Identify specific tasks
that you want your student to master in each session.
• Place them in position for just those tasks, and know how to reposition
them to the exact same location they need to be.
• Probe for weaknesses and develop tasks just for those particular issues.
• Avoid reaching over and taking the controls- use the Pause button instead
and discuss what is going wrong.
• Allow them to experience the consequences of a bad decision, even if it
means having to reset the simulator.
Simply put, “Don’t teach an airplane lesson in a simulator.” -MM


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