Monday, May 4, 2009

In The Simulator

I've been training in the ATC 610 simulator at Palomar College in San Marcos for a few months now. It's a fully FAA authorized simulator so when I have a CFII with me I can log the time. I can log up to 20 hours in the simulator and I am already at 14. My CFII (Certified Flight Instructor, Instrument) is Diane Hager and she has been great. She lets me do the flying and she lets me make the mistakes...THEN she adds a comment or two to help me understand why I got into trouble. Although I must say I've only been in trouble once or twice. Mostly it has been about fine tuning and gaining a higher level of understanding.

Most people say that the simulator is harder than an actual airplane and that's fine with me. My thinking was to tackle the hardest thing first. Theorizing that if I could master the simulator first, when I got into the airplane it would be far easier and I wouldn't be wasting any valuable air time. The reason people say the simulator is harder is because you don't get any sensations when flying it, no "seat of the pants" feel. I think that's a bit odd to worry about since one of the biggest things about flying on instruments (especially when you are in the clouds) is that you've got to train yourself to ignore the sensations and trust the instruments. Many times in an actual airplane, in the clouds, you will get false sensations and can really screw the pooch if you don't lock on to the instruments and interpret what they are telling you.

So, I've been able to fly the simulator without having to fight any wrong sensations and I've learned to fly solely by what the gauges are telling me. Next up: Getting into a real airplane and putting on a "view limiting device" while flying with a CFII.

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