Whether you're a newcomer to flight, an experienced pilot in need of refresher training, or a lapsed pilot ready to return to the fold, the folks at EAA's Learn To Fly Discovery Center have something for you at EAA AirVenture this week. Ted Sanders and Mark Adams, both experienced CFIs, have put together a series of programs inside a sprawling tent just off the Phillips 66 Plaza at the center of the show. "Everyone has heard how the pilot population has been shrinking," Sanders told AVweb on Sunday. "We're here to sell people their own dream of flight, and share our own passion for aviation, all week long, and do our part to reverse that trend." One highlight at the tent is a Redbird full-motion flight simulator, where newbies can try an intro flight and experienced pilots can fly some challenging scenarios.
"Pilots can sign up for a full hour of free training that qualifies for Wings credit," said Adams. "That's a 20-minute briefing, 20 minutes in the sim, and 20 minutes debrief." Both instructors were enthusiastic about the capabilities and potential of the Redbird sim. The unit provides a disarmingly lifelike flight experience for the GA pilot, with a Garmin G1000 panel, a wrap-around screen filled with detailed landscapes, all the controls found in a Cessna 172, and realistic motions and control feedbacks for every slip and skid, climb and descent. For the show, it's been programmed to provide 10 different scenarios, about five minutes each, that address some of the top GA accident factors. The simulations require the pilot to cope with continued VMC flight into IMC conditions, crosswind and tailwind landings, short-field takeoffs and landings, night flying, and more. The Center is also hosting 14 forums on a range of topics, such as transition training, single-pilot IFR, and angle-of-attack awareness. All of the programs, including the simulator sessions, are free, but some require advance sign-up at the tent. AVweb's Mary Grady spoke with Sanders and Adams at the Center to learn more about their program; click here to listen.