A Florida flight school is the first to use a new Frasca “high fidelity” motion simulator for its students. The Frasca 172 Advanced Aviation Training Device was recently installed at Epic Flight Academy in New Smyrna Beach. It incorporates features and technology found on full motion simulators used by military and commercial operators but tailored to the needs of ab initio flight training facilities. Among those features is the Motion Cueing System, a six-axis motion base and high-definition wraparound visual systems.
“Epic Flight Academy is the first flight school in the world to have a Cessna 172 FTD with this high level of motion system. They are leading the way in flight training by providing this very high fidelity device for their students,” said John Frasca, president of Frasca International Inc. The company worked with the school to set up the system to make the most of the enhanced features in their specific training environment.
This is a great step forward! While there is no substitute for “the real thing” today’s sims are pretty darn close! I wish these kinds of sims had existed way back in the stone age when I went to UPT / learned to fly the T-29 (CV-240) / learned to fly the C-141. By the time I retired and got to the ATR-42 then the 747, sims had progressed multi-exponentially and I loved them for learning and checking. If you needed to work on a specific item, multi-repeats were simple as can be. With today’s computers and systems, these things need to be everywhere! They should be especially helpful with instrument training and refresher work. These need to be at every GA airport with enough pilots in the area to support one! Imagine, fly in on a gorgeous morning, have breakfast, or whatever, get a briefing, fly an hour or two in real, dicey instrument conditions, get debriefed, get coffee, then fly home in that same beautiful weather!
For initial training, can’t beat it for teaching visual cues, and repeating maneuver parts that are stumping the student. Get them well up to speed at a far cheaper cost before they ever climb into an airframe. Today’s sims really work! Even back in 1994, my very first 747 landing was on a revenue leg, at ANC, visual to 14 with no VASI (notamed out), and I felt very comfortable. And, today’s sims are much, much better that what we had back then!
I’d be curious to know why it doesn’t qualify as a FSTD, instead of the ATD that it apparently is. Being an ATD significantly limits it in regulatory capability.
Just to clarify, FSTD includes both FTDs and FFS, ATD includes legacy ATDs, AATDs and “everything else”. In 141, for Private Pilot certification, you can credit FTD time towards 15% of hour requirements. An AATD gets you nothing in that course.
For the student pilot who intends to fly for a living (airlines) this is great. It will get you used to dealing with a simulator right from the start. The problem I have is how does this work with the person who wants to fly as a weekend hobby? Where is the “fun” factor? Unless you are into computers or video games I just don’t see how this will attract more persons to take up recreational flying.
Years ago I “flew” a full motion Red Bird with an instructor. I think it was a Piper Seneca. It was quite realistic (never having flown a Seneca). I think all beginning pilots should practice a lesson in one of these before trying out the skills in an aircraft, right up through practicing turns in various wind conditions and landings in various wind conditions. I’d be curious to compare students who learned with the Red Bird program to those who didn’t in terms of their rate of crashes and accidents.
The Federal Regulations indeed place certain limits on the amount of simulator time that can be counted towards flight training minimums. For example, the minimum hours needed to achieve the PPL is 40 hours. Of the 40 hours, the FAA allows for 2.5 hours to be used as credit towards the PPL using a qualifying simulator (FAR 61.109 [i]). Similarly, the FAA allows for 20 hours of the 40 hours required towards the instrument rating to be achieved on a simulator (FAR 61.65). If it is a Part 141 school, the allowances go up to 15% of minimum time required (40 hours) which is 6 hours (Part 141, Appendix B (c)(3)) for the PPL. For the Part 141 school, for the Instrument Rating, the credit goes up to 25% if using a BATD, or 40% if using an AATD or FTD. To learn more about logging sim time (and why “non-loggable” time is a good thing) visit: https://www.frasca.com/simulator-time-and-the-logbook/
This will be a valuable tool for student pilots. If you want to test your limits on, for instance, cross wind landings without risking an actual aircraft or having to wait for weather is invaluable. Regardless if the sim time counts for log-able hours, the training is the important thing.