IR training: airplane vs. AATD vs. desktop sim

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by samiamPA, Mar 23, 2020.

  1. samiamPA

    samiamPA Pre-Flight

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    I'm only a few hours into my IR training and was hoping for some feedback on the best approach for a well-rounded experience.

    I belong to a great club; I can fly a basic IFR platform for only about $70/hour Hobbs, so flight time is very inexpensive. Because of that I am leaning towards doing all of my training in the airplane. The local flight school has a Redbird FMX but I really didn't like it when I used it, it was so touchy that it felt like a waste of time. Plus, it's more expensive than the airplane. There is a much cheaper Elite sim about an hour away from me, so I considered traveling there for a few longer sessions to knock out some sim time and be able to do things like instrument failures.

    Regarding desktops sims, I don't have a desktop but figure for about $200 I could get a functional unit to review some IR procedures (yes, the graphics would be terrible, but who cares for IR).

    So my question is: what should I do to get the best training? Does it make sense to do it all in the airplane? Is it worth investing in a desktop sim, traveling to the Elite, or both?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    airplane.
     
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  3. NordicDave

    NordicDave Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Sims are very helpful in getting the procedures down at a more reasonable cost, rather than learning them in the plane. Instructor lead SIM nice for taking instruction, home SIM great for home study/reinforcement, and CFI/plane based instruction for bringing it all together in actual or under the hood. SIM's used effectively greatly reduce training costs. Kind of depends how much $$ you have and learning style.
     
  4. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    For what you can fly the airplane for I’d go with the airplane.
     
  5. samiamPA

    samiamPA Pre-Flight

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    Thanks for the replies. I agree with frfly172 and eman1200 that I would rather just fly the airplane at that cost. I was afraid that I might be missing some sort of key elements of training if I didn't use a sim. Maybe I will do just one long day at the sim to cover some emergency procedures and partial panel.
     
  6. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

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    Airplane. While a training device is great for practicing and understanding procedures, in the airplane you will get to (1) interact with real-life ATC communications, (2) observe weather and make contingency decisions, (3) experience real-life distractions like turbulence and changing views out the windshield, and (4) learn to manage your own airplane, if applicable. Get as much actual IMC as you can in training, preferably in the airplane you intend to fly IFR in the future. It will be invaluable experience for your first few hours of IFR in IMC flight when you use your rating.

    I bought my Traveler shortly before starting IFR training, and equipped it for IFR flight. (This was a looong time ago, before GPS.) I put all my time in that plane with an instructor who sought out IMC conditions for us at every opportunity. After mastering the basics, EVERYTHING we did were long XCs, preferably in some sort of flyable but instructive weather just to keep things real. I even got to fly some real-life missed approaches. The upshot of this kind of training was that my first IFR trip post-rating, which required flying in IMC and an ILS at the destination, was a confidence-inspiring non-event.
     
  7. tsts4

    tsts4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I did a 14 hrs (max allowable in 2014) in an AATD and it was a third cheaper than the G1000 equipped 172 that I did the rest of my training in. I’m of the mind that the plane is a terrible classroom and you can get way more bang for your buck in the sim, especially early on. Having said that I also don’t recommend using a desktop sim on your own without a CFII present as you can do more harm than good and end up just having to spend more time and money to unlearn bad habits. YMMV.....
     
  8. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Airplane.

    People say the sim is good for learning the procedures.. but honestly, so is just sitting in a classroom with the CFI, no need to spend money on a sim because you won't learn the actual stuff that can mess you up in flight. On the ground you can memorize all the Turn Twist Time Throttle talk and things like that. What's different when you are in the airplane under the hood or (better yet) in actual IMC is when you can get behind the plane trying to fly the plane, coping with different physical sensations, and then doing all the IR stuff

    In my opinion a sim is equivalent to throwing your money directly in the trash.
     
  9. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I did the PIC class and they brought over their (at the time) clunky ATC 610. We used it for the first hour or so to explain the six command-performance regimes and then we went to work on the simulator. We did a small amount of hold an ADF practice on day 4, I think (since my plane has no ADF), but after that we put it away and just used the plane. Amusingly we did do a bit of practice by setting a laptop with the simulation of my GNS480 on it next to the 610, but really we could have just done all that with only the 480 standalone sim.

    I suppose how useful it is depends on how much instruction you need on things like holds and other procedure work. Frankly, I had most of the concepts pretty much nailed so I just needed a little in-flight practice.
     
  10. Lando

    Lando Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Do it in the plane. Just make sure that you mount a GoPro and record the intercom so you can debrief the flight after. There is so much going on during the flights that you’ll miss half the feedback your CFII gives otherwise. It was amazing how much more valuable my training flights were when I could go back and watch them after the fact.

    Oh, and make sure you get as much actual IMC as possible!
     
  11. lancie00

    lancie00 Line Up and Wait

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    Airplane. To me it's totally different than a sim.
     
  12. DGlaeser

    DGlaeser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    "Back in the day" when we had to teach ADF, the sim was great for that (vs. the airplane). Thank God that is a thing of the past.

    A simulator is great for developing a scan since there is no tactile feedback. Look away at a chart for too long and you could be doing rolls :) I had an ATC610 a long time ago, and more than one student got up from a session sweating - after claiming going in, it would be a waste of time.
    But you need 2 things: a sim with aircraft controls (no computer joystick), and an instructor who knows how to give you a proper workout.

    I now use a Red Bird LD (no motion). The thing I like most with that is when you have a steam gauge panel, and fail the vacuum pump, the AI and DG fail realistically. It is interesting to see how folk react when the instruments start doing weird things :cool:

    Flying the sim IS different than the airplane. It is harder!
     
  13. jayhawk74

    jayhawk74 Pre-Flight

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    As a CFII I've taught with and without the sim and I would rather use the sim as much as possible. The big reason is that you can do multiple approaches by immediately repositioning the aircraft, something you can't do in the real airplane. Also if the student is having problems you can immediately freeze the sim and talk about what the problem is, again something you can't do while flying the aircraft. IMO not only will the student save money by using a simulator the CFII can provide better instruction.