Real-World Pilots and Flight Students
Why do I need to work with a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI)? Can’t I practice using a desktop simulator on my own?
The value you get from simulator training, and the likelihood of not developing bad habits, is highly dependent on the quality of the instruction you receive. An FAA-certified instructor is trained in the fundamentals of teaching and learning. One of the most important aspects of this is the “law of primacy”, which the FAA describes as:
“Primacy, the state of being first, often creates a strong, almost unshakable impression and underlies the reason an instructor must teach correctly the first time and the student must learn correctly the first time.”
A high-quality real-world instructor will be able to teach you properly, using real-world procedures and airmanship thinking, from day 1. This will help to avoid costly “reteaching” of material and fixing bad habits you would otherwise develop on your own, without the help of an instructor.
Yes. We typically do not provide remote coaching to real-world student pilots on maneuvers and topics which are highly dependent on the “feel” of the aircraft. For example, we do not advise that student pilots practice landing flares, low-speed handling characteristics, etc.
For everything else, even though the simulator may not react to your control inputs in the same way the real airplane would, this can be a good thing for developing your flexibility as a pilot. You will have to learn to adapt to multiple aircraft types as you fly new airplanes as a pilot; think of your simulator as being just one of those many aircraft types you will eventually want to learn.
Working with our team of experienced flight instructors and simulator users can help mitigate this, by explaining what things may feel or behave differently in the actual aircraft versus the simulator.
No. The use of a non-certified simulator is not considered logable by the FAA. Our coaching is simply a supplement to your real-world flight training.
However, we are confident that training with us will reduce your actual number of hours required in the actual aircraft – significantly reducing the cost of your pilot training.
I’ve heard that students who fly flight simulators look inside at the instruments too much, and this is a hard habit to break. How will you help me avoid this?
This is a valid concern. This is one of the main reasons to use a skilled instructor – to ensure that the proper habits of using a visual “sight picture” are taught from day one.
Your instructor will generally have the ability to cover up various instruments (or even the entire panel) using our screen sharing software to help mitigate this and force you to focus on external visual references.
While we firmly believe in the value of desktop simulator training, there are definite limitations. Here are some items that are impractical to teach properly in a desktop simulator environment:
- Takeoffs / landings: While there is definite training value in practicing traffic patterns and approaches, we cannot effectively teach landings in a simulator, as they are highly dependent on seat of the pants feel, proper height above runway/visual cues with peripheral vision, etc.However, the good thing is that when you don’t have to think as much about the other tasks which we can effectively train in the simulator (the relationships between pitch and power, approach procedures, monitoring ATC, etc.), you will be able to focus more on just landing the airplane, and learn landings more quickly.
- Preflight / fueling procedures / walkarounds / postflight
- Seat-of-the-pants cues, such as the feeling of uncoordinated flight and buffeting as you get close to stall
- Muscle memory (pushing buttons on the GPS, for example) – unless you have a more sophisticated setup with physical hardware or touchscreens