Joe Davis, the Vice President of P&C Aviation, has written a useful post for the Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association (COPA) listing five “real world” items that are well worth practicing in a flight simulator. Moreover and from an instructor’s perspective, Joe noted that the following items are commonly misunderstood and/or too-little practiced and hence, should be practiced in a simulator:
- Activating and Intercepting a Leg. Joe wrote that a fairly large number of instrument rated students do not understand the difference “between going direct to a fix and intercepting a leg between two fixes” and that the Garmin 430’s provides a great tool for “being able to intercept and track airways without ever having to leave GPS-based navigation.” Joe then noted that after a departure, flying a heading to intercept an airway also has a tendency of confusing students.
- Obstacle Departure Procedures. Joe pointed out that instrument flying is all about “connecting the dots.” In other words, you need to always be aware whether or not you are in a three-dimensional position that is also safe.
- Hoping vs. Knowing. Joe commented that if you have ever found yourself “pushing buttons and hoping that the aircraft starts to do the right thing rather than knowing what it should do and then confirming the outcome,” you are definitely in the need of additional training. In other words, you must understand the automation of your aircraft and its limitations.
- The Electrical System. Joe wrote that you should understand the basic workings of your aircraft’s electric system. Moreover, you will need to understand what to do if something should fail.
- Standardized Procedures and Checklist Usage. Joe noted that there are good reasons why both airlines and corporate aviation use standardized checklists and procedures – namely because they work. In other words, if you run a checklist before and during every flight and practice one in a simulator, you are less likely to forget it.
Joe ended his post by noting that as a pilot, you have made a big investment in your aircraft and hence, its worth your time and money to make an investment in both your safety and your education by practicing “real world” items in a flight simulator.