For aspiring pilots, getting into the cockpit of an aeroplane, and taking off is a dream they can’t wait to turn into a reality.
For aspiring pilots, getting into the cockpit of an aeroplane and taking off is a dream they can’t wait to turn into a reality. While flying your own aeroplane is in no way an impossible feat, there are a few steps that you must necessarily take before piloting an actual aircraft. Just as someone wishing to drive a motor car is required to undergo the necessary training and apply for certification, aspiring pilots must also put in the hard work before climbing into the cockpit.
Training is an indispensable part of your aviation journey, and if you devote yourself to learning the ins and outs of flying at the very beginning, you are bound to have a smooth flying career. However, as opposed to learning how to drive a motor car, when it comes to pilot training, it may be beneficial to familiarise yourself with the technicalities involved in flying before you take to the skies. This is where flight simulators come in handy since they allow aspiring pilots to practise flying without ever taking their feet off the ground!
Read on to find out more about flight simulators, their pros and cons, and where you can access one when learning to fly:
WHAT IS A FLIGHT SIMULATOR?
A flight simulator is a machine that is designed to mimic the cockpit of an aeroplane, allowing a pilot to train without actually getting into an aircraft. It displays computer-generated images that are a recreation of a pilot’s view while flying.
The conditions of a flight are simulated, including the view, motion, and controls, making for a risk-free environment in which a pilot can practise responding to a variety of situations, which may otherwise be too dangerous to mimic on an actual aircraft.
There are many benefits of using a flight simulator, many of which are mentioned below. However, these machines also come with their share of disadvantages, which is why it isn’t recommended to exclusively train via simulator.
One of the biggest benefits of using a flight simulator is the fact that it is nowhere near as financially draining as using an actual aeroplane to train.
Simulators can be operated with very little investment, with pilots saving on the cost of jet fuel as well as the money involved in renting out an aircraft.
While there are some maintenance costs involved when it comes to simulators, these are usually managed by the aviation club via which pilots use the facility.
This makes simulators ideal for beginners or hobbyists who do not wish to invest too many financial resources into aviation.
Apart from cutting costs, the simulator is also much better for the environment, as there is close to no waste produced in operating one.
If you are an aviation enthusiast, you must be aware of the key role the weather plays in determining whether or not it is a good idea to fly.
When the weather is stormy or the winds are strong, it is best to stay grounded and out of the sky. This is especially crucial for beginner pilots or those who are operating a light aircraft.
As opposed to bigger aeroplanes like commercial airliners, light aircraft are not made to withstand extreme weather and run the risk of getting damaged mid-flight. For this reason, it is best to train via simulators since these are not affected by the weather.
Regardless of aircraft availability or weather, a simulator is always ready on stand-by to fulfil all of a pilot’s training-related needs.
A great advantage of using a simulator is that it allows pilots to become familiar with an airfield they have not previously visited.
The pilot can scope out the area using computer-generated imagery, which makes the flight much smoother since the pilot knows what to expect.
The fact that tasks can be repeated via the simulator also helps build confidence in newer pilots who may otherwise become far too stressed out due to unexpected developments when flying an aeroplane.
Simulators can help put pilots at ease and make them feel more confident in their ability and competence when it comes to flying an aircraft. This is very important since a relaxed mind is key to a smooth and successful flight.
This is perhaps the most obvious reason why beginners are encouraged to opt for simulators.
When practising via a simulator, the danger isn’t really there. This means the pilot does not run the risk of any accidents that may harm them or others.
Apart from being used by beginners, simulators are also the tool of choice for more advanced pilots who wish to practice handling risky situations which can’t otherwise be mimicked on an actual flight.
There is also no risk of damaging expensive aircraft, which may lead to added costs when training. A pilot can train without putting themselves or anyone else at any real risk of danger.
When it comes to flight simulators, their biggest advantage is also the cause of their greatest pitfall. While the fact that they are risk-free and safe to use makes them the tool of choice for training pilots, it also means that pilots are never under any real stress when training via a simulator.
Stress has the ability to change behaviours drastically, with otherwise calm and collected pilots who use logic and are clear-headed fumbling when put under pressure. It is important to anticipate how a pilot will react under pressure so that their response can be streamlined and made more effective. The lack of danger leads to a more cavalier attitude by pilots, who may undertake greater risks than they would be willing to in an actual threatening situation.
Apart from the lack of real danger, another disadvantage of using a simulator is that it does not mimic the long hours of flight time that are sometimes required from pilots.
On longer flights, pilots tend to get bored or sleepy, with the fatigue leading to brain fog which may affect their performance.
A pilot that performs exceptionally well while training via simulator may stumble due to grogginess on longer flights.
While flight simulators are an incredibly useful tool, nothing can stand in for practical flight experience.
For this reason, it is absolutely necessary that a pilot be encouraged to train in an actual aircraft along with certified trainers once they have the needed technical knowledge.
WHERE CAN I ACCESS A FLIGHT SIMULATOR?
A great way to get access to pilot training services such as simulators, as well as a fleet of aircraft, is to join an aviation club such as Sherburn Aero Club.
Sherburn’s flight simulator
Sherburn Aero Club has an in-house flight simulator, known as G-SIMM. It is available for all beginner pilots looking to get a grasp on what to expect during an actual flight as well as advanced pilots hoping to refine their skills.
It is designed for the club’s airfield as well as a fleet of aircraft, situated in its own purpose-built room, and is free to use for members of Sherburn. However, if an instructor is required, the standard fee may be applicable.
The simulator allows pilots to refine their general handling and procedure skills including Practice Forced Landing (PFL), engine failure, component failure, instrument practice including Instrument Landing System (ILS), Non-directional Beacon (NBD) holds, and the general instrument scan.
By practising their approach to such situations via a simulator, pilots learn to develop the judgements necessary for a successful landing.
Simulators also help pilots familiarise themselves with airfields they have not previously ventured into so that they know what to expect and are not deterred by any unanticipated obstructions in their path.
The simulator at Sherburn also houses a second station that can be used for instrument training, providing a great, cost-effective way to learn. An instructor can take on the role of an air traffic controller and give you vectors to the ILS, introduce failures including horizon, engine, instrument, pitot, as well as change the enroute weather.
The instrument panel is also linked, which means that if your scan isn't quite working, or you are gaining height or turning and you haven't spotted it, the instructor can remind you and get you back in the zone.
Flight simulator group
The Flight Simulator group is an integral part of Sherburn’s community, with over fifty members sharing their love of aviation.
Collectively, the members have simulators ranging from basic PC setups all the way to the complex cockpit variety.
The group is open to all members of Sherburn without any added cost, with the group consisting of beginner pilots, professionals as well as aviation enthusiasts.
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF JOINING AN AVIATION CLUB
There are many added advantages to joining an aviation club such as getting to mingle in a community of fellow-aviation lovers as well as getting access to a challenging environment that encourages you to keep refining your skills as a pilot.
An aviation club membership is a great investment for all aviation lovers and pilots, whether they like to fly recreationally or in a more professional capacity.
Aviation clubs such as Sherburn are made of a community of seasoned pilots as well as those who are just starting out. Beginner pilots have access to the club’s private pilot training facilities, which include simulator training, preparation for theoretical exams as well as training in an aircraft with certified instructors.
While Sherburn houses a flight school that caters to the needs of private pilots looking to obtain a Private Pilot Licence (PPL), many of the students go on to work with commercial airliners professionally. Sherburn also prides itself on its fleet of well-maintained aircraft, which includes Piper PA-28 Cadet, Piper PA-28 Warrior, Aero AT-3, and Robin 2160.
Community of like-minded individuals:
A great benefit of joining an aviation club is that it gives members access to a community of people who share a love of aviation.
There is a great mix of members at Sherburn, with a diverse age group ranging from young pilots-in-training to those who have been flying for many years.
Clubs such as Sherburn also offer memberships of the social variety for non-flyers. This means an aviation club is a great place for the whole family, with non-flyers enjoying the club’s many social offerings such as the restaurant and bar.
A community of pilots means the environment at aviation clubs continuously challenges their members to do better.
Pilots are encouraged to refine their skills and remain up-to-date with the latest developments in aviation, making them stay on top of their game.
One of the greatest advantages of a flying club membership is the access to its fleet of aircraft. For beginner pilots or those who do not wish to invest a large sum of money into buying their own aeroplane, the option to rent out an aircraft on an hourly basis is available.
The hourly fee means pilots do not have to pay extra on the months they do not take to the skies as often.
LEARNING TO FLY AN AIRCRAFT
Once you have gotten the hang of things via a simulator, you can graduate to practising on an actual aircraft! While you will start out through dual-instruction, which means you will be flying along with a certified instructor, once you have the required flight hours down, you will be able to embark on solo flights as well.
WHAT AIRCRAFT IS BEST FOR TRAINING?
When it comes to training, the aircraft of choice for most beginners is the light aircraft. There are many reasons why this is the case.
Firstly, a light aircraft is smaller, thanks to its single-engine, which means it is far easier to manoeuvre as compared to larger multi-engine planes. The small size of light aircraft also means they are relatively more affordable and easier to store as compared to the heavier variety.
One of the most widely-recommended aircraft is the Piper PA-28, which has made a name for itself due to its affordability as well as comfortable flying experience. Sherburn houses a total of six Piper PA-28s, three Cadets, and three Warriors each. Another smaller type of light aircraft is known as the microlight, which is a safe, modern, and even more affordable option available to beginners and hobbyists.
Light aircraft also do not require an advanced licence to operate. The simplest-to-obtain licence is the Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL), which is a recreational licence that only requires 12 hours of total flight time to obtain.
Compared to the LAPL, the Private Pilot Licence (PPL) requires a total of 45 hours of flight time.
If a pilot wishes to pursue aviation as a profession, then a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) is necessary. The total number of hours required for a CPL are 200, which is a huge jump from the number of hours needed for both the PPL and LAPL.
WHY CHOOSE SHERBURN AERO CLUB
Sherburn Aero Club, which has been operational since 1964, is the ideal place for most of your training and flying needs. It is one of the largest flying clubs in the North of England and also one of the largest in the country.
With a large fleet of new aircraft and an airfield refurbishment with new runways, hangars, and an extended clubhouse, we cater to brand new flyers who have just started their journey to the skies, as well as seasoned flyers who have been operating aircraft for decades. We offer dedicated CPL training as well as comprehensive PPL (A) training and the required experience for operating aircraft at night.
In addition to this, the club also offers simulators for various training needs and to help new pilots gain confidence before the real deal. If you wish to begin your career in aviation or wish to take to the skies as a hobby, Sherburn’s flight training school offers private and commercial licences, along with pilot medicals to ensure a smooth journey going forward.
Call us on 01977 682 674, email us at email@example.com, or message us via our online contact form for more information on the flight simulator and private pilot training services available at Sherburn.