Flight simulation is the best way to practice and maintain flying skills from home and away from your aircraft. To help you build and maintain your proficiency from home, we gathered a few tips to keep your training focused and your scenarios realistic with a flight simulator.
Have a Goal for Every Flight
If too much of your time spent in your simulator is aimlessly flying around, you are more likely to develop bad habits in the cockpit. To develop and maintain proficiency, you should have a goal in mind each time you fire up your simulator.
Here are some ideas:
- Plan a route and scenario for your session. Pre-plan your flight and get familiar with your destination. Familiarization will put you in the right frame of mind for a successful experience.
- Take the time to learn a new avionics configuration. A flight simulator is an ideal tool to learn new features.
- Configure maneuvers and practice getting in and out of them, without the distractions of a real airplane.
Be Realistic With Weather and Failure Settings
Training for unexpected weather and emergency situations is one of the greatest benefits you can get with a flight simulator. Creating the most realistic weather and emergency situations is important, however, if you want to improve your overall proficiency.
Focus on training for isolated emergencies. Adding several emergencies to one flight can only make the training event unrealistic and sometimes inescapable. Choosing weather settings that make sense for your training event is important. The goal is to train for emergencies that make you a more proficient pilot.
Use Your Checklists
Running your checklists as you normally would help keep your mind in the cockpit and on the task at hand. Checklists also can help you avoid bad flying habits while you are away from the aircraft.
Use Pause to Your Advantage
If you are a training pilot, the pause button can be very useful if you find yourself in a situation that you need to think through. As a new instrument pilot, pausing the simulator before you get to a final approach fix gives you valuable time to brief and execute it. Similar to if you are starting to train an emergency, using the pause button can help make sure you are using the correct flow. Eventually, of course, the goal is to develop muscle memory.
It takes efforts to keep proficient, but using flight simulation is a fun and effective way to keep yourself sharp. Remember it’s not a game, habits on a flight simulator tend to become habits in the airplane.