Epic Flight Academy, New Smyrna Beach, FL has taken delivery of a Frasca 172 Advanced Aviation Training Device (AATD) with Frasca’s Motion Cueing System for fixed wing devices (FMCS-FX). They are the first flight school to own and operate a general aviation device with this level of high fidelty motion.The AATD is the first of it’s kind to include a six-axis motion base and high definition three channel wrap around visual systems, features typically not available on this level of device. The device was delivered to the school in early September. (more…)
Simcom Aviation Training, Scottsdale, AZ has taken delivery of a Frasca built Pilatus PC-12 NGX Level 6 Flight Training Device (FTD). The FTD features Honeywell Primus Apex avionics system and visual system with Frasca’s 220 degree spherical display system and is the first PC-12 NGX FTD in service. The first training session with the new FTD was held September 5 at the Simcom Training facility in Scottsdale, AZ.
Unlike competitors who often start with commercially available computer games and attempt to boost fidelity from there, at Frasca, we produce our own flight modeling for our Level D full-flight simulators. We take what we learn in developing this high-level modeling and apply it down the line of our simulators.
We achieve this by investing in high fidelity in three significant ways (more…)
Q&A With ERAU Prescott, College of Aviation Flight Department, AZ Campus
FRASCA spoke with Dennis “DJ” Cassady, Flight Simulation Manager, at the ERAU Prescott campus. DJ is responsible for maintaining, updating and upgrading all flight training devices in the program.
How many students are enrolled in the program?
DJ: We have 675 students enrolled for Fall 2020 (more…)
The Aviation Program at Utah State University, part of the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, Logan, will soon be adding a Frasca RTD (Reconfigurable Training Device) to their training program. The RTD simulates the university’s fleet of Diamond DA40 aircraft including Garmin G1000 NXi avionics and will feature a single channel visual display system with Frasca’s TruVision Global visual system. Utah State University holds the highest FAA flight training approval of part 141. The RTD will allow a portion of the required flight time to be replaced with simulator hours. Utah State will take delivery of the first DA40 RTD built by Frasca. Other aircraft models available on the RTD include the Cessna 172, Piper Archer and Piper Seminole. (more…)
May 12, 2020. Urbana, IL.
The International Aerospace community mourns the passing of Flight Simulation icon and aviation enthusiast, Rudy Frasca. Frasca passed away on May 11, 2020 at the age of 89. He died of natural causes.
Rudy was born on April 19, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois. He was one of six children of Anthony and Jenny Frasca. He and his wife Lucille (Matern) married in 1955 and moved to Champaign, Illinois where Rudy started his business and where they raised their eight children together. (more…)
This article provides some guidelines on cleaning and disinfecting simulators and simulator equipment.
- ONLY solutions permitted to clean avionics screens, genuine or otherwise etc. should be used.
- Don’t spray cleaners directly onto the item.
- Don’t get moisture into any openings.
- Use caution when cleaning polycarbonate lenes covering the CGI (Computer Generated Instruments).
As you can imagine – we get this question more than any other. The simple answer is: It depends on your needs. Due to the tremendous difference in simulator products we offer, simulator cost can range in price from several thousand dollars to many millions of dollars. To get a more meaningful answer, we need to break it down to product levels.
Entry Level Reconfigurable Device (RTD)
Our least expensive simulator, the Frasca Reconfigurable Training Device or RTD, represents simple systems and aircraft. This Advanced Aviation Training Device (AATD) is ideal for small single-engine aircraft flight training and recurrency. The device features a simple open cockpit, highly standardized instrument panel and flight controls, and the ability to represent (more…)
Chad Martin took some time out to talk about the University of North Dakota’s (UND) world renown aviation program and how they successfully integrate simulators into their training.
FRASCA: Tell us about your position with UND?
CM: I’m the Fleet Manager and work on Special Projects for the program which means I manage the aircraft and simulator fleet and research products that help support our students and our mission. I’ve been with UND full time since 1999.
FRASCA: How many students do you have enrolled in your programs?
In the context of flight training the discussion of simulator time that can be logged versus not logged is an important one. There is a general argument that if the FARs do not allow the time to be logged then why spend more time in a simulator. Firstly, it is important to understand that there is a difference between “logging” and “being able to apply” those hours for credit towards the PPL. The FAA does not impose any maximums in terms of simulator (BATD, AATD, FTD) time that can be logged. However, it does place maximums of how many of those hours can be used as credit towards the PPL certificate.
The Federal Regulations indeed place certain limits on the amount of simulator time that can be counted towards flight training minimums. For example, the minimum hours needed to achieve the PPL is 40 hours. Of the 40 hours, the FAA allows for 2.5 hours to be used as credit towards the PPL using a qualifying simulator (FAR 61.109 [i]). Similarly, the FAA allows for 20 hours of the 40 hours required towards the instrument rating to be achieved on a simulator (FAR 61.65). If it is a Part 141 school, the allowances go up to 15% of minimum time required (40 hours) which is 6 hours (Part 141, Appendix B (c)(3)) for the PPL. For the Part 141 school, for the Instrument Rating, the credit goes up to 25% if using a BATD, or 40% if using an AATD or FTD. While these are maximums that current regulations impose, it is a flaw to limit the use of the simulator to these numbers.
Let’s examine why.
Simulators provide a whole lot of value when it comes to flight training. The value earned is typically in terms of either reduced time to complete training or reduced cost of completing training.
Such value is better understood when it is broken down into direct value and indirect value. The direct value is in reduced cost that one pays for the simulator hours as compared to real-aircraft hours. The indirect value is even more important. Every hour spent on a simulator brings about learning in some form and eventually reduces the amount of real-aircraft time needed to complete training. Research has shown this over the years. Every iteration of training performed on the simulator leads to reduced iterations of practice that would be required in real-world aircraft. This reduction in ‘iterations’ leads to compressing training time while also reducing training costs.
The US national average to achieve a PPL is around 70-75 hours. It has been proven that blending simulator time into the training drops that number down to 55-60 hours. This is despite the fact that only 2.5 of those simulator hours can be used as credit towards the PPL (if Part 61 – or 6 hours for Part 141 schools). Even if we blended in 20 hours of simulator time and total training hours equaled 70 or 75, the cost of those 20 hours in a simulator is far lower than in a real-world aircraft. Given a simulator’s ability to pause, re-position, and restart scenarios at the press of a button, the number of practice iterations that can be conducted in a 90-minute slot is much higher than in a real-world aircraft.
As with anything, there is always another perspective. Ask an experienced CFI (and I did ask more than one), and one of the responses was “…personally I think PPL students need time in the airplane to learn to ‘feel’ the airplane”.
That said, there are a lot of areas in flight training that don’t require running a real-world
aircraft to achieve that training. To name a few – understanding the workings of the GPS onboard an aircraft, practicing procedure under instrument failures, pattern entry, runway or taxiway markings, airspace entry and avoidance, engine-out scenarios, getting visual feedback of the rectangular pattern, descent procedures, VOR workings, DG or HSI use, and autopilot use.
Once again, most experienced CFI’s would argue that a simulator can certainly introduce an instrument failure to a student on the sim, but it’s a totally different feeling when you’re in an airplane and you lose an attitude indicator in the clouds. The CFI view on this is that simulators miss out the emotion where “suddenly the body is fighting what the eyes are telling the brain, leading you to put the airplane into a position you didn’t intend to…. it’s very hard to simulate that sensory illusion”. Another CFI went on to add about engine failures… “there’s a much different feeling you get in your gut when you’re running out of airspeed, you’re getting low and you suddenly realize you didn’t plan your approach well to the field or runway in a real airplane…”. He believes that a sim will teach the procedure and enhances skill, but the airplane combines procedure, skill, and adds the element of inherent discomfort that goes with being that situation without having ‘pause’ button to press.
There is no taking away that there is a lot of teaching and learning that comes out of the experiencing the imperfections of the machine.
On the contrary, the ability to experience a solo cross-country flight before it is undertaken in the real-world aircraft, in certain weather conditions, and across uneven terrain gets the flying brain engaged. Building muscle memory around checklist use and proper sequence of actions in the cockpit can all be accomplished better in a simulator and help get prepared for a check-ride at much lower cost.
CFI’s agree that simulators have come a long way over the years. What this means is that the industry needs to adopt balance. It also means that there is not a ‘one size fit all’ approach. For the PPL, real-world stick time is essential to some extent. For any of the follow-on certifications, a simulator is absolutely viable and essential.
The idea till now has been that a PPL student gets 2.5 hours of value (or 6 hours as the case may be) from the simulator and the rest has to happen within a real-world aircraft. Simulators have advanced significantly over the decades. The time has come for this idea to be flipped, within limits of course, as indicated before. It may be completely possible for flight training curriculums to aim to perform the FAA-prescribed minimum time (40 minus the 2.5) in a real-world aircraft and perform the rest of the training on a simulator. Going by the national average, this would amount to 35 hours of real-world aircraft time being substituted by a simulator. A savings that quickly adds up to 3500-4000 dollars!
Hence, the next time you have access to a simulator make the most of it. If you do not have access to a simulator, make sure to find a location which has one. When in a simulator, use it to practice those aspects of flight training such as the use of the GPS that you won’t have the time or attention to work on while in a real-world training aircraft.
Simulators are time and cost compressors. Make the most of them when they are available. Do not limit your use of the simulator to maximums prescribed by the FARs. Remember, the time may not all qualify for the credit, but every hour spent on the simulator reduces your real-world aircraft time and your costs.