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
What do you have in your aircraft fleet?
DJ: We currently have 33 172S G1000 NXi, 5 DA42 NG-VI, 1 Cessna 182 RG, 1 Super Decathlon and 3 Cessna 150 aircraft (NIFA Flight Team).
Tell us about your current and upcoming simulator fleet:
DJ: We have 4 BATD devices (C172/DA42 NG), 1 Helicopter BATD (R22/R44), 3 CPT (Cockpit Procedural Trainer) devices with simulated G1000, 1 DA42 NG CPT, 1 CRJ 200 CPT, 1 FRASCA 141, 1 FRASCA 142, 5 Cessna 172S G1000 AATD Devices (2 are FRASCA TruFlite’s acquired in late 2019), 2 DA42 NG AATD (1 is a FRASCA TruFlite with G1000 NXi which was delivered in early 2020) and finally, coming August 2020: 3 C172S G1000 NXi FRASCA RTD AATD’s (1 will convert G1000/Round Dial).
How do you integrate your simulators into your program?
DJ: Each flight course has some simulation required. Our private pilot course integrates simulation of various failures (engine, electrical, fuel, avionics etc.) to train the student in emergency procedures within a safe environment. Simulators are vital in the instrument course. Students learn to fly “in the clouds” relying on their instruments for navigation. Instrument failures and other system failures are simulated in the AATD devices while the student navigates in IFR conditions while challenging them to follow proper emergency procedures. Students must display proficiency in the simulators to advance.
What features are most important to you in a simulator?
DJ: I want a simulator that students have the most “real feel” of the aircraft from control feedback and instruments that match our current fleet all while displaying a high definition visual system of the surroundings and terrain. I want the instructor station to be intuitive and easy to navigate. I (as a manager/tech) want the simulator to be dependable and offer outstanding support from the manufacturer. FRASCA delivers ALL of this and more.
What features do you like most about your FRASCA devices?
DJ: I like the new Simplicity instructor station. I like the dual touch monitors that are easy to navigate and the REAL G1000 NXi instruments. I like the integration of air traffic in the simulator and the detailed weather conditions that can be simulated.
What do your students and instructors have to say about learning in the FRASCA sims?
DJ: Direct quotes from students: “The FRASCA offers better realism in terms of feel with the aircraft, a better flight model, and better graphic capabilities. FRASCA sims have a realistic feel to them as well as resemble the actual aircraft we fly. The training space/cockpit is very comfortable and visuals are easily identifiable.”