Simulator "CFI"

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Charles Petersen
Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:59 pm

Simulator "CFI"

Post by Charles Petersen »

Youth Flight Canada's (somewhat pretentiously named) Mach 0.1 Flight Simulator has been relocated to Stan's Cottage for the summer season to utilize in hybrid training, an immersive pre-flight briefing if you will.

The problem is, that it is complicated to learn to use it. Some of the RUSS members know how to fire it up, and how to switch from the monitor to the VR goggles. And Korbin, who with Amir has supervised the Ryerson lab where the simulator has been located this past winter, - he knows too. But unless and until more instructors know how to use ti, - comfortably, it will be a challenge. I've been warned that instructors, particularly older ones (and do we have many younger ones?), will have an aversion based on the "if I'm going to teach for nothing, I'm going to fly for free) principle. But the efficiency offered with the "we teach on the ground and practice in the air" approach (see attached article from the US Air Force Academy) will only be realized with some effort to develop and share a confident ease-of-use among our instructors. A big challenge to find someone willing to take this on...

Then, like the proverbial manna from heaven, who should arrive back at York but Serge Valade, just retired from Air Canada (Captain 787), and a long-time volunteer in the Air Cadet program. Serge is en regime to return to fighting trim and permissible max weight limitations, And he did not merely agree, he enthusiastically volunteered for the task and position. he sees use for it in power pilot conversions and ATPL conversions.

Great news!

And the other good news on the simulator is the availability from the BGA of 'Condor lessons' prepared for the British curriculum, from which our Canadian and York curricula are descended.

Tony Firmin has proposed that the Bronze Badge off-field landings will be offered on the VR goggles.

And the technology will continue to improve; already know is the next release of Condor, Codor 3, will offer some dual control accommodation.

I have been one of the remote instructors on this, teaching from Florida in the Ryerson lab, and I have convinced myself of its practicality. We will be able to evaluate other uses as more of us get an easy facility on the machine, - for example, pre-flight briefings for Intro passengers who are already pilots.
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Charles Petersen
Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:59 pm

Re: Simulator "CFI"

Post by Charles Petersen »

Proof of Concept

Yesterday, I drove 2 members of RUSS, the Ryerson University Soaring Society (I know, but I still call it the O'Keefe Centre) to York, Joel and Rushil. They were in the winter training program, - ground school (thanks, Pal M) and flight training in the simulator (thanks Tony F and Dave C). Rushil had only 4 'flights' in the sim, but Joel had many, - enough to complete the entire curriculum we were using. So, did it make a difference?

The first flight was Rushil, and the benefits of his minimal encounter with the sim were not immediately apparent. Like any student on a first flight, he seemed to be overwhelmed but excited. But Joel, OTOH was a very different case.

I had Joel 'follow along' on the tow for the first 1000', and then gave him control at 3500'. Initially, his tow was rocky, and I had to intervene several times, but then, in the next 1000' he steadied down and I diminished my verbal coaching to nil as he finished the tow. Sadly, we found no lift to extend the flight but I had a chance to see him execute gentle and medium turns, to a heading, maintaining his attitude and coordination. So, at 2500' MSL we entered the circuit. He needed only advice on target altitudes for the various points in the circuit, and although I hovered over the controls, no intervention or correction was required as he rounded out in the flare, and held off for a low energy landing. His first flight in any small aircraft.

So, did the sim training 'teach him to fly''? No, and yes. Joel is clearly blessed with natural aptitude. I remember well during the Youth Camps, after the first day, the instructors could predict which student would be the first to solo, and Joel is such a student. But, he demonstrated the validity of the USAFA slogan of 'Teach on the ground and practice in the air'. The theoretical usefulness of sim training was validated.

There are many deficiencies in the initial approach; - the very different curriculum, the challenges for the instructors learning to teach remotely, the limited access to the sim because of the high-security lab, etc. But we have most of a much-improved curriculum, the sim is at the field for instructors to learn to use it, (although it's missing a power cable for the monitor at the moment), and Serge too is excited and dedicated to furthering its use.
Kenneth Voort
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon May 24, 2021 8:15 am

Re: Simulator "CFI"

Post by Kenneth Voort »

I'm happy to help any way I can with the Mach 0.1 (The speed of FUN!). But although I've been working with computers for 20 some odd years, I'm really not a hardware guy. But at least, I hope, such things would come more naturally to me than most. I know for sure I have a spare power cable laying around somewhere, or I can find one in the back of the big hangar.

One thing that could be possibly taught on the sim would be emergency procedures that can't be taught in a real airplane. I'm thinking stall-to-spin while turning final, or kiting at low altitude. We can't replicate the G, but we may be able to replicate the "panic" in some way. Landouts too. I know that most sims can't even come close to a spin (it's one of the first things I try when I get behind a simulator), but I've heard Condor can, and I read one very brief account of Condor 3 being capable of simulating a kite. I've never tried Condor myself as I really feel I'd need a power quadrant, stick, and rudder pedals at the very least to do a simulator properly at home, and that's not an insignificant investment.

I was up late last night reading up on the dangers and physics of kiting... scary stuff, and we still use those Elmira Death Hooks. Teaching situations that would otherwise be unsafe could be a very real application of a proper simulator, and may well get more instructors on board with it.

I once stepped on the wrong rudder turning base to final at YTZ during an engine failure exercise, attempting a slipping turn to final (I skidded it). Boy, did I get the third degree for that one. At least the next attempt was a textbook power-off landing.
With grace and beauty, Strength and cunning She’ll stay aloft — until; Inevitably — she loses. And must glide earthward. And lie there helpless, Lovesick for the sky.
Charles Petersen
Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:59 pm

Re: Simulator "CFI"

Post by Charles Petersen »

Thanks for sharing Ken. And yes, operating the hardware is one of the obstacles to the use of this tool. So we have asked Korbin, the RUSS executive member who managed the computer, t put together a checklist and perhaps a video to assist us. Our intern, Loic, has experience at his club in France (the use of a simulator is in the training for new French instructors), and he can assist. I hope we will see some clinics offered during the season.

I'm personally very low time on the sim, but Tony Firmin has been using Codor for years and may have some suggestions on the emergency procedures instruction you propose. The K-21 on the sim will not spin, - just like the real K-21, but I suspect we can find something that will. I know that the world aerobatic champion accepted an invitation to 'fly' his routine at an SSA convention in a Swift, and indeed, did so. it can be accurate.

And Tony and I have already discussed using the VR to practice off-field landings for the Bronze course. As for kiting, I'vecalled Dan Cook, a simulator advocate, and will ask him if he has experience with that when he returns my call.
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