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Simming before PPL

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Simming before PPL

Old 3rd Nov 2021, 16:07
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Simming before PPL

Hey pilots,

I am 19 and I am about to start my PPL training really soon, just waiting for the answer from my aeroclub...

I have been flying the 777 for 6 years (virtually ) using the PMDG on P3D on VATSIM (Virtual Air Traffic Simulation) following real-world procedures (or trying to) after reading the FCTM entirely, watching and rewatching again all the CBTs available on youtube, partially going through the FCOMs and QRH and casually practising emergency procedures and reviewing my memory items whenever I can. I have definitely the knowledge of a real 777 pilot (no I don't believe it myself but that's what I am trying to achieve). I know that my first type rating won't be in a 777 but that's my favorite aircraft

Now we're entering again in the winter and winter is always associated with cold-weather operations. I know that when you deice your aircraft the fluid will protect you from ice during a small period of time (remembering that its primary purpose is deicing and not anti-icing). The holdover time tables will give you precise information about how much time the deicing fluid will protect you depending on which type of fluid you're using and the concentration of it. The problem is that when you take the HOT table on the internet, there are so much different possibilities besides the 4 common fluid types that I know, I believe depending on which surface you're deicing. Here's what I could find for 2021-2022: URL (couldn't put it because I don't have 10 posts yet). For example, you have TYPE II HOLDOVER TIMES FOR NEWAVE AEROCHEMICAL FCY-2 then later you have TYPE II HOLDOVER TIMES FOR CLARIANT SAFEWING MP II FLIGHT... What is the difference between the 2??

So my questions :
1. Is there an EASA similar document?
2. Why so many different tables for the same fluid type?
3. How do you know which type of fluid is being applied to your aircraft? (or which type of surface the fluid is being applied on)

Hope I was clear despite my poor English
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Old 3rd Nov 2021, 21:42
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The EASA Or UK CAA PPL can be obtained without knowledge of deicing procedures. Your School will handle any deicing if it is required.
My understanding is that none of the civilian trainers at present in use have similar handling characteristics and procedures to the 777.
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Old 3rd Nov 2021, 21:56
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I fly for an EASA operator and we follow Transport Canada HOT guidelines, The alternative is the one from the FAA. I have never come across an EASA equivalent document, but I've only flown for one operator so far.

There are several types of table because different fluids (and their brand) have different characteristics and properties, which are also affected by external factors. In my base we know well before leaving the crew room what type of fluid is in use, outstation we're usually told by the handling company or by the de-icing equipment crew on the associated frequency.

Now here comes a real world advice: ditch the 777 for a while, get a good add-on for MSFS2020 that will replicate the light airplane you will do your PPL on and practice with it, especially drills. MSFS2020 is especially great to prepare for VFR navigations when you get to that stage.
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Old 3rd Nov 2021, 22:09
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Welcome ELM,

Yeah, get away from a 777 simulation, and stop thinking about deicing - think don't fly an iced plane, nor a plane in ice - at all... and you'll be better off for your initial flying. You'll be trained for icing when you need to be.

There is a lot to know and understand about flying a light airplane, much of which has little commonality with a 777 - don't learn about jets until you need to, when you need to, learn then, you'll be ready. If you try to carry backward big airplane systems and handling knowledge to primary flight training, you're going to certainly defeat your own efforts, and really annoy you instructor. If you're defeating your own efforts with misplaced knowledge, and annoying your instructor, there are two certain results: It'll take longer, and cost you more money. If I were you, I would not mention jet flying at all - for years. I speak as a 45 year pilot, with 85 types in my logbook, not one of which was a jet!

If simming helps you with navigation, airspace and radio work, okay, with caution. But handling should be learned under the direct supervision of an instructor, in a real plane.
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Old 4th Nov 2021, 09:51
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Thanks to everyone for answering my questions.

Now even though most of my flights are in the 777, I do still sometimes fly general aviation airplanes. A few years ago, I was flying on IVAO (another virtual platform simulating ATC mostly in Europe) but left because basically there are too many kids there. IVAO gives you the possibility to take exams like you would do in real life for the PPL forcing you to fly a light airplane.

The examiner will ask theoretical questions about
  • Basics of air law: instrument and visual flight rules, weather requirements for VFR flights, airspace classes and structure, types of controlled airspaces, ATC units and positions, transponder codes,
  • Chart reading
  • VFR procedures: VFR charts interpretation and VFR circuit,
  • Navigation: VFR routes, basic use of radio navigation aids, semi-circular rules, transition altitude and transition level,
  • Meteorology: METAR and TAF interpretation,
  • Flight instruments and aircraft knowledge: principles of altimetry, altimeter settings, airspeeds, basic flight instruments, aircraft characteristics.
During the flight, the examiner will also ask you to navigate between radials and VORs/NDB, fly traffic patterns, VFR entry points, touch and goes, check your VFR phraseology, etc and make sure you're doing it correctly.
Even though it's not near a real PPL exam, it really gives you the basics about VFR and what flying a light airplane looks like. I passed this exam 3 years ago and didn't stop flying light airplanes from time to time since then.
Later I passed another similar exam basically giving you your instrument qualification in a light aircraft.

So it's not like I didn't touch a light aircraft at all. I passed these exams on X-plane because I heard from real pilots that this sim was well-simulating flight characteristics of real airplanes. FS2020 wasn't released at this time but I am definitely planning on buying it and flying more often light airplanes on the sim. I'll take your advice into account and not mix jets with lights but I don't think I could stop flying the 777 entirely though. I believe it's possible to do both at the same time

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Old 4th Nov 2021, 11:06
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I second exactly what Pilot DAR said. I wish I could have spoken to you before you went down this path. New students for the PPL who've spent far too much time on PC sims are really hard work for instructors, especially instructors who teach basic flying correctly by maximising the time looking through the perspex at the natural horizon and the rest of the sky (all around above and below) for the other traffic that could kill you and for situational awareness/visual nav. We often have to cover up one or more of the instruments to promote correct lookout. If the Asiana crew in San Francisco had only looked out the window..........................
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Old 4th Nov 2021, 13:42
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During the flight, the examiner will also ask you
and
I passed these exams on X-plane
Pop up red flags for me. If these "examiners" and "exams" were a part of a regulator approved training program for a PPL course, in which you are enrolled, okay - but I doubt it.

Our industry has a few pilots (particularly since Covid) who are a little bored, and tend to insert themsleves into "training" outside of regulated courses. These pilots motivations might be altruistic mentoring, a little showing off what they know, and/or money. Maybe they ever were/are flying instructors - but it is unlikely that they are conducting themselves within the PPL training guidelines and curriculum. All of the topics you mention are at certain levels, elements of a PPL, and sure, there's learning to be achieved in there, but saturating your mind with things that you don't need to know yet (for PPL) may suppress absorbing the learning required for a PPL.

Remember the social expectation that when you receive a birthday gift with a card, you open and read the card first? The gift giver would like you to read and consider their kind sentiment in the card, before the present overwhelms you, and you forget the card entirely.

Approved simulators certainly have merit in advanced training. But, that merit is built on the candidate pilot having learned a real fear of consequences. A qualified pilot receiving sim training [hopefully] already understands the criticality of a minor screw up, resulting in a crash - sims cannot train that, and actually defeat that learning. Further to that, sims give you zero sense of taking sole responsibility for returning yourself to earth safely - no consequences to a screw up! Actual pilot training will teach you to be afraid!

With 6000 hours fixed wing, I took helicopter training. The sky was my welcoming friend after all those decades of being there. The twitchy helicopter was not yet my friend. It kept warning me that much more of this or that, and we'd be a rotating ball on the ground - I was really nervous on my first few solo flights! A sim not only cannot teach that, but actually teaches you to not worry about it!

Your greatest real piloting success going forward from here will be to not sim at all, unless the training course tells you to. Enroll in ground school and learn exactly as the course leads you - don't mention your simming at all! Then start your training at a flying school, and learn as taught - don't mention your simming at all!

One day, as you advance your training into commercial and airline, you'll be put back in a sim, and you can relax and go ahhhh... Until then, do your training as we did - approved course and curriculum!

Would you believe that I learned to fly at a time when there was no such thing as a personal computer, in an airplane with only one comm radio - and then I graduated to an airplane with no electrical system at all!
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Old 4th Nov 2021, 13:47
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I can confirm all the above reserves from my own experience as a student pilot. Having "flown" thousands of hours on MSFS, I drove more than one instructor to despair by looking at the instruments all the while. Best thing you can do is to forget everything you "learned" in the simulation game, and start with a blank mind.

And forget about de-icing, you are many hours of flying from the need. If ever the point becomes relevant, you can rely on the club/airfield management to keep an eye on you. There are very few, if any, club planes certified for FIKI.

NB are you going to learn at EBGB Grimbergen? If so, your time might be better spent at brushing up your Dutch
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Old 4th Nov 2021, 15:44
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If these "examiners" and "exams" were a part of a regulator approved training program for a PPL course
I really doubt it

A qualified pilot receiving sim training [hopefully] already understands the criticality of a minor screw up, resulting in a crash - sims cannot train that, and actually defeat that learning.
I would love to say that I am completely aware of that but I don't know if I can, based on my sim experience only. Reading reports of crashes/incidents really shows you how small details can easily cause crashes. None of my flights online led to a crash but in the sim, there are tons of factors that are irrelevant but aren't IRL (icing for e.g.).

Your greatest real piloting success going forward from here will be to not sim at all, unless the training course tells you to. Enroll in ground school and learn exactly as the course leads you - don't mention your simming at all! Then start your training at a flying school, and learn as taught - don't mention your simming at all!

So would someone that has never heard of airplanes before learn quicker than someone who has thousands of hours of sim behind? Even if that simmer learnt some great things in its virtual career? When you're simming there are tons of rumours about how you should fly an airplane. Once I met someone convinced that flaring was made by trimming only and not using the yoke except to stay in the centerline. This guy might probably take a bit longer to get his first solo.. (unless I am the one completely wrong...)
I know that training is always the first priority. If my instructor teaches me something I'll definitely not come in and say hey that's not what I learnt in the sim but if the training matches what I learnt in the past then it can only be advantageous for me couldn't it?

I can confirm all the above reserves from my own experience as a student pilot. Having "flown" thousands of hours on MSFS, I drove more than one instructor to despair by looking at the instruments all the while.
Heard it multiple times. I'll definitely try to not make that mistake. In the sim, looking outside is quite boring as you always need to move your camera so you tend to rely more on instruments.

And forget about de-icing, you are many hours of flying from the need.
My deicing question was more for curiosity than any other thing

NB are you going to learn at EBGB Grimbergen? If so, your time might be better spent at brushing up your Dutch
I am really bad at dutch. I thought about going there, even visited the club but went for the Roger Sommer aeroclub instead because it's cheaper and a friend of mine has also started his training here so I will be able to see his flights from the backseat which I think is a great learning experience as you can learn from his mistakes in addition to your own mistakes and therefore improve 2 times faster.
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Old 4th Nov 2021, 16:35
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So would someone that has never heard of airplanes before learn quicker than someone who has thousands of hours of sim behind?
I'll answer that with a "could be..." in the context of learning to fly a very simple GA airplane in a VFR only environment. Think of it this way, if you've never ridden a bicycle, would thousands of hours of driving help you with that? Not much... Rules of the road a little, yes, but the bicycle is a whole different vehicle to control compared to a car, just as a light GA plane is to an airliner.

I have on several occasions, trained airline pilots to fly advanced GA amphibious airplanes. I knew that they had thousands of hours of jet flying, they knew that they had it. We both agreed at the very beginning, that it had very little value in the training we were about to do. Indeed (as is a bit too common), all that airliner time got one pilot in a very dangerous situation, as he selected wheels down for landing, and confirmed wheels down. His serious error was that this was a planned and briefed water landing. He completely put his ego away after that. I've had to train a number of pilots for something new, compared to their prior experience. My very best success has come with pilots who have said to me: "Teach me as though I know nothing, and we'll see where we get to.".

Your best success in learning to fly a small airplane in an approved flight training environment will come after you step away from simming, and focus entirely on the approved training curriculum (which will not include simulators). 'Just free advice, from someone who knows...
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Old 4th Nov 2021, 17:40
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So would someone that has never heard of airplanes before learn quicker than someone who has thousands of hours of sim behind?
At the risk of being more outspoken than the wise I'd answer that with "most likely, yes". As said, the simmer will first have to "unlearn" many things acquired, before learning can begin.

went for the Roger Sommer aeroclub
Cheese us! That's at LFSJ Sedan-Douzy, right? Two hours' stiff driving from Brussels? Excuse me for becoming more and more sceptical. Yes, the hourly rate for the plane may be cheaper, and the French have a strong tradition of disciplined training, believing very much in self-control. But will the difference in rates make up for the road trips? Including those wasted because of suddenly inclement weather, plane broken, instructor ill, runway closed due a visiting family of boars, &c &c?

Also, be aware that a PPL gained in France may allow you to fly in Belgian airspace, but like as not you will learn the radio in French which is neither legal nor practical in the rest of Europe - Belgium included. Get the facts straight before spending money!

Last edited by Jan Olieslagers; 4th Nov 2021 at 18:55.
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Old 4th Nov 2021, 22:06
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Originally Posted by ELMS77W View Post
Thanks to everyone for answering my questions.

I'll take your advice into account and not mix jets with lights but I don't think I could stop flying the 777 entirely though. I believe it's possible to do both at the same time
I think you've just proved Pilot DAR's point perfectly. If you were one of mine, you'd be annoying me already. For the avoidance of doubt, flying instructors don't instruct on the basis that you'll try to take their advice into account - and you then totally ignore what they say. That is exactly the sort of breath-taking arrogance and 'I know better then you' attitude that will cost you time and money.

I've seen them all, like the student who knew I was wrong and he was correct that when flying from A to B with a cross wind the plane need a bit of rudder to keep it straight, because when he sails his boat across a tidal river he always needs a bit of rudder to keep it straight etc, etc. I think there's every chance you'll be just like him. He knew everything. Absolutely everything.. But he couldn't learn anything. Because he would never listen. And by the way, he never went solo.

From what you've said already, I have a hunch you're likely to be coming back here 20 hours into your training to moan "I've had 4 instructors so far... and none of them were any good... none of them seem to be able to teach me how to land properly... none of them listened to me when I said they were wrong on this, that or the other technicality... do you think I should be looking to go to another school with better instructors?"
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Old 5th Nov 2021, 01:36
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I flew with a colleague recently in a PA28 who has thousands of hours msfs sim time.

When I let him take the controls he was having a massive problem keeping the wings level or the pitch constant.

After 5 minutes of porpoising around the sky we discussed what was going on.

Heís quite a nice chap and it was enlightening, he said

The yoke didnít have the effects he was used to, he couldnít believe how responsive a real plane is, how it feels when you do things, and how hard it is.

The instrumentation wasnít as clear, I explained we had a much better horizon out of the front window and we donít really fly along just looking at the panel as he was. We glance at it now and then. He was trying to watch it.

So, what he was actually trying to do was fly as if in IMC without being trained in the proper way to do an instrument scan. He was randomly looking around the panel.

of course, you can manage a flight sim randomly looking around the panel, even with the small bit of IMC training I have, I know a proper scan is important in a real aircraft.

his last point was about feelings, he thought it odd being able to feel the plane moving.

I heard him telling someone a few weeks later

ĒIím not sure Iíd do it again, at one point we must have dropped about 2000 feetĒ, which would have been a neat trick when we were flying about 2500í AGL!

Anyway, a message to the OP, Iím sure youíll be fine, Iíd post more, but Iím off to have a go on my Formula One sim, I can nearly do the same lap times as Lewis Hamilton, Iím pretty sure therefore Iíd be able to actually drive an F1 car in real life, my sim is after all very realistic.

I know that sounds a bit like I am being sarcastic (I am), but really itís just an insight into how people view someone who says they can fly real aircraft because they are good at msfs.

Youíll love real aircraft, but Iíd forget about the simming for a bit whilst learning to fly.



Out of complete interest, and genuinely not trying to belittle you, you say you have a sim IR. What is the order of your scan? Was you taught one?

One other thing, simming without pedals and calling it flying may kill you.
If you have ever done stall recovery incorrectly, and picked up a dropped wing without use of your feet, in a real aircraft if you try that youíll be spinning towards the ground.
I presume youíve done stall recovery if you have an IR?

Again, Iím not having a go at you, Iím interested in how the simming world views itself and how it views real flying.

I may play the odd F1 game, but I am aware I could not drive a real F1 car.

Last edited by kghjfg; 5th Nov 2021 at 02:35.
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Old 5th Nov 2021, 11:38
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When I started flying I had crazy problems steering while taxiing. I suspect it was years with go-karts as a kid which reversed my instincts. I used a basic SIM with pedals to fix that and lock-in the correct instinct, that definitely helped. Other than that, I used the SIM to lock-in and speed-up emergency procedures, but only after they had been established in real life. So pretty basic stuff! And supplementing real-world experience, not replacing it.

Last edited by double_barrel; 5th Nov 2021 at 12:26.
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Old 5th Nov 2021, 12:13
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If you have ever done stall recovery incorrectly, and picked up a dropped wing without use of your feet, in a real aircraft if you try that you’ll be spinning towards the ground.
That comment is almost worth a thread all to itself!
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Old 5th Nov 2021, 12:54
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Originally Posted by Jim59 View Post
That comment is almost worth a thread all to itself!
If you try and pick up a dropped wing with aileron in a real aircraft, youíll stall the wing fully and it gets exciting.

The rudder isnít stalled and you can use the secondary effect of yaw to pick the wing up.

I donít know why that would need a thread of itís own. Thatís part of basic stall recovery.


Iíd be interested if the OP was aware of this, if theyíd even done any stall training to get their sim licences. I think them stating they have a sim IR is the most worrying bit tbh.
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Old 5th Nov 2021, 13:52
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Look, I'm not saying this is a Troll. That would be rude and maybe unwarranted. However, if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then consider the possibility that it might go well with orange sauce.
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Old 5th Nov 2021, 13:57
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Originally Posted by Piper.Classique View Post
Look, I'm not saying this is a Troll. That would be rude and maybe unwarranted. However, if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then consider the possibility that it might go well with orange sauce.
oh yea....doh...
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Old 5th Nov 2021, 14:23
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Originally Posted by ELMS77W View Post
So would someone that has never heard of airplanes before learn quicker than someone who has thousands of hours of sim behind? Even if that simmer learnt some great things in its virtual career? When you're simming there are tons of rumours about how you should fly an airplane.
Yes exactly. It is easier to teach someone from scratch than it is for someone to unlearn bad habits, then relearn good ones. Your flight Simulation hobby could cost you dearly.
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Old 5th Nov 2021, 16:01
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PC flight simulators might be more helpful for early IFR understanding, so later on in the process. Link trainer style. But only if the real procedures, maps and routes are used.
The best initial actual flying training is done on gliders from my view. So better spend the money on a basic glider course instead of expensive add ons and cockpit panels. That's more bang for the buck.
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