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Simulator Flying - is it enough?

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Simulator Flying - is it enough?

Old 16th Dec 2019, 16:13
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Simulator Flying - is it enough?

With the increasing complexity of helicopters do you spend enough time in the 'box' ?

Putting it 'out there' as I visit the 'box' twice a year, usually 4 x 2-hr slots each time, but still feel that is not enough.

After the examiner has tried to complete the various mandatory exercises and you've been bounced around various scenarios within the allotted time frame - I'm often left with the feeling of having been 'run thru the mill' and struggle to appreciate the training value.
It is usually the case that after you've re-learnt how to fly the 'box' - its time to go back to work.
Box time is relatively expensive and a balance must be met - especially for the smaller companies. Maybe the new wave of VR training aids will improve access/competition as I still struggle to see why traditional simulators are so expensive to procure - when you consider that MS FlightSim graphics are far superior than any Level-D 'box' I have sat in!
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Old 16th Dec 2019, 16:39
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Box Checking is not training.
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Old 16th Dec 2019, 17:52
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As an examiner myself, I can tell you that a lot of instructors and Examiners are using the Sim inefficiently.

Instead of reproducing realistic scenarios, you get engine failure on take-off, recover, engine quick restart, hydraulic failure, recover, unusual attitude, recover, transmission failure.. All within the first 15 minutes... (you get the idea).


I try to use the time as efficient as possible as well (by avoiding long empty legs), but I manage to cover the mandatory exercises and leave some time at the end for the pilot to practice things he wants or needs...

(But then, I am not flying any of those hypercomplex types like a 189 or stuff..).
 
Old 16th Dec 2019, 18:13
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I agree that MS FS and other PC graphics are better than those found in many simulators, but graphics quality isn't the whole story...especially for night/IMC operations. A full-motion simulator with a decent flight model, vibration, noise, a proper representation of the relevant type's cockpit and some kind of air traffic control enhance the illusion of reality and increase the background stress levels on the crew. These don't come cheap. Nor does an experienced and competent instructor. You can make do without motion, which reduces the cost, but the simulator is less effective at replicating emergencies such as tail rotor failures and control malfunctions. I agree that box - ticking emergencies training is of limited value. Fewer malfunctions taken through to their conclusion, or at least until the crew has made its decisions are, in my experience, of far greater value. Quality simulator is expensive....and invaluable.
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Old 16th Dec 2019, 19:53
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A simulator does not fly like the aircraft it represents. It flies according to the programmer's brief.
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Old 16th Dec 2019, 21:10
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When things are going wrong In the real helicopter they do not fly like normal either.
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Old 16th Dec 2019, 21:35
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(But then, I am not flying any of those hypercomplex types like a 189 or stuff..)
Interesting point. I remember having the same amount of sim time for OPC on the Bell 212 as I do on the 189. The 212 OPC/LPC was a very enjoyable, gentlemanly affair with lots of time to practice such things as actually flying the aircraft. There are so many mandated items to cover in the 189 that everything is compressed into a frantic box ticking exercise that leaves both instructor and pilots exhausted and irritable.
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Old 16th Dec 2019, 22:07
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I’ve been exposed to some terrible training in expensive and complex simulators.
Usually as a result of an instructor abandoning any semblance of educational technique in order to rush through all the “box ticking” required.
Like most “shortcuts”, it ends up being the “long and inefficient way”. A sad waste of opportunity.
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Old 16th Dec 2019, 23:09
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I always enjoyed the S76B sim sessions at West Palm. Pleasant instructors, enough time to cover the sequences, and a bit of time for looking at things I wanted to revise.

Sure, it doesn't behave like the actual machine, and we all knew it - hovering was a horse's patootie, so we would get into forward flight as ASAP as possible. The visuals (this is 13 years ago) could sometimes topple my eyeballs, but again we knew it was just a representation. But the training value was still there. The ground school was excellent.
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 06:55
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Same Again - is one of the problems cramming the LPC and OPC into one sim session rather than completing them separately?
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 09:02
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As I'm sure you are aware the LPC and OPC are very similar both having two separate sorties for the Visual and Instrument elements. I think most operators these days do a 6 monthly OPC in the sim followed by the LPC 6 months later. I have qualified on a number of progressively more complex types in the sim over the years - the last being the 189 - and the more complex the aircraft the more there is to potentially fail and learn. Also these days the PC profiles also take up so much time to perfect. One aspect of sim training that does not seem to have changed is the number of 2 hour slots available to cram all of this into. Would I want to spend more time in the sim? Personally - no thanks as I find it all very stressful. Thankfully retirement is imminent!
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 09:24
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Hi,
had these cramped sim sessions as well as really productive ones.
Its up to the instructor and the policy.
Personal I think, I benefited from the sessions.
From the former military approach, knowing every emergency by heart and try to solve it quickly to „if its not on fire or dropping out of the sky - which needs immediate action- stay calm, fly the aircraft- analyse, read the appropriate checklist, check options available, decide what to do, checking the decision develops the way intended- reanalyse“ was quite a step.
But it is actually really helpfull fo have shut down engines in the sim with the according lights coming on - compared to using the training switch in the real aircraft - or retarding one throttle - which won’t give you the same impression.
Same with Engine controls, electrics, hydraulics.
Never thought, how relaxed I would be, having a real red light coming on - but I was.
Had seen it and done it in the sim before ;-)
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 11:45
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Same again - that's what I wasn't sure of - whether the OPC was separate from the LPC or lumped together. The way you describe it, in two discrete rides 6 months apart, seems sensible.

I can only assume the 189 PC profiles are more complicated than the 139 ones.
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Old 17th Dec 2019, 11:54
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Do you enjoy going that's the question? If you plan to enjoy your time in the SIM and you've prepped a big bag of questions for your hopefully competent instructor, then you're doing more than just box ticking yourself. I have always enjoyed the opportunity to expand and develop my abilities so have probably come away with more than just those guys who take a deep breath and just get it done and say nothing in class. The most interesting part for me is talking with the other guys and carefully listening to their stories.
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Old 18th Dec 2019, 10:32
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Sir Korsky - I don't think such LPC/OPC sessions are enjoyable, they are, after all, a checkride which you can't fail if you want to stay employed. The box-ticking satisfies the regulators but doesn't guarantee quality - as many here have pointed out.

If you have access to a sim for development training then that is a different matter but as costs are pared to the bone, that is unlikely.
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Old 18th Dec 2019, 13:34
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I think it is the constant lack of reality that irks me. Maybe a strange thing to say but if they spend millions to produce a ‘realistic’ simulator then it should be used in a realistic fashion.
ie - engine failure off night rig, climbing away to suffer an engine fire that wouldn’t go out so imminent ditching. I turn back toward the rig we had just departed from - and more importantly the mandatory safety ‘standby’ vessel - only to be told that the rig had miraculously vanished!
i understand that the instructor wanted me to ditch but don’t underestimate the affect such ‘randomness’ has upon decision making and taking the sim ‘seriously’
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Old 18th Dec 2019, 14:53
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Originally Posted by EESDL View Post
I think it is the constant lack of reality that irks me. Maybe a strange thing to say but if they spend millions to produce a ‘realistic’ simulator then it should be used in a realistic fashion.
ie - engine failure off night rig, climbing away to suffer an engine fire that wouldn’t go out so imminent ditching. I turn back toward the rig we had just departed from - and more importantly the mandatory safety ‘standby’ vessel - only to be told that the rig had miraculously vanished!
i understand that the instructor wanted me to ditch but don’t underestimate the affect such ‘randomness’ has upon decision making and taking the sim ‘seriously’
The Sim is good as long as the instructor is.....You can go to different facilities and hope for better, but at the end, the instructor is the key to get good training, it does not matter where it is. I had horrible session and very good one (2016/17 Flight Safety with Ryan Rowzee, but he is now gone, the good one do not stay). We go there once a year and as other said, you are jammed with exercises with no time. Is it normal to only do one stuck pedal during 4 days of training ? That's the all problem !! you don't have enough time to practice. The company is gone say:"we send our crew on the Sim, so they have good training..." Well, doing a specific exercise once a year, do you think you will be good enough to do it on the real aircraft ? maybe yes...maybe not....It is good for working on procedures and crew interaction, but machine are complex now and we should get more time, that's the key.
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Old 18th Dec 2019, 15:30
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Originally Posted by EESDL View Post
I think it is the constant lack of reality that irks me. Maybe a strange thing to say but if they spend millions to produce a ‘realistic’ simulator then it should be used in a realistic fashion
....

Many times, the requirements dictate the un-reality. For example, what is the purpose of evaluating these maneuvers in a simulator: (1) inflight fire and smoke removal (unless the simulator uses an actual smoke generator), (2) emergency descent (a fixed-wing thing), (3) auto with a power recovery (unless evaluating for a required maintenance maneuver), (4) ditching (for an operator operating in the desert?), (5) emergency evacuation (the doors rarely open), (6) CRM in the SP cockpit (but it must be covered in depth), (7) wake turbulence avoidance, (8) maximum performance takeoff (when we can’t even get a consensus on what the maneuver is), or (9) a DME arc approach on an IPC (one time, back in ’85, I flew one with an engine fire, low fuel, etc.). The FAA requirements in many ways are archaic.

For example, with weather being a factor in nearly all HAA accidents, when was the last time a 297 ride really checked your ability to evaluate it and make a decision?
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Old 27th Dec 2019, 16:15
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[QUOTE=One aspect of sim training that does not seem to have changed is the number of 2 hour slots available to cram all of this into. Would I want to spend more time in the sim? Personally - no thanks as I find it all very stressful. Thankfully retirement is imminent![/QUOTE]
You get what you pay for, it seems as if your company is having a case of checking the boxes.
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Old 27th Dec 2019, 16:33
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Originally Posted by JimEli View Post

Many times, the requirements dictate the un-reality. For example, what is the purpose of evaluating these maneuvers in a simulator: (1) inflight fire and smoke removal (unless the simulator uses an actual smoke generator), (2) emergency descent (a fixed-wing thing), (3) auto with a power recovery (unless evaluating for a required maintenance maneuver), (4) ditching (for an operator operating in the desert?), (5) emergency evacuation (the doors rarely open), (6) CRM in the SP cockpit (but it must be covered in depth), (7) wake turbulence avoidance, (8) maximum performance takeoff (when we can’t even get a consensus on what the maneuver is), or (9) a DME arc approach on an IPC (one time, back in ’85, I flew one with an engine fire, low fuel, etc.). The FAA requirements in many ways are archaic.

For example, with weather being a factor in nearly all HAA accidents, when was the last time a 297 ride really checked your ability to evaluate it and make a decision?
One Hundred Freaking percent on the money!
As once a simulator instructor/examiner with experience in the major industry fields told me, he was often frustrated by the requirements of checking the same boxes regardless of whether the pilot/trainee is flying EMS, SAR /hoist, firefighting/slinging, Oil& Gas support or a corporate weenie.
Each operator should be responsible enough to generate its own dedicated program and the simulation industry should have more instructors/examiners who actually understand the related what if scenarios.
Yes, the all important 61.58 still requires to abide by the PTS, but soon there are going to (hopefully) be changes with the FAA moving to a different set of standards.
Having instructors who have never even seen the aircraft they train hurts quality of training and credibility.
As far as someone in previous posts mentioning lack of realism for T/R malfunctions and emergency procedures, try doing a loss of thrust or a realistic binding in a helicopter.
Show me an NG overspeed in a helicopter with a FADEC or EEC controlled engine in a helicopter that is not the actual malfunction.
We are talking about training through exposure here.
Simulation is valid enough for EASA to warrant use of it mandatory for some aircraft, and for the NTSB to generate a safety notice back in 2014 for the lack of it.
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