PC-based flight simulation is a proven way to accelerate your flight training and save money in the process. Using X-Plane or Microsoft® Flight Simulator you can run through cockpit procedures, get familiar with your local flying environment, and practice navigation. While you’ll definitely be a lot more confident in the cockpit as a result, you’ll also notice that flying a real airplane is decidedly different than using a sim.
Real flying takes place in a dynamic environment populated by other human beings. In a real airplane there’s no Pause key, and the pilots and air traffic controllers you interact with on the radio are real people. With that knowledge comes some pressure to perform, which is why the number one fear of student pilots is learning to speak on the radio.
Enter Air Sim Corp. Flying one of the connected simulators on the Air Sim Corp network instantly creates the same mental environment you find yourself in when you fly a real airplane. Instead of practicing your skills by yourself in front of your computer, you’ll have the sense that other people are watching your every move. Over time, you’ll become more and more comfortable with this. When it comes time for your checkride, you’ll have the confidence of a pro.
As a student pilot, you can use Air Sim Corp to:
- Overcome the “brain lock” that paralyzes some student pilots when they press the mic key.
- Achieve fluency in the language of aviation radio communication.
- Gain an intuitive mastery of which radio calls to make, and when.
- Practice flying the traffic pattern while interacting with Ground and Tower controllers, or while making position announcements at an uncontrolled airport.
- Fly out to a practice area for some air work, keep your eye out for traffic as you practice maneuvers, then return home with a call to approach or the tower or an announcement on the CTAF.
- Fly to another airport, and pick up flight following along the way.
- Get comfortable interacting with controllers at a Class D airport (especially if you’re doing most of your training at an uncontrolled field).
- Practice transitioning Class C and Class B airspace.
- Master the art of building a three-dimensional picture of what’s going on around you, by listening to the interaction between ATC and other aircraft.
- Try new things, make mistakes, and learn from them—in a friendly environment that exists solely to help you become a better pilot!
Instrument Rated Pilots
Many instrument students find learning to aviate and navigate without visual reference to the ground a relatively simple process. Some use X-Plane and Flight Simulator to make learning to fly on instruments even easier.
But when these same students start trying to communicate in the IFR system, they quickly find their brains becoming overloaded. Everything’s fine until ATC rattles off an approach clearance:
“N132KT is 5 from the marker, fly heading 180, maintain 3400 until established on the localizer, cleared ILS RWY 19R approach, maintain present speed to the marker than contact tower 119.90.”
The silence that follows is deafening … broken only by the instructor taking over the radio, and then repeating the key items to the student.
So, how do you learn to handle clearances like a pro? Simple: fly a few hundred approaches in the system with ATC. The only problem is that a typical IFR lesson can easily cost $400. If you’re lucky, that lesson will yield one IFR clearance and a handful of approach clearances. As a result, most instrument students never really achieve confident mastery of IFR radio communications until after their check ride, if at all.
On Air Sim Corp you can pick up every type of IFR route and approach clearances possible for substantially less than the cost of dual flight time in a typical trainer. What sort of IFR flying can you do on Air Sim Corp? Anything you’d do in a real airplane (and more).
- Pick up IFR clearances on the ground or in the air.
- Practice executing missed approaches, flying to alternates, and receiving amended routes from ATC.
- Practice entering and flying ATC-initiated holds, published or otherwise.
- Fly vectors-to-final or request full approaches.
- Experience “one in, one out” operations at non-towered airports.
- Request cruise clearances, VFR-on-top, and block altitudes.
- Practice emergency procedures, including receiving non-gyro vectors.
All Licensed Pilots
Whether it’s because of time, weather or money, if you’re like most Part 91 pilots, you don’t fly nearly enough to be truly proficient. Even if you use X-Plane or Microsoft Flight Simulator at home, without ATC and traffic the workload is simply not the same.
True proficiency only comes from regularly experiencing the cognitive load flying in the system forces. By realistically simulating the same mental environment you fly in when you fly for real, Air Sim Corp requires you to engage your “flying brain.” The result is a completely immersive simulation experience. You’ll walk away from each session drenched with experiences and lessons you didn’t know you could acquire from a sim.
We’ve seen many pilots on Air Sim Corp make the same errors low time or out-of-practice pilots make in the real world. Don’t be surprised if you occasionally hear pilots:
- Miss or misinterpret radio calls.
- Read back clearances incorrectly and get called on it.
- Freeze up and monopolize the frequency with confused transmissions full of “ummms” and “ahhhs” as they think out loud.
- Deviate from their cleared route when they’re issued a hold or a complex amended clearance.
It’s far better to find and fix those chinks in the armor on Air Sim Corp than it is to have them happen in the air.
As a licensed pilot, you can use your time on the Air Sim Corp network to:
- Practice both IFR and VFR flying (many IFR pilots actually find VFR flying on Air Sim Corp more challenging, especially in the complex airspace around KSLC).
- Experience flying to unfamiliar airports, and in unfamiliar airspace.
- Plan and fly cross-country flights over terrain you’d never have the opportunity to fly over on your typical real flights.
- Use the sim’s real-world weather feature to test your flight planning and decision-making skills.
- Practice your single pilot cockpit resource management—by using the same kneeboard, checklists, charts, and gizmos (timer, iPad, etc.) you use in an airplane.
- Practice emergency procedures by setting random instrument or system failures in the sim, and then working with ATC to bring the flight to a safe conclusion.
Air Sim Corp provides an environment in which you can keep your skills sharp each and every day … for less money than it would cost most pilots to get a real airplane off the ground.
As a CFI or CFII, you know that your school’s simulator is helpful for teaching and practicing certain concepts and skills. You may have tried to use the sim to teach situational awareness and radio skills by taking on the role of ATC during training sessions. If so, you know that this sort of role-playing is challenging, and often of limited value.
Air Sim Corp adds realistic radio simulation, live air traffic control, and live traffic to your simulation sessions. We take care of the ATC so that you can focus on the teaching. If you’ve ever had the sense that much of your students’ “real learning” can only take place in an airplane, those days are over.
With Air Sim Corp you can:
- Be the hero at your flight school who helps students get over the radio hump and go way beyond it by working with them on Air Sim Corp.
- Bring your students’ situational awareness and radio communication skills to a level of proficiency that would be financially unreachable in an airplane.
- Send your students up for their Private and Instrument check rides sounding and thinking like professional pilots.
- Productively “fly” with students on days when nasty weather would otherwise have kept you wandering aimlessly around the flight school.
Not From Around Here?
Air Sim Corp is located at the Salt Lake International Airport, but we cover the entire ZLC ARTCC airspace (see the picture below). If you’re an instructor based outside of the Wasatch Front, we’re making it easy for you to use Air Sim Corp for Scenario-Based Training (SBT)—even if you’re unfamiliar with the geography and airspace. We’ll soon have a searchable IFR Scenario Database that lets you filter by:
- Towered or non-towered departure airport
- Towered or non-towered arrival airport
- Precision or non-precision approaches
Just pick a scenario that matches your training requirements. You’ll have all the information you need to run an effective training session, right at your finger tips.
Schedule an ATC Failure
When working with students, you’ve probably simulated failing some instruments or the engine. Now you can “fail the ATC” too.
By default, Air Sim Corp controllers will adhere to the air traffic control procedures and phraseology in FAA Order 7110.65. If it would benefit your student though, they can intentionally make “errors” (through the use of discrete codes you include in your flight plan remarks).
Examples of controller “errors” that can test your students include:
- Transposing the student’s callsign
- Leaving the student too high on an approach
- Sending the student to an incorrect frequency
- Sending the student through the localizer
Your student might be cool as a cucumber during the approach … until the controller has her doing 120 knots to the marker, and then sends her to the wrong frequency for Tower. Does she say “unable” to the speed and recognize the wrong frequency? If not, does she go back to the Approach controller when the Tower frequency is not working?
The possibilities are endless. Watching your students sweat while they learn is great fun.
Air Sim Corp gives you opportunities to demonstrate concepts, and test your students under pressure, in ways that are simply not possible in any other environment … not even a real airplane.
Other training options
It’s no secret that student pilots are generally terrified to talk on the radio. Mock practice sessions on the ground don’t adequately prepare students to deal with the anxiety that manifests itself just seconds before pushing the mic key. Adding Air Sim to your flight training devices fundamentally changes the work that can be performed in your sims.
As a flight school owner or manager, you can use Air Sim to:
- Increase the utilization of your training devices and instructors while bringing your students to a whole new level of proficiency, and saving them money.
- Set up a small lab of sims (FAA-certified or otherwise) and run group instruction sessions with live ATC and traffic.
- Run an IFR class where all of the students pick up a clearance.
- Run a VFR class where they conduct pattern work with each other on the CTAF / Unicom frequency.
- Fly out of a controlled airport to a practice area, and then back again, all the while practicing proper radio communications with live ATC.
Our software will work on most flight simulators including PC-BATD, AATD, and is compatible with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 and FSX, as well as with X-Plane. Let us help get your sims connected, and start training your students the best and safest ways to fly and communicate correctly.
If you’re interested in becoming an Air Traffic Controller, Air Sim can help. We can teach you the basics of correct ATC phraseology and give you a real taste of what being an Air Traffic Controller is really like.
Each scope is capable of simulating a variety of radar display modes (ARTS, STARs, DSR, and more as needed). We also offer a Tower view client, suitable for building tower simulators. Traffic is provided through target generators, and/or through the use of connected flight simulators.