airtechy
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Simulator Capability...

Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:05 am

The only aircraft simulator I have "flown" was an F4 simulator located at the old Naval Training Center in Orlando. They wanted instrument pilots to evaluate a new software program. It did not have an outside visual display, but had a real F4 cockpit and motion simulation. I found out quickly that an F4 needs a lot of power with gear and flaps!  

It looks like the current accident at SFO may result in the requirement for additional pilot training in visual approaches. Therefore my question. Are the current latest and greatest simulators adequate to practice purely visual approaches?

I realize that the accident report is not out, but can we get beyond that.

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Starlionblue
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RE: Simulator Capability...

Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:09 am

Quoting airtechy (Thread starter):
Are the current latest and greatest simulators adequate to practice purely visual approaches?

More than adequate. Even the 80s vintage 767 sim I have tried was very close to reality. Modern sims are way beyond that, especially given the improvement in graphics.

Nowadays the first flight in the actual aircraft for a new pilot is typically with passengers on board. You just don't see major airlines taking a 777 out just to do pattern work anymore.
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wilco737
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RE: Simulator Capability...

Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:00 am

Quoting airtechy (Thread starter):
Are the current latest and greatest simulators adequate to practice purely visual approaches?

Yes, it is possible, but of course it is not 100% as in real life. But as good as it gets. I must say, doing my sessions in the simulator are very realistic. We can even train the Canarsie visual approach into JFK, which is not the easiest approach out there.

We do visual traffic patterns as well and they work quite good.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 1):
Nowadays the first flight in the actual aircraft for a new pilot is typically with passengers on board. You just don't see major airlines taking a 777 out just to do pattern work anymore.

Exactly. I did my first landing in the B747-400 in MCO with passengers on board on a regular flight. Of course there was a TRI/ TRE sitting next to me and would've been able to assist if needed. But the airplane felt just like I expected it from the many hours in the simulator.

On the MD11F back then we did a flight training and did at least 3 landings without any cargo on board.

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SAAFNAV
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RE: Simulator Capability...

Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:47 pm

Yes, a level D simulator will enable you to go directly to the cockpit and fly with passengers as soon as you pass the tests.

But, you need the visual flying background before that. It won't teach you how to fly if you initial phases did not teach you that.
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Klaus
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RE: Simulator Capability...

Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:20 pm

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 2):
Exactly. I did my first landing in the B747-400 in MCO with passengers on board on a regular flight. Of course there was a TRI/ TRE sitting next to me and would've been able to assist if needed. But the airplane felt just like I expected it from the many hours in the simulator.

When starting to flare, how important is your visual impression on the one hand and the radio altitude callout on the other? And how well does the visual part transfer from the sim to the aircraft?
 
pilotpip
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RE: Simulator Capability...

Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:57 pm

Modern simulators are extremely accurate. My company is in the process of upgrading their graphics package and the new one is insanely accurate.

Visual landing basics are something that are learned from private pilot days. While the sight picture may change over time if you fail to recognize that you're low with four red lights on a papi, slow to the point that the stick shaker is going off, and forget the basics of pitch and power to the point that you're doing an approach at idle thrust in a 500,000 pound airliner with 10,000 hours experience you're probably not going to learn.
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wilco737
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RE: Simulator Capability...

Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:06 pm

Quoting Klaus (Reply 4):
When starting to flare, how important is your visual impression on the one hand and the radio altitude callout on the other? And how well does the visual part transfer from the sim to the aircraft?

Both actually is quite important. The visual reference and the 'looking at the end of the runway' to get a proper impression how fast you are descending and if the flare was too strong, not strong enough, too early or too late.
The radio altimeter call outs are helpful as you are aware at what point you start the flar. Of course it is not always the same. Hot day in DEN with a heavy 744 you start earlier to flare than in FRA with a very light 744 on a cold day. But you have a general idea when to pull.

During flare I mostly look outside, but the time before I switch back and forth between instruments and outside quite often and quickly.

The simulator does all this pretty well. But of course it is not 100% as the real thing. But after all the hours in the simulator you feel well prepared to fly the actual airplane in real life. Of course the pulse is a little higher during your first landing  

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Klaus
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RE: Simulator Capability...

Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:48 pm

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 6):
The simulator does all this pretty well. But of course it is not 100% as the real thing. But after all the hours in the simulator you feel well prepared to fly the actual airplane in real life. Of course the pulse is a little higher during your first landing

I can imagine.  

But it's good to know from a passenger's perspective that even and especially the intuitive part of making the landing is covered well by the simulators.
 
FlyMKG
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RE: Simulator Capability...

Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:10 am

The Level C sim I used to get my FE rating in the 727 was extremely rudimentary in the graphics department. A black background with white lights only. As the aircraft got close to the ground the "landing lights" would light up the runway.
When I upgraded to FO, I had to use a Level D sim. It was a black background with colored background lights. You could also get it to show a dawn scenario.
When captains would have to demonstrate the circling approach it usually required a few practice tries because of the limited number of visual monitors in all 727 sims. They would aim for a certain group of lights for the first turn and so on until they got to the runway.
Flying the sim and flying the plane are two totally different yet related skill sets that pilots must both master.

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Jetlagged
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RE: Simulator Capability...

Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:02 pm

Quoting FlyMKG (Reply 8):
The Level C sim I used to get my FE rating in the 727 was extremely rudimentary in the graphics department. A black background with white lights only. As the aircraft got close to the ground the "landing lights" would light up the runway.
When I upgraded to FO, I had to use a Level D sim. It was a black background with colored background lights. You could also get it to show a dawn scenario.
When captains would have to demonstrate the circling approach it usually required a few practice tries because of the limited number of visual monitors in all 727 sims. They would aim for a certain group of lights for the first turn and so on until they got to the runway.
Flying the sim and flying the plane are two totally different yet related skill sets that pilots must both master.

What you are talking about is very old, grandfathered, technology. No sim built to Level D standard (as opposed to grandfathered) will have monitors for visual simulation. They will have 150 deg wide cross-cockpit FOV as a minimum, so circling approaches are not so limited. All must have daylight capability (though this was often disabled to save tube life). I'm puzzled by your "white lights only" description. Coloured lightpoints were the norm even on very early night CGI visuals, though blue was usually unavailable. Maybe there were maintenance issues?

Generally any simulator built to 1991 or later FAA Level D standards should be able to be used to train visual approach and landing. Even if the scene is limited to night or dusk.
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