There is now speculation that pilots will need an even more immersive and “authentic” simulator experience when training. Authorities have recently begun to question how simulator training can be improved. Improvement areas that are being looked at are the more “extreme” scenarios such as: stalls, stall recovery and spins (along with various others).
These simulator revisions come about one year after the fatal crash of a Colgan Air flight in Buffalo, New York. Colgan Air flight 3407 was a DHC-8-400 that crashed due to pilot error in an extreme situation, in this case a “too low, too slow” stall in which the pilot performed the wrong attempted recovery maneuver thus dooming all souls on board. It is secondary to reasons such as this that further, more comprehensive training in advanced simulators is being sought out; something that is of now, not required by federal regulation. (Courtesy: www.ntsb.gov)
In a recent study done by Julie Snider of USA Today, it is found that since the year 2000 there have been 433 U.S. airline fatalities. Of these 433, a staggering 317 are believed to have been preventable if the pilots had received better simulator training.
With what looks to be like some serious simulator improvements on the horizon, one might ask, “What does this mean for me?” Well if you’re a pilot then probably more training, if you’re a frequent flyer then hopefully safer skies, and if you’re a Microsoft Flight Simulator, X-Plane, or any other hobby-style simulator user, then in all likelihood it means nothing.
In this humble writers opinion, it seems as for now that this idea of perfecting flight characteristics in abnormal situations is primarily meant to help those who fly for a living and hold ATPs and CPLs. These changes are first and foremost meant for those simulators that most want but can never have (yeah, you know the ones… with all those moving parts and the hydraulics). Is this however, a step in the right direction for flight simulators and aviation in general, well it most definitely is as this will most likely mean safer air travels for all, helping to prevent the most common cause for aircraft incidents: pilot error.
This article was written and compiled by Ralston Dorn, a resident Aviation News editor (username RalPh8) with additional credits to sources: USA Today.