Real Answers from Real Pilots

The Torture Chamber aka Da Sim!


Spending the rest of the month in virtual reality. Gotta admit looks pretty real!

(Eric) #2

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8 more days?! Yikes! I actually volunteered so there’s no pressure (whew). Yea this sim is only a couple of years old. Really pretty impressive but still not an airplane. Have fun! and do good!

(Matthew Dean) #4

Why is I the torture chamber?. Lol is it really that bad or what?


Yes Matthew it is! But that’s the point. Simulators vary from your home PC with MSFltSim to full motion Level D sims we have at the airlines. All are designed to allow you to practice and perfect your skills. The fact is bad things (while rare) do happen in airplanes and another fact is often (not always) it can be attributed to “pilot error”. Now the plane I fly, the Airbus A330-200, costs about $230mil dollars, not to mention it burns about 10,000lbs of jet fuel per hour (approx.1500 gal) so as you can understand the airline frowns upon pilots taking airplanes up without passengers and trying to break them (and if we did it with 300 pax in back I’m sure many of them wouldn’t like it either). Soooo once a year we are required to spend some quality time in the sim honing our skills. The sessions can vary but you rarely are just sitting back enjoying the artificial view. For example this evening me and my partner suffered 5-6 engine failures at takeoff (which is the WORST time to lose one), both engines at altitude, loss of 2 of our 3 hydraulic systems (which in an Airbus is REALLY BAD), windshear, traffic alerts, incapacitated crewmember and jammed flight controls. While this may sound like fun and obviously it’s all simulated so no ones bending any metal or worse, it can be and usually is VERY stressful. Now I can’t really complain too much since I volunteered (I’m not due till Dec but it helps keep me sharp). The level of torture can also vary with the instructors level of sadism but I guess that makes me a masochist?

Long short the idea is that when things get ugly you simply reach into bag of experience and do as you’ve been trained vs becoming a statistic. Either way you may end up on the 6 o’clock news but we’d all rather have a happy ending so it’s definitely worth it… I think?


(Matthew Dean) #6

Got ya, thank you.

(Adam S.) #7

Sorry to dig up this old thread guys, but one question to add onto this. Does anyone play the role of ATC while you’re in the sim? From time to time I’m sure you’ve have had to read back some fairly complicated taxi instructions (or anything else in the air for that matter), so I’m curious if certain communication or CRM skills work into the sim somehow. Or is it more so focused on aviating and navigating? :grin:



While much of the time in the sim is practicing maneuvers, emergencies etc there are many time you do real world scenarios. In fact since the advent of AQP (Advanced Qualification Program) there’s a much greater focus on real world training and the final exam for most ATP and Type rides is an LOE (Line Operational Evaluation). An LOE is done in “real time” and mirrors an actual flight. They’ll be a brief and once the instructor/examiner hands over the paperwork it’s game on, no more questions or explanations. Anyway to answer your question the instructor running the sim will play ATC, flight attendants, maintenance, dispatch and anything else the crew may need to interact with. Trust me ATC clearances are the least of your worries in the sim.




The sim is mostly focused on instrument flying skills, but a huge part of that is ATC instructions. While you will not hear all the usual ATC chatter, your instructor will fill the role of ATC by issuing clearances and you will read them back appropriately.

You will not work on taxiing or taxi instructions in the sim, it is not realistic enough for that and at the end of the day, taxiing is not really that complex.




To clarify, I answered your question from the perspective of an ATP student in one of their simulators, while Adam’s post was referring to airline simulators.