August 1, 2011
By Ian J. Twombly
The benefits of simulation for pilot training are well understood and are beginning to be adopted more widely in the training industry. But air traffic control has remained an elusive training component. A small company based in New Jersey is aiming to change all that.
PilotEdge is live, virtual air traffic control that will allow students and certificated pilots around the world to combine the best of flight simulation technology with the interaction of a live traffic environment.
PilotEdge’s controllers, many of whom are retired FAA air traffic controllers, work virtual radar scopes that network with everything from a home simulator set-up with X-Plane to multi-million-dollar full-motion simulators.
Pilots can utilize the technology anywhere they have an Internet connection and a basic flight simulator setup, or they can work with an instructor in the background at a flight school. Virtual air traffic service is available starting at clearance delivery, through ground control, tower control, approach and departure, and even the en route environment.
Controllers will be able to sense the location of the airplanes through the virtual radar scope, and even be able to tell which frequency they are transmitting on, making for a real-life training environment.
Home plans cost around $20 a month with 18 hours a day of coverage guaranteed.
PilotEdge displayed the service at EAA AirVenture with Precision Flight Controls, which now offers a number of different hardware options, including a motion platform, for under $40,000.
Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.
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