May 22, 2013
By Ian J. Twombly
Imagine having yearlong access to a flight school’s simulator for $120. That’s soon to be a reality for pilots near Lock Haven, Pa., thanks to a new club formed by local flight school AvSport.
The concept is simple. Users will pay one fee and get unlimited access to an AOPA Jay by Redbird for a year. Current AvSport students will have free access.
School owner Dr. Paul Shuch said students will use the Jay as part of his integrated sport pilot and private pilot upgrade curriculums. He envisions certificated pilot members will use the available scenarios as a form of self-guided learning. “Certificated pilots joining the simulator club will be given a catalog of available scenarios from which to select. They can fly those, or just go into free-flight mode, exploring and experimenting,” he said.
Shuch said he chose the Jay because of its price point, which at $2,490 falls between home systems and those approved by the FAA for currency. He was also drawn to the idea of scenarios, whether he creates them or they are already on the device.
“Without a published curriculum that tells the student what he or she will be doing in each lesson, what the completion standards are, and what homework will help the student to prepare for that lesson, they would find themselves just wandering around the sky burning avgas, helping the instructor to build hours toward his or her own airline career, maybe having fun, but making very little educational headway. Without scenarios, simulator training is just the same (except we're not burning avgas),” he said.
Shuch is currently accepting charter members that will have privileges through the end of 2014, as well as a few select lifetime members.
Bowling Green State University has partnered with North Star Aviation to handle student flight training.
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Raw-data aviation remains relevant in one respect: No one ever said that pilots flying raw-data approaches had sacrificed their airmanship on the altar of technology.
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