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Ways to keep skills fresh over winterWays to keep skills fresh over winter

Ways to keep skills fresh over winter

By AOPA ePublishing staff

Winter weather may ground you, but a wide range of computer-based options can help you maintain critical flying skills. Whether you have access to a simple flight simulation program for your home computer or an FAA-certified training device, there are plenty of ways to keep your skills fresh for that first good-weather flying day.

Programs like Microsoft’s Flight Simulator allow you to “fly” at home. Although you can’t log the time, such programs are a fun and effective way to practice basic procedures, like your checklists, flows, instrument scan, and navigation using VORs, GPS receivers, and other tools.

Your local FBO or flight school may also offer access to FAA-approved devices, including flight simulators, flight training devices, or personal computer-based aviation training devices (PCATDs) that allow you to log time under certain circumstances. Such devices include realistic aircraft controls and are perfect for practicing instrument flying skills, such as approaches and holding patterns, efficiently and affordably.

To learn more about the variety of devices available and how you can get the most from them, visit the AOPA Pilot Information Center and review the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s PCATD Safety Advisor.

January 16, 2008

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