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Effect of simulator use on Pilot/Nav Training


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Baseops,

I'm trying to finish my Master's and I'm writing on the effects of transitioning the Air Battle Manager syllabus to entirely simulators. No one has advocated that course of action but I want to research the effects of using more simulation for pilot, navigator, and EWO training to see if I could draw any conclusions or parallels.

My question is has anyone seen/read/have any recommendations on literature I could review that deals with the effects of moving commercial or military aviation to more simulators and less live fly?

Waldo

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There's a research lab at Wright-Patt that probably has plenty of info. I'll see if I can get some contact info for you. I know when we were up there the controllers got a lot out of being able to control our simulator missions. I imagine having them control computer driven aircraft would not be nearly as helpful.

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There's a research lab at Wright-Patt that probably has plenty of info. I'll see if I can get some contact info for you. I know when we were up there the controllers got a lot out of being able to control our simulator missions. I imagine having them control computer driven aircraft would not be nearly as helpful.

DFRESH - I've actually sent about a dozen controllers, including myself, to AFRL over the years and I've got several contacts there. I figured in all the hundreds of PME/BS AAD that get turned out someone had researched the effects of simulated pilot/nav training.

Gearpig - Thanks! Problem solved and 25 page paper written.

Waldo

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Sims are good for only two things, systems and scripted practice. They're basically glorified chairflying with something to look at. Real training requires working through real problems, and sometimes those don't go as planned.

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Sims are good for only two things, systems and scripted practice. They're basically glorified chairflying with something to look at. Real training requires working through real problems, and sometimes those don't go as planned.

I completely concur with this assessment. Spot on.

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I completely concur with this assessment. Spot on.

Tactically we get quite a bit from sims that we can't replicate in training. 4 vs 20? Sim: yes, anything short of WIC: no. True high/fast flyers (70k, 2.5), etc. I think it's a bit more meat on the bone (STS) than systems and scripted stuff.

I did the KA350 program at Flight Safety for the MC-12. It was good training and I felt comfortable in the airplane when I got to Meridian.

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Concur with evil eagle. Sims are great to try things out that would be too dangerous/expensive in real life. In the Sim I've: put a T-1 thru a loop, landed a KC-135 in a 50 knot crosswind, and shacked an landing in the MQ-9 after losing the engine 8 miles from the field. Sims are awesome for practicing EPs and building confidence for unusual situations. The ability to hit the reset button and repeat the same scenario immediately allows for more training in less time, which may be the single best aspect of Sims. However, they're a supplement to flying, not a substitute for flying.

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I think it's a bit more meat on the bone (STS) than systems and scripted stuff.

Agreed. From an EWO standpoint, ECM training is always at a premium, and it's not always a guarantee that you'll be able to coordinate actual emitters. Flying against MUTE sites is good for currency, but shit for proficiency. Our SIM does a pretty good job with threats, which allows us to run very nice scenarios without airspace, MX or emitter availability issues.

Also being able to add any weather you want to increase the difficulty of the scenario, especially since good instrument routes are few and far between.

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Yes. A few times. It's not much different. Just like HU&W said, systems and scripts.

Fair enough. I guess my sim experiences are different.

I went went through United Airlines' sims during my brief foray into the airline world back in 2000.

I found it to be very good in realism, and establishing solid normal and emergency procedures.

Like Evil Eagle, I also went though Flight Safety for the B-300. While I was disappointed with Flight Safety's training overall, I did find that the sim did a good job of getting me comfortable with the airplane very quickly.

However, I whole-heartedly disagree that "Sims make you a shittier pilot than actually flying". Your experience may be different than mine. Before AETC had contract sim instructors, the IP's did them. I spent almost 500 hours in the T-38 sim, and I am a significantly better T-38 pilot than I would have been had I spent 500 more hours in the aircraft.

Is that heresy? Maybe.

Burn the witch!

Ram, get me another Ensure!!

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Tactically we get quite a bit from sims that we can't replicate in training. 4 vs 20? Sim: yes, anything short of WIC: no. True high/fast flyers (70k, 2.5), etc. I think it's a bit more meat on the bone (STS) than systems and scripted stuff.

Shack.

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I was disappointed with Flight Safety's training overall

May I ask why (and/or, what was lacking)? Did you go through Atlanta, or had they branched out to other locations?

I had a mixed bag when I went through (ATL)--some of the instructors were solid, others... not. Agreed on getting comfortable with the airplane before ever actually flying one (hell, before ever actually seeing one)....

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Agreed. From an EWO standpoint, ECM training is always at a premium, and it's not always a guarantee that you'll be able to coordinate actual emitters. Flying against MUTE sites is good for currency, but shit for proficiency. Our SIM does a pretty good job with threats, which allows us to run very nice scenarios without airspace, MX or emitter availability issues.

Also being able to add any weather you want to increase the difficulty of the scenario, especially since good instrument routes are few and far between.

MUTES are only as good as your scenario. If you know what's happening/going on, then nothing's gonna be a surprise and it's same ol', same ol'...

...but if you take the time to contact them and ask how to set up a scenario, you can create one of virtually any length/complexity. I created one for the 5 BW that had 7 emitters working simultaneously and gave the EWs a run for their money.

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MUTES are only as good as your scenario. If you know what's happening/going on, then nothing's gonna be a surprise and it's same ol', same ol'...

...but if you take the time to contact them and ask how to set up a scenario, you can create one of virtually any length/complexity. I created one for the 5 BW that had 7 emitters working simultaneously and gave the EWs a run for their money.

Not all MUTE sites are created equal unfortunately. Some are nice and allow for good scenarios and debriefs, but many are just a guy visually pointing a dish at the plane. They are always threatening to close or downsize our ranges, and so more people crowd into the ones we have, so getting slots are difficult.

Getting good ECM, terrain and challenging wx is easy in the sim, not so much in the ECM ranges.

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For the pilots, do you think there would be any benefit to the wing funding hours at the aero club to maintain proficiency. Not to be used as a replacement for hours, but as a supplement. For example, an E-8 will burn $10,000/hr in fuel alone for a flight, not including mx. For that price, you could fly 100 hours in a Piper Arrow.

Pros

- GPS Approach proficiency

---- The JSTARS cannot fly GPS approaches

- VFR proficiency

---- Try telling your Sq/CC that you'd like to go fly VFR point-to-point

- Fill in the gaps of some sim training

---- In the sim, you're the only airplane in the airspace. But you get to deal with congestion if you take an airplane into Atlanta Class B

- General Airmanship

---- Flying twice a month may keep you current but won't build proficiency. An airplane is an airplane and will build air sense regardless of platform.

Cons

- Not MWS Specific

---- May build habit patterns that don't translate (P-Factor, etc)

- Cost

---- The squadron may have to find money somewhere to fund this. Probably a tough sell to pull this cash from the FHP.

- Time

---- Pulling the pilots out of the squadron will take them away from their other duties.

In addition to the aero club idea, I was also wondering about the value of placing T-6s at heavy bases like this for the same purpose. However, I think the mx and life support functions would drive the complexity to a level where it isn't feasible. Not to mention the fact that you know the AF would require flight evals, boldfaces, etc...

I'm trying to write a paper on this, so please give me some feedback on my idea.

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For the pilots, do you think there would be any benefit to the wing funding hours at the aero club to maintain proficiency. Not to be used as a replacement for hours, but as a supplement. For example, an E-8 will burn $10,000/hr in fuel alone for a flight, not including mx. For that price, you could fly 100 hours in a Piper Arrow.

Pros

- GPS Approach proficiency

---- The JSTARS cannot fly GPS approaches

- VFR proficiency

---- Try telling your Sq/CC that you'd like to go fly VFR point-to-point

- Fill in the gaps of some sim training

---- In the sim, you're the only airplane in the airspace. But you get to deal with congestion if you take an airplane into Atlanta Class B

- General Airmanship

---- Flying twice a month may keep you current but won't build proficiency. An airplane is an airplane and will build air sense regardless of platform.

Cons

- Not MWS Specific

---- May build habit patterns that don't translate (P-Factor, etc)

- Cost

---- The squadron may have to find money somewhere to fund this. Probably a tough sell to pull this cash from the FHP.

- Time

---- Pulling the pilots out of the squadron will take them away from their other duties.

In addition to the aero club idea, I was also wondering about the value of placing T-6s at heavy bases like this for the same purpose. However, I think the mx and life support functions would drive the complexity to a level where it isn't feasible. Not to mention the fact that you know the AF would require flight evals, boldfaces, etc...

I'm trying to write a paper on this, so please give me some feedback on my idea.

I dare say flying a C150 with no autopilot, digital displays, HSI, or GPS on an IFR flight plan would do wonders rebuilding the skill of task management. I know my ability to fly by hand atrophied greatly in the MC-12. I suspect the same will happen in the tanker.

The t-6 would be perfect, but for the reasons you listed, it will never happen.

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I'm trying to write a paper on this, so please give me some feedback on my idea.

If the motivation is simply to have better-trained pilots, then I would see it as incredibly useful for many of the same reasons... if the motivation is to reduce cost to the minimum and try to maintain the same standard of effectiveness then it is a loosing battle. I sometimes feel that the AF logic on flying hours is like a guy that mortgages his house to buy a Lambo, but can't afford to insure it, fuel it, or risk driving it... but if it ever came down to racing for pinks, he hopes that he can just rely on his Mario-cart skills. It becomes a self-fulfilling iteratively-reducing process, as long as the race never occurs we justify that we can reduce even more, since we haven't technically lost yet.

As to your idea: why stop with a simple proficiency program when you can actually do a lot more... put a fixed-sight gun out the side and teach/maintain basic gunship theory/skill. Airdrop JPADs out the back of a twin otter. Put a sensor ball on a helicopter and teach basic CSO stuff. Setup training with the ground pounders and cheaply work on 9lines, etc.... formation... tanker orbits, well maybe not.

But, the problem with even the basic flying you discuss is: $ to a congressman's constituency so that you can get support for such endeavors; then an acquisition program, & mx, etc...i.e. how can we MAXIMIZE the cost. We had a decently-effective program to have all pilots get their Privates before UPT from a, *gasp, civilian instructor. But that went away for a more costly, more complex endeavor with IFS... I doubt we have any data on whether or not that actually affected anything, but it sure helped out a few companies along the way.

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For the pilots, do you think there would be any benefit to the wing funding hours at the aero club to maintain proficiency. Not to be used as a replacement for hours, but as a supplement. For example, an E-8 will burn $10,000/hr in fuel alone for a flight, not including mx. For that price, you could fly 100 hours in a Piper Arrow.

Pros

- GPS Approach proficiency

---- The JSTARS cannot fly GPS approaches

- VFR proficiency

---- Try telling your Sq/CC that you'd like to go fly VFR point-to-point

- Fill in the gaps of some sim training

---- In the sim, you're the only airplane in the airspace. But you get to deal with congestion if you take an airplane into Atlanta Class B

- General Airmanship

---- Flying twice a month may keep you current but won't build proficiency. An airplane is an airplane and will build air sense regardless of platform.

Cons

- Not MWS Specific

---- May build habit patterns that don't translate (P-Factor, etc)

- Cost

---- The squadron may have to find money somewhere to fund this. Probably a tough sell to pull this cash from the FHP.

- Time

---- Pulling the pilots out of the squadron will take them away from their other duties.

In addition to the aero club idea, I was also wondering about the value of placing T-6s at heavy bases like this for the same purpose. However, I think the mx and life support functions would drive the complexity to a level where it isn't feasible. Not to mention the fact that you know the AF would require flight evals, boldfaces, etc...

I'm trying to write a paper on this, so please give me some feedback on my idea.

Agree 100%. Let's start with pilots flying RPA's.

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