USA Today on August 31st published an article by Alan Levin in which he discusses a report from the NTSB that problems stemming from simulator training are thought to have contributed to some fatal airline accidents. When I first obtained my pilot's license the only simulators available for general aviation were Link Trainers which were, to be sure, crude compared to today's simulators. Modern simulators are a great training device, and for many pilots a way to obtain a type rating without even flying the actual aircraft. It is not surprising, therefore, that as the methods for investigating aircraft accidents that a view to the simulator training be included in the evaluation of factors leading up to the accident. It is no secret among pilots that most accidents are the result of an unfortunate chain of events which usually starts before the pilot even enters the aircraft cockpit. The USA Today article discussed the Boeing 737 accident in Denver where the aircraft ran off the runway in high, gusty crosswind conditions. Another accident mentioned was the Colgan Air crash near Buffalo, NY involving icing.
As a result of these and other accidents the NTSB has urged the FAA to create higher standards for simulator performance. No doubt this would help, but as always there is a cost - both in dollars and technical challenges - to improving simulator performance to more closely model aircraft performance.
In the final analysis the "Miracle On The Hudson" shows that pilots who maintain and demand the highest standards of performance from themselves will be more effective than any simulator training they can receive. The truth is that attitude, crew co-ordination and a large dose of common sense will trump simulator training any day of the week. What do you think? Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 If you are looking for perfect safety, you will do well to sit on a fence and watch the birds; but if you really wish to learn, you must mount a machine and become acquainted with its tricks by actual trial. — Wilbur Wright, from an address to the Western Society of Engineers in Chicago, 18 September 1901.
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