I used to dislike going to Simulator. I have never lived close to a Sim for my airplane so it has always required a trip away for 5 or so days. I'm not really sure why I use to dread it so much. There are so many things to like about the Sim, but I think it was because it I didn't enjoy the challenges to save a broken airplane regardless of whether it was real or not. I felt stressed that I might crash the Sim, despite it not being real, it is an eerie feeling to hear the Sim crash and see the screen go blank. In my new aircraft I get to go twice a year. I have come to relish going to the Sim, which is good since it is an obligatory part of my job.
Here are the top ten reasons I like going:
10. Slack-ademics--getting away from the office and focusing on systems for a few days is a nice change of pace and good for developing a better understanding of your aircraft. Two or three days of this is just about right anything more and I start getting a little antsy with the death by powerpoint.
9. Emergencies--Seeing and working through some theoretical emergencies. God forbid we ever have to deal with any of this stuff in real life but it is nice to know you have at least run through the checklists before and put your hands on the switches
8. Marriot reward points--I've banked quite a few airline miles and hotel points from trips to the Sim. These come in handy when I have to feed my skiing habit.
7. Sim Dinosaurs--The Sim instructors are usually older gentleman who have thousands of hours in your plane or at least thousands of hours in something and a lot of knowledge about flying. These guys are like a band of yodas teaching us all how to be pilot Jedis. However, I still have a way to go before I can lift a downed X-wing out of a swamp.
6. Free coffee/cappuccino/sugary treats--The flight simulator companies understand their clients.
5. CRM discussions--We usually have a pretty healthy portion dedicated to Crew Resource Management. We hear about different air disasters and discuss the missteps in the chain of events. While it can be disturbing to hear about someones demise it is incredibly beneficial to dissect the logic of the pilots at the time of the mishaps. We are are not immune to making the same mistakes.
4. Meeting pilots from all over the world--There are so many fascinating flying jobs out there and it is fun to chat with peers doing cool things.
3. Making a vacation out of it--I hiked Stone Mountain in Atlanta, went to a film at the Toronto film festival and have gotten the chance to visit my nieces and nephews in Dallas. Finding new places to explore always makes a sim trip a worthwhile endeavour.
2. V1 cut day--Losing an engine on takeoff after V1 speed but before rotation speed then taking it airborne is extremely challenging...Bring. It. On.
1. Being done with it for another 6 months!
Ssshh don't tell anyone that I actually enjoy it...They might decide it is too good of a deal.