The Australian Bonanza Society (ABS) has evaluated a Redbird FMX full-motion flight simulator with the view of buying one for their members.
The sim was set up at Tyabb in Victoria and tested by pilots attending the 2011 Pilot Proficiency Program in late February.
Pilots were put through both IFR and VFR sequences, enabling them to practise difficult operations in the safety of a simulator rather than in the air. Instructors ran them through high-risk scenarios including engine failure after take-off (EFATO), flight envelope exploration and experiments in turning back to runways.
If the plan goes ahead, the ABS will use the Redbird not only to supplement the proficiency program, but also for members to use individually throughout the year.
ABS President David Young was enthusiastic about the Redbird and what it enabled members to experience.
“It was definitely an asset to the course,” he told Australian Flying. “People got so much out of it, and it would be even more valuable if we’d developed a program to go with it.
“We wanted something more than just a stationary box, and the full-motion system delivers that. Our people really enjoyed their time in the sim. The only real obstacle to the idea of getting one for our members is where would we put it?”
The Redbird needs a space of 16ft x 16ft and head room of 8ft to operate free of obstruction. Inside, the graphics are displayed on six screens, four forward and two on the side. Changing from one aircraft type to another is done by swapping panels; the system immediately recognises the new panel and loads the aircraft program automatically.
At around $100K, the Redbird is priced at comparable fixed-base sims, which means the full-motion system is effectively free of charge. The low relative cost has sparked interest from several smaller flying schools and aero clubs that until now have been unable to justify the cost of full-motion sims.
CASA is yet to certify this sim for use in Australia, but that is expected in the coming months. The two already operating here are used for research only, and therefore don’t require certification.
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