Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Part 142 Flight Review

Why simulator training could save your life

The advantage I hadn't considered before this experience was the freedom simulator-based training offers the instructor. For a flight lesson in the real world, some 80% of the instructor's brain is taxed by making sure that student, instructor and aircraft will complete the lesson safely. In a simulator, the instructor knows that the student will be alive at the end of the flight, so he/she can focus on exactly how much information the student is processing or where he/she is fixating.

"A flight instructor's primary responsibility is to keep the student and the aircraft safe," said John Killeen. "When I teach in a simulator, my only job is to teach."

With a U.S. pilot's certificate, flight reviews and proficiency checks are an unavoidable cost. Doing your checks in an actual aircraft with today's fuel prices could cost you in the neighborhood of $2,000 to $2,500. Accomplishing the same goal at RTC will cost you $1,599 plus hotel and transportation.

The Recurrent Training Center offers several packages for flight training, from a basic instrument rating all the way up to King Air Recurrency. If you elect to do your basic instrument through a 142 school, the FAA will still require you to do a minimum of 10 hours in a real aircraft, and the unusual attitudes portion of your checkride will have to be performed in the analog sky. To complete your entire instrument rating with RTC from day one to checkride passed and certificate in your pocket in their Cirrus program will cost you $5,999. That includes 30 hours in the Cirrus simulator and 10 in an actual aircraft. (Passing the instrument written exam is a prerequisite for the course.) The same goal in a Part 61 school could cost you upwards of $10,000.

According to Mary Strauser, RTC's Customer Service Manager, over 80% of RTC's business consists of return customers. Based on the volume of information I was able to digest and professionalism I received while there, I don't find that hard to believe at all. I'm quite confident that I will return to Savoy, Ill., again in one year to take the whole course over again.

Of course, this was the quest for a signature. I now have Lyons' signature in my logbook. According to my insurance agent, completion of this course will most likely be rewarded with a reduction in my insurance fees when it comes time to renew. But the primary advantage to that signature is that I've strengthened old knowledge and obtained new knowledge to make me a safer pilot in the analog sky.


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