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honanhal

Salon's "Ask the Pilot" has a modest proposal

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Anyone here see this? http://www.salon.com/news/air_travel/index.../askthepilot342The "Ask the Pilot" columnist mocks the idea that modern airliners "fly themselves" (which is unfortunately getting to be the conventional wisdom on the street), emphasizes the importance of trained pilots, and then proposes an experiment:

Of course, the only people more insufferable than assistant professors and aviation consultants are the desktop simulator buffs who think they can hop into a 767 and fly it like a pro...Let's try it. I need a willing participant who does not have a pilot's license or any formal flight training. We'll rent out a full-motion Boeing simulator and the instructor will set things up for 35,000 feet, somewhere over the middle of the United States. Ready, set, go. In you come and sit down. The rest is up to you. All of it. If you crash, you foot the bill and I get to mock you in Salon. If you make it, I foot the bill and write a five-page retraction carefully detailing your heroics. Any takers?
So, any takers?

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Not this again!I'll bite. Desktop sims are great at simulating some aspects of flight, but they in no way prepare anyone without real training for the real thing. It's just too different.I'm a rated pilot (still less than 350 hours though), but before that I was a self proclaimed and very devoted flight sim fanatic. I can truly say it only prepared me for the navigational and some of the procedural aspects of real flight --and also the time I spent on instruments under the hood. As far as landing and maneuvering the aircraft, my thousands of hours of desktop time meant nothing.Speaking of "hood time", I'd say my flight simulation "background" really helped most during my instrument training. I could already comfortably fly an aircraft solely by instruments before I even received my private certificate.I also have a bit of experience (several hours) with US Airway's full motion 737 sim in Charlotte... It compared more to flying a real Cessna 310 than it did a simulated Boeing 737 in FS2004/X (thanks to the sensation of movement+peripheral vision). I can say that the approach and flare felt close to the Feelthere 737, though. That definetly helped me make some greasers in the full motion.I'm not knocking simulations, they're a GREAT tool! And I'd say a sim enthusiast stands a chance of surviving (real or virtual) this scenario more than anyone. But I was also one of the folks that believed I could crawl into the local flight schools' Cessna and fly away because of my sim experience... I was wrong.

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What's even worse than someone criticizing academics, is going about it in based solely on opinion and without the backing of peers. At least when academics write they include everyone in the conversation, not just their egos. I haven't read the book myself by William Langewiesche, but I'm sure it at least contains a bibliography. It's nice to write in a matter of hours.. but honestly it's worthless. After all don't most accident happen these days because the automation fails, and then the pilot fails because he has no or incorrect information?

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In CAVOC/VFR conditions with no emergencies, I would wager that a thoroughly experienced desktop sim pilot could hand fly a (real world) Level-D simulator down relatively safely. If you've been flying the simulated Flight1 LevD B767 and consider yourself expert at it, I would imagine you could handle a true level-D simulated flight relatively well... IN GOOD CONDITIONS. Throw in some bad weather, and I think the challenge would ramp up exponentially. Although only simulated, I think the sensations and dynamics of a true sim would be enough to knock any armchair pilot off their game on their first landing attempt. Throw in some REAL bad weather (*the kind that falls outside the parameters for CAT-IIIc), and I think you and the simulated passengers are in trouble. Now throw in an emergency or two (fail an engine or hydraulics system) and methinks the test pilot would be peeling themselves off the simulated windshield after the first attempt. That's where a pilots paygrade sets them apart... the ability to bring a hundred+ passengers home safe in nasty conditions with master alarms chirping. While cockpit automation has lessened the workload, it has not yet (and probably never will) actually get to a point where a true monkey can do it... even if the monkey has some amateur experience on the home computer. That being said, I would accept that Salon challenge in a HEARTBEAT. Who of us wouldn't!

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In CAVOC/VFR conditions with no emergencies, I would wager that a thoroughly experienced desktop sim pilot could hand fly a (real world) Level-D simulator down relatively safely. If you've been flying the simulated Flight1 LevD B767 and consider yourself expert at it, I would imagine you could handle a true level-D simulated flight relatively well... IN GOOD CONDITIONS. Throw in some bad weather, and I think the challenge would ramp up exponentially. Although only simulated, I think the sensations and dynamics of a true sim would be enough to knock any armchair pilot off their game on their first landing attempt. Throw in some REAL bad weather (*the kind that falls outside the parameters for CAT-IIIc), and I think you and the simulated passengers are in trouble. Now throw in an emergency or two (fail an engine or hydraulics system) and methinks the test pilot would be peeling themselves off the simulated windshield after the first attempt. That's where a pilots paygrade sets them apart... the ability to bring a hundred+ passengers home safe in nasty conditions with master alarms chirping. While cockpit automation has lessened the workload, it has not yet (and probably never will) actually get to a point where a true monkey can do it... even if the monkey has some amateur experience on the home computer. That being said, I would accept that Salon challenge in a HEARTBEAT. Who of us wouldn't!
I agree 100% with that assessment! This has already been proven multiple times with people here in the AVSIM community. How many have successfully flown the United Level-D simulators in Denver during the AVSIM conference there a few years back?

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In CAVOC/VFR conditions with no emergencies, I would wager that a thoroughly experienced desktop sim pilot could hand fly a (real world) Level-D simulator down relatively safely. If you've been flying the simulated Flight1 LevD B767 and consider yourself expert at it, I would imagine you could handle a true level-D simulated flight relatively well... IN GOOD CONDITIONS. Throw in some bad weather, and I think the challenge would ramp up exponentially. Although only simulated, I think the sensations and dynamics of a true sim would be enough to knock any armchair pilot off their game on their first landing attempt. Throw in some REAL bad weather (*the kind that falls outside the parameters for CAT-IIIc), and I think you and the simulated passengers are in trouble. Now throw in an emergency or two (fail an engine or hydraulics system) and methinks the test pilot would be peeling themselves off the simulated windshield after the first attempt. That's where a pilots paygrade sets them apart... the ability to bring a hundred+ passengers home safe in nasty conditions with master alarms chirping. While cockpit automation has lessened the workload, it has not yet (and probably never will) actually get to a point where a true monkey can do it... even if the monkey has some amateur experience on the home computer. That being said, I would accept that Salon challenge in a HEARTBEAT. Who of us wouldn't!
I have to disagree. There's even an extreme amount of danger in great weather; a sense of life or death that can't be acheived in the sim. So much so that it truly hampers one's ability to "fly". Go to your local flight school, tell them what you have in mind, and tell them you want to land it with very little help. This also goes for the full motions-- they're still sims. If you ball it up, you can have a laugh and try again.I think the plane would more often than not be atleast broken.

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I have to disagree. There's even an extreme amount of danger in great weather; a sense of life or death that can't be acheived in the sim. So much so that it truly hampers one's ability to "fly". Go to your local flight school, tell them what you have in mind, and tell them you want to land it with very little help. This also goes for the full motions-- they're still sims. If you ball it up, you can have a laugh and try again.I think the plane would more often than not be atleast broken.
I believe he was referring to only the sim, so life and death would be irrelevant.

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A lot of folks flew the sims at the Denver conference. It would be interesting to know if any of those flights met the author

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The story was on how automated flights are, so I think all you would need to do to win the bet is plot an autoland approach! I would love to take him up on this, but due to personal reasons, I can't leave home.

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Myth Busters did an episode on this very subject.It turned out that, without being able to talk to the ground to get assistance, they crashed.But when they were able to talk to the ground and be walked through everything, they were able to land.Still, not the most accurate simulation because the stress and fear factor and other variables aren't included, but still.

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Myth Busters did an episode on this very subject.It turned out that, without being able to talk to the ground to get assistance, they crashed.But when they were able to talk to the ground and be walked through everything, they were able to land.Still, not the most accurate simulation because the stress and fear factor and other variables aren't included, but still.
I don't know, I think Mythbusters used a civilian...not an Avsim member :( :(

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I don't know, I think Mythbusters used a civilian...not an Avsim member :( :(
Good point. If it was an Avsim member, he would probably be pointing out the technical flaws in the simulator itself while arguing with the simulator instructor that such and such isn't modeled correctly :(

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Boy, if I could afford to I would take him up on that offer.I sure hope someone does and they WIN!Gary

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who do you think is the better pilot without computers do thier dirty works?

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Slightly off-topic (not much though)... The (mis)conception that FS-ing is more game than simulator, is kinda like political correctness. That's what you're supposed to say, or believe. But like anything else, eventually truth fights it way to the surface.You wouldn't have to go back too many years, to find most instructors scoffing and poo-poo-ing MSFS.. and today you'll find that most instructors encourage it. Back then, they'd have laughed at you if you said that a desktop simulator could be used for LOGGED instrument training... And the whole thing just keeps getting better.As for it being useful for learning actual aircraft control.. I say ABSOLUTELY.. IF you go about it, with realism in mind. It most certainly replicates the realtionships between; lift/thrust/drag/gravity.. and how all of those inter-work and respond to; pitch/roll/power/yaw. You can most definately start to put it all together, and develop basic instincts, and learn how it's all presented to you on your instruments.

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