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Flew more than two hours of sim today. Lots of approaches. Some partial panel. Here's a shot just after breaking out when shooting the ILS 27 at KFNT. Even went on to fly the miss to PETLI even though N920TA, the aircraft I'm going to fly for the checkride, doesn't have an ADF in it. I might have to fly the miss for this approach using the GPS to itendify the holding fix. Crap! The more I prep, the more I realize how much I don't know and how much the checkride is going to depend on the examiner having the same idiosynchasies and predilections as my flight instructor have had over the years.
Here's the whole unit. There's a curtain that comes out to sequester the student and hide the instructor's workstation. I usually just keep the instructor station there and don't look at it unless I've exhausted all of my options there at the console (which usually means that I placed myself too close to the approach course and have long since flown through it).
There are four or more of these at DCT Aviation in the back of the Pontiac Air Center on Airport Road southeast of the approach end of 27L.
Like all other simulators I've flown, these suck in pitch. But they suck less than the Frasca 142 at Tradewinds. Plus, this pretty well simulates the C-172R where the Frasca has an HSI and an unfamiliar communications stack.
The airplane is so much easier to fly! Trim actually works in the aircraft. It's really tough to trim the sim.
As much as I bitch, though, I've really improved in the cockpit after starting to fly sim reasonably regularly. A lot of instrument flight is establishing and maintaining routines and you can't effectively establish routines unless you walk through them regularly. The sim lets me fly six to eight approaches per hour and lets me build the routine. That packs the routine into my available bandwidth and lets me stay a little but ahead (or less far behind) the airplane.
Here's the ground track for the hold at KATTY, which is about 10 miles east of KFNT. As you can see on the right hand side of the screen, I set up a pretty fierce crosswind from the north (which is pretty common in my experience) and then proceeded to fly mutant-kidney-bean-shaped patterns as the wind ate my lunch. I nailed the last time around by flying a 60-degree offset heading on the outbound leg and then hit the intersection at just about exactly a minute inbound. Query where that minute starts because the outbound leg and the turn inbound were pretty nonstandard, but I'll take it.
At least I didn't have to fly this. This old unit has been sitting in the sim room for as long as I've been flying the sims there. Really mechanical. I wonder how effective it is/was.
On to more study! Five days to go!
Cole joined me at the FBO. We went directly from a soccer game. I set him up with his DVD player and a Speed Racer DVD and some food. He sat still for two hours plus and even asked a few questions about the sim.