What is a Flight Simulator?


Admin Flight Sim
Epic’s fleet includes four simulators that allow our flight students to simulate flight under all sorts of conditions at airports around the world.

What is a flight simulator?

A flight simulator artificially simulates aircraft flight in various environments and conditions. A flight simulator, also known as Flight Training Device (FTD), Aviation Training Device (ATD), or Full Flight Simulator (FFS), is used primarily to augment pilot training since it’s not always safe or practical for student pilots to train in adverse conditions. Flight training in a simulator allows pilots to practice difficult maneuvers under all sorts of weather conditions and at airports all around the world. Pilots can experience variations in air density, wind shear, turbulence, clouds, and precipitation. Flight instructors can observe their student pilots’ reactions to these factors in their application of flight controls and the effects of other aircraft systems. 

Do real pilots use flight simulators?

Flight schools such as Epic Flight Academy rely on flight simulators to provide various types of training experiences. Cockpit Procedures Trainers (CPT) allow pilots to practice basic cockpit procedures, like processing emergency checklists. Full-motion simulators provide realistic scenarios for student pilots. Many pilots even polish their skills at home using video games such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, which can be played on various platforms including DOS, Windows, Classic Mac OS, and Xbox One. The 2018 and 2019 versions have proven popular with pilots, and expectations are high for a new version due out in 2020. Pilots of all ages can fly anything from a Piper Cub to a Boeing 777 on a Microsoft Flight Simulator in the comfort of their homes, which is why they’re so popular.

Can flight simulators reduce training costs?

Yes, flight simulators cost less to maintain than actual aircraft. Simulators also eliminate the need for fuel, so student pilots enjoy the financial rewards of training in a simulator. And, if something goes wrong during a challenging maneuver, there are no repair bills for a damaged aircraft. Of course, pilots still need to log hours in real aircraft. However, training in a simulator offers a true cost benefit.

Did you know that simulator time can be logged as training time?

Can I log simulator time as total time?

Simulator time can be entered in your pilot log book as training time. However, these hours do not count as flight time and therefore cannot be logged as total time.

Are flight simulators approved by the FAA?

Yes, the FAA categorizes them as full flight simulators (FFS), flight training devices (FTD), and aviation training devices (ATD). Criteria are fully explained in the FAA Advisory Circular 61-136A, FAA Approval of Aviation Training Devices and Their Use for Training and Experience.

Is the Microsoft Flight Simulator approved by the FAA?

No. Although many pilots and non-pilots enjoy the realistic imagery and sound effects offered with this system, it is not FAA-approved for training purposes.

What flight simulators are used at Epic?

We currently operate four flight simulators at Epic Flight Academy:

  • Frasca Truflite Cessna 172 with 180-degree visual system, full enclosure cockpit, G1000 cockpit
  • Frasca Truflite PA-44 multi-engine sim, full enclosure, one large screen for visuals
  • Frasca Mentor Cessna 172 sim, smaller unit mainly used for instrument training, G1000 cockpit
  • Precision Flight Control GTX Max Cessna Trainer, Partial Motion Platform, G1000 Cockpit
Sim Room at Epic
The simulator room at Epic Flight Academy