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The Community of Flying

Steve Blonstein, General Manager WVFC

“Simulators” (well actually ATDs)


2018 was the first year that we surpassed 1000 hours of usage on our two G1000 “simulators”.  I put simulators in quotes because the club doesn’t have simulators but Aviation Training Devices (ATD).  There are two levels of Aviation Training Devices, the so-called AATD (A for Advanced) and BATD (B for Basic).  Our G1000 devices are AATD level and as such can be used for up to 20 hours of training towards the instrument rating. A BATD can be used for 10 hours towards the rating.


A big change occurred in 2018 when the FAA changed the rules to allow pilots to use ATDs to maintain instrument currency withoutan instructor present.  That is a big deal both in terms of convenience and cost.  Soon after the change came, we saw the usage on our ATDs increase significantly. Some days the devices at both Palo Alto and San Carlos are in use almost continuously.  That’s a good thing to see, especially when the weather outside is lousy.  We can still get good training inside (where it’s warm, dry, and there’s a pause button to go to the bathroom or get a coffee).


The economics of obtaining an instrument rating have shifted significantly since the advent of these G1000 ATDs. I don’t know the exact math but my gut tells me it’s now cheaper (or even significantly cheaper) to get an instrument rating in the G1000 platform than in a 6-pack platform. This is a result of three things. One is the lower cost and efficiency of using ATDs instead of an actual aircraft.  Two, our members get a free hour each month in the ATDs.  And three, there is so much better situational awareness in a G1000 equipped plane than a 6-pack plane.  A big part of mastering instrument flight is conquering situational awareness.


In recognition of the growing importance of ATDs to our club and membership, the club has decided to acquire another G1000 AATD. It will be a later generation version of our existing Precision Flight Controls GT1000 desktop AATDs.  It will be called SIM4G1 and will be located at our Palo Alto location. It should arrive towards the end of the first quarter. It will rent for $60 per hour, though regular members will receive 1 free hour per month on the new device.  SIM3G1 (our TouchSim BATD) will be moving to our San Carlos location.


We hope that many more of you can and will take advantage of our ATDs and that we can keep all 3 of them busy much of the time.


Safe Flying