Simulator FAQs

Q: What is a flight simulator?
A: The FAA classifies ground-based airplane trainer systems as simulators, flight training devices (FTDs), or aviation training devices (ATDs) depending on their ability to provide motion cues and their fidelity to the cockpit layout of a give aircraft type.
Generally, the term “simulator” is reserved for an enclosed cockpit representation of a specific aircraft type mounted on (usually hydraulic jacks capable of mimicking pitch, roll, gravitational, and acceleration forces.
Q: What flight simulators does San Carlos Flight Center operate?
A: SCFC has installed two aviation training devices (ATDs).
The first has the layout of a Garmin G1000-equippped Cessna C182T and is designated an “advanced aviation training device” (AATD) because of its 135 degree field of view and depiction of an actual airplane type.
The second is designated a “basic aviation training device” (BATD) and can be configured to replicate the instrument panel, avionics, GPS, and controls for a variety of single- and multiengine airplanes.
Q: Can I use a SCFC simulator to accomplish any of the training toward a pilot certificate or rating?
A: The simulator has three principal advantages over a real airplane:
  1. Cost
  2. The ability to pause, reposition, and repeat scenarios instantaneously
  3. The ability to create failure and emergency simulations that would otherwise be difficult, impossible, or dangerous

Q: How do I reserve the use of an SCFC simulator?

A: SCFC simulators may be reserved just lie airplanes, and are listed in the flight scheduling software.
Q: What are the applicable FAA references on the use of flight simulators?
A: AC 61-136 Approval of Aviation Training Devices

14 CFR 60 Flight Simulation Training Device Qualification
14 CFR 61.1 Definitions
14 CFR 61.4 Qualification of flight simulators and flight training devices
14 CFR 61.51 Pilot logbooks
14 CFR 61.57 Recent flight experience
14 CFR 61.64 Use of a flight simulator and flight training device
14 CFR 61.65 Instrument rating
14 CFR 61.109 Private Pilot aeronautical experience
14 CFR 61.129 Commercial pilot and aeronautical experience
14 CFR 61.157 Airline transport pilot aeronautical experience

(Note: Obsolete publications and training device designations have been excluded from this list.)