Questions for Richard Kaplan, CFII (Owner of Flight Level
Aviation)Advanced Instrument Training
Full Motion Simulator Training
How do your training programs
differ from those by other flight schools or by the major simulator
In a nutshell, the key differences are:
- We provide actual flight training
and a full-motion flight simulator (not just a simulator)
- We train in actual instrument
weather when it is safe to do so (not just hood training) .
Weather-permitting, we can fly either in your airplane or (for
single-engine pilots) in our
known-ice, spherics/radar-equipped, dual-alternator, 5-gyroscope
equipped Cessna P210N. [Cessna P210N N102KY is available
for dual instruction for $150/hour in addition to regular
- I operate a very personalized flight school with
instructors who, like myself, have an a passion for practical,
safe general aviation cross-country flying
- We provide significantly more opportunity for
hands-on flight or simulator training per day than do the major
flight simulator training schools -- up to 10 hours per day of
simulator use if desired
- Ground instruction is done in a personal
and customized setting with the instructor and 1 or 2 students and is not based upon
predetermined lectures or videotapes
- At the completion of a training program you can
stay for additional days of solo full-motion simulator use --- this opportunity is unique in the simulator
training industry and is an excellent opportunity to master
emergency techniques and advanced avionics procedures which you
can first practice with me.
Why train with both an airplane
and a simulator?
Each training situation has its own
advantages so we can utilize the airplane and the simulator where
each one works best.
The AIRPLANE is best for teaching
aircraft-specific stick and rudder skills, powerplant management,
and airplane-specific emergency procedures. Of course
the airplane is also best for teaching about real-world weather
interpretation; there is no simulator as worthwhile as actually
shooting an ILS to minimums when the approach lights appear before
the runway, and there is no simulator which can teach as effectively
as a TKS-equipped airplane about how to negotiate with ATC
regarding in-flight icing.
The SIMULATOR, on the other hand,
is useful for generic IFR "worst case" problem-solving scenarios
which are applicable to any airplane. For example, only in the
simulator can I fail both the engine and the electrical system at
night and only in the simulator can we wind up in IMC with the
weather 100 and 1/4 mile for hundreds of miles around (all in good
fun of course!). Instruction in IFR GPS approach
procedures can also be done very effectively in the simulator and
can even be practiced further by renting solo simulator time.
Some critical systems failures cannot be experienced safely in the
airplane, such as runaway electric trim, and some systems failures
are hard to create in the airplane, such as static port blockage.
Experiencing these training scenarios in the simulator is of benefit
to pilots of any aircraft. And of course the simulator allows
us to very effectively utilize ground time when weather does not
permit flight training; this is particularly an advantage for
students who set aside 2-3 days to travel from out of state for
So the main point is not to think
of the simulator as primarily a "P210 simulator"; actually, it is a
Piston Airplane Advanced Avionics and Emergency Procedures
Trainer. The simulator is thus quite useful to any piston
airplane IFR pilot.
Is your single-engine training program
Only if you want it to be so.
I also work with students with a variety of single-engine piston
airplanes. Training can be P210-specific by
student request since my airplane is a P210 and the motion simulator
has a P210 flight model. However, I mostly teach advanced instrument
techniques which are applicable to any single-engine instrument
pilot. The full-motion simulator is value to any IFR pilot and is of particular value to any pilot
who uses a Garmin 430/530, KLN94, or GX50/GX60 GPS in any airplane
or who uses a Sandel EHSI in any airplane. The flight
simulator also has a Piper Saratoga flight model which we can use if
desired instead of the P210 flight model. The flight
characteristics of the simulator would thus be useful for a variety
of single-engine pilots, especially pilots of the Cessna T210,
Cessna 210, Piper Malibu, Piper Saratoga/Lance, Mooney, Bonanza, or other complex
or high-performance single-engine airplanes.
The in-flight P210 training is particularly helpful to allow
students to safely gain actual IMC experience; this is valuable
training for any IFR pilot no matter what airplane he regularly
What is unique or distinguishing
about your P210-specific training program?
Students who work with me have the
opportunity to work with a flight instructor who not only has
significant instructional experience in the Cessna P210 but who also
regularly flies a Cessna P210 on practical cross-country missions
which are likely similar to those flown by other P210 owners. You
will have the opportunity to extensively do "hangar
flying" discussing our prior flying experiences and how to
safely achieve our future mission profiles.
Since I am also a physician and aviation medical examiner, I can
also review with you important medical considerations regarding
flight above FL190 as this pertains to your personal medical
Can I review your training
Elsewhere on this website you can
review the topics taught by Flight Level Aviation as part of a
recurrent training program. Richard offers custom
recurrent training for his students since he has found that every
IFR pilot has a unique combination of experience, aircraft,
avionics, and typical flight mission. Before training begins,
Richard discusses with each student his perceived
strength/weaknesses and the areas that student wishes to review or
wishes to try for the first time; often this planning process begins
by email or by phone before the student arrives for training.
Also Richard observes each student's "standard procedures" early in
a training session and selects particular training goals or
flight/ground/simulator training scenarios appropriate to that
particular student's strengths and weaknesses.
A custom training curriculum is
particularly helpful for students who return for annual or
twice-annual recurrent training, since future training sessions can
focus on different areas depending on changes in a student's
airplane or avionics, changes in a student's typical flight
missions, or training opportunities which are present due to
seasonal weather changes.
Can I complete a BFR (biennial
flight review) as part of your training program?
Yes, recurrent training can include
a BFR as long as we include at least
1 hour in an airplane (your airplane or Flight Level Aviation's P210
N102KY) as part of your training program. This is usually not
a problem (weather-permitting, of course), since most pilots choose
to divide their training time to include both significant time in
the airplane and significant time in the simulator.
An Instrument Proficiency Check can
be completed entirely in the simulator or entirely in an airplane or
in any combination per student preference.
What is unique or distinguishing
about your IMC Experience training program?
There are many instrument-rated
pilots who have little or no actual IMC time, either because these
pilots trained in fair weather locations such as Arizona or Florida
or because these pilots obtained an instrument rating in an airplane
marginally equipped for actual instrument weather. Also some flight
schools and flight instructors have policies against training in
actual instrument weather. Some pilots had significant past IMC time
but have not flown in weather recently.
The IMC Adventure program is designed to help these students gain
the experience, knowledge, and confidence to assess when IMC weather
is safely flyable for a given pilot/airplane combination. This
program is therefore very appropriate for any single-engine piston
IFR pilot, not just P210 pilots.
What season is best for
competing the IMC Experience program?
The IMC Experience will vary
depending upon the season involved. Actual IMC weather is more
likely achievable in a winter program in a known-ice airplane,
though severe winter weather could result in cancellation of even a
3-day IMC Adventure schedule. Flyable weather is usually present at
least in the morning on most summer days; summer IFR flying is
usually more a matter more of weather avoidance than actual IMC
Generally speaking in the winter we
can safely achieve 8-10 IMC hours in a 15-hour program and in the
summer we can generally safely achieve 3-4 IMC hours in a 15-hour
program. But of course these numbers can vary quite a bit. In the
event significant safe IMC weather is not available, we can also be
quite productive flying under a hood on actual IFR flight plans
gaining experience working "in the system." Regardless of
weather, typically students receive 1-2 hours of introductory
training under VFR and then all of the remaining training is
conducted under an IFR flight plan.
Is advanced instrument training
best scheduled as a 1-, 2-, or 3-day program?
This varies depending on a given studentís needs and luck with
available IMC weather. The program was designed to be flexible based
upon different student needs, schedules, and weather realities. Some
students will travel from far and want a 3-day program with the
instructor. Other students will work with the instructor one day and
solo in the simulator another day. Other students who live closer
may travel back several times per year to use the simulator solo.
The training options are flexible depending on each studentís
The plane I own or plan to buy
has an IFR approach GPS. Can you teach me how to use this?
Yes. I am familiar with most IFR
approach GPS systems, including those from Apollo, Trimble, King,
Northstar, and Garmin. I am glad to work with students in their own
planes which are IFR approach certified. Additionally, the
full-motion simulator has actual working units of the Garmin 530,
King KLN94, and UPSAT GX50.
Can I obtain high performance
and complex aircraft endorsements as part of my training with you?
Can I obtain a high altitude
endorsement as part of my training with you?
No. Per FAR 61.31 (g), a high
altitude endorsement is required for (and must be obtained in) an
aircraft with a service ceiling and maximum operating altitude above
25,000 feet MSL. The maximum operating altitude for the Cessna P210N
is 23,000 feet, so a high altitude endorsement is neither required
nor attainable in this aircraft.
That said, as a physician, AME, CFII, and pressurized aircraft
owner, I can offer extensive ground and flight training regarding
the aeronautical and medical factors operating a piston airplane in
the lower flight levels up to FL230. This training would be
helpful to pilots of any pressurized single-engine piston airplane,
i.e. Cessna P210, Piper Malibu, or Lancair IV-P.
What are your thoughts about TKS
known-icing versus boots?
TKS is terrific as a known-icing
system; I cannot state my feelings more clearly. The TKS de-icing
fluid covers all aerodynamic surfaces and in many cases eliminates
the ice; thus when other (booted, known-ice) aircraft are landing
with significant residual ice on the airframe, TKS aircraft may well
land with no ice at all or minimal ice on the aerodynamic surfaces.
The TKS system also has significant redundancy in the form of
multiple pumps and alternators; if the critical vacuum pump fails on
a booted known-ice system, the airplane becomes unprotected.
Finally, there is a notable passive effect whereby the residual TKS
fluid on the aircraft provides a significant continuing anti-icing
effect for 20-30 minutes even in the event of a complete engine and
electrical system failure. These advantages of TKS over boots
significantly add to the dispatch reliability of the plane in the
winter. Nonetheless, neither boots nor TKS is certified for flight
in severe icing or freezing rain, nor is operation in known-icing
conditions recommended if the aircraft cannot climb through the
icing conditions to non-icing conditions (preferably clear on top).
Also operation in ground icing conditions is not recommended.
For more information see www.flightice.com
(or request a demonstration P210 flight with me).
What days are you available for
training and how much notice is required?
Each student is paired either with
Richard or with another instructor depending on each student's
airplane model and training goals. Training availability
depends on the instructor - some instuctors are available on short
notice for half-day training sessions and some require 6-8 weeks
notice for multi-day training programs. We will do our best to
accommodate your schedule. Often earlier training dates
are available for students interested in "paired" flight training
with another pilot; Richard can often help to suggest a training
"partner" with similar aviation interests.