Student Feedback

Advanced Instrument Training

Instrument Recurrent Training

Full Motion Simulator Training

Cessna 210 P210 T210 Training

We are two recent owners a Cessna P210 who travelled all the way from Norway to Pennsylvania to attend 2 days of simulator training at Flight level Aviation.

This was really an extraordinary experience; we learned more in these two days than we could learn in a week or two elsewhere.  The topics were targeted at our request towards the P210 and Garmin GNS430, and the focus on safety and special knowlegde of the systems which will hopefully help us a lot. 

We liked Richard's teaching style and feel that the way the material was presented was very effective.  He is obviously a very good instructor and teacher and a very learned P210 pilot.

Overall this was a great experience which we think all P210 pilots should do at least once.

 

Torkel Hasle and Torgrim Fredagsvik
Cessna P210 Owners
Sandefjord
Norway


Dear Rich:
 
I truly believe that even the Garmin engineers do not know how versatile their box is.  I would suggest that you contact them for a training session at Flight Level Aviation.  After many visits over the years for my annual proficiency checks at a famous Florida school, I finally found the training genius.  I fully intend to recommend sending their instructors to you.
 
It was not only the depth of your knowledge regarding the capability of the Garmin that you imparted to me, but it was also your skill as a teacher that made it understandable and useful in the real world.  Then there were the emergencies that we hope we will never encounter that were practiced, discussed, and made a part of my daily thinking as a pilot.  I am now trying to figure out how to make periodic visits for reinforcement of everything I have learned.
 
Thanks also to John Lovingood who beat me up in the multi engine training portion of the session. 
 

Michael Margulies
Aztec N62769
White Plains, NY

 


 

The  training was awesome. My ability to handle higher workloads in an IFR environment has improved substantially. Consequently, my ability to keep a clear head and think in the event of an emergency in an IFR environment has improved substantially as well.
 

Barry Krupowicz
Cessna P210 Owner
Danville, California

 


 

Rich--
 
I am still basking in the glow of my training with you -- certainly the best I have ever experienced -- and I am anxious to return for another session, hopefully in the Spring.  
 
Look forward to seeing you next year.
 

Steve Wathen
Cessna P210 Owner
Columbus, Ohio

 


 

Richard -

I would like to thank you for the excellent training I received at Flight Level Aviation.  I have been flying for 14 years and while I have been lucky to have some excellent instructors, you are by far the most knowledgeable and best instrument instructor I have flown with.  I have always been a big believer in simulators for flight training, and your full-motion FTD is both unique and a great training resource.  We were able to pack more challenging and educational instrument approaches into one day than I would have thought possible.

Thanks again - I'll be back!

Robert Johnson
Bonanza Pilot
Dallas, Texas

 

 


I just returned from a day flying Richard's full-motion simulator.  Among other things, we practiced some deadstick IFR approaches using the GPS to establish the appropriate descent profile.  It works really well and could come in very handy in the event of an engine failure in IMC.

For what it's worth, I felt that the recurrent sim training at Flight Level Aviation was among the best I've ever experienced at any price -- and I did my initial 210 training at FlightSafety in their Wichita 210 sim. The training in Richard's sim was not only better than that at FlightSafety, but cost a lot less as well.
 

Michael Sutton
Cessna T210 Owner
Monterey, California
 

 


 

I had a great time with Dr. Kaplan crashing into mountains and flying deadstick landings with 500 overcast! Sometimes Dr. Richard can be quite evil "but all in good fun" as he says.

Seriously. I needed lots of IFR refresher training and I got arm loads. I wrote down at least 40 items that I either was never trained on, or learned once and forgot.

Dr. Kaplan is laid back, flexible, informative and extremely knowledgable! He really can make the Garmin 530 sing. It was also quite fun flying a "full motion" simulator for a 210, or as he configured it for me a "Twin Centurion".

I believe it was a great value and I highly recommend it to any one who wants to learn more and stretch their learning envelope.
 

Kent Titcomb
Cessna T210 Centurion / Cessna 337 Skymaster Owner
DeLand, Florida
 


 

I have been attending OSH since 1975.  I typically blow into town early Saturday, take in 5-6 forums/day over the weekend, then get back into St. Louis in my 182 late Sunday.  Over the years I have listened to a LOT of forums, and I gotta tell you, you took me by surprise with your 'Engine Out IMC Instrument Approach' lecture on Sunday.  My attitude was "Yeah, right, maybe I'll pick up one pearl to make the whole hour and fifteen minutes worth it".  I was very impressed.  Now, I am not exactly looking forward to an engine failure in IMC, but I will definitely be rehearsing some of your scenarios.  If there were ever a situation where most of us would go tits up, this would be it, and now you have given us much, much food for thought.

Again, thanx Rich.  You are an excellent public speaker with some very good, very helpful information that I've never heard anyone tackle in such a sensible manner.


Chris Erkmann MD
(Anesthesiology, St. Johns Mercy Med Center in St. Louis)

 

 


 

 

I recently attended a Bonanza Recurrency Program at Flight Level Aviaitionmthat I found particularly useful, so I wanted to make my fellow ABS members aware of the program.

 I have normally attended recurrency programs every other year for more than 20 years: they have consisted of all simulator flying, a mix of airplane and classroom activities and, finally, the above  program which consisted of simulator, classroom and airplane work.  Clearly, at different times we each have differing requirements.  Most frequently, however, we know our airplanes quite well and mainly need to brush up on our skills, emergency procedures and FAA requirements.  For these purposes, this program was far and away the best that I have attended....

 

The program I am describing was conducted by Flight Level Aviation, Inc. at the Waynesburg, PA, airport  The program is the brainchild of Dr. Richard Kaplan, President of FLA -- a medical doctor who is also an AME and CFII. Dr. Kaplan served as a very capable simulator instructor.  The Bonanza classroom and flight instruction was conducted by Lee Elson, also a CFII and a fellow Bonanza owner.  

 I felt the mix of basic skills/refresher training and emergency procedures was just about ideal.  Both instructors set a tasking, but doable pace -- too often I have found that in the interest of getting everything done in a very short time, pilots are too rushed to get the maximum benefit from attending training programs.  The inflight and simulator emergency efforts turned out to be very complementary and useful; something I value highly. The simulator permitted a much wider range of emergency procedures than could be performed safely in the airplane; for example, before the day was over we had safely done a night approach to a departure airport under IFR conditions with full electrical failure using a simulated handheld GPS for navigation. An unintended, but real world addition, was the actual failure of the flashlight I was using for instrument lighting. A good workout, lots of sweat, but also both satisfying and enjoyable.

 The in-flight portion went equally well.  Having gotten a good work out on basic skills in the simulator, it was possible to work on more advanced items in the airplane. I was very impressed with Lee's ability to offer help with both the relatively new GNS 480 system that I have and the Garmin 530 system my training partner has. We covered a complete range of flight planning and instrument approach procedures, plus went through a range of emergency conditions.  This was the first time I have ever gone through a simulated inflight fire resulting in a descent to a landing -- on an airport, of course.  It's amazing how fast one can get a Bonanza down once you put the wheels out and push the nose down!

 Again, I want to reiterate my earlier comment that this was the best balanced recurrency program I have attended. Dr. Kaplan is to be congratulated for doing such a fine job of putting it together. I'm certain that there must be many other members who also would enjoy and benefit from this program as a complement to the BPPP or other programs they have been using for recurrency training.

Bill Foley
Beechcraft Bonanza Owner
Glastonbury, Connectict


 

 

Richard,
 

It was nice to get to know you and I enjoyed flying your sim  and your P210. Thank you for the  instruction in flying the Garmain 530 -- it helped me a lot and it made our  430 and 295 easy and simple to use.   I was very impressed with your  knowledge of these GPS units. It is our hope in the  short future to start working with you to train our other pilots as well who fly missions in Africa in our P210N and P210N.  I would recommend your training to anyone seeking Cessna 210 or other high performance aircraft training or advanced avionics training.

 

Rukang D. Chikomb
Cessna T210 Pilot
Director
Southern Congo Wings of The Morning
United Methodist Chrurch
Aviation Ministry in the Congo

 


 

Dear Richard,
 

I want to thank you SO much for the most educational and rewarding aviation weekend I have spent in many years.  I had high expectations and many things that I wanted to get accomplished in coming to Flight Level Aviation.  Well, my expectations were more than exceeded and everything I wanted to get accomplished, paled in comparison to what was actually accomplished.  I found your knowledge of the Garmin 530/430 and the IFR "system" to be truly remarkable.  I had already had a pretty good working knowledge of my 430 but have since learned from you how the 430 can truly add a much higher degree of safety to every flight.  I found the simulator to be an excellent way to practice many of the situations that cannot be done in an aircraft.  The ability to create situations instantly, fly them and then discuss them was a wonderful feature.  I found both you and Mark to be as helpful as could be.  It seemed your only goal was to be sure that the weekend supplied exactly what I was looking for.  Even at 5 PM on the second day, after being in the sim since 8 AM, Mark asked me if there was ANYTHING ELSE at all, that I would like to try.  That is customer service at its best.  I cannot wait until my next visit to Flight Level Aviation.  Thanks so much for making me a more competent and confident instrument pilot.

 

Larry Levin, DMD
Trinidad TB20 Owner
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
 

 


 

Richard,
   

The 1-day refresher training course was excellent -- exceeded my expectations. Unlike the [competitor's] course I took in 2000, the training was customized to what would be most useful to me, rather than just following a cook-book one-size-fits-all. Mark Blackwell was an excellent instructor, and he used the features of the AST-300 sim to assure that I got the most out of the day. For example, he configured it to match the performance of my Saratoga, let me pick the airports and approaches, and froze the action at various times so we could discuss a point.  Furthermore, Mark had no problem with my using my Jeppesen charts - unlike my experience at [a competitor] where they required U.S. Govt. NOCA charts. I left [the competitor]  feeling "why go back? - it's the same tired routine every time."  I left Flight Level Aviation feeling "I will learn something new and valuable every time."

   
I was also impressed that you [Dr. Kaplan] solved a subtle problem with my Garmin GNS-480 -- and explained it by email at 2:11 AM the morning after my lesson.

We did find a couple of new approaches not yet in the sim database, so I'll be looking for those on my next training session at Flight Level Aviation!  Thanks again to you and Mark for a worthwhile and fun experience.
 
 

Sandy Trevor
Piper Saratoga PA-32R-301 Owner
Worthington, Ohio [KOSU]
 




Richard,
 
 
I thought that the day in the simulator with you was the most valuable day of flying education that I have ever experienced.  Every instrument rated pilot flying high performance singles should spend at least a day with you to experience the thinking process that is necessary to handle in-flight emergencies.  You have clearly spent a lot of time and effort developing realistic scenarios for the sim and your teaching style is superb.  I have already told our third plane partner about the experience and strongly recommended that he consider a day or two with you in the future.  I know I will be back next year for more fun in the box.  Although I am more confident now in my ability to handle an emergency situation, I also have a much greater appreciation for the difficulty of assessing an in-flight emergency, formulating a plan of action, and continuing to fly the plane competently at the same time.
 
Thank you for the outstanding learning experience.     Ray

 

Ray James, M.D.
Bonanza F33 Owner
Williamsburg, Virginia
 

 


 

Dear Richard;

You may remember when I called you to ask about the instructor I was going to have for my first experience with your course.  Iím an older guy whoís been flying for sixteen years, and Iíve had my share of flight instructors who are not good educators.  I didnít want another, no matter how well equipped and how full motion was your simulator.  If I had to choose between the two, Iíd go for the instructor any day.

At your place I got both.  Your passion for the skills and even the arts of instrument flying is contagious and translated into excellent communication with me. I could tell that you were having fun teaching me and challenging me.  I really liked that.

Hereís something else thatís vital Ö knowing just the right amount of challenge to give someone. Certainly I didnít come there to impress you with my abilities, but I didnít want to be discouraged either.  You insightfully caught the right balance I needed to keep me learning and to help me to depart with not only better skills and strategies but a more realistic self-appraisal of my abilities as a pilot. I thoroughly expect this will greatly enhance my decision making in the forthcoming flights I have planned.

I look forward to my next recurrent session with you.  Best wishes and thanks.


Richard Kimball

Piper Saratoga Owner
New Milford, NY

 


   

 

Richard:

Thank you again for a first class, professional 210 recurrent training session.  The combination of a full motion simulator (that includes up to date GPS/avionics) plus your emphasis on real world training scenarios offers 210 pilots the same quality and depth of training that business jet and airline pilots enjoy.  Full motion simulation of departure out of my home field in low IFR on one of my typical trips, followed by various system failures and then having to think through the problem and fly the solution back to a landing -- that's good training.  And, of course, the deadstick instrument approach procedure that you teach is a darned handy trick to have up your sleeve.  In my 20+ years of flying, your program was as good as any I've attended.  I look forward to seeing you again next year for another session.

Jay Neely
ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI
Cessna T210 Owner
Savannah, Georgia

 

 


 

I enjoyed the training.  Since leaving the airlines, I need regular recurrent training to keep up with the airspace world. This was a good checkup and proficiency training. Well worth the trip out...


Your sim experience was great for thinking through problems and finding solutions.  Normally in sims, the instructor seldom freezes the sim and discusses the situation.  That worked well for the training and exploration that we did in your sim. I gained a lot from working with you.  I appreciate the depth you have gone to find your scenarios and the way you present them..


Thanks for a great course.

Phil Ecklund
Cessna P210 Owner
Boulder, Colorado

 

 


 

Dear Richard:

 Iíd like to take a few minutes and give you my feedback regarding my experience at Flight Level Training.

As you know I fly a Beech B36TC and wanted to do some specialized training geared to the type of flying that I do.

A good bit of my flying is in the Rockies both summer and winter. The winter offers some unique challenges that make training in the airplane difficult because of flight restitutions at the airports that I fly in and out of. Your program offered me the opportunity to do exactly what I wanted to in an environment that made improving my proficiency much easier. My comments regarding your associate Joe Ziegler are top notch. He is very knowledgeable and does a great job instructing both in my airplane and in the simulator. Iíd also like to thank you for making yourself available to me during the evening because of scheduling constraints. Having the opportunity to do simulator work with you was the best of both worlds. Needless to say Iíll be coming back to Flight Level on a regular basis. Iíd also like to add that the type of training that we did is much more practically done in your simulator than in my airplane. Also your electronics and knowledge of their operation makes learning in the 21 century much easier.

I look forward to training with you again.

 

Regards,

 

Eddie Kessler
Bonanza B36TCP Owner
Northbrook, Illinois

 


 

Hi Richard,
 
Unbelievable...this [referring to an accident report regarding static port blockage] is the exact scenario I encountered on the sim.  Prior to my training I would have not recognized the failure quickly enough to divert disaster had the same situation happened to me in my plane at such a low altitude in IMC.  I now know what the instruments can look like and feel confident that I could identify the problem and open the alternate static air valve to normalize the situation.  If I hadn't done this on your simulator I would have never known what a static system problem looked like in the "real world".  I've looked back on all the emergencies we practiced and can't thank you enough for getting me into thinking a lot deeper and more specific about my flying.  Flying is serious business!  Can't wait to get back and do it all over again!  Thank you for pairing me up with a great flying partner and for making this level of training available!
 
Kindest regards,

 

Van Gurley
Bonanza V35 Owner
South Bend, Indiana

 

 


 

I just got back today from my IFR workout.  Richard, let me tell you: many thanks.  The experience was simply exhilarating.  I don't know exactly how many approaches I flew with you (after a while I forgot that I was in a Sim) or how many hours.  But I will never forget the feeling when you started failing things on me, and basically left me with a flashlight, a compass and one VOR doing an ILS approach to minimums into ORH at night and in turbulence.  I enjoyed spending those hours with you, learning from your experience and listening to your recommendations.   Would I recommend the course?  Absolutely YES!!!  I believe that this is the kind of training that each of us who wants to fly in the soup should have.  So many, many thanks.

I also would like to take the opportunity to  thank you for your suggestion to combine the Sim time with a taildragger checkout.  I can assure you that it was simply a blast!  I believe that it was the perfect combination: sim time and then a fly by the pants experience.  See you again in the fall!

Oscar Avalle
Peru
Mooney M 20C N9341V (Based KGAI)

 


 

I just returned from a 2 day training session with Richard Kaplan at Flight Level Aviation in Waynesburg, PA. If you fly IFR, you should seriously consider this training. It is an extraordinary experience, especially for 210 pilots. It met and exceeded my already optimistic expectations. 

I was interested in gaining several things from this training. First, I wanted an objective evaluation of my ability to safely fly in IMC. I have had my rating for a while, but rarely used it because of trepidation about my skill level and lack of IMC experience. I also wanted to gain experience with emergency procedures. I felt my training to date was weak in this regard. Lastly, I wanted to see how the newer avionics, especially the Garmin 530, would fit into my flying. All of these objectives were met. 

First we flew about 3 hours in Richard's (de-iced) P210 so that he could see where I was at. He was able to quickly assess my strengths and weaknesses. We flew some instrument procedures, and I wanted to experience icing, and he was most accommodating in trying to find an icy altitude. We had some success, but mother nature wasn't in an angry enough mood to give us lots of ice. 

After that, we spent time in the sim. The sim is well set up to fly like a 210. While it took a little while to get used to it, the fact that it isn't a real plane is quickly forgotten once the training scenarios start popping up. The great thing about this training is that it is customized to each individual pilot*s abilities and skill level, strengths and weaknesses. Rich has a knack for setting up scenarios to help you reinforce what you're strong in, and learn a lot about what you're weak in. But it isn't at all intimidating, just challenging. The workload builds up to a point where your hands are full enough to give you experience at problem solving while under the stress and distraction of keeping the plane flying. I think this is much like a real emergency would be. 

I agree with the others that training with another pilot is very educational. I was fortunate enough to be paired with another pilot with different skills than myself, and we were able to learn from each other. 

I found rich to be an excellent instructor, a terrific teacher, and very knowledgeable (especially with regard to the 210). Despite his ability to set up difficult and challenging scenarios, he is not at all intimidating and is in fact very easy going. 

I came away from this session with much more confidence to fly in actual, as well as my ability to handle emergencies. Rich and I are still debating what the next upgrade to my plane should be, however!
 

Any questions, just ask. 
 

David Landset
Ocean View, New Jersey
Cessna 210 N319MM
DLandset@aol.com
 

 


 

Rich,

I had a great time.   I find the program you offer invaluable.  Being stuck in the air with no engine in a simulator is intimidating enough.  If it were to happen for real I believe the advanced pratice will definitely be beneficial... I would like to sign up as I mentioned to come out twice a year.    If I can ever help with a reference please donít hesitate to give out my name.  Thanks again for the great time.

 

Stu Miller
Cessna 182 Owner
University Park, Pennsylvania

 


 

 

Rich,

 
Thanks again for the training session.  As a pilot with 520 hours of P210 time, I wasn't sure how much I would get out of recurrent training.  Well, after a day in your simulator, I cannot imagine having logged as much P210 time as I have, without first going through your course.  It is impossible to practice partial panel instrument approaches, engine out, down to minimums, in the real world.  Not to mention the variety of other scenarios you threw at me.
 
Additionally, your knowledge of the Garmin 530 and its capabilities could have been a course in and of itself.  It is a tremendous tool with far more capability than I knew existed.  Since leaving two weeks ago, I've made a couple of approaches down to minimums as if they were a walk in the park.  Thanks again, count on seeing me again within the next 6-12 months.
 
John Kirkendoll
Telluride, Colorado
Javelin Cessna P210 Owner
 

 


I want to tell you how very much I enjoyed my two days with you last week.  I have been to Simcom 5 times and thought no simulator experience could be better.  Boy, was I wrong.  Your full motion AST simulator was amazing.  I knew I was in for an extremely realistic ride when I ducked as a 747, which ATC vectored across my path, passed 300 feet over my altitude.  I thought your approach to complex single engine IFR training was perfect for my desire to be as proficient as possible in my piloting skills.  You thoroughly covered every conceivable scenario where pilots get into trouble and gave me the confidence to handle any emergency.  Additionally, you taught me to call upon every possible source of help to make the best decisions.  The training you gave me was well organized and flexible for my situation.  I enjoyed our discussions about unusual approaches, ATC errors, and even the time of useful consciousness in depressurization situations.

Additionally, I felt that the ride in my own aircraft was very effective.    You encouraged me to get the most out of my avionics and made suggestions which will make me utilize all of the powers in my navigation and communication radios.  Thanks again for a terrific experience.  I will look forward to scheduling with you again.

 
David S. Lennon, M.D.
Waxhaw, NC
Piper Turbo Saratoga PA-32RT N1
81KC
 

 


 

 

Dear Rich,
 
The [multi-engine] training [with Joe Ziegler MEII] went fine.  We spent most of the time working on the GX50 which is what I wanted... On the way home I had two hours of real practice for what we had done in the sim.  In fact I shot my first ever GPS approach to mins with great success in the dark at 6:30m last nite.  So I guess the training was effective.  Also, I was prepared to have a high level of stress as Joe ate me alive and spit me out.  Instead, it was a totally relaxed environment which helped me feel confident and able to ask more questions and more actively participate in what I learned.  Good job.  Feel free to quote me any time.  The advantages of your operation for me was it was within striking distance, the price was right, we convinced my insurance company to accept it and you had the GPS in the sim that I have in my airplane and an EHSI.  Already I was able to do many things on the way home that I've never done before.
 
Just informationally, I am an instrument rated Commercial pilot with about 750 hours in six years of flying and currently fly a 1976 Piper Navajo PA31-310.  About 40% of my flying is IFR and about 75% of my flying is work or charity related.
 
Mark Revet
Eagle Bridge, NY
Piper Navajo PA31-310 Owner
CEO, Nightly Notes
 

 


As far as Joe Zieglar MEII went...he's great...we only wish that we could have  ridden in the Cub with him.  He is extremely knowledgeable, very  patient and stresses learning instead of "testing."  Only good things to report.  We were very pleased to meet and train with him.  We will be back to Flight Level Aviation.

--------------------

My husband and I had a wonderful experience at Flight Level Aviation.  As multiengine, instrument, commercial pilots, we were taught conscientiously with no attempts at harrassment.  The experience included both simulator training and IFR approaches in our own twin engine Cessna Crusader.  The experience was fun, educational, and satisfying.
 

Cheryl Kerr and Larry Kerr
Syracuse, NY
Cessna 303 Crusader Owners
lkerr@stny.rr.com

 


Thanks again for the great P210 Sim experience!

I was blessed with a most unusual and exciting way to start the new year of 2004; I logged 6.2 hours of time in a Cessna P210, that is to say a full motion simulator of the P210 which is owned and operated by Dr. Richard Kaplan of Flight Level Aviation, Inc.

Dr. Kaplan was willing and able to allow me to log more hours; but to tell the truth, my exhausted adrenaline glands and my overall fatigue was telling me that I had come to the end of my learning curve, and what a ride it had been!

In the course of these 6.2 hours there were many simulations of engine out at altitude in IMC and in the exhilarating process of doing all of the calculations to ensure the most probable successful landing at the nearest airport, with local weather reported as 500í ceilings and visibility 1-mile, I learned something very important for any serious pilot to consider.  All of the situations that Dr. Kaplan gave me, no matter how challenging, were all survivable, but only with experience.  This meant that during the training process, learning to recognize and to have the necessary recorded skills stored in my mind for ready recall, to deal with each of these life and death aviation situations, I first had to die.  I died at least twice for each series of recognitions and skill-sets to be able to make a survivable response.

The reality of each scenario presented in this full-motion Sim, designed especially for high performance single engine aircraft, such as the Cessna P210 series and the Piper Malibu series, is extraordinary.

At the end of one session, after I had gained enough experience to make a successful engine out landing down through IMC and into the nearest airport with local conditions at minimum IMC weather, Dr. Kaplan said: ďLetís check your pulse.Ē  My pulse came in at 110, and this is without moving any of my extremities more than an inch or more at a time.  This might not seem like a very ďhighĒ pulse to some of you, but I am a person whose resting pulse is 55.  To get my pulse up to 110 I have to be on the treadmill where I work out, at medium to strong jogging speed.

It is amazing how the human brain interfaces with the flight simulator and you become one with the total experience.

My lessons learned with Dr. Kaplan could not have been learned in the real airplane under real conditions unless a pilot experienced in these situations had been with me.  Alone with no specific training to equip myself, my first such experience would have been my last.  If in my first experience, I could come down in VFR conditions, that would be altogether different.  That I can do. But, to do it to minimums, from altitude in IMC conditions, not hardly.

What makes this simulator and Dr. Kaplanís many emergency scenarios so valuable is the fact that you can die many times in real world like situations and live, not only to tell about it, but also much more importantly for a pilot, you can learn to overcome the challenge and be ready for those moments you hope you never have to live in the real world.

Once is not enough; I will reschedule for this experience at least twice a year, more if possible.

Thank you, Dr. Kaplan, for a life-saving experience.

 

Herb Hatfield
Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania
Cessna 182/172 Pilot
 

Herb Hatfield is a CFII who has been flying over 30 years and has 2,700 hours of flying accumulated in many different single engine types and models.  Herb flies out of Teterboro, New Jersey on a regular basis.

 


Being a Cessna P210 owner and pilot from Germany, I always wanted to attend Richard's ďAdvanced IMC Experience." The introduction of the full motion simulator seemed another reason to do it now, so I extended a business trip to NY for another two days in Waynesburg, PA.

My expectations, which were already high, were fully surpassed. I decided to take the combined simulator and aircraft training and this turned out to be exactly the right choice. Flying the airplane with Richard is already very interesting, because he has a lot of in-depth knowledge specific to the Cessna 210 and its systems. But the full-motion simulator is a jewel. With it, you have the chance to train in all the emergency situations you can think of in your worst nightmares in very realistic conditions for a fraction of the price that comparable full-motion simulator training costs for jets, twins, turboprops etc.  There is a correct response to any situation and you learn it, as well as the use of the incredible and often unknown possibilities of the installed avionics.

My favorite was the deadstick instrument approach. Engine failure in IMC or at night is a nightmare for every single engine aircraft pilot.  Many fly twins just because of this risk. With Richard's ďapproachĒ to this problem I consistently flew deadstick instrument approaches at minimum conditions right to the threshold.  You just need one of the new GPS systems, enough altitude (one more reason to use the altitude capabilities of turbocharged and pressurized airplanes), and an airport in gliding range.

The flight model of the sim is similar to the turbocharged Cessna 210, but this training makes sense for pilots of any complex single engine airplane, be it a Beechcraft Bonanza or a Piper Malibu.

 
 
Ralf Drache
Haan, Germany
Cessna P210N D-EDRM
 

 



I am a CFI with 1,500 hours.  I hadn't been flying for almost two years when I showed up in Waynesburg, PA in my newly acquired Cessna P210 with my friend Jeff (the former owner).  After such a big break from flying I knew I needed some serious proficiency training to be safe, competent and confident in a relatively sophisticated high altitude single.  I needed a BFR, an IPC, and a P210 checkout for insurance as well as plain vanilla proficiency training.  The two days of training I spent with Dr. Richard Kaplan was everything I needed and wanted.  Not only is Richard enthusiastic with a great sense of humor, but also he is an excellent and knowledgeable CFII, genuinely and seriously interested in teaching.

Dr. Kaplan's syllabus is extremely complete and thorough, although he is flexible in its content to tailor his instruction to the individual needs of his student.  In addition, he is able to change his plans as circumstances arise so as to maximize the student's experience.

I would recommend Dr. Kaplan for anyone interested in simulator training, complex aircraft training and high altitude flight.  Richard is extremely knowledgeable in C-210 systems; however he is quite knowledgeable about GA aircraft and I think anyone could benefit from his experience.

My friend Jeff, who had owned my 210 for the previous 20 years has attended Flight Safety and the Cessna Pilots Association courses on the C-210 and said to me that his next training would be with Richard (Jeff bought a Silver Eagle, a turbine powered C-210).  He thought Richard's approach was more relevant and practical than his other experiences.  I know I'll be back.
 

Glen E. Doyon, DMD
Baltimore, Maryland
Cessna P210N N4796K
 

 


I know that there have been other posts regarding Flight Level Aviation's sim training but I felt that I had to add my own endorsement and  applause.  [Another pilot] and  I spent two days with Rich Kaplan in Southwest Pennsylvania and left the training sessions better pilots. Rich tailored the training specifically to our ability/needs and panel configurations.  Approaches to minimum, dead stick IMC, CFIT procedures, ATC/pilot responsibilities, Garmin 196 uses, etc, etc.  My gray matter was jello by the end of each day. Rich enjoyed himself.

Having previously attended Flight Safety, the bang for the buck at Rich's sim was significantly better.  FSI lacked trainers who knew Cessnas.  Rich knows Cessnas and personalizes training to your needs.

This simulator session is clearly one of the best, most hands-on, practical, educational airplane related experiences that I have had. I'm not exagerating. Rich knows this business, he knows Cessnas and potential problems with Cessnas - he knows IFR procedures and problems. He will test you on ALL those problems. My gray matter was jello by the end of each day. I left a better pilot.


If you are looking for great sim training at a reasonable cost, set up a one or two day session. You will become a better pilot.


Bill Compitello
Old Bridge, NJ
Cessna 210 Owner
 

 


 

Richard, I would like to thank you for a wonderful training experience.  As you know, I have been flying for 43 years.  Most of my flight time has been in medium and small twins.  Frankly I feel the Cessna T210 with the modern avionics is more of a challenge.  As you know, I did my initial training in the Flight Safety 210 simulators.  Flight Safety is unquestionably the gold standard of flight training.  Your full motion 210 simulator offers more up to date avionics and visual displays.  Your simulator instruction is certainly on par with the best.  Your "in aircraft" instruction was also excellent.  I look forward to training with you in the near future.  I also feel the approaches in [nearby] Morgantown WV offer a "big airport" experience.

Thank you.

Irwin S. Freedman, M.D.
Alexandria, Virginia
Cessna T210N N1226M
 



I just completed a personalized three day "IFR refresher" course with Richard and could not be happier.  We began with a series of local approaches in my C210 but soon transitioned to the full-motion simulator.  After a short familiarization period, I found the simulator to be an extremely effective training tool, particularly with Richard behind the curtain. The motion base, visual and sound effects, communications with "Kaplan approach," and fully loaded avionics provide a very realistic training environment where any number of emergency situations can occur -- and with Richard they do.  We practiced a variety of partial panel situations and mechanical failures (asymmetric flaps, runaway trim, etc.), under all kinds of weather, wind, and turbulence.  The simulator can take you to any airport where you can fly any approach, hold, or departure procedure.  You might even have a runway incursion or near miss at LaGuardia!  I particularly appreciated being able to use my own model GPS -- one of three panel mounted GPS receivers in the sim.

On day two I had the opportunity to learn by looking over another pilot's shoulder flying through some of the same emergencies.  I found this type of training, which I am told is used by Flight Safety and other sim schools, highly effective -- particularly in Richard's personalized environment. 

Needless to say, I am already scheduling another training session with Richard and will make Flight Level a semi-annual stop.
 


Paul Scialabba
New York City, New York
Cessna 210 N9056M
 

 


 

I just spent a spectacular day visiting with Rich Kaplan.  Rich has provided my P210 recurrency training in the past and I have always found his approach to be a great combination of knowledge and personal experience.  I had therefore been interested in whether the simulation approach that he was going to use would be a significant step up from my past training.

It was!

We started in as soon as I arrived and, with two breaks, spent almost 6 hours together on learning the simulator, setting it up to parallel my airplane (more later) and finally running through approach after approach and failure after failure, including starkly realistic multiple instrument and engine failures.  We talked about problems as they arose and then flew them again until I got it right. 

I spend a fair amount of time each year on keeping current (a day every two months with a CFI) and fly 250 hrs per year in some fairly hard IFR in the Northeast.  The time spent on the simulator has truly increased my confidence and at the same time increased my respect for how difficult it is to actually fly the airplane in trying circumstances.  This was the hands down winner for use of my time in training this year and I truly enjoyed and gained from the experience.

Caveat - I hope Rich can convince the simulator people to make one minor software change.  Each airplane has a different control feel.  I did spend a bit of time adjusting to the feel of the Kaplan 210.  It would be nice if the feel can be dialed in for each pilot.  With that minor nit - a great way to spend a training  session.

Thanks

 

Seth Rudnick, M.D.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Javelin P210N / N42WB 
Cirrus SR22
 

 


Wow, what a seriously fun and important machine.  Thank you so very much for the opportunity to work with it.  "I now believe in simulators." 
 

The Full-Motion AST-300 single engine flight simulator ... is a potential life saver for the [average single engine piston] GA pilot and others... For the most part, instrument simulation in a single engine piston powered aircraft has been rather unsophisticated until now with the advent of the full motion sim. 
 
I flew Dr. Kaplan's simulator for three hours about a week ago.  We departed LaGuardia, got in an upset, and went inverted because of some airliner induced wake turbulence.  I got into a spin somewhere over LAX and recovered in some nasty weather....   We were not flying [in an airplane] but I was working, sweating, and most importantly learning in a safe environment.   
 
$500 a day to use this realistic and sophisticated machine is a bargain.  [Pilots are] coming in to his office in Waynesburg, PA from half way across the U.S. to get aeronautically beat up the same as I did.  Getting slapped around in the clouds with Richard can save your proverbial airplane and passengers though.  What's that worth?
 

Jim Opalka
Freelance Aviation Writer
Piper PA28 N6421J
Butler, Pennsylvania
 


 

I just returned from a 2 day P210 training session (partnering with [another pilot]) that included flight training in [another pilot's] plane (I acted as ballast) and the balance of the time was spent in Rich Kaplan's new sim.

I'll let [the other pilot] speak for himself, but I couldn't be happier. I have had concerns about wingtip vortices rolls and wanted to experience dead stick approaches. I wanted to do zero-zero landings, and other things no one would do in a plane.

The sim requires some tweaking in control sensitivity just to shorten the time it takes to get comfortable, but unlike RTC and Flight Safety this sim flies like a 210 and it is an outstanding way to practice dangerous conditions so they become routine.

I was exhausted after the two days because the training is intense and you do get caught up in the emergencies Rich sets up. I came away learning as much watching [the other pilot] (a very capable pilot) as when I had my turn in the barrel.

I recommend Rich Kaplan's course to not only new owners, but seasoned pilots who want to really practice their techniques in real emergency conditions.

Jon Wehrenberg
Knoxville, Tennessee
Cessna P210 N732JB
 


 

My first orientation to the 210 was the Flight Safety course last January [2003]. I found the systems overview very educational as I had never had my rump in a 210 before.  At the time I thought the IFR training and flight sim they had was top notch.  I can tell you that the experience I just received and the realism of Rich Kaplan's flight training device (FTD) was orders of magnitude better than the Flight Safety program.

One of the significant benefits beyond full motion was Rich having a wide variety of current GPS and other technologies in his FTD.  I was able to emulate pretty much my exact navigational setup so the learnings were directly transferable to my plane.

I would also highly recommend partnering with someone.  It is amazing what one can learn when you throw a mix of relatively new and seasoned IFR pilots together.

In summary I will probably be doing rolls or engine outs in the mountains at night for weeks in my sleep but I have a good feeling that what I learned will save my bacon when my nightmares become reality some day.

Leo Smith
Chaska, Minnesota
Cessna P210 N4925K
 

 


 

I am a P210 owner / pilot whose search for a meaningful BFR / IPC experience led me to Richard Kaplan. I have used every type of flight instruction from the independent at the local uncontrolled field to Flight Safety's 210 simulator program. I found Richard on the web and knew nothing of his program, teaching skills, or knowledge. But there was enough there that I felt compelled to call. I liked the sound of the personalized training in my own airplane. So I spoke with Richard and got a very strong sense that this guy was different than other flight instructors I'd worked with. His knowledge was impressive and he comes across as having a genuine desire to teach. Convinced enough to ask Richard for some references, I followed-up with the them and became more and more impressed. Many people will say, "go ahead and use me as a reference", but these people genuinely wanted to help Richard. I was amazed at how quickly they called me back. I was shocked by how much time they were willing to spend with me. I was convinced by the long list of seriously thrilled students and their consistent experiences with Richard's outstanding teaching ability, knowledge, patience, and enthusiam. So I called Richard and scheduled time with him. 

I was not dissapointed. Richard flew with me, figured out my weaknesses and strengths, and worked hard to fill the gaps. He quickly determined that one of my strengths was aircraft systems knowledge so he focused elsewhere. He also quickly realized that most of the time, I'm flying out of a large airport with an ILS. So we did lots of "landings on the numbers", brushing up on short field landing techniques. I performed emergency procedures that I had never even considered actually practicing (ever done an IMC dead-stick instrument approach?). He taught using real-world scenarios. He showed me where the system can easily fail us as pilots and how to avoid the potential catastrophy. All in all, I left feeling more confident, competent, and safe. 

I can say with confidence, this was the best flight training experience I've had. I'm sure to become a regular student. 

James Baum 
Boston, Massachusetts 
Cessna P210N N6444W 
 

 


Hi Richard, Sir!

Thank you very much for offering this one-on-one training opportunity and, in comparison to what I have seen outside, a remarkably capable and well equipped simulator...

It was a pure pleasure working with Joe Zieglar, an absolute aviation enthusiast, he has given me another perspective recounting his own experiences on an autogyro, his vast tailwheel airplane experience, and his considerable interest in the industry. He has also affirmed that, although currently idle, my previous commercial experience, procedures, and decision making have not been lost.  I feel confident to take a checkride in Germany, knowing full well that I had experienced some tarnish of my skills and am nowhere near perfection, but generally "safe". This will definitely reduce my level of anxiety in a situation that I may be confronted with.

My attitude is that we never finish learning, although I continue dreaming of one day owning a utility airplane, I am a strong believer in continuous training, and I will certainly consider recurrent and refresher training with Joe and your simulator...

 

Christopher Scheziat - Warner
Bridgeport, CT (U.S. and German pilot licenses)
 


 

As a relatively low time pilot (480 hrs) who rarely flies in actual IMC (I live in FL) I thought that this course would be a good brush up on my Instrument skills. It was that but much much more. Starting with my preflight of his well equipped P210 Richard proved to be a wealth of practical 210 knowledge that most flight instructors just don't know.  I think by concentrating on the 210 he has gathered a wealth of pearls that are invaluable for safe and enjoyable flying. I would recommend this course to anyone who has or is planning to fly the 210.


Steven Bowman
Clearwater, Florida
Cessna T210N N2247U
 


Richard -- With twelve approaches to ILS and localizer minimums the first day in the mountains with rain and [forecast icing conditions], it was a challenging start. However, your coaching and attention to detail (and TKS) made the flight safe and doable with our planned alternatives. I took home 25 specific points to review monthly on procedures, weather planning, regulations, operations, and maintenance which I feel were not only fresh ideas, but also important to anyone flying under IFR conditions. I cannot imagine a course where I could have learned more practical useable knowledge in such a short period of time. I hope you can expand the course so that more people can take advantage of it. Many thanks.

Robert W. Dunne 
Ashtabula, Ohio 
Commander 112TC 4565W 
 


I first contacted Richard Kaplan at the recommendation of my insurance agent when I was kicking around the idea of a P210 or Malibu.

From the very outset, Richard was an enthusiastic source of information and encouragement. When I purchased my P210, he was the obvious choice of instructor. He is an accomplished pilot, with a detailed knowledge of the FARs, weather complexities, and other factors necessary for flight at high altitude in a highly complex (and slightly daunting) airplane. This is enhanced by his medical background, which adds all the more credibility to his tuition about hypoxia. His knowledge of the intricacies of the P210 is outstanding. In the cockpit and during debriefs, his style is one of gentle encouragement.

The learning experience continues after the course is over - Richard keeps in touch with most of his students. I, for one, have no hesitation about emailing him about something that has cropped up. A reply is usually forthcoming within hours. Sometimes, I swear, he must be up in the small hours of the morning answering his email! I intend to continue my training with Richard, to maintain and enhance my instrument skills and complex single piloting, and I would encourage other P210 pilots to do the same.

Simon Westacott 
Butler, Pennsylvania 
Cessna P210N N3YL 
 


Icy clouds, low ceilings, DME arc approaches into Central Pennsylvania airports surrounded by snow obscured mountains -- Rich Kaplan makes it fun. Well almost. He does make it safe and with his experience and TKS equipped P210,very valuable and effective training -- and a medical at the same time.

Even with 700 hours in my own I learned much about safety, power management, maintenance, and flying the P210 in real conditions.

Rich, my wife Sue and I enjoyed both the beautiful Southwestern Pennsylvania setting (Uniontown) and especially your cheerful hospitality.

Thanks for a very "Rich" experience.

Dave Corby 
Richmond, Michigan 
Cessna P210 N6084P 
 


I have owned my P210 for more than 15 years and flown it over 2000 hours. During those years I went to recurrent training regularly. I alternated between such companies as American Flyers, PIC, Flight Safety, and Recurrent Training Center. What sets Rich Kaplan's recurrent training apart from all others is that he is P210 specific. The others provided generic recurrent training which was helpful, but it was typically the same regardless of the type of aircraft flown or hours of experience.

In my case Rich assessed my capabilities and then proceeded to provide training and scenarios which were both challenging and appropriate. While doing so he was also providing advice based on his own experiences owning and flying a P210, thus going far beyond what was provided by others.

Jon Wehrenberg
Knoxville, Tennessee
Cessna P210 N732JB
 


I am a pilot and A&P Mechanic without great familiarity with Cessna 210s. As a prospective 210 owner, I really appreciated Dr. Kaplan's real world advice from his experiences as a seasoned P210 owner on how to properly manage the powerplant. What I had read, prior to meeting Dr. Kaplan, was that 210's like to wear out cylinders. What I really found was that pilots who do not really understand proper power and temperature(s) management can really accelerate early cylinder/engine demise in 210s. Dr. Kaplan knows these #s , reasons and implications. The day with him was truly a learning experience. Hint. Buy him coffee or lunch after you fly with him and pick the 210 maintenance and Medical Examiner side of his brain and your day will be made. Shame on you if you don't. :-)

Kurt Archibald 
Springfield, Virginia
180 HP 172N partner 
 


I thought the [P210 recurrency] training time was very productive. We covered a number of items that had been incompletely introduced as I was first familiarized with the plane. The issues of what is operating properly in a specific type are always best addressed by someone familiar with the type. You were very helpful in that regard... 

[Flying partial panel] is an important skill and I believe that you did an excellent job in brushing up my skills. I will [also] look into the best version of an electric AI that is fully self-contained and figure out how to move the other instruments around as you suggested... 

The engine out approach is really very worthwhile...

All in all, it was a very productive session and I feel that I gained a lot from it. Thanks again. 

Seth Rudnick 
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Javelin P210N / N42WB 
Cirrus SR22
 


 

I was excited to discover Dr. Kaplan's Flight Level Aviation training program. After obtaining my instrument rating, although a certification widely respected, I felt that I still had a lot to learn. My three days with Dr. Kaplan added immeasurably to my knowledge, both theoretical and practical.

It is rare to a find well-trained CFII who is willing to teach in real IMC with live-encounter situations. His airplane and equipment are first rate. I was particularly pleased that Dr. Kaplan shared his extensive aviation medical knowledge with me. 

In three days with Flight Level Aviation, I accumulated more crucial IFR experience (IMC, high altitude-flight level flying, Class B landing/take off, mountain flying, hypoxia recognition) and was exposed to more equipment (pressurized aircraft, in-flight Weather, TKS-de-icing, radar, turbocharging, Loran, GPS VNAV) than many high time pilots have experienced.

It has been a year since I flew with Dr. Kaplan, but he gave me a lifetime of knowledge.

Jackson Peng 
(Bonanza N6731C)
New York City, New York
 

 


Thanks Richard, Joe, and John,

I have been a pilot since around 1980. For the most part owning a business, 4 children & priorities put the brakes on my flying around 1992 after around 600 hours.

I began flying again late in 2002 and after 50 hours flying again I received an Instrument Proficiency Check. I however did not feel very comfortable and I have always wanted to try some simulator time.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 7-1/2 hours spread over a day and a half in your simulator.  Not only did I get a chance to have a realistic no gyro approach to minimums, but also I flew from airport to airport using approaches at airports I generally fly in to.  Joe had the ceilings and visibility set near minimums at each stop. It seemed very realistic to break out (most of the times) at 250 feet with 3/4 of a mile visibility. It was a great confidence booster.

I plan on some how making this an annual trek for 1/2 a day of sim time. If you want to have any prospective customers call me for questions please feel free to do so at ANY TIME.

Money Hard earned but Well spent.

Best Regards,

 
 
Bob Kelly
Royal Oak, Michigan
Cherokee Six Owner
 

 

 


"Suffice it to say for now that I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to take your course. You are an excellent pilot and instructor, and I do intend to walk through the door you opened for me. I still feel a bit of a glow remembering the flying we did. Many thanks."

Robert O. Tyler 
(Cessna 170 Owner and Retired Navy Carrier Pilot)
Great Falls, Virginia 
 

 

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