Exhibit: Can I learn to fly in a flight sim?
In my flight bag
" Well, Tom Clancy can give you guided tours of fighter wings and carriers, but how about a flight bag? I thought not. Well, I can !
This was something I added to my own flight notes, just for the record. It's amazing how much stuff I have in there, and how it's grown as I've learned things from various flights.
What's in the bag?
I realized that my flight bag is a pretty important part of my flying, and its contents have really grown since I started my lessons. Some of the growth is based on safety concerns, some due to learning more convenient ways to do things. Anyway, here's a little guided tour of my flight bag today. You don't necessarily need ALL this stuff, but it gives you an idea of what one late-stage student pilot has found useful.
Head set - still using the SoftComm "Prince" that I bought a couple of years ago - low end but working OK for me. Someday I'll upgrade to David Clark, made right here in Worcester, the brand preferred by most professional pilots. But I'll wait until this one breaks or something.
Log book - I've got one of the small/medium versions, easy to carry, but not much room to write notes on the flights.
Current charts - I carry a current New York Sectional chart, covering this region, as well as the VFR Terminal Area Chart for Boston's Class B air space, even though I'm usually west or north of this area.
POH - Actually it's the "Information Manual" for the 1980 version of the Cessna 152 - the official POH (pilot's operating handbook) must be updated for any changes and is carried in each airplane. This has all the information on performance, procedures, checklists, equipment, weight and balance, etc. as needed for flight planning.
Preflight check list - The approved procedure on a single sheet from the flight school.
Flight Computers - I carry both electronic (Sporty's E6B) and a manual "whiz wheel" (Jeppesen) - I tend to use the electronic one though I can use the analog wheel if necessary.
Fuel tester - I finally bought a good one with a brass rod to replace the cheap plastic version that kept breaking - you can't count on finding one in a rental airplane.
Knee board - I have a Jeppesen three-fold model with pockets for notes and pens, a clipboard to hold your chart, and a Velcro strap to hold it on my leg. This is essential for cross-country flights, though there are other styles available (the three-fold is a bit large for the tight confines of a C152 cockpit on dual flights).
Plotter - Clear plastic ruler/protractor for flight planning (plus a small one in a knee board pocket).
Timer - I have a West Bend timer with large numbers and buttons. It has two independent timers, so it's good for timing cross-country flight legs as well as total time. I wish it had an off switch because it's forever beeping when I move my flight bag!
Yoke mounts - I have two of these C-clamp-spring things, one to hold the timer in view, the other for use with my GPS once I start officially using it. Very handy.
Flashlights - I have 3 or 4 of these in the bag, including a large one (8 AA cells) for night pre-flights and in case the landing light is lost. One small one clips to the lap board and has a small flexible neck and a red filter, for chart illumination. I have yet another one with a long flexible neck that I could position and aim somewhere on the panel if I needed it. Be prepared for night flights!
Batteries - A bunch of fresh AA's for the flashlights, GPS, and transceiver.
Post-It Notes - This is multi-purpose, but one reason to have this is to cover up an instrument that fails in flight. I had a vacuum system failure on a solo cross-country, so the attitude indicator and directional gyro showed crazy readings. I didn't have any Post-It notes, but it was clear VFR, so it wasn't a problem. But if I had needed to use the other instruments, those wrong reading instruments would have been very distracting. So now I'm ready.
Tools - A couple of small tools could save you a lot of trouble in flight. I have a small set of screwdrivers, a pocket knife, and a small pair of pliers. The latter is in case a knob falls off the radio and you have to tune by turning the metal shaft (this has actually happened to me).
Pens and pencils - Always losing these, of course. Roller ball types tend to leak at altitude, in my experience - I stick with regular ball points and pencils.
Transceiver - A wonderful recent gift from the Mrs., JRC-520 nav/comm radio. This could be a real life saver in the event of radio or electrical failure in the airplane. It works great (5 W transmit power), though I haven't tested the nav part (VOR) yet. It's very small and light, really quite an amazing little toy.
GPS - Yes, all the latest gear! This is a semi-aviation model, the Magellen 315 with the now-discontinued aviation database installed. It has great satellite reception and gives me all the US airports and VOR's, but none of the special use airspace and ground mapping features of the true aviation models. But this was less than US$200 and it works great for finding the nearest airport or any user-programmed object I may want to find (also tells you your actual ground speed and track). Not allowed for primary navigation, but a great safety backup.
Wow, a lot of stuff! Over US $ 900 worth, I would estimate, though a lot of this (about US $ 500) is in the GPS and transceiver, which are luxuries in a sense. This is all in a rather beat-up Land End utility bag - maybe someday I'll get an official flight bag, but this is working pretty well for now. "
Images from http://www.pilotportal.com