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Sun, Mar 08, 2009

CFI Develops FAA-Approved Landing Gear Simulator

Complex Aircraft Endorsement... In Fixed-Gear Aircraft

On March 1, 2009, pilot Jeff Clark of Troy, MI obtained a Complex Aircraft Endorsement. Not unusual, you say? But he did it in his fixed gear Piper Dakota, using a landing gear simulator developed by CFI Gregg Stockman.

By using a Piper Arrow checklist, Jeff learned all the operations associated with a retractable gear airplane, including successfully resolving nine different gear malfunctions presented by the gear simulator. This involved recycling circuit breakers, replacing landing gear indictor bulbs, and even executing an emergency gear extension procedure.

Many of the gear malfunctions could not have been safely duplicated in an actual retractable gear aircraft, nor could the stress of flight operations be fully duplicated in a ground based simulator. This training and endorsement were made possible by the simulator and an exemption to FAR 61.31(e) that Stockman recently received from the Federal Aviation Administration.

According to the abstract filed with the US Patent Office, the self-contained device can be installed into fixed landing gear aircraft to be used during takeoff and landing. Alternatively, the device can be used during classroom and ground school training. A switch box control panel simulates the landing gear controls and indicators of retractable gear aircraft. A logic circuit and program simulate landing gear operation, in “simulator” mode, and common landing gear errors of retractable gear aircraft in “trainer” mode.

In “trainer” mode, the program and circuit also randomly alert the pilot to common landing gear errors and evaluate the pilot's corrective control input, outputting an error indication if the pilot's response is incorrect. The device's capabilities to accept flight control inputs and to emulate characteristics of specific retractable gear aircraft increase the realism of the simulation and training.

For more information on the portable landing gear simulator developed by Gregg, contact him at N15997@gmail.com.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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