The Flight Simulator Instructors play multiple roles, from air traffic controllers to pilots flying near in the same formation of the trained pilot. These trainings have main goal: preparing the aircrew members to their future missions. Introducing the world of the flight simulator instructors
Noami Zorref | Translation: Eden Sharon
A famous story among the instructors is the “Toffifee” story: During routine simulator training, an aircrew member attempted a difficult landing, unsuccessfully. Afterwards, he set down with the flight simulator instructors for a debriefing in which they discussed the proper way for him to land in similar scenario in the future.
“A day after the debriefing, the pilot came holding a box of Toffifee chocolate in his hands”, recalls Corporal Yuval Raviv, an instructor of the “Training” squadron in Hatzor airbase. “The pilot approached the young simulator instructors and told her that he was suddenly called for a mission in which he was confronted with the same scenario exactly. Without the previous practice, his life would have been seriously endangered”.
This story reveals the nature of the flight simulator instructing job: Acting as a “third eye” for the aircrew members, checking their choices and preparing them for challenging scenarios in order to ensure perfect execution when needed.
But long before they begin with their actual work, the instructors take part in a special course at the IAF’s flight school. The course lasts a month and a half and focuses on the instructional abilities of the students. The young instructors are then placed in various instruction centers and begin a second course in accordance with their future role.
“The trainees usually have some previous instructional experience they gained in youth movements or elsewhere”, says Corporal Shira Hershfinkel, an instructor-to-be, who is now in the learning phase. “In the course we come across complicated challenges we have never faced before”.
For example, the instructors learn that there are different types of trainings that have to be suited correctly for each aircrew member in order to create a professional and efficient practice.
Many Roles to Play
“The flight simulator instructor is actually an actress”, adds Corporal Or Efrat, who is also in the training stage. “We must be able to simulate every relevant role of the flight – an air traffic controller or another aircrew member for example”.
For that end, the instructors try to gain as many experience as possible during the courses. “In my opinion, one of the most significant parts of our training is the orienteering sortie we undergo”, says Corporal Yuval. “We get high-level operational trainings which enables the learned material to sink in well”.
Saving without compromising
Apart from their practical purpose, the instruction centers act as a repository for the professional knowledge of the subject of which they are in charge. “We hold all the professional literature on issues we deal with”, explains Corporal Yuval. “Every now and then the centers get calls from people who need help in dealing with a real-time faults”.
On top of their operational importance, the instruction centers also have an economical Significance these days. Today, the force has 60 simulators in its possession and many others are expected to join the force’s formations in coming years. Using simulators save hundreds of thousands of Shekels while maintaining high-quality trainings.