By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
A new era of flight training has arrived for Goshen-based New Horizons Aviation.
Started seven years ago by local charter pilot Dan Steiner and commercial airline captain Roger Yoder, New Horizons Aviation is the fixed wing flight training and airplane rental operation located at Goshen Municipal Airport.
While the company has offered private and commercial flight training opportunities since its inception, the arrival of a new, state-of-the-art flight training simulator to the facility this past December has proven to be quite a game-changer for the operation.
“It’s called a Redbird Full-Motion Simulator,” Yoder said of the new trainer. The machine features wrap-around visuals, an enclosed and reconfigurable cockpit and electric motion platform to help simulate the sensation of flight.
“We got this with several thoughts in mind. One, we do instrument training here for private pilot’s licenses, and by having the simulator, we can expose students to things in the simulator that wouldn’t actually be safe to do in the airplane. I’m actually working with a student right now in the simulator, and I’m so excited about the things I can do with it, because when he goes for a check ride to gain his instrument rating he will have faced a lot of decision making in the simulator that we would never cover in an airplane.”
For example, instructors with students in the simulator can choose to “fail” instruments and different aircraft components on demand, change the weather from good to bad and simulate both daytime and nighttime flying.
“All of those things we can simulate,” Yoder said, “which greatly enhances the training that we can provide to our students.”
While flight training simulators have been around for decades, Yoder noted that the major standout of the Redbird simulator is that it is motion-based, a feature that in the past has typically been too expensive to implement for all but the largest training operations.
“It’s a huge deal,” Yoder said of the new acquisition. “I don’t know of any other flight school around that has one. Some of the universities like Western Michigan and Purdue have one, but for a local airport, this is very unique, and I believe it sets us apart.”
In addition to the heightened training opportunities, Yoder noted that the new trainer also makes it possible for instructors and pilots to get in valuable flying time even on bad weather days when flying would typically not be possible.
“So our hope is that people will use it, for example, in the winter when there are lots of clouds and ice and they can’t actually get up in the air,” Yoder said. “In addition, the simulator can also be used to keep pilots current, because once a pilot has their instrument rating, they’re required to do so much flying in order to maintain their instrument proficiency. So with the flight simulator, they can do their entire instrument proficiency check in the simulator in order to remain current.
“So it’s a training tool, and it also enhances the safety of general aviation flying,” he said. “It’s a win-win.”