Simulator Assessments – Why your manual flying doesn’t matter!

Why your manual flying doesn’t matter

Ok, so it matters…a bit; but not even half as much as most pilots worry about! Many pilots place a huge emphasis on their manual flight and tracking raw data information, as is common in so many simulator assessments. They want to practise these skills with some simulator assessment preparation ahead of the real assessment and focus on flying the “same profile” as the assessment they are expecting with their target airline. This is not an effective way to prepare!

The root cause of poor manual flight control

Think about the reasons that someones manual flying might not be that good, or why they can’t fly accurately whilst tracking raw data information. Is it because they don’t know how to fly, or because they don’t know how to track raw data information? No! Every pilot that holds an ATPL, frozen or otherwise knows how to fly and track raw data. If your manual flying is inexplicably deteriorating, or you just can’t accurately track a radio aid, this is often a symptom of other pilot competencies not being utilised properly.

How ineffective pilot competencies can lead to failure

The range of pilot competencies (PC’s) and their performance indicators are too large in scope to discuss in this article. In fact, on our courses, we spend 3 hours training pilots how to use them to effect during a sim assessment! Poor use of the PC’s during a simulator assessment is likely to be at the root cause of poor manual flying. 

Take ineffective briefing for example. This could easily lead to a lack of situational awareness such that when the workload spikes, manual flying rapidly becomes weak…Similarly, a lack of leadership and teamwork may mean that workload management suffers and this puts unbearable pressure on your manual flying….often resulting in an inevitable and undesirable outcome!

“Poor use of the PC’s during a simulator assessment is likely to be at the root cause of poor manual flying.”

I failed my sim assessment – they changed the profile!

If we had a pound for every time we heard this! Relying on flying the profile you are ‘expecting’ is a dangerous preparation tactic! Effective use of the pilot competencies is the only effective way to comprehensively pass a simulator assessment and that’s why we place so much emphasis on them during our training courses. Also remember – your performance in the Pilot Monitoring role is as important as the Pilot Flying role (and you don’t do any flying as pilot monitoring!)

“Relying on flying the profile you are ‘expecting’ is a dangerous preparation tactic!”

To learn more about our industry leading Simulator Assessment Preparation courses, visit


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