Logbook Stories

from my "Standard Pilot Master Log"


My First Time In the Box I Crashed

December 4-5, 1980

My first time "in the box" - which is pilot slang for simulator time - was when my company sent me to Fort Worth for Cessna 500 training at the American Airlines Academy. At that time their simulator technology was long before full-motion simulators with digital displays, and in a curious looking-back way, was even more awesome. Their simulator consisted of a cockpit mockup with fully functioning instruments and a projected image on a screen in front of the window that came from a video camera on a track that ran back and forth and went up and down to "fly" over a model of the local area that filled a separate room. The camera's movements were driven by the pilot's control actions in the simulator. See photo below.

Not yet having any experience with computer video games in 1980 my main mistake in the box was handling the simulator controls like I'd handled the real airplane, and the results were gruesome. I don't recall how many times I crashed. Simulation technology has come a very, very long way since then. Yet, it would be a real shame if this simulation technology no longer exists, at least in some museum somewhere. It was really pretty slick.

Anyway, I had a nice time in Fort Worth, enjoyed some decent and authentic Tex-Mex cuisine, soaked up some warm sunshine in December, and picked up some western-style clothing at Sheplers. This, in addition to learning what I needed to know about the Cessna 500 to be a good first officer for my company.



References for Non-Pilots: