Epic Flight Academy uses Frasca motion sim for faster pilot training

FRASCA International Press Release | June 14, 2021

Estimated reading time 5 minutes, 7 seconds.

Frasca International & Epic Flight Academy have collaborated to create a new flight training curriculum utilizing a full motion Cessna 172 flight simulator. The curriculum has shown success in with students to earn their private pilot’s license faster than the national average of 70 hours. Students training with Epic on the Frasca motion simulator, typically finish their private pilot’s license within FAA minimum flight hours. 

Frasca worked closely with Epic to develop a device for their training aircraft that would not only simulate the aircraft instruments and controls, but would add enhanced training value of motion utilizing Frasca’s Motion Cueing System (MCS) which was originally designed for use in higher level Flight Training Devices (FTDs) and Full Flight Simulators (FTDs).  “Epic is the first flight school in the world to have a Cessna 172 FTD with this high level of motion system. They are leading the way in flight training by providing this very high fidelity device for their students,” stated John Frasca, President of Frasca International, Inc. Students enrolled in Epic’s Private Pilot Course spend around 30 to 40 hours in the Frasca Cessna172 simulator where they learn maneuvers  including stalls, step turns, take-offs and landings. Once the student has shown proficiency in the simulator, they proceed to the aircraft to demonstrate their skills in flight. 

The Frasca 172 full motion simulator uses high fidelity graphics and Frasca’s MCS (Motion Cueing System). The device simulates the aircraft so well that students who are able to complete their private pilot at or close to FAA minimum flight hour requirements.

Epic Flight Academy has been training professional pilots for two decades and has recognized one of the biggest challenges in ab-initio training is the private pilot stage.  Every time something new is introduced into the industry, such as the glass cockpit, traffic avoidance, or radar controlled airspace, the private pilot must be tested. When compounding TAA aircraft with long ground delays and increased cost of operating aircraft, the private pilot stage of training becomes more expensive and time consuming with a national average of above 70 flight hours. 

This creates a major barrier to entry and limits a lot of students. According to Danny Perna, CEO of Epic Flight Academy; “we can now provide more training time for students at a third of the hourly cost. When I learned to fly I had a basic six pack and I was the only person in the pattern for my solo. Today these students have to learn more equipment and technology than was in the first space shuttle.  The simulator is a game changer for us with its ability to so closely replicate the flight characteristic of an airplane.”

Frasca International has been a leader in simulation for the general aviation industry for over 60 years. They introduced a full motion cueing system for military helicopters and then made modifications to better suit fixed wing aircraft such as the Cessna 172. 

According to John Frasca, president of Frasca International, “We are very excited with the results Epic is having with the simulator. The right simulator plays a big role in ab-initio flight training.  We had the technology and capacity to build a training device to this level, but it took someone like Epic to take the first step in developing the curriculum and training model to make it work.”

The device has been operating at Epic’s campus in New Smyrna Beach since November of 2020. The school has been operating the device an average of 250 hours a month and has successfully trained 30 Private Pilot students in the simulator.  “Now that we are post Covid, our enrollment is rapidly increasing. We plan on installing a second device once we reach maximum capacity of around 500 hours per month,” stated Perna.  Epic is currently working on placing multiple full motion devices throughout the country.  

Frasca is ramping up production to build more motion devices to support additional flight school and universities since the simulator combined with an accurate training model has resulted in training student pilots faster and with enhanced safety.  Frasca and Epic are working together to get the hours trained in the device credited toward the commercial pilot’s license as well.

This press release was prepared and distributed by Frasca International.

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