Epic Flight Academy has trained thousands of pilots who have gone on to careers at more than 300 airlines worldwide, according to the company. And they pride themselves on being able to move students from around the world through a training course in the most efficient way. So it makes sense that Epic would look for ways to further increase efficiency while retaining a solid training experience for new professional pilot candidates.
To this end, Epic has worked with Frasca International to create a new full-motion flight training device, replicating the Cessna 172, that it can incorporate into its training programs. The project utilized Frasca’s Motion-Cueing System originally designed for higher-level flight training devices and full flight simulators to add to the realism driven as well by the high-fidelity graphics. “Epic is the first flight school in the world to have a Cessna 172 FTD with this high level of motion system,” said John Frasca, president of Frasca International.
Epic’s students will log from 30 to 40 hours in the device during the academy’s private pilot course, with the motion base granting the ability to perform maneuvers, including stalls, steep turns, and landings. The syllabus requires the students to perfect maneuvers procedures in the sim before trying them out in the airplane. Epic has been using the device since November 2020, for an average of 250 hours monthly—with 30 private pilot students using the device as an integrated part of their initial course.
To Epic CEO Danny Perna, the curriculum is very different from what he experienced as a budding pilot. “We can now provide more training time for students at a third of the hourly cost,” said Perna. “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 plans to place more of the motion-based devices in training organizations across the US. Epic and Frasca have also teamed up to pursue recognition of training time in the sim towards the hours required for the commercial pilot certificate.