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Flight simulator grounded for summer

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

A proposed flight simulator for Truckee Tahoe Airport has been grounded, at least until the fall.

At a joint meeting between the Airport Community Advisory Team and the Truckee Tahoe Airport District Board last week, board members decided to hold off on any decision on the purchase of a flight training device pending further research. The simulator, if purchased, would be used for flight training, noise abatement training, familiarization with the airport area, fuel incentive qualification and public outreach.

While airport staff said a simulator could lessen noise by decreasing training flights over the airport, board members and a few members of the public questioned the high price tag (about $500,000), and how much the simulator would actually be used.

“I think this idea has merit, but at a very high price. I think it would be worth revisiting this fall,” said board member Paul Vatistas at the meeting Thursday.

Airport Manager Dave Gotschall said depending on the type of training, pilots could log between two and a half to 20 hours in the simulator, and an every-90-day requirement for pilots to stay current could be completely fulfilled in the simulator.

Pilots could also use the simulator to learn noise abatement flight paths for the Truckee Tahoe Airport, earning them fuel discounts, Gotschall said.

Scott Harvey, senior sales representative for Frasca, said Truckee Tahoe Airport is the first airport that has contacted his company to use a simulator for noise abatement.

“It’s always just been viewed as a training device; we haven’t looked at it for noise until Truckee Tahoe,” Harvey said.

But local pilots questioned how useful the simulator would be for training, and how much pilots would actually use it.

“You can’t simulate fear,” said Tom Meadows of Todd Aero.

Robert Todd, owner of Todd Aero, said he liked the idea of having a simulator at the airport, but didn’t think it was worth the cost.

“In a simulator is the place to have an emergency; however, it’s not worth it in my opinion,” Todd said. “Having a simulator full of high school students would be great, but it’s not worth it.”

The board directed the Airport Community Advisory Team to research the subject further, surveying pilots that use the Truckee Tahoe Airport to see what kind of usage the simulator would actually get, and then bring that information back to the board by this fall, said Kevin Bumen, head of noise and business operations.


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