First impressions: The simulator sits in a room by itself, the room has a door that can be closed so that no outside sounds could be a distraction. The training flights in the simulator can be fully recorded so that they can be analyzed by the instructor and student after each period. Though the simulator has no door itself, I found this to be a non-issue flying the RedBird.
Flight deck impressions: The Redbird is configured as a Cessna 172 (fuel Injected), one of the more common training aircraft. It is equipped with a full set of G1000 avionics! All instrumentation and flight controls, engine controls and gear and flaps handles are where you’d expect them in the actual airplane. The exception are the back-up instruments, placed in such a way that the simulator can be reconfigured to another airplane rather simply and quickly. The landing gear handle is present for the same reason.
Flying impressions: The visuals are far better than I have experienced in my professional pilot career, flying simulators for the B727, B777, B757 and B767. The focus and contrast of the outside are far better! The RedBird simulator has almost a 180° picture, where the Cessna strut can be seen and utilized for bank attitude; likewise the engine cowling can be seen in all maneuvers, just like in the airplane, important for Visual Flight practice.
How does it fly? I found that the controls are very much like the controls on the airplane, not more nor less sensitive. Exception are the rudder pedals/brakes on the ground, but on the ground only. In flight they correspond to power application just as in the airplane; right rudder is definitely needed for power on, left for reduction in power. The electric trim is a bit sensitive, but rarely found on Cessna 172s, so who could say?
It is very impressive that turbulence, rain, snow, IMC, traffic and such can be introduced just like in the simulators the airline companies employ in their training. The motion in your RedBird simulator is no less capable than simulators costing millions and millions of dollars. This simulator lends itself to Private Pilot training due to the visuals presented. It is also an incredible tool for teaching the Garmin G1000 avionics suite, now almost the industry standard.
For the Instrument Rating training, I can think of no better tool for basic attitude instrument flight, basic navigation, holding patterns and approaches. Couple that with the higher learning periods where IMC, turbulence, wind, crosswind, rain and snow are introduced just as in the real world and you in fact have the perfect training tool in your office.
If I were an instructor with either Private Pilot or Instrument Rating students, not only would I recommend your facility, I would run them down there as fast as I could!
CFII ASEL, AMEL, Instrument Airplane, Rotorcraft-Helicopter, Glider
ATP ASMEL, CE-500, B757, B767 and B777