Flight Simulator Demonstrates Foggy Conditions In Which Plane Crashed

The cause of last week's deadly plane crash near Amarillo is still under investigation. But we do know from the night of the crash, there was dense fog. KLBK's Michaela MacDonald takes us on a trip with a flight simulator, so we can see what its like to fly in foggy conditions.
By Michaela MacDonald

LUBBOCK, TX -- The cause of last week's deadly plane crash near Amarillo is still under investigation. But we do know the night of the crash, there was dense fog. 

Hub City Aviation owner and flight instructor Louie Hilliard says fog is extremely hard to fly in if a pilot hasn't had extensive training with it. He says their flight simulator gives pilots and students a chance to practice realistic emergencies, so they'll know how to deal with them while up in the sky.

"One thing we do in the simulators is we can simulate different kinds of weather conditions and so we can give students a feel for what those weather conditions are like," said Hilliard.

Hilliard has been a flight instructor for over 10 years. He says the flight simulator is a great teaching tool for pilots.

"It allows them to slow things down so that way if an emergency were to ever happen or if they ever had trouble in real life, they've been through these emergencies time and time again and it allows them to troubleshoot in a realistic scenario," he said.

Hilliard showed me what it's like to fly in heavy fog and rely only on instruments. It wasn't easy.

"Your life expectancy when you have no training in the clouds, they did a study, its about 90 seconds," said Hilliard.

He says there have been countless aviation studies on the effectiveness of simulators.

"So much of the time student pilots or pilots in general can quickly feel overwhelmed by the tasks that they have to do at once, the simulator allows us to stop the action, debrief what's going on in real time and then continue the action," said Hilliard. "What we try to do with the simulator is we try to show them how difficult those situations can be and try to encourage them to more conservative in their judgment so we don't get tragic accidents."

Hilliard says they welcome flight students and pilots to come check out the simulator and better prepare for flight.

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