Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

May 6, 2013

New flight simulator provides experience for student pilots

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Thanks to the generosity of a donor who wants to remain anonymous, the Mercer County Airport now has a new, state-of-the-art flight simulator that will enable student pilots to hone their aviation skills, help licensed pilots refresh their skills, and give transit pilots who are laid over at the airport something to do.

“The individual who gave us this equipment is already a great supporter of the airport,” Randall Earnest, Mercer County Airport manager, said. “He rents space in the hangar and buys fuel here. This is a real nice thing for us to have.”

The system is located in the pilot’s lounge and features a sophisticated software program that is capable of simulating 11 different kinds of aircraft. In addition to the various types of aircraft, users of the system can program a flight from one airport to another, and fly an entire simulated flight between airports. Mercer County Airport is one of the airports included in the program.

Along with the software, the unit includes an aircraft-style steering yoke, control pedals and an instrument panel as well as the computer screen with a view that changes as the student pilot banks the simulator in either direction.

“Simulators with these capabilities aren’t typically available to the general public. This simulator should come in handy for the student pilots who are taking the flight class through Bluefield State College,” Earnest said.

There is a comprehensive instruction manual with the unit.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com