Back in September the U.S. Military signed a contract with CAE for over $115 million dollars to continue providing them with flight training devices. In fact, CAE just delivered the first UH-72a Lakota flight simulator to the Army base in Ft. Rucker, Alabama with another one to be delivered in 2015. This begs the question, why is the military paying so much money for flight simulators?
The answer is simple. They are trying to save money.
The Cost of Training
Training pilots costs the military a lot of money. According to a PRNewswire market report it costs the Air Force around $2.9 million dollars to train a fighter jet pilot, and $600,000 to train an airlift pilot. The numbers really add up when you have over 13,000 pilots. Out of those 13,000 pilots there are bound to be a few thousand fighter jet pilots and airlift pilots. Add to those numbers all of the pilots in every branch of the military, and you have a HUGE need for cash. When the government’s budget dwindles it means cutting costs.
There are only a few ways to cut costs. You can get rid of pilots, decrease the amount of money you spend training pilots, or both. From reports it seems that the military is trying to cut their training costs while maintaining military size as much as possible. However, there are plans to shrink the military. These plans propose that every branch of the military be cut back to Pre-World War II levels which imposes a need for less, but more highly trained individuals.
This need to provide more highly trained individuals on a budget means implementing more training simulators. While flight simulators impose an up-front cost, over time they prove to be a cost effective way to reduce the financial costs of flying live aircraft while still giving the student the knowledge and skills they need. Of course, flight simulators in no way completely replace actual time in the air, but act as a major supplement. The time spent in modern, innovative, high quality simulators could be increased to better prepare the pilot before getting into the cockpit.
Following The Trend
While the use of flight simulators is not new, the technology and creativity available to make them more useful and enjoyable is needed now more than ever. If the military can use simulators as a cost-effective way to train pilots so can all other training facilities including universities. In fact, it is possible for all pilots, including those wanting to study from home, to use flight simulators to their advantage. Computer based flight simulators, such as our Private Pilot Course, make this easy, affordable, and enjoyable.
While it is not good to news to everyone that the U.S. Military is having to cut back due to our tighter financial times, it is promising that we can remain capable using our modern technology. To have the ability to train at a higher level while remaining under a smaller budget should be encouraging for all other pilots. Whatever you want to achieve you can no matter your financial situation.
Do you have other ideas for cost-effective ways to train? Leave a comment below.