28 year old Evan Reiter embodies all that makes flight simulation so great. At 16 he got Microsoft FSX as a Xmas present. Today he flies for a North American regional airline.
In an interview on Skype, right after he returned from Flight Sim 2018 in Cosford, UK, Evan told us: “When I got the sim, I found an old laptop that could barely run it. I was lucky to get 2 FPS at times, and the loading bar would often take longer than the flight! But I fell in love with it. Through a series of spectacular crashes (both computer and simulated airplane), I finally mastered the Juliana landing using the mouse and keyboard. Eventually, I joined an online community through FSX multiplayer that led me to VATSIM. The online aviation experience has made a huge difference throughout each stage of my career, from PPL to airline interviews.”
He continues: “Through college, I worked toward my pilot license, and flew recreationally for a few years after graduating. Around that time, I reconsidered the work I was doing as a consultant and thought: ‘If I work to pay for flying, perhaps I should take it commercial and fly for a living’. So, I quit my job, moved across the country, and got my Commercial/Multi/IFR. Three years later, here I am, flying the Embraer 175s as a first officer across Canada and the US.”
Simulation for aviation learning
Evan is a strong supporter of simulation for real aviation learning: “You see, when I land somewhere I have never been in real life well, in some ways, I have already been there. My first trips to Boston, La Guardia, or Atlanta weren’t really the first time I had been there. In the sim and online, I’ve flown the approaches, taxied around the airports, and have seen the local terrain. Simulators, whether full-motion Level-D setups or at-home computers, are procedure trainers. They don’t teach you to land, or what you’ll feel during unusual attitude training. But they sure help when you’re flying into the busiest airspaces in the world and it’s a flight you’ve done in the simulator hundreds of times. Adding virtual air traffic control further complements this learning environment. Frankly, I don’t know how the pilots who see O’Hare for the first time manage it!”
When asked about his involvement with VATSIM, Evan said: “As Training Administrator at VATSIM’s Boston Virtual ARTCC, even today, I connect as a virtual air traffic controller several times per month. We train both air traffic controllers and pilots—some of whom have no aviation experience at all—in an effort to promote the use of at-home simulation for aviators of all experience levels, and for flight simulation enthusiasts too. In the airspace around Boston, we see a mix of long-haul airline flights and smaller local, general aviation operations. Whether it’s a transatlantic arrival or a Pilot Ratings Program training flight, we support it all!”
According to Evan, online aviation organizations like VATSIM inspire people who are using their simulator to get interested in flying. “There absolutely is a pilot shortage. Pay is coming back to the industry, and it’s an incredible lifestyle. Through our integrated pilot and air traffic control community, student pilots can experience (virtual) ATC firsthand, decreasing one of the biggest fears we pilots face the first time we get in the air: keying up the mic. But they also, we think, get introduced to an industry and career path that they may not have known was available to them. Online aviation is inspiring the next generation of young pilots at a time when finding more pilots is becoming a critical objective.”
Evan is one of the co-founders of FlightSimExpo, an aviation and flight simulation conference. (AFSBI had a booth at the 2018 show earlier this year and we really loved it). So we asked about his involvement in FSExpo and how next year’s show is profiling.
Evan: “FlightSimExpo 2019 will be in Orlando on June 7-9. With a larger venue, great location, and a family-friendly, world-class destination, FlightSimExpo expects more than 2,000 attendees and 50 exhibitors to take part in exhibits, workshops, announcements, and much more!
The event caters to hard-core flight simmers and real-world aviators. FlightSimExpo offers simmers the opportunity to try add-ons, learn about tweaks and mods, and meet with the developers they know and love. And for real-world aviators, FlightSimExpo is designed to help schools, colleges, and individuals leverage the power of flight simulation for training and proficiency beyond the fully certified ATD. This is an area that aviation colleges, flight schools, and other professional training organizations are looking at with increasing enthusiasm.”
As do we, and we look forward to the show in Orlando, and want to thank Evan for his time today.
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