When should a simulator require refurbishment or be replaced?

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When should a simulator require refurbishment and when should it need to be replaced? That is a problem that every training company has to think about when it comes to aging simulators. With more and more pilots needing training and proper training at that, our aging simulators need some help. If the systems were upgraded instead of disposed of, would it be better for the industry as a whole? Are they even able to be upgraded?

Here is a small checklist:

  1. Is the system viable or is the system down more than it is up? With aging systems, this is always an issue. If the simulator still has popularity and is required, refurbishment of the system should be a goal. If the system is popular, then it might be time to give it a rest. But, there are other considerations when it comes to refurbishments, such as how much time it might take to do the refurbishment and the costs involved.
  2. Can the system still be certified for FAA or JAA and the like? If not, it must be upgraded. But, how to upgrade it is key. Of course, time and money is an issue, but one might have to consider whether it might be a good idea to add equipment to the system such as a control loader if it is a spring type system or move a floor trainer to a motion base platform since it is going to be down.
  3. Can the aircraft be changed to a different aircraft and get more use out of it? Would changing the system from a 737-400 to a 737-800 bring a better ROI on the training with the system? This should be a consideration when it comes to upgrading or obtaining a new device.

There are thousands of training systems out in the world and thousands of them that are not being used due to obsolesce which is a shame. Computers age and died, but the actual guts of the simulator are still viable. The switches and knobs and pilot controls all still work, but due to computer failure, simply cannot be used.

To me personally, this is a shame. Simulators should work for 20 years and need minimal upkeep. They should be rather simple to start up and have a full documentation. Sadly, this is not the case most of the time. So many times, I go out for a site evaluation and there is not one lick of documentation for the system. No one has a clue as to why it quit working.

So should these simulators start working again? I believe so. Instead of building new ones, why not reuse the old ones at the same time?

For more information on refurbishment, updating, repairs and engineering, check out this link and contact us. We are more than ready to help you with that decision.