How to Build a Simulator – II – Why use Sims to Train?

This post is Part-2 of the “How To Build a Simulator” series. Previously published was the “How To” intro, which includes a summary of the series and a detailed schedule.

There are many reasons why simulators are the preferred method of training. Of course, a trainee would love to fly a real Apache or drive an actual Hum-V, but such things can be quite intimidating and dangerous. Using operational vehicles to train can often be extremely inefficient.

Financial Benefits

Firstly, we will focus on the financial aspect of training with simulators rather than the operational vehicle (OV). Needless to say, OVs are expensive. Millions of dollars are spent on maintaining them to be in optimal performance to ensure everything is running smoothly, which can possibly and probably save lives. Therefore, it would be wasteful, to say the least, to use them for training purposes. Just like driving a stick-shift, the most wear and tear for these vehicles can come from inexperienced operators. This can easily be avoided by training with a sim.

Nerves and Experience


Not only is it inefficient for the vehicle to use OVs for training, but it is also inefficient for the trainee. The pressure of getting into a massively expensive vehicle, often with the capabilities of taking and saving lives, is immense. It is unsafe and easy to let the nerves get to you. Nerves may not seem important, but they are. When practicing, the trainee needs to be in an ideal condition just like the vehicle. If they are nervous or worried, it shows in their performance leading to further wear and tear of the OV, a lack of retained experience, and possibly injury or death. The trainee is much more likely to remember what they are supposed to do and when if they are put into a sim first. It is like taking baby steps from theory in the classroom, to practice in the simulator, to great performance in the field.


It does not stop at the trainee, however. The instructor has much more control when using a simulator. They can monitor what the trainee is doing and how it affects the virtual environment. Most simulators can now network between the trainee station and the instructor operation station (IOS). This ability allows the instructor to easily task the trainee with different procedures or problems. The instructor can also change the environments to create different conditions. This will test the Trainee’s reactions to unexpected occurrences. Weather, maintenance issues, and semi-automated forces (SAF) can all be regulated by how the instructor sees fit. The instructor can also monitor the trainee and the sim much more closely with real-time feedback.

Portability and Ease of Use

Simulators are also extremely convenient. For example, there are no delays from weather or time of day. A trainee and instructor can use a simulator at noon during a thunderstorm, yet inside the sim, it is a clear night. Also, travel time anywhere in the world is now a thing of the past depending on your available databases. It is just a matter of going to where the simulator is stored, which is much easier than the storage of an OV. This is because simulators are easily accessible and portable. Some, like AVT’s RAR, are simple boxes on wheels that can be set aside in the corner of a room if needed. The benefits are seemingly endless when it comes to the convenience of simulators.

To sum it all up, here are the benefits of training with a simulator rather than an OV:

  • Cheaper and safer than Operational Vehicles
  • Avoids wear and tear
  • Availability and Portability
  • No weather or timing (TOD) delays
  • No Travel Time to site
  • Easy to monitor for correction of students by SME

Find our next post on the differences between simulators here.

Learn More!

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Initially, Applied Visual Technology Inc., AVT has been developing modeling and simulation expertise through engineering services since 1998. This is due to our founder who has accumulated over 30 years of military MS&T expertise in aviation applications. Nonetheless, everyone at AVT specializes in making old training systems new again and making new ones for less. Consequently, for 20 years AVT has served our Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine customers by providing the highest quality of service and solutions. Following its inception, AVT’s highly specialized staff of engineers has included some of the top leaders in the simulation industry. With over 20 years of simulation experience, our dedicated team provides specialized solutions for customers with complex problems.