Remote Simulator Instruction

Remote simulator instruction. From your home.  

Real-world airmanship. Taught by the best real-world CFIs.

Setting up for slow flight. The procedures for an engine failure. Radio phraseology. VOR navigation. Is the best place to learn these in an actual airplane, where you are under stress and paying $200/hour with instructor? We think not!

Do you have a computer and a joystick?  If so, our Remote Sim Instruction program could save you $1000 on your Private Pilot training.  And give you a priceless amount of confidence.

Don't believe us? Ask Rod Machado.

Using Skype and typical desktop flight simulators, we provide high-quality flight instruction (from FAA-certified CFIs) to supplement your real-world flight training.

We promise that our remote instruction program will help you achieve Aviation Mastery in the most cost efficient and convenient way possible.

The benefits of desktop sims in the news

Why? Save up to $1000 on Private Pilot training

The average time to get a private pilot certificate is 60-75 hours.  The FAA only requires 40 hours.  Can you come closer to the minimum, while achieving your goal of Aviation Mastery?

Suppose that with 20 hours of simulator instruction (and subsequent "solo" simulator practice), you could shave off 10 hours of real-world aircraft training time.

This is a tremendous cost savings!  Considering a $140/hour airplane and $60/hour instructor, around $2000!

Spending 20 hours of remote simulator instruction at $45/hour (for a total of $900), means that effective simulator instruction can save you a net total of: $2000 (airplane cost) - $900 (remote sim instruction cost) = $1100!

Advantages beyond cost

If saving over $1000 on your training isn't enough, there are a number of additional advantages of desktop simulation training over real-world training:

  • Improved confidence.  You will have seen and drilled the maneuvers and procedures multiple times.  Practiced them on your own multiple times, avoiding bad habits you would otherwise fall into without instructor guidance.  And handled situations that are much more difficult that you would ever be able to safely or reliably practice in real life.
  • Save time by learning rote procedures on the ground.  By this, we mean things like:
    • The sequence of steps to perform maneuvers like slow flight, go arounds, simulated engine failures and all other emergencies, etc.
    • (After all, this is how the airlines approach training - and for a good reason!  Training starts in the classroom.  Then on “paper” cockpit models and desktop simulators.  Then on very simple touch-screen simulators .  Then in full level D simulators.  Then upon finally reaching the real airplane, it’s a relatively quick matter of validating what has already been learned!)
  • You will have an effective platform for solo practice AT HOME.  In any weather.  At any time of day.  At zero cost to you.
  • Scheduling flexibility and consistency due to our team of instructors
  • You’re not constrained by weather
  • You can learn in a more relaxed environment (at home!); you will learn better when you're not stressed
  • Our instructors demand strict discipline to real-world procedures and airmanship principles - for example:
    • clearing turns
    • engine out landing site awareness
  • You can start practicing practical procedures and maneuvers while you’re studying for your written knowledge exams, making the information you’re learning more meaningful
  • Using desktop simulation, it can be easier for your instructor to point out and help you visualize certain maneuvers and concepts.  For example, see how this CFI has simply drawn over the screen to point out the proper positioning of the runway relative to the wing strut to maintain proper traffic pattern size:


While we firmly believe in the value of desktop simulator training, there are definite limitations.  Here are some items that we unfortunately will not be able to cover:

  • Takeoffs / landings:  While there is definite training value in practicing traffic patterns and approaches, we cannot effectively teach landings in a simulator, as they are highly dependent on seat of the pants feel, proper height above runway/visual cues with peripheral vision, etc.  However, the good thing is that when you don't have to think as much about the other tasks which we can effectively train in the simulator (the relationships between pitch and power, approach procedures, monitoring ATC, etc.), you will be able to focus more on just landing the airplane, and learn landings more quickly.
  • Preflight / fueling procedures / walkarounds / postflight
  • Real-world weather decision making and interpretation
  • Seat-of-the-pants cues:
    • the feeling of uncoordinated flight (sideslip)
    • buffeting as you get close to stall
  • Muscle memory (pushing buttons on the GPS, for example) - unless you have a more sophisticated setup with physical hardware or touchscreens

Frequently asked questions and concerns

  • For some topics, like those involving motion, seat of the pants feel, or dependence on muscle memory, yes.
  • However, consider that if you’re trying to save money, the Redbird likely costs upwards of $80/hr to operate.  A desktop simulator costs $0/hr.
  • Other advantages of desktop training:
    • train from the convenience of home
    • can easily record/replay maneuvers
  • The value you get from simulator training, and the likelihood of not developing bad habits, is highly dependent on the quality of the instruction you receive.  An FAA-certified instructor is trained in the fundamentals of teaching and learning. One of the most important aspects of this is the “law of primacy”, which the FAA describes as:
    • Primacy, the state of being first, often creates a strong, almost unshakable impression and underlies the reason an instructor must teach correctly the first time and the student must learn correctly the first time.
  • A high-quality real-world instructor will be able to teach you properly, using real-world procedures and airmanship thinking, from day 1.  This will help to avoid costly “reteaching” of material and fixing bad habits you would otherwise develop on your own, without the help of an instructor.
  • An experienced, real world CFI can help mitigate this, by explaining what things may feel or behave differently in the actual aircraft versus the simulator.  In general, like we discuss here, we do not attempt to train skills that are highly dependent on seat of the pants feeling.
  • Even though the simulator may not react to your control inputs in the same way the real airplane would, this can be a good thing for developing your flexibility as a pilot.  You will have to learn to adapt to multiple aircraft types as you fly new airplanes as a pilot; think of your simulator as being just one of those many aircraft types you will eventually want to learn.
  • We maintain a list of suggested aircraft models to use with superior aerodynamic modeling

No, this type of desktop simulation is not considered loggable by the FAA because it is not in an approved simulator. It’s simply a supplement to your real-world flight training. However, we are confident that training with us will reduce your actual number of hours required in the actual aircraft – significantly reducing the cost of your pilot training.

  • Your CFI will simulate ATC communications
  • Optionally, you may connect to a virtual ATC network such as VATSIM or PilotEdge

Joystick/yoke sensitivity can be adjusted. We can help you with this. However, keep in mind that if you’re able to come even close to meeting standards with a sensitive joystick, doing so in a stable, real aircraft will be much easier.

No; video sharing can be done at the discretion of you and your instructor

We provide support for setting up your simulator in the form of articles and setup consultation

If the instructor is marked as having a flight simulator setup of their own, they will be able to provide demonstrations (see instructor list)

Yes, although one advantage of simulator training is that it’s easier to debrief maneuvers immediately after they happen, when they’re fresh in your mind.

No! Virtual pilots from the enthusiast flight simulation world are also welcome to receive instruction/coaching from our team of CFIs – giving you an unparalleled simulation experience.

There is no minimum age to work with our instructional team. Only a willingness to learn!

  • Our sim training is all about maximizing the benefit relative to your real-world flight training.  Each student learns differently, and may have different goals. When you sign up, however, we will recommend two possible paths relative to your real-world flight training:
    • complete/introduce as much of the syllabus as possible, before starting real-world flight training. Based on your preference, we could consider this “complete” either when you’ve:
      • had a basic introduction to the maneuver, or
      • met PTS standards
    • train in-line (in parallel) with your real-world lessons, coordinating with your real world CFI.  For example, your real-world CFI plans to have you practice slow flight tomorrow, so the day prior, with your ZeroSideslip instructor, you spend an hour practicing the procedures and techniques for slow flight in preparation for the lesson


  • This is a valid concern.  This is one of the main reasons to use a skilled instructor – to ensure that the proper habits of using “sight picture” are taught from day one.
  • This can also be mitigated by using a more realistic view point
    Good for VFR students

    Bad for VFR students
    (too much focus on the instrument panel)

    Load More


    • Age: No age requirement
    • Equipment:
      • Minimum:
        • Internet upload speed of 5 Mbps (check yours at  This is to ensure that your instructor will be able to see your simulator in real-time and at a high enough frame rate.
        • Skype or other VoIP program with screen share capability
        • A simulator, such as:
          • FSX
          • X Plane
          • Flight Gear (free!)
          • Prepard 3D
        • Yoke or joystick (recommendations coming soon!)
        • Headset/mic
      • Preferred, but definitely not required:

    What can you expect from a ZeroSideslip CFI?

    The absolute key to your simulator training being effective in saving you money, and you avoiding bad habits, is to have a high-quality, experienced instructor by your side. Our instructors are:

    • Friendly
    • FAA-qualified
    • Dedicated teachers and experienced real-world pilots

    In addition, they:

    • Teach proper habits from day one
    • Ensure you’re clear on what’s in your next lesson, so you can prepare and practice on your own
    • Write comprehensive debrief notes from each lesson, and are willing to communicate your progress and challenges to your real-world training CFI (if desired)
    • Use efficient lesson plans, to maximize training benefit in each session and minimize training cost to you
    • Coordinate the lesson plans to fit in with your real-world CFI’s training syllabus
    • Can provide supplemental guidance and mentorship about challenges and questions you’re experiencing in your real-world training
    • Teach in accordance with ACS (Airman Certification Standards)
    • Use “instant replay” to instantly debrief maneuvers.  Something you definitely can’t do in the real airplane!
    • Maintain strong emphasis on stick-and-rudder fundamentals - things that may one day save your life - to the maximum extent possible in simulator training:
      • angle of attack
      • trimming technique
      • relationships between pitch, power, and aircraft performance
    • Are willing to provide ground instruction, outside of the flight simulator environment, to help you understand any confusing topics, work through flight planning questions, etc.


    Free Consultation


    • Ensure a good instructor-student match
    • Discuss your training goals
    • Verify your sim setup

    Let's go fly!  To get started...

    Whether you would like more information or if you're ready to jumpstart your training, all we need is your e-mail address.  We will get in touch to get the ball rolling.  We'll make sure you have the equipment needed, then when you're ready, we will provide you with access to our calendar of instructors to start your training.