Simulators require a large investment both to produce and utilize, so for most endeavors that require a high level of skill you just learn as you go. This is referred to as on-the-job training (OJT), and if you’ve got the time, it’s a great way to gain useful experience.
The exception to OJT is a working environment that is so dangerous your lack of experience is likely to get you killed during the initial training phase. When the rate at which conditions will kill you exceeds the rate at which you can gain first-hand experience, then a simulator is preferred.
Flight simulators have been around for a long time, but they didn’t really take off until the 1970s when the training required to operate large commercial jets became so extensive and so dangerous that the death toll began climbing not only for potential pilots, but for all the instructors on board who were required to mess with the plane’s components and evaluate the trainee’s performance from takeoff to landing. If you wanted to test a pilot’s ability to handle an engine failure during takeoff, an instructor would shut it off, without telling the pilot what was happening, to see how they would handle it.
Ask yourself this: If an engine were to go out on your next flight, would you rather have a pilot who got lucky once in training or a pilot who had an engine go out a thousand-plus times in a simulator?
Modern flight simulators were expressly created to allow pilots to crash their planes over and over again until there was no doubt in their minds what was going to keep them alive… and what was going to get them killed.
Whenever a new pilot has a question about a long-standing belief they don’t have to take another pilot’s word for it—they can just take that question to the simulator and make it or break it in the safety of the laboratory.
|This is the reason why we don’t spar, by the way. Sparring is useful in sport where the outcome is not critical (meaning people don’t die if you get it wrong) and the event being trained for is not designed to be life-threatening. Boxers, for example, can learn their trade as they go, through sparring, because the goal of the work is not the hospital or the morgue, but to win a game with agreed-upon rules—rules specifically designed to keep them as safe as possible during the contest. If they were each handed a machete instead of a pair of gloves… we’d have far fewer professional boxers.|
Before an elite military unit ever blows a door and takes down a room full of tangos they have spent hundreds or even thousands of hours slowly practicing with unloaded weapons. They eventually graduate to a type of simulator called a “kill house” where they practice taking down a room at super-slow speed with unloaded weapons over and over again until they can perform correctly at full speed. Then they start over again at a snail’s pace with loaded weapons.
Why don’t they train from the beginning with live rounds against real combatants? Because they would either get lucky or get dead. Nothing to learn doing it that way.
Our training methodology is built around the simulation of life-or-death violence, and getting you to the point (inside of an hour) where you can “fly” the simulator on your own. Once you’re the proud owner of your very own Violence Simulator (VS), there’s nothing that we tell you that you couldn’t find out for yourself, or verify to your own satisfaction, with enough time spent in that environment with the object of interest (at least one other human machine).
Any question about the material that you haven’t yet run though your VS is not a valid question. Most queries are based on a misunderstanding of applied physics and physiology and cannot withstand the scrutiny of your own VS.
So don’t take our word for it. Grab your reaction partner and run your VS until you’ve crashed and burned so many times that you know exactly what is going to keep you alive and what’s going to get you killed.
— Taylor Good