Simulator tries to recreate conditions during Roy plane crash


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SALT LAKE CITY -- It's still unclear what the pilot's experience was when he crashed into a Roy neighborhood Sunday night and if he was certified to land using his instruments only.

Landing in fog is something pilots routinely do and safely even in small private planes.

KSL TV's Sam Penrod watched in a flight simulator on how pilots navigate in poor visibility.

Bill Ogilvie, a faculty member at Westminster College's aviation department, teaches his students in a flight simulator. They learn to fly visually, but also with the cockpit's instruments, which technically means they don't look out the window, until they descend to an elevation of just 200 feet above the runway.

Ogilive can't speculate about the conditions in Roy when the plane went down, but the advice he gives his students and follows himself, is to never risk landing because of bad weather. He teaches to have a plan for an alternate airport and enough fuel to get there.

"Don't start an approach unless the weather appears to be good enough to complete the approach," said Ogilive. "A civil operator has the option to go down and look and see and I would tell them, don't try it, it's not worth it."

Once a pilot is certified in instrument only flying, through extensive training, they are still required to have current experience to make an instrument landing, in conditions with difficult visibility.

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E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com

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