I'd assume xplanes on iPhone or Android would not be log-able, but wanted to know if there is a affordable simulator kit for home usage that'd help me logging time for IFR requirements?

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    $\begingroup$ Define "affordable", and no "home simulator" would be certified for this. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 20:05
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    $\begingroup$ The only simulators you are able to log hours with are Level-D ZFT simulators and they cost over 10 millions USD. Lead time is 1+ month if you consider it "affordable" $\endgroup$
    – Afe
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 20:13
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    $\begingroup$ @sahmad Let's not be jerks... What I mean is what is affordable to you may not be my affordable. You may think spending \$150,000 is "affordable", whereas I may think that $100 is affordable. "Affordability" is a measure of personal wealth, and since I have no objective basis for yours, I'm asking you what you believe is an "affordable" price range. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 21:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Afe: I've logged time in a Frasca 142, which is an FAA approved flight training device. I'm pretty sure those don't cost anywhere near $10 million. Of course it's technically not a "simulator", but what most people call that doesn't meet the strict definition. $\endgroup$ Commented May 26, 2020 at 22:14
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! When you say "log time", what sort of time are you talking about? PIC time? Training time? Approaches for currency? $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 23:44

2 Answers 2


Read this answer from AOPA, especially the last 2 paragraphs.


Logging sim time

Dear Rod:

I'm a private pilot just a couple of days from taking my instrument checkride. My CFI and I have had discussions about simulator hours. He logs them but does not include them in total time. I've just closed the Federal Aviation Regulations/Aeronautical Information Manual for the umpteenth time and after reading about maximum of 20 here and a credit of 100 there, I'm confused. Maybe you can explain. What is the point of taking advantage of a sim if the hours logged don't count toward my TT?

Thank you,

Greetings Mark:

Simulator hours can count as training time, but are not considered "flight time" and can't be logged in the flight time (total time) column of your logbook. They can, however, be logged in the "Flight Simulator" column of your logbook. If your logbook doesn't have such a column, then make one using the letters "FS/FTD" which stand for flight simulator/flight training device.

Regarding simulator time counting toward your total time, consider that the commercial certificate allows 50 hours of simulator time to be counted toward the total aeronautical experience requirement of that rating -- see FAR 61.129(i)(1).

Thus, you could meet the commercial requirements of 250 hours of aeronautical experience with 200 hours of flight time and 50 hours of simulator time.

Even if simulator time didn't count toward the total aeronautical experience requirement of a rating, it might still count as training time. For instance, 2.5 hours of appropriate simulator time can be credited toward the total training time required for the private pilot certificate (FAR 61.109 i).

Now, read the federal aviation regulations carefully before running off and trying to log cross-country time in a simulator. The regs specifically state you must meet certain "flight time" requirements in an airplane. You're not getting away with packing a lunch and sitting in front of a simulator for six hours in hopes of logging this as a cross-country flight to meet the private pilot cross-country requirements.

(Yes, I heard of a case where someone actually tried to do this. Perhaps the ruse unraveled when the FAA examiner asked, "Hey, what kind of airplane is a Combat Flight Sim?")

Also keep in mind that you can only log simulator time when there is an appropriately rated instructor providing dual instruction. In other words, solo time in a simulator can't count toward your private or commercial certificate or instrument rating.

And it goes without saying that a simulator must be approved by the FAA for it to be used as a FS or FTD. (Sorry, but Combat Flight Simulator is only approved for shooting down other simulators, not flight training.)

Rod Machado is a flight instructor, author, educator, and speaker. A pilot for 34 years and a CFI for 30, he has flown more than 8,000 hours and owns a Beech A36 Bonanza. Visit his Web site.

FAA regs on simulators https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/nsp/ac/

List of FAA approved simulators, and the aircraft type simulated https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/afx/afs/afs800/afs810/media/FAA_Approved_Airplane_ATDs.pdf

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    $\begingroup$ To go along with the list of approved ATDs, there is AC 61-136B that provides the information and guidance for the ATDs. $\endgroup$
    – Gerry
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 22:30
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    $\begingroup$ These guys seem to have the hardware that I've seen at my local flight school flyelite.ch/en/shop/pro-panel-iii-sep-single-engine-piston Never tried it myself. One thing I found handy when working on my instrument rating was OnTop software, I had a version that let me plug in my Northstar M3 Approach GPS and practice turning actual knobs and buttons at home. I was very comfortable setting it up and using it when it came for my IFR checkride. I updated to an Avidyne IFD540 last spring, and practice with IFD100 on an ipad now. $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ Was pretty bumpy out on Sunday when I was flying, practice real world approaches, was finding it difficult to select things on the touchscreen, or keeping hand where I could turn a knob to select something. Good thing it was VFR out. $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 22:43

These sims appear reasonably affordable.


"The only simulator manufacturer with FAA approval for a touch screen based Basic Aviation Training Device."



  • $\begingroup$ Isn't that just for training purposes? I imagine there's a difference between approval for training and for logging actual flight time. Your other answer seems to contradict this one. $\endgroup$
    – Mast
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Mast The FlyThisSim devices are either basic aviation training devices (BATD) or advanced aviation training devices (AATD) depending on configuration. They can be used to log flight time. Specifically they can be used to log instrument currency and per §61.65 log training for an instrument rating. "(i) Use of an aviation training device. A maximum of 10 hours of instrument time received in a basic aviation training device or a maximum of 20 hours of instrument time received in an advanced aviation training device may be credited for the instrument time requirements of this section if…" $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 16:39

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