There is a new option for pilots seeking Cessna Citation 560XL training. LOFT, a Part 142 flight training operation in Carlsbad, California, is expanding its offerings from the current Citation 525 and Citation 560 (Citation V) programs to include initial and recurrent courses for the 560XL.
I had the opportunity to fly LOFT’s new 560XL full-flight simulator recently. Built by Aeronautical Systems Engineering (ASE) in Odessa, Florida, the new ASE 2000 series Level D simulator incorporates the latest visual display and electric motion and control loading technology. LOFT v-p Richard Sears joined me in the right seat as Collin Yantos, director of marketing, operated the simulator. Yantos positioned us on runway 22L at JFK. Our flight would be short: depart Runway 22L then vector around for an ILS on the same runway. The graphics on the RSI Visuals EPIC-View D-Series visual display on this simulator are some of the highest quality I’ve seen.
I took some time to get familiarized with the flight deck layout and Primus 1000 avionics. Sears calculated our performance data (weight, V speeds, etc.) and I entered the data into the avionics. In the meantime, Yantos was completing his set up of the simulator—weather, lighting, and other parameters.
Power levers full forward, and with 7,300 pounds of thrust we rocketed down the runway. Richard made the callouts and when he said “Vr” I pulled back to our takeoff pitch. Positive rate of climb, gear up, and quickly it was time to retract the flaps. To stay under 200 kias immediate power reduction was necessary.
Yantos vectored us around for the ILS. I hand flew the whole time, and the simulator had very smooth feedback. We had loaded the ILS into the FMS, and with the approach reference speed loaded were ready for the approach. Yantos had set the ceiling just a few hundred feet above the 212-foot decision altitude. We broke out early, and Sears made the visibility callouts and I stayed with my head down until minimums. We touched down, activated the thrust reversers, and both of us had smiles on our faces. A short, and fun, workout.
LOFT and ASE worked two years on this simulator, leasing a Citation Excel and instrumenting it to capture data, which necessitated a change to the Experimental category. ASE then captured the data necessary to develop the flight model for the LOFT simulator.
LOFT has simultaneously been developing its courseware for pending approval by the FAA. The next steps are for the FAA’s National Simulator Program to certify that the sim is an accurate representation of the actual aircraft, including precise sound levels in the flight deck. After that approval, the FAA’s San Diego FSDO will review the program, observe a full course with students, and if everything meets their approval add the course to LOFT’s Part 142 certificate.
If everything goes as planned, LOFT should begin 560XL training by the second quarter of 2021.