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What’s it like to be a Sim Instructor on the 737NG?


While a pilot is the most commonly known job in aviation, there are hundreds of other jobs that support the aviation industry.  From caterers to maintenance personnel to gate agents, all play a role in the safe transportation of millions of people around the globe everyday.  Recently, had the opportunity to profile a Boeing 737NG simulator instructor in the UK. Bradley Cranstone is an experienced sim instructor on the 737 Next Generation aircraft and a Private Pilot of Cessnas in his spare time.  As part of the job he is required to be an expert on the 737’s technical systems and the operational limitations of the airplane. In his spare time, he also runs the popular Facebook page called “the Aviationist”.  He recently took time out of his busy schedule to answer questions posed by our fans.

1.  Bradley, when did you first fall in love with aviation?

It happened at a young age. I always loved aviation.  I started flying at 15 by piloting single engine Cessna airplanes.  Even before flying, I had the manuals and books though way before actually getting in the plane!  I studied them everyday in preparation for my first flight.

2. How would you describe being a sim instructor?

Sim instructing varies from day to day.  It depends on who you are instructing and their skill level. Every individual is different. It is sometimes a challenge to instruct someone new on an airplane as complex as the 737.  You have to have patience and help instill confidence as you build their flying skills.

3. In the simulator, what is the most difficult part of a flying profile?

I make everything in the simulator challenging!   I would say engine failures after take off is probably the hardest part of a normal simulator ride.  It demands most of the pilot’s skills and knowledge.  They have to remain calm and apply the exact procedure correctly in a timely manner to ensure that the plane lands safely.

4. Are there certain emergencies that pilots struggle to handle in the simulator?

Again, in relation to the previous question, handling engine failures can be very challenging.  An engine failure or fire is very demanding for a pilot.  They can be especially difficult when you add in complicating factors like weather or other emergencies.  Successfully completing the profile can take a lot of practice, determination and patience.  Through my instruction, I make sure that they are ready to handle the real thing if it were ever to happen in the real aircraft.   Knowing that pilots are so well trained should make passengers feel very comfortable.

5.  What is the best part of your job as a simulator instructor?

The most fun part of my job is being in the aviation environment everyday.  I love watching pilots progress and improve.  I also love being in the simulator. With the new technology, it feels so real and lifelike!

6. Tell us a little bit about your Facebook page called “The Aviationist“.

The Aviationist was created to join a community of pilots, to share the same interests, goals and inspirations. What makes his page unique is how he unloads massive amounts of 737NG trivia, photos and insight to his page everyday.  We have over 6,500 fans now and are growing everyday.

7. Last question, we’ve seen a number of Chemtrail buttons posted on Instagram lately.  Is that now part of your curriculum?

The chemtrail button!  Ha! I wish it was.  I would feel very cool to have that button on the overhead panel!


Written by Avgeekery

We are avgeeks, a ragtag group of people who live, breathe, eat, sleep and dream about aviation. is that little corner on the web where we share pictures, post interesting facts and unabashedly share our passion for all things aviation.

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