Have you ever wanted to be a pilot? Have you ever wanted to navigate a small plane, just you and the sky, and take it wherever you like for the weekend? Maybe you've got a dream of being a pilot of a big jet airliner, or delivering mail via plane. All of those things can be possible with the right kind of instruction, and Elliot Arthur of Laramie Aviation Resources is ready to be the one to teach it.

Laramie Aviation Resources is in a small building near the Laramie Regional Airport with a large hanger attached. The flight school itself operates throughout the year, with students being housed in the dormitories attached to WyoTech if needed. Now, those students have one more tool in their arsenal of learning to defy gravity: an eighty thousand dollar simulator.

"It's a pretty sweet setup." Arthur says. "This is about my 6th simulator. I've got several thousand hours teaching people in simulators of various kinds. I used to teach all over the United States for professional instrument courses."

Elliot explained that there are two sets of rules under which airplanes are flown: VFR (Visual Flight Rules) and IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) The latter is for flying when you cannot see outside of the airplane due to any number of reasons like cloud cover, nighttime conditions, or higher altitude.

"All airliners fly IFR all the time," Arthus explained. "When I flew for Great Lakes, we were only allowed to go VFR under certain limited conditions. Most airlines are that way or worse, they don't go VFR ever."

In Elliot Arthur's nearly 30 year career flying planes, he says the basic rules haven't changed much in a hundred years, not since the advent of instruments to help with flying in limited conditions. "Once you lose your visual horizon, your ears start to play tricks on you and you can't tell what way is up, Arthur said. "I've had people in the simulator completely turn it upside town because they weren't checking the instruments."

Elliot out one of his students, Barron Bertagna, through the simulation experience as an example, starting first with clear skies over the simulated Laramie Valley, complete with cars moving on HW 230 and everything. "It feels very similar to flying a real plane," Barron says. "I mean, you've got just about everything but mother nature-"

"I can make it feel like mother nature!" Elliot chimed in with a laugh as he tapped away at his laptop until clouds and rain rolled in and Barron lost the ability to see the horizon. While Barron hasn't had much experience with instrument flying, he put up a valiant fight until the simulation won by freezing his engines and the virtual plane came down.

 

"Simulators are extremely useful if used properly. A lot of people look at them as a toy; they are not," Elliot said, gesturing towards the screen, looking very much like a fancy video game from a high-end arcade. "They're very expensive toys. 80 thousand dollars! But it's a tool you can use to teach very effectively."

So, you still want to fly? Here's how:

 

"Give me a call. Come see me." Elliot says matter-of-factly. "We have discovery flights where you can fly in the plane for about a half hour so you can see what has to do with a flight lesson. You get to decide two things: One: Do I really like this? and two: Can I put up with this guy that will be instructing me in a cockpit for 45-50 hours of flight time?"

If the answer is yes, you might be the next one to take flight from Laramie Aviation Resources with the help of its new simulator and experienced instructor. When asked what his favorite thing about teaching pilots is, Arthur thought for a moment, and then replied: "I love that big wide grin when a student comes back from their first solo flight."