"Shenandoah Sortie" 

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A highly realistic scenario-based simulation course developed by leading aviation educators from SAFE and the folks at Mindstar Aviation Community.  This self-guided scenario can be flown on commercial flight simulation devices at one of eight (8) locations in the greater Washington, DC area.  The scenario course takes about 40 minutes, not including time for planning and debriefing.

See the latest article from AOPA Live

You are flying VFR from Front Royal to New Market, VA


"You base your airplane at the Front Royal Airport (KFRR) and have just realized that your transponder (XPDR) and pitot static (P/S) bi-annual checks expire at midnight.  Bob, the owner of your radio shop, is located at the New Market airport (8W2) today where he is working on another airplane.  He has promised to drop what he’s doing and get your XPDR and P/S tests done right away provided you can meet him there in your airplane by 1600Z.  As a side note, you have inadvertently left the updated data chip for your GPS at home, and the database expired three days ago.  So although the device is operating fine, you will have to fly VFR."  Now you finish the story...


Review the Flight Planning Booklet


More about this Scenario

A very real situation in virtual airspace

Doug Stewart and Rich Stowell, both SAFE co-founders, were tasked by the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators to write a scenario that served as a practical extension of knowledge courses.  Stewart said, “we first decided to develop a local story line that presented pilots with a potential for loss-of-control in flight.  Once we got the basic plot down, we worked through all the things that could go wrong during such a flight and put them to the Mindstar Aviation software development team.  The result is an amazingly realistic environment within AirspaceVR.  Not just for the radio traffic, enhanced scenery, and weather but in the random nature in which challenges appear.  You could fly this thing every day and there would a different outcome each time; however, your blood pressure will not vary.  Let’s just say, flying the Shenandoah Sortie scenario course is an intensely rewarding learning experience for pilots.”


Who should fly this scenario?

  • Pilots seeking proficiency.  Sharpen your skills by facing a realistic piloting situation.  Get credit for successful completion from the FAA Wings program.  You are the pilot in command. 
  • Learners who want affordable training in a realistic environment.  Extend your training to a real world pilot circumstance in the safety of virtual airspace.  Use the radio to talk with air traffic control and on CTAF.  Fly the scenario again and as many times as you want during the month-long demonstration.  Pay only for the sim time.
  • Flight instructors and aviation educators.  See the power of using virtual airspace for your client training.  Help your students advance towards certification.  Create your own scenarios.
  • Owners.  Realize the benefits of an enhanced simulation environment to your flight training.

How much does it cost?

The price for flying the scenario course is $24.95 plus the rental cost of the simulator.  We'll reimburse you 100% of the fee for flying "Shenandoah Sortie" after you complete a post flight survey.  So your only cost for flying this custom-designed scenario is the use of the simulation device (rental prices vary by location and type).

How does this work?

The "Shenandoah Sortie" scenario is a professionally developed virtual flight experience made available on over 15 commercial grade flight simulation devices in the greater Washington, DC area.  These machines range from the AOPA JAY to the full motion Redbird FMX.  Mindstar has installed its communications software, AirspaceVR, on these training devices so that they are networked together and capable of flying in virtual airspace.  If you are located in the Washington, DC area and would like to fly the scenario all you need to do is the following:

  • Download and review the "Shenandoah Sortie" scenario booklet by submitting the form on this page.  The scenario booklet is free and no payment information is required at his time.
  • Specify your most convenient location to fly the scenario.
  • Look for a follow up email in the next few days with details of your location including contact information as well as the option to purchase the scenario course.
  • Use the booklet to prepare for your simulation flight.  It includes METARs, weather charts, airport diagrams, and more.
  • Fly the scenario at your selected location.  The mission is pre-loaded on the sim device.  All you need to do is select the course from the simulator menu and you are at the beginning of your flight.  Bring your headset.  Each of the machines now has radio capability with access to all CTAF frequencies as well as ATC (including towers).

The "Shenandoah Sortie" scenario is intended to serve as a practical learning extension of two webinar courses by Rich Stowell and Doug Stewart that were offered during our Pilot Proficiency Demonstration.  The learner can apply learned procedures to a real situation and correlate them with events presented in the scenario.

What do I get out of this?

  • full course reimbursement with completion of survey
  • certificate of completion
  • scored feedback on knowledge, skill and risk management
  • giveaways and a chance for a grand prize from AVEMCO
  • an indelible learning experience

The scenario was produced by the software development team at Mindstar in concert with SAFE members Doug Stewart and Rich Stowell.  The result is a simulation course which challenges a pilot at any level of experience.  Above all it's hands-on learning experience.

The Scenario Creators

Mindstar Aviation Community worked with leading members of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) to develop "Shenandoah Sortie".  Doug Stewart and Rich Stowell combined their experience to write a compelling story oriented around the threat of loss-of-control in flight.  Then the developers at Mindstar worked to program a highly realistic rendition of the authors' specifications.  The result is a highly realistic flight simulation experience designed to make a deep learning impression on the pilot.

"You could fly this thing every day and there would a different outcome each time; however, your blood pressure will not vary.  Let’s just say, flying the "Shenandoah Sortie" scenario course is an intensely rewarding learning experience for pilots.”  Doug Stewart, co-creator.

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Doug Stewart Rich Stowell

Scenario Sponsors

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Mindstar Aviation is very appreciative to SAFE and the EAA for sponsoring the month-long Pilot Proficiency Demonstration in the greater Washington, DC area.

Special thanks to AVEMCO and AOPA for their assistance.

Proud participant in the FAA Wings Program.

Where can I Fly "Shenandoah Sortie"

The "Shenandoah Sortie" can be flown at any one of eight (8) locations in the Washington, DC area.  The $24.95 price for the scenario course is reimbursed upon completion of a pilot survey after the flight.  Participants pay only for the simulator time.  To learn more about the scenario and the pilot survey please fill out the form below.