While some may be familiar with flight simulation as those that run on personal computers and are controlled with a joystick, a full motion flight simulator used by the aerospace industry is much more robust and advanced. These simulators are for the training and maintaining of pilot skills, and they are designed to closely represent the aircraft that they are modeled after, even having a motion system and acoustic design to make the experience as genuine as possible. In this article, we will provide an overview of current flight simulator technology, and how it aids pilots in learning how to properly fly.
As a full flight simulator is to best prepare for real flying and the various encounters that pilots may come across, the motion system of the flight simulator mimics G force and acceleration through the use of electrically and hydraulically controlled stilts. Through the use of tilting, shaking, and other motion, various senses brought on by different operations can be near replicated. Of course, a full representation of the possible G force and phenomena that a pilot may encounter is not entirely feasible, but with the addition of motion, pilots can still be better prepared for the sensations that they will face during flight. The most popular forms of motion systems are ones that have 6-DOF (degrees of freedom) and those with vibration and/or dynamic seats.
The visual component to flight simulators is just as important as the capacity to recreate motion, as pilots must always be very aware of their entire surroundings during flight. As many full fledged simulators recreate a 1:1 rendition of the aircraft, training pilots get a full view during their simulated flight to learn how to be aware of various hazards such as mountains, hills, buildings, and other obstacles that may surround their destination. In some cases, simulators can also be used to train a pilot on how to land in more complicated airports, as entire areas can be recreated to help a pilot become more comfortable with an airstrip before taking on the landing in actual flight.
Altogether, the full flight simulator is an indispensable asset for the training of pilots. Having a simulation that is as close as possible to the real thing, pilots can spend more time training in a safe environment, saving money and removing any safety or financial risk of training with real flying. Flight simulators have also been known to reduce the amount of time it takes for a pilot to become fully trained, and pilots can become a type rated pilot without ever having flown the real aircraft.
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