Advanced Flight Simulation devices

Advanced Flight Simulation devices

A flight simulator is a system that emulates and reproduces the actual experience of flying an aircraft as realistic as possible. The different types of flight simulator range from video games up to full-size cockpit replicas mounted on hydraulic (or electromechanical) actuators, controlled by state of the art computer technology. Flight simulators are extensively used by the aviation industry for design and development and for the training of pilots and other flight deck crew in both civil and military aircraft.

Full Flight Simulator

A full flight simulator (FFS) duplicates all aspects of the aircraft and its environment, including:

• Realistic sounds in and outside of the aircraft
• Motion in all six degrees-of-freedom
• Banking, pitching and yawing of the aircraft
• Aircraft Vibration and turbulence

In a full flight simulator, movement is simulated by traversing along the arms of the hydraulic cylinders, so personnel in the simulator are required to belt up as they would in a real flying aircraft. Advanced military simulators are able to generate scenarios like aerial refueling, the firing of weapons, and also has a built in databank of roughly 250 malfunctions, such as engine fire, smoke in the cockpit or electrical and hydraulic failures.

Manufacturers of civil Full Flight Simulators include FlightSafety International (FSI) Frasca International ( [] ), Inc., Rockwell Collins [ (] and CAE Inc. in Canada. FSI provides full flight simulators for the Cessna 172, while Rockwell Collins produces the Cessna Citation Jet and King Air 350 simulators. CAE on the other hand, is geared towards commercial flight simulations such as the Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 widebody passenger jet.

CAE (Canadian Aviation Electronics)

In 1971 , CAE developed a 6 degree of freedom motion system. Thompson CSF, now under BAE systems [ (] , acquired 2 of CAE's 6DOF motion systems, one of it which was used on the Concorde simulator. Goodyear Aerospace also purchased motion systems for use on the USAF's F 15 simulators. During the early 80s, CAE developed a flight simulator which provided customers with a 'glass cockpit" experience. CAE received orders from Lufthansa, UA and Korean airlines for their B757 and B767. Grumman Aerospace also placed an order for a 6-axis hand controller for future space-system development activities. In 1994, CAE was awarded a contract by Boeing to design the world's first B777 full-flight simulator for the newly introduced wide-bodied twin-jet aircraft. Subsequent years saw the introduction of CAE Tropos• and CAE Atmos• systems, a revolutionary new generation of display generators for the 5000 and 7000 series full flight simulators. Today, CAE specializes in building flight simulators for current generation wide body aircraft, ranging from the new generation 737s, A340, A380, B777 up to tomorrow's 787 Dreamliner. To learn more about the company, please follow this link to [ CAE's website]

CAE 7000 series Full Fight Simulator

The CAE 7000 series was developed for modern wide body aircraft which includes the A330/A340/A380 and Boeing's 747/777/787. It is also used on Regional Jets like the Embraer 190, and also on private jets like the Cessna Citation X for example. Some features of the CAE 7000 series simulators include:

• CAE's True™ Electric Motion System
• Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) projector
• CAE Tropos-6000® image generators using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) graphics processors
• Visual display system with a wide field-of-view (minimum 200° x 43°)
• Speech recognition-enabled Air Traffic Control environment simulation

[ CAE's True™ Electric Motion System] , as the name suggests, uses electrical actuators to move the motion cylinders instead of conventional hydraulic pumps. The 7000 series is also the first full flight simulator with electric motion ever to receive level D certification. This system was jointly developed in partnership with control system expert Moog FCS, which also specializes in aviation electronics and defense solutions. The use of electric actuators eliminated the need for hydraulic pumps, which drastically cut down the required labor for maintenance since it consumes only half the amount of power that is required to power a similar system with hydraulics, reducing simulator operating cost.

Another breakthrough for the 7000 series was due to the use of Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) projectors, which works similar to Digital Light Projection (DLP) technology, but projects light onto liquid crystals itself instead of tiny mirrors that would normally make up the resolution of DLP images. LCos projectors are able to generate higher resolution images when compared to LCS or Plasma devices, and also at a higher contrast level (13000:1), which is also almost double that of the average LCD screen. LCos pixels are also smoother than the pixels of other systems, which some people say creates more natural pictures. This enables the 7000 series simulators to generate a real world environment with great accuracy.

The CAE Tropos-6000 as mentioned above takes advantage of commercial off the shelf technology from graphic card manufactures ATI, and is available in three configurations: Tropos-6100, Tropos¬6200, and Tropos-6400. The high-end CAE Tropos-6400 is designed to meet the demanding requirements of Level D training by employing four graphics processing units (GPUs) per projector covering a field-of-view of 2000 x 430 for a 3-channel configuration. The CAE Tropos¬6200 is designed for full-flight simulators and flight training devices not requiring Level D certification and uses two GPUs per projector. The CAE Tropos-6100 is ideal for laptop or desktop applications such as airport familiarization and uses a single GPU. The 6400 series is able to cover imagery around airport scenes in ultra high resolution (4 million rendered pixels) within a 6 kilometer radius of the current position. 3-D clouds, storm fronts, fog, snow and dust, and over 250 airport scenes are able to be rendered at a refresh rate of 60Hz, with a 5ms transport delay. Utilizing COTS graphic processors, CAE Tropos e is the only image generator developed with the ability to generate realistic runway lighting with occlusion, a critical achievement since the FAA requires realistic runway lighting for Level D certification. Other features of the CAE Tropos-6000 series include the ability emulate views from cameras positioned on the underside of the aircraft. These camera views, known as Ground Maneuver Camera System (GMCS) designed for the B777-300 and Taxi Aid Camera System (TACS) for the A340-600 provides a visual of the landing gears on the ground for pilots performing taxiing training, allowing pilots to track the center line on the taxiway and during takeoff.

More information on the Tropos 6000 Visual system can be found [ here] .
[ Specification sheet] for the CAE 7000 series FFS


The Xenosphere is a modern flight training device based on the idea of using a spherical capsule to carry a passenger for motion simulation in a spherical capsule that rotates around any combination of three axes (roll, pitch, yaw). The X1 Xenosphere prototype had a capsule that was fabricated from composite materials and measured slightly under 8 feet in diameter. The capsule shell, without contents, weighted approximately 300 pounds. The performance of roll and pitch rotation proved to be good. However, steel was used throughout the structure which meant that the heavy structure could not provide reasonable yaw performance. This led to the development of the second Xenosphere prototype X2.

The X2 prototype is currently under active development. The horizontal motor “ring” of the X1 has been rotated to vertical, providing roll, yaw, and structural support for the capsule. The ring itself is rotated for capsule pitch control. Using the vertical ring for structural support eliminates the compressed air requirement of the X1. It is hoped that the second generation Xenosphere will result in substantial improvement in the capabilities of high performance motion simulation. - Steve Jones, [ Xenosphere website]

Desdemona simulator

The Desdemona concept was developed by TNO Human Factors (The Netherlands) [ (] in conjunction with AMST Systemtechnik (Austria) [ (] . It features a rotating cockpit similar to the Xenosphere, mounted on a rotating platform, allowing translation and rotation in all directions. The cockpit can move along an 8 m horizontal track, along with a 2 m translation on the vertical axis. Acceleration of 0.5 G is attainable while moving along the horizontal and vertical track. The entire platform is rotated around a vertical axis, opening the possibility to centrifugal force. Variation of the angular velocity with constant eccentricity results in a varying G-load. This can also be achieved by varying the eccentricity while keeping angular velocity constant. This allows the Desdemona to simulate accelerations up to 3G.
View the release article [ here]
View a short video clip of the Desdemona simulator [ here]


[ What is a Simulator? ]
[ Xenosphere™] by Steve Jones, First edition, Simulation Kinetics, Inc.
[ Desdemona - The next generation in movement simulation] , Dr. W. (Wim) Bles, Dr. J.E. (Bernd) de Graaf, Dr. M. (Mark) Wentink, MSc. (The Netherlands)
[ Aircraft Flight Simulator] Patent WO/1986/001623, World Intellectual Property Organization
[ The Desdemona Concept] (c)2000 American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics
AIAA Modeling and Simulation Technologies Conference, Denver, CO, Aug. 14-17, 2000

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