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FEATURE - FLIGHT SIMULATION


BY CASEY DUKE PHOTOS BY CASEY DUKE & LYN BURKS


INTRODUCTION Advancements in technology and mate-


rial make modern simulators more realistic and effective than ever. Regulating this new generation of synthetic training devices has also taken the first steps in keeping up with the changes. This article details some of the technology advancements in simulation and looks at the future of simulators as well.


WHAT IS A SIMULATOR? In its basic form, a simulator is a device


that lets you experience or practice a skill or task without the cost or risk associated with doing that task in whatever is being replicat- ed. Today’s gaming stations


(X-BOX,


PlayStation) are examples of simple simula- tors. They meet the basic criteria; a user to computer interface (hand controller); a processor for interpreting inputs; a visual image generator, and a processor for inte- grating it all together into a synthetic envi- ronment where the user is actively involved in the displayed activity. We’ll limit the dis- cussion to full flight simulators (FFS). Using the game station example above,


modern flight simulators are highly sophisti- cated models of the same principal. There is the user to computer interface, in our case a cockpit with transducers, potentiometers, switches and an assortment of other expen- sive components convert pilot outputs into coded input for the processors. Those processors interpret the pilot’s movements and, working through a motion system and visual system processors, create a virtual flight environment rivaling that of reality. One of the greatest benefits of the latest gen- eration of simulators is the ability to offer zero aircraft time training, including full emergency and abnormal procedures drills in a device that never leaves the ground.


27 ROTORCRAFTPRO.COM


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