Flight Simulator Motion Literature Pertinent to Airline-Pilot Recurrent Training and Evaluation.

Flight Simulator Motion Literature Pertinent to Airline-Pilot Recurrent Training and Evaluation.

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    NTL-AVIATION-Aviation Planning and Policy ; NTL-AVIATION-Aviation Safety/Airworthiness ; NTL-SAFETY AND SECURITY-Human Factors ;
  • Abstract:
    There has been much debate over the years regarding the need for flight simulator motion for airline-pilot training and evaluation. From the intuitive perspective there is the dictum, “The airplane moves, so the simulator must move” – but intuition alone is not enough to make a valid case for requiring elaborate—and costly—motion systems for training and evaluation of airline pilots. The ultimate goal of training and checking—to produce and maintain highly-skilled pilots capable of ensuring a superior level of safety in both normal and abnormal flight operations—cannot be met without adequate resources available to all airlines world-wide. A big part of the motion debate is what resources are adequate—whether the current regulations specifying six-degree-of-freedom Stewart-motion platforms are appropriate or whether the regulations need to be modified; whether advanced-motion-system simulators, which more realistically simulate aircraft motion, are needed; or whether more flexible motion criteria opening the field for alternative motion stimulation would improve universal access to simulator training and thus benefit safety. While there has been much debate, the main issues regarding motion can be broken down into four main facets: 1) how the human perception system responds to airplane motion; 2) the limits of the hexapod-motion systems currently regulated for pilot training in accurately simulating airplane motion; 3) the opinions of aviation experts who experience the issue in the real training environment; and 4) empirical evidence on the necessity of physical motion systems for effective simulator training and checking to ensure transfer between simulator and airplane. This paper brings all of these aspects together by summarizing the literature pertinent to the simulator-motion debate. First, we discuss the extent to which humans’ ability to perceive and appropriately respond to aircraft disturbances depends on visual motion, physical motion, or both. Second, current limitations in flight data availability for certain scenarios, as well as simulator hardware limitations, are discussed. Third, we summarize and respond to the published positions of several stakeholders. Fourth, a range of analytic and empirical work is summarized, from enhanced motion-feedback modeling to pilot-in-the-loop experiments, as well as meta-analytical work on the benefit of motion simulation on transfer of training to the airplane. This includes a synthesis of the Federal Aviation Administration/Volpe Center empirical studies to date.
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