Training value of a fixed-based flight simulator with a dynamic seat

Training value of a fixed-based flight simulator with a dynamic seat

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  • Alternative Title:
    AIAA Modeling and Simulation Conference
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    NTL-AVIATION-Aviation Human Factors ; NTL-AVIATION-Aviation Safety/Airworthiness ; NTL-SAFETY AND SECURITY-Human Factors ; NTL-SAFETY AND SECURITY-Aviation Safety/Airworthiness ;
  • Abstract:
    In this paper, we first explain that pilots experience airplane motion via multiple perceptual systems, which makes motion a candidate for simulation via stimulation of only a subset of these systems. Next, we discuss the relative merit of vestibular cues when piloting an airplane. This is followed by a comparison of the vestibular cues received in the airplane and those possible, or practicable, in an airline-pilot training simulator, considering also the history of flight-simulator motion and alternative technologies. We conclude that a vast body of research has shown that accurate cues are not achievable at present, and that those available have not been shown to improve transfer between airplane and simulator. We then examine the cost of motion, and posit that it may prohibit some airline pilots from reaping the benefits of simulator training, with a concomitant loss in passenger safety. This consideration is especially pertinent given the world-wide training needs. Moreover, the equipment, facility, and maintenance costs associated with hexapod-platform motion systems may serve to discourage operators from upgrading the simulator's fidelity in other important areas, such as assuring that the simulator cockpit does in fact match the equipment in the target aircraft, and that the simulation includes realistic operational representation of the national air space, including the air-traffic-control environment. We describe current and planned research on the training effectiveness of an alternative approach, which provides trainees with visual motion and heave-onset cues in what otherwise corresponds to an FAA Level D Full Flight Simulator in terms of data fidelity. This includes the results of a "proof-of-concept" phase that culminated in the successful type-rating of six pilots on a twin-engine turboprop airplane.
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