If it moves, we can simulate it
IDT has 35 years of experience in defining, developing, building and qualifying simulators used to train pilots, develop new aircraft, or assess human reactions to varying situations. IDT also makes improvements to current flight simulators, and has been a trendsetter in creating or modifying civil aviation regulations affecting Flight Simulation Training Devices.
Flight simulators applied for the training of pilots undergo qualification in accordance with regulations adopted by the responsible National Aviation Authority (NAA). These define the required fidelity of the Flight Simulation Training Device with respect to the desired training task or licensing standard.
Invariably, the guidelines for the standards are developed through working groups of experts in simulation and validation. These groups are commonly organised through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and subsequently the rules are reviewed and implemented by the respective NAA.
IDT has played a major role in these working groups due to our knowledge on simulator design, testing and implementation in training. Our contributions include:
• Member, ICAO International Working Group (IWG) on ICAO Document 9625, “Manual on Qualification and Testing of FSTD’s, Rev 3 & Rev 4, Airplanes”
• Technical Lead, ICAO Motion Task Team on developing and validating the Objective Motion Cueing Test (OMCT)
• Member, ICAO International Working Group (IWG) on ICAO Document 9625, “Manual on Qualification and Testing of FSTD’s, Rev 3, Helicopters”
• Co-Chairman, EASA Rule Making Task .0196&.0197 on revisions to the EASA CS-FSTD Change 2
• Participant in ICAO task team on ICAO Document 9625, “Manual on Qualification and Testing of FSTD’s, Rev 2”
Creating cost-effective simulators designed specifically to meet a research or product development objective is a core strength of IDT. In R&D simulators, the effectiveness of its ability to answer research questions is the leading factor. Through our “Simulation Roadmap” process, we help aircraft manufacturers, research centres and universities to define and develop simulators specifically for the customer needs.
• TU Delft SIMONA Research Simulator
• DLR AVES Flight Simulator
• NASA Ames Research Center Vertical Motion Simulator
The capability of the simulator is dependent on the model that drives it. Throughout the simulation system, several models attempt to reproduce the properties of the system they represent, to a desired level of accuracy. In real-time simulation, a balance must be struck between the quality and performance of the models.
IDT has supported the development of aerodynamic and ground contact (tire-ground) models in flight simulation projects. In specific projects, models are built for the intended purpose of the simulation.
IDT’s greatest strength in flight simulation is the modelling of the Motion Cueing System, and validation in accordance with the Objective Motion Cueing Test, co-developed by IDT and AMS Consult. The OMCT, introduced through ICAO Manual 9625 Rev 3, is now part of most regulatory requirements.
The motion cueing system in the flight simulator consists of the Motion Drive algorithm (MDA), the motion control interface, and the motion platform hardware. The objective of the motion cueing system is to provide “cues” to the pilot that represent the actual aircraft. However, reproducing the same “stimulus” would require an incredibly large motion system to reproduce the stimuli which the pilot of the real aircraft would sense. A compromise must be made.
Until recently, it was thought that this “compromise” should simply be based on a motion cueing model that is tuned by an experienced or “expert” pilot. IDT has played a critical role in changing the status quo.
The key to an effective motion cueing system is to take into account the training objective, the pilot’s task and the availability and use of other cues (visual, tactile and other).
This test, developed by IDT and AMS Consult, utilises the latest knowledge on human self-motion perception to use objective metrics to define acceptable compromises to the motion cueing system parameters that still lead to effective training. This test, implemented by all simulator manufacturers, enables tuning the flight simulator motion parameters based on a solid criterion. IDT has supported several of these manufacturers in the implementation of the OMCT.
The motion cueing required by the simulator pilot to produce the same outcome as in the real aircraft is the basic premise of IDT’s Motion Drive Algorithms. In conjunction with the OMCT (see above), IDT supports simulator manufacturers and operators to adjust the motion tuning parameters in an optimal manner. This process has been successfully applied in several FSTD’s, including those operated by FlightSafety International (fixed-wing and rotary-wing).