How can a flight simulator be any useful?


by Ulysees
Tags: flight, simulator
Ulysees
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#1
Mar23-08, 08:55 PM
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An accelerating aircraft, in whatever direction, will move long distances. A flight simulator cannot move long distances. Therefore it cannot simulate acceleration correctly. Only slight deviations and turbulence can be simulated correctly.

So what use can a flight simulator be, in training jet pilots? It's sophisticated manouvres that need to be experienced by jet pilots, and a flight simulator just can't do them.

The computer part with the display is certainly useful, but the mechanical part seems such an aweful waste of money.
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turbo
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Mar23-08, 08:58 PM
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It is cheaper to use a flight simulator to train pilots than to allow them to crash multi-million-dollar jets.
russ_watters
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#3
Mar23-08, 09:01 PM
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The mechanical part simulates accelerations in different directions by leaning over. Lean back and it feels like you are accelerating forward. Lean forward and it feels like you are decelerating.

Ulysees
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#4
Mar23-08, 09:07 PM
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How can a flight simulator be any useful?


Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
The mechanical part simulates accelerations in different directions by leaning over. Lean back and it feels like you are accelerating forward. Lean forward and it feels like you are decelerating.
That explains it. Except that the process of rotating the cockpit involves an acceleration itself, can this match the experience of the real thing?
Ulysees
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#5
Mar23-08, 09:09 PM
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And how does it match the acceleration component in the vertical direction?
Ulysees
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#6
Mar23-08, 09:12 PM
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Quote Quote by turbo-1 View Post
It is cheaper to use a flight simulator to train pilots than to allow them to crash multi-million-dollar jets.
Thanks for the advise, except this is about the mechanical part (it seems very inaccurate). Might as well just use Microsoft Flight Simulator with better joysticks and pedals. That would save your multi-million-dollar jet too.
turbo
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#7
Mar23-08, 09:14 PM
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You don't get rocked or tilted when you use a software-only simulator, and you will miss some real feedback.
Ulysees
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#8
Mar23-08, 09:21 PM
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Now I had another thought. Humans can only sense jerk, it's much harder to sense slight accelerations that are constant because they feel like weight that we feel anyway at all times. I wonder if this is the trick that makes a simulator useful, imitating jerk in intervals.
Danger
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#9
Mar23-08, 09:36 PM
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I've flown or been a passenger in a fair number of planes. The most intense 'flight' that I've ever been through was 'The Star Trek Experience' at the Las Vegas Hilton. The 'shuttle' that you ride in is built on a B1 bomber simulator. The damned thing is capable of 7 g's. Of course, they keep it down-tuned for passenger safety, but there are still all kinds of warnings against people with various medical conditions from boarding. Not for one second do you doubt that you're in a real vehicle doing really rude manoeuvres. The wrap-around video screens certainly enhance that feeling.
goeat
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#10
Mar23-08, 09:43 PM
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For training pilots, visual only flight simulators are good enough. In the case of a large commercial aircraft, the g-forces aren't that high so it's not an issue. In the case of experienced fighter pilots, some high g manuevers in a simulator can result in the pilots getting "lack of motion sickness" since their brains now expect a certain feel.

So the simulators are good for learning to use the instruments, and especially landings. I don't think the simulators are used much, if any, for learning to dog fight.
FredGarvin
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#11
Mar23-08, 10:10 PM
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The things a flight simulator teach ARE NOT the maneuvers for dogfighting, etc...Flight simulators provide an excellent source for flight time to perfect things that you don't see in your video game world. In the real world, any pilot has to do things like navigate, take off and land in any kind of weather. That means not only VFR but IFR. Also, there are these little things called emergencies. If you put someone in the cockpit of a 100 million dollar aircraft, they had better know what the heck to do when all of their hydraulic and electrical systems go belly up at the same time. There are hundreds of emergency scenarios that a pilot has to know instinctively how to handle in a split second (and then back it up with the checklist).

The experience of feeling accelerations is minuscule to the overall workload of having to fly an aircraft. If that were all there were to flying, the only thing we would see were centrifuges.
russ_watters
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#12
Mar23-08, 10:49 PM
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Quote Quote by Ulysees View Post
That explains it. Except that the process of rotating the cockpit involves an acceleration itself, can this match the experience of the real thing?
It can't match it, only approximate it.
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#13
Mar23-08, 11:11 PM
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Quote Quote by Danger View Post
I've flown or been a passenger in a fair number of planes. (...) Not for one second do you doubt that you're in a real vehicle doing really rude manoeuvres.
So how do you reckon this illusion is achieved, from a physics point of view? And perhaps a physiology point of view too, the ears have got balance sensors in them.
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Mar23-08, 11:21 PM
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Quote Quote by FredGarvin View Post
In the real world, any pilot has to do things like navigate, take off and land in any kind of weather. That means not only VFR but IFR.
Dunno what VFR and IFR stand for, but have you played with any recent simulations? Even Google Earth has a actual flight simulator built in (ctrl-alt-A), so you can navigate in great detail over any place on the planet, even a real aeroplane can't do that. Also I don't see why there would be no simulation for weather too and how it affects landing in those extremely expensive machines for jet pilots.
goeat
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#15
Mar23-08, 11:54 PM
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Quote Quote by Ulysees View Post
Dunno what VFR and IFR stand for.
VFR - visual flight rules, IFR - instrument flight rules. IFR applies when a pilot can't see a horizon, or a runway during a landing. Depending on the aircraft, there's a minimum ceiling of visibility requirement before landing is allowed.
FredGarvin
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#16
Mar24-08, 06:36 AM
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Quote Quote by Ulysees View Post
Dunno what VFR and IFR stand for, but have you played with any recent simulations? Even Google Earth has a actual flight simulator built in (ctrl-alt-A), so you can navigate in great detail over any place on the planet, even a real aeroplane can't do that. Also I don't see why there would be no simulation for weather too and how it affects landing in those extremely expensive machines for jet pilots.
I guess I don't understand what you are asking with your question. What does Google Earth have to do with this? My whole point was that simulators DO provide a tool to practice and keep up one's training in other situations other than "dog fighting."
Danger
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#17
Mar24-08, 08:53 AM
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Quote Quote by Ulysees View Post
So how do you reckon this illusion is achieved, from a physics point of view?
It's actually explained by neurology rather than physics; the brain is easy to fool. It can continue to experience a sensory input as long as nothing specifically negates it. You can try it yourself quite easily. The next time that you're a passenger in a car, close your eyes half-way through a curve. You'll think that you're turning continuously until you open your eyes.
russ_watters
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#18
Mar24-08, 09:19 AM
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Quote Quote by Ulysees View Post
Also I don't see why there would be no simulation for weather too and how it affects landing in those extremely expensive machines for jet pilots.
Any good flight simulator incorporates weather simulation. Even most PC based ones.


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