rob asked in Cars & TransportationAircraft · 1 month ago

How good are simulators for improving a pilots skills and continuing their training? What are the drawbacks?

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  • 1 month ago

    All major airlines and the military use them huge saving in the cost of using real aircraft.

  • 1 month ago

    Good enough for that guy who stole the airplane and made all kind of crazy manouvers before he crashed most likely intentionally.

  • 1 month ago

    A Level D aircraft simulator is designed to give an impression so close to the real airplane that the crew will not sense any difference. As such they are perfectly capable of providing the proper experience. Actually, better, in some way, since there is little chance a crew would experience an in-flight failure, while a simulated flight can be a combination of every mishaps occurring multiple times. A pilot may never experience an engine failure; in a simulator, this could happen 10 times in a day until the crew develops the reflexes for doing everything right in short order.

    As for the downside, the fact is that a simulator is not a complete airplane. The failures that can be simulated, and the behavior of the plane when a failure occurs, are the ones that were requested by the aircraft maker, based on their own estimates and data. A few years ago, I was programming the failures of a new simulator for a new aircraft model (that had not even yet flown in prototype form already at that time) and I was referring to the list of failure that the maker wanted to cover. And it seemed to me that one likely scenario was missing. But I was told that "this" is the list, and if that other failure was not on it, then we would not write the logic to simulate it.

    It would then be up to the certification authorities to decide if the limited failure modes requested by the client (the airplane manufacturer) are adequate to provide the required training.

    The fact is that every accident is different. When US Airways 1549 suffered its dual engine failure after hitting a dozen goose, everyone was evidently amazed how well the crew managed the landing in the Hudson river. But the point is that they were lucky as the plane was high enough (2800 feet) to glide until it could reach an open area (if the plane had been a bit higher, it could even have glided back to the airport). But if the double failure had occurred sooner, say at 1000 feet altitude only, it would not have had much options. Do we simulate bird strike at every possible altitudes? Do we simulate the additional damage that large birds could cause, like the random loss of a control surface, to an unspecified degree? There are just too many variables, and too many variations.

    Just for the record, the last two 737MAX crashes were (probably) because of a failure in the angle of attack indicator that fed the MCAS system, which was trying to compensate for an incorrectly read overly large angle. But Boeing installed the MCAS specifically because it was supposed to make the 737MAX behave like the previous generation model; the argument being that pilots would not need retraining. Accordingly, one can assume that the 737NG simulators were argued to be adequate for the 737MAX, and would not be programmed to simulate a failure of the MCAS; in effect, those simulators might not even have the logic to simulate the effect of the MCAS at all.

  • 1 month ago

    They can show any aircraft, any location, any situation again and again. They can do it in a much safer manner than doing an in the air training flight. All the major manufacturers and pilot training facilities and airlines use them or rent them. A digital recording and a video record can be done.

    What is not done on most is the physical sensations of motion and controls feedback. Only the most expensive simulators with wrap around scenery presentation, six axis motion, and in the NASA trainer, extensive physical sideways, fore and back and vertical translation can better simulate reality.

    But still in a simulation the pilot being trained knows that. One is sure one cannot make a damaging or even fatal mistake. Not true with a real in the air test flight. The psychological stress factor is higher then.

    Source(s): Using flight simulators since 1985. Was in naval aviation training for back seat position in F-4 jets in the 1960s.
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  • 1 month ago

    I don’t know how

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