Flight Simulation and Aviation Safety
A flight simulator artificially generates the conditions of aircraft flight and closely
simulates actual flight environment, making it extremely useful in training of pilots and crew
members. This has an immediate effect of improving the safety for real flights. A flight
simulator is as effective because it uses actual equations that govern the flight of the craft,
equations that predict the interaction between environmental elements and aircraft, as well as
equations that predict how the controls exerted on the craft will bear a reaction. Therefore factors
of turbulence, air density, precipitation conditions etc are all taken into account – all flight risks
in a real world situation.
This makes it very useful for training of pilots. However, flight training is not the only
use for flight simulation; instead, designing of safer aircraft and aerodynamics is also
accomplished via flight simulation. The techniques of simulation and emulation are used with
signals – artificial or real, to fine tune operations. Software too is created and optimized by way
of flight simulation. Finally, all aircraft systems are either created or synchronized using flight
simulations. These systems can be electrical, hydraulic or flight control, engineering rigs, also
called ‘iron birds’ and used during development of complex aircraft.
Control handling qualities that come to the fore from flight simulation are used to
research and incorporate characteristics of aircraft. Flight simulation is touted also for the
relatively inexpensive means. The hardware employed in such a simulation can range from a
simple PC to elaborate replicas of the various cockpits. Some of these cockpits are also equipped
with wide-field outside-world visual systems, complete with six degrees of freedom. It is this
realism that allows for intensive training and consequently safer conditions (Parke, 1979).
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