Safer Training Through High-Tech Reality Replication

Loss of control in-flight is frequently cited as a major cause of aircraft accidents, with pilot error, including failure to maintain adequate airspeed, as the leading contributor to loss of control. But typically, the loss of control or failure to maintain airspeed is precipitated by another issue: perhaps a runaway trim on takeoff or an attempt to climb above weather leading to high-altitude stall.

In the quest for making training “real,” several accidents have occurred when instructors modified the aircraft systems by pulling circuit breakers or intentionally shutting down one engine, ultimately turning simulated emergencies into real emergencies.

Safely preparing a crew for whatever anomalies the aircraft or nature may bring is best done in a full flight simulator – the more realistic, the better. Through continuous improvement and technology innovation, FlightSafety continues to provide the most realistic simulator training available for the business and private aviation market. 

Reality starts with ground school

To be prepared for anomalies and emergencies, crews need to know the aircraft systems, avionics, flying characteristics, and emergency procedures before they jump into the simulator. During ground school, FlightSafety brings as much realism into the classroom as possible using desktop simulators, graphical flight-deck simulators and avionics procedure trainers.

Always on the cutting edge of technology, FlightSafety is deploying the use of VR walkarounds across its course offerings and is also using VR in various maintenance courses for both familiarization and procedure training. FlightSafety’s LiveLearning and eLearning deliver online training options for those clients who need a flexible schedule. 

Realistic Simulator Training Makes the Difference

With more than 70 years in the simulator training business, FlightSafety has championed the safety and key learning aspects of providing realistic training on the ground. We do that by working with aircraft manufacturers to make both the tactile feel and aerodynamic response of the simulator as real as possible, and partnering with the FAA, EASA and other government authorities to certify the training received as credit toward requirements and ratings.

One of the areas the FAA reviews when certifying a simulator for flight credit is the fidelity of the flight experience. FlightSafety uses industry-leading technology to design and manufacture its FS1000 FAA-certified Level D full-flight simulators with electric six-degrees-of-freedom motion bases, ultra-high-resolution glass visuals, and flight decks that perfectly replicate the look and feel of the aircraft.

Continuously improving its simulators in Learning Centers around the world, FlightSafety introduced its VITAL 1150 visual system in 2019. An upgrade from the VITAL 1100 system released in 2013, the VITAL 1150 projects ultra-high 4K resolution graphics onto an integrated CrewView wrap-around glass display for stunningly crisp visuals and greater image fidelity. With fields of view up to 360 x 135 degrees and high 120 Hz frame rate, we provide realistic imagery for all flight maneuvers including comprehensive airport lighting systems, dynamic and enhanced shadowing for detailed topography and ocean effects, time of day modes including dawn and dusk, and five levels of precipitation intensity.

A MultiVis Weather Sim generates up to 64,000 atmospheric layers and uses a physics-based weather model, including atmospheric scattering, to provide realistic wind, turbulence and precipitation effects. 

The FS1000 includes an advanced instructor station equipped with an intuitive interface, scalable graphics and large displays with touchscreen controls. This is where it gets real as the instructor can throw everything except the kitchen sink at you during your simulated flight: weather, systems failures, inoperable instruments, ATC requests and even animals on the runway.

While aircraft system knowledge and operational procedures are important, the scenarios are also designed to help crews with aeronautical decision making and crew resource management. 

For example, very high-altitude operation training, such as taking a jet to its maximum altitude for the first time, is best done in the simulator. Several fatal accidents have occurred in business jets and even airliners by otherwise proficient crews taking aircraft to their extremes only to stall the aircraft, flame out the engines and mishandle the restarts.

Besides being able to replicate these conditions in the simulator, FlightSafety also offers upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT), being the first simulator training provider to receive FAA qualification for UPRT aerodynamic modeling. In addition, a partnership with Mojave, California-based Flight Research, Inc., provides expanded in-aircraft UPRT to further increase preparedness with unusual attitude and flight conditions. 

Taking control of your training

Pilots can become more prepared for anomalies by taking an active role in their own training. While being sent to simulator training every year (in the case of most Part 91 pilots, and every six months for Part 121 and 135 pilots) can seem repetitive, FlightSafety encourages pilots to ask for modifications and customization of courses to better prepare them for challenges ahead.

FlightSafety also works with corporate flight departments on training initiatives for their crews. Companies that collect and use flight operational quality assurance (FOQA) data can share this data with FlightSafety anonymously (individual pilots deidentified) to identify specific areas or procedures that need closer attention across all crews.

FlightSafety has also begun to use aggregated industry FOQA data to identify areas of focus called Spotlights. These Spotlights do not add or detract from training time but are incorporated as part of the curriculum to enhance a level of safety.

Taking advantage of the more than 600 worldwide airports in the FlightSafety database, pilots can also ask to practice specific approaches or departures, or fly certain city pairs.

Even if visuals for the requested airport haven’t been generated in the FlightSafety database, the instructor can still set up the airport for use in training. With enough need and notice, though, customers can request FlightSafety build visuals for often-used airports.

Through high-tech solutions in reality replication, FlightSafety has invested in pilots’ advancement, providing the most comprehensive training environment available.

By Brian Moore, FlightSafety International Senior Vice President, Operations