What are flight simulators

Overview of the history of flight simulators since 1915

  • Level C simulators have an extended vision system (at least 75 degrees), a movement system with 6 degrees of freedom and a sound system that simulates both aircraft and ambient noise (e.g. rain). Level D simulators represent the highest level of flight simulation in terms of vision, motion and noise simulation and correspond almost 100% to the specification of the simulated aircraft type.
  1. Flight training devices (FTD): are a faithful replica of the instrumentation, systems and controls in an open or closed cockpit area. A vision and movement system is not required. In contrast to professional simulators, FTDs are often built for a specific training purpose and therefore deliberately neglect aspects of the flight that are not required for the stated training purpose. This category also includes the so-called fixed-base simulators.

  1. Flight and navigation procedure training devices: represent the cockpit environment and its systems in detail, so that the impression is given that they work like in a real aircraft. Such devices are mainly used for training the flight management system.

  1. Exercise devices for instrument flight training are essentially inexpensive process trainers for private pilots that are based on conventional PCs. The two best-known trainers are the LAS V8 from Otto Fahrig and the Elite from Elite Simulation AG.

Flight simulations for entertainment purposes

Some operators of flight simulators (e.g. Lufthansa Flight Training GmbH via ProFlight GmbH) for training purposes also offer private individuals the use of the simulators for adventure purposes during idle times. These 1 to 3-hour programs usually offer a theoretical introduction, an hourly session in the simulator in a group of 1 to 3 people, and a debriefing.

Flight simulators as a ride

In the early 1990s, fairground rides based on flight simulator technology with simple hydraulic controls became fashionable at church fairs and in amusement parks. Action-packed computer animations and real-life films are shown on the screen. Today, however, full motion flight simulators built for amusement alone are rare.

Similar, mobile, simulators with simple instrumentation and vision systems are used at trade fairs, company events and exhibitions. The following is an example of the Piper Cheyenne simulator from PRO TOURA.