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Simulating Scenario-Based Flight Training

Simulating Scenario-Based Flight Training

Lee Nickerson
Par Lee Nickerson
Technical Support Specialist
25 nov. 2019

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Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.

Remember this rule.

Picture this: You are pilot-in-command of an aircraft operating under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). Given that you are relying solely on your on-board flight instruments and equipment to safely operate your aircraft to complete your mission, you cannot afford to have any critical systems fail or malfunction. A complete electrical failure, for example, could impede your ability to operate your radio navigation equipment, as well as isolate your communications from the outside world. That said, did you forget the aforementioned rule?

In the end, your knowledge, judgement, and task management skills determine the outcome of such a critical system failure and whether your mission is successful or not.

Situational Awareness

In order to ensure the safe and successful execution of a mission, pilots are trained to develop their “situational awareness” at all times. Situational awareness can be thought of as a tool that pilots use by recognizing certain conditions in order to anticipate future situations. This is in addition to other tools that pilots use such as task prioritization, judgement, and communication.

Flight Simulation Training Device

One important resource for flight training is the Flight Simulation Training Device (FSTD). FSTDs maximize pilot training efficiency while reducing costs and risks, however, in some instances, the scope of the training can be limited. For example, a lack of unexpected events or abnormal scenarios within a pilot’s training curriculum on a flight simulator can result in a pilot being insufficiently prepared for real-world events. The fact that FSTDs are tailored to meet regulatory requirements and train pilots for predictable scenarios (ie. maneuvers, emergency procedures, and so on) implies that in some instances, pilots are less prepared to face some critical situations that have never been experienced before. After all, it is in these types of dynamic scenarios that pilots can truly use their tools and put their situation awareness skills to the test.

A dynamic training environment for aircrew not only benefits civilian operators, but is also particularly well suited for military mission training operations. Take for example a slung load transport mission for a military rotorcraft; operating a medium-lift utility helicopter in a hostile environment while transporting a slung load is a challenging task on its own. Now add the interactions the pilot must have with ground troops, other aircraft and hostile forces and you are in for a complex and rapidly changing scenario. Instructors and mission planners need to be able to replicate this dynamic environment by having the capability to inject new elements into a scenario to prepare the pilot for unexpected circumstances that go beyond the operation of the aircraft.

The Costs of Flight Training in a Dynamic and Flexible Environment

In the last decade, advancements in flight simulation training technologies have come a long way, particularly for the FSTDs that can replicate type-specific aircraft cockpits, systems, and flight dynamics to a high degree of fidelity. These technologies, however, do come with a high price tag. They also restrict the operator from making any technical modifications that could alter the aircraft’s characteristics or other type-specific hardware. Those wishing to train their aircrew for specific mission training and rehearsals may not see the benefits from purchasing and maintaining a fully qualified FSTD.

In the last decade, advancements in flight simulation training technologies have come a long way, particularly for the FSTDs

So how can the operator train their pilots in a flexible scenario-based environment while mitigating the impact on the quality of the simulated aircraft model? Well, it all comes down to what you are intending to accomplish with the flight training solution. Some operators prefer to have a representative aircraft simulation model and focus more of their resources to design, execute, and debrief customized training scenarios for the mission. It is important to realize that having a representative aircraft model will allow the pilot to focus on the mission in progress, without being distracted by a low quality aircraft model.

There are several strategies involved with creating a representative aircraft model, but the most effective solution is subjective validation of the simulated aircraft with an experienced pilot. This iterative method can be particularly effective to highlight type-specific aircraft behaviors and phenomenons that pilots can learn to recognize and anticipate. For example, in the case of a conventional rotorcraft, pilots will expect a decrease of power needed to hover in the proximity to the ground; or how flying through the effective translational lift speed range produces a particular dynamic response. All these cues can be modeled, tuned, and simulated to represent any type-specific aircraft, thus allowing the pilots to focus more on developing their situational awareness skills.

The Case for Presagis Solutions

Presagis offers a wide range of Commercial-of-the-Shelf (COTS) products that integrators, manufacturers, and researchers can use to tailor their own scenario-based flight simulation training devices and solutions. Presagis' FlightSIM and HeliSIM products offer an intuitive and practical graphical user interface that can find its place within any multi-disciplinary aircraft design and modelling team. Whether users have access to a full data package or limited data, FlightSIM and HeliSIM can provide the possibility to create high fidelity or representative aircraft models that can be further customized and integrated into any dynamic environment. Furthermore, the FlightSIM and HeliSIM simulation engines can be found at the heart of the Presagis UAV CRAFT and HELI CRAFT solutions.


Overview of MAR-FSTD Military Aviation Requirements Flight Simulation Training Devices, National Aerospace Laboratories, 2010

The Selection of Realistic Training Environments for Tactical Aircrew Training, National Aerospace Laboratories, 2011


Rester connecté, inscrivez-vous à notre infolettre.

Presagis offers a wide range of Commercial-of-the-Shelf (COTS) products.