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Author Topic: Do flight simulators do it for real?  (Read 11481 times)

Chris Johnson

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Do flight simulators do it for real?
« on: December 10, 2013, 12:54:28 PM »

OK just how good/accurate are flight simulation programmes for trying to determine the fate of the final flight?
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Do flight simulators do it for real?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2013, 04:00:46 PM »

One thing is fairly sure: no simulator can recreate the actual winds aloft for the given day in question.

Tim
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Greg Daspit

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Re: Do flight simulators do it for real?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2013, 05:24:49 PM »

Too many unknown variables and a simulator can't account for their unknown actions.
I think it would be fun to fly a simulation of a landing on the reef though. I'd probably hit the NC for fun. (That I know I'm not going to die changes things) :)
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Doug Giese

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Re: Do flight simulators do it for real?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2013, 05:45:09 PM »

no simulator can recreate the actual winds aloft

Nor the centrifugal forces acting on a person. Several Navy aviators I met said the simulators made them sick.

I second the idea of crashing into the NC. We were fooling around with a sub simulator at the sub base in San Diego and took immense pleasure in sinking a hospital ship.
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« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 05:48:29 PM by Doug Giese »
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Dave McDaniel

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Re: Do flight simulators do it for real?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2013, 05:55:29 PM »

OK just how good/accurate are flight simulation programmes for trying to determine the fate of the final flight?
Hi Chris! If you are asking about the flight simulation programs offered over the internet I'm afraid I can't be much help. However, I just retired last year after 32 years of military and airline flying and have a lot of experience in both the old analog and current digital full motion sims and would be happy to explain how well they fly when compared to the actual airplane and how they are used in incident/accident investigations.

LTM,
Dave
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Do flight simulators do it for real?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2013, 08:07:01 PM »

Chris, the point of most simulator training and recurrent training has to do with the handling of emergencies (engine fires, landing gear malfunctions, decompression scenarios, etc.). These are related to the specific aircraft being simulated, and for the most part are now designed to strengthen the relationship between the crew members in solving the emergency ("Cockpit Resource Management").

These simulations are, for the most part, conducted in "Instrument Meteorological Conditions" ("IMC") whereby the visual displays are useless (blank). The type of the aircraft is almost irrelevant to the exercise, as the procedures practiced are largely identical between modern aircraft.

Simulators for small aircraft are designed to allow the "pilot" to experience the normal visual conditions and operating limitations of a particular model. They bear little resemblance to simulators used for professional recurrent training.
Tim
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Do flight simulators do it for real?
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2013, 08:13:54 PM »

no simulator can recreate the actual winds aloft

Nor the centrifugal forces acting on a person. Several Navy aviators I met said the simulators made them sick.


Good old "rudder and stick" -- there is no reason an airman should become sick if the aircraft (simulated or real) is kept in proper balance via the three controls.
Tim
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Dave McDaniel

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Re: Do flight simulators do it for real?
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2013, 10:10:52 PM »

These simulations are, for the most part, conducted in "Instrument Meteorological Conditions" ("IMC") whereby the visual displays are useless (blank). The type of the aircraft is almost irrelevant to the exercise, as the procedures practiced are largely identical between modern aircraft.-Tim Mellon

Tim, This is true to a certain extent. We still have to do the "air work", (aka: Stick and rudder) in VMC conditions using "visual pilotage" as per the FAR's and the aircraft manufacturers' limitations. This includes the full stall series both clean and in the landing configuration, steep turns, no flap and circling approaches ect. There are narrow vertical blind spots behind the windscreen pillars depending on the angle you were looking out at but it only became a factor (not really, you just had to be aware of it) in circle-to-land approaches. (or if you were looking for your house if you happened to be flying in that city!) This is because of the multiple screens used for the front and side windscreens. Not a real problem at all especially if it was an airport you were familiar with in the real world. All the landmarks, both natural and man made are represented in 3 dimensional scale form. I'll admit that the visuals as well the simulators in general of today are a world apart from the old "terrain board" sims we thought were so cool back in the 70's and 80's.
 It is true some guys do get sick in the sim (barf bags are stowed accordingly). This usually happens when the sim is repositioned after a testing event such as a aborted take-off. To save time the sim instructor/check airman will reposition the aircraft to the approach end of the departure runway. If you look out the windscreen while this is occurring you will see what it looks like to go backwards 10,000 feet in about 2 seconds. You also get the pitching motion to a small extent, of accelerating and decelerating backwards even though the sim is "off motion" which can lead to vertigo. It effects some more than others. The trick is not to look out the wind screen during a reposition! and most don't.

LTM,
Dave
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 10:14:29 PM by Dave McDaniel »
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Do flight simulators do it for real?
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2013, 04:00:29 AM »

Dave, where I go for recurrent training (Simuflite) even the "air work" is done in Instrument Conditions.

Circling approaches obviously have to be done with reference to a visable runway.
Tim
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« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 04:04:34 AM by Tim Mellon »
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: Do flight simulators do it for real?
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2013, 05:12:38 AM »

Probably the biggest advantage of these flight simulators is that when it all goes pear shaped you can start all over again, a luxury which you just don't get in the real world.
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Dave McDaniel

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Re: Do flight simulators do it for real?
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2013, 07:19:10 AM »

This is very true. We lost a lot of good crews doing training or checkrides in the actual aircraft before simulators came along. Nothing like setting in the back with another crew waiting your turn, while up front, another crew is executing an engine out procedure (V1 cut) on rotation at 3 o'clock in the morning and you, hoping like hell, they get it right. And did I mention that this was being done over the homes of a sleeping and unsuspecting public? Enough tread drift, sorry Chris.

LTM,
Dave   
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Monty Fowler

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Re: Do flight simulators do it for real?
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2013, 09:32:45 AM »

OK just how good/accurate are flight simulation programmes for trying to determine the fate of the final flight?

If we want to be intellectually honest, their accuracy percentage is ZERO. None of the people who were actually on the Electra in question are still alive. There are no contemporary, verifiably-accurate, real-time records of instrument readings and other flight data.

All we have is assumptions and suppositions, which is all the people who write the programs for these flight sim programs have. I could hire someone to write a sim program that shows that the Titanic should have been able to survive its little iceberg mishap. History tells us otherwise, in the form of a wreck at the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Flight sims can be a barrel of fun (I admit to enjoying the "how much carnage can I cause? moments), but for something like Amelia and Fred's last hours, it's wise to recognize their serious limitations for recreating history.

LTM, who tries not to shim his sims,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 CER
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Do flight simulators do it for real?
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2013, 10:25:34 AM »

All we have is assumptions and suppositions, which is all the people who write the programs for these flight sim programs have.

Many years ago, someone did a little calculator for EPAC that let you pick the headwinds and various cruise settings for the engines.

It was astonishing how hard it was to arrive between Howland and Gardner with too little fuel to land and transmit.

But I don't know what assumptions about the flight path were built into the calculator nor where the data for rate of fuel consumption was obtained.
LTM,

           Marty
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Do flight simulators do it for real?
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2013, 02:41:01 PM »

Here's my favorite simulator approach: VOR RWY 4R JFK, Circle to Land 31R. Usually offered with a 700 foot ceiling and 3 mile visibility.
Tim
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