Imagine flying a plane, not just being a passenger, but actively flying an aircraft 35,000 ft in the sky. For a lot of people, that would be a dream-come-true. Unfortunately, most of us will never actually get the chance, but we can simulate it.
Aircraft simulators, or flight simulators, are anything that can replicate and reproduce the experience of flying an aircraft, from games to full-sized cockpits mounted on hydraulic actuators.
Simulators go all the way back to WWI. Wartime meant that pilots had to be trained en masse and quickly to fly and operate machine guns. In 1929, the Link Trainer, with a pneumatic motion platform capable of simulating pitch, roll, and yaw, was introduced. In 1948, Curtiss-Wright introduced the first complete simulator, with no visual displays or motion but an entire working cockpit. In 1954, General Precision Inc. introduced a motion simulator with 3 degrees. By 1982, the Rediffusion Company introduced simulators with seamless displays like we are used to today.
Now, there are different types of simulators to choose from. System trainers teach how to operate various systems, cockpit procedure trainers (CPT) teach crew checks and drills, full flight simulators (FFS) teach the use of motion in all six degrees of freedom, and part task trainers (PTT) teach simple avionics equipment usage that can be upgraded and compounded on. These different types of simulators also have many different uses.
In addition to training pilots to fly, flight simulators can be used to train flight crew personnel in normal and emergency flight operating procedures, crew and resource management, and threat and error management. Simulators aren’t just good for teaching and training, they’re also used to evaluate for errors and improvements, and test technical modifications before they’re implemented. Teaching flight crew how to deal with failures and malfunctions is crucial, but to do so in a real aircraft can not only be expensive, but dangerous. As a result, flight simulators are more preferable. They save time and money while increasing safety. Using even the most expensive simulator is still only 1/40th the cost of training in a real Boeing 747.
At Sourcing Streamlined, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we also want flight crews to be safe and prepared. So, as a premier distributor of aviation parts, we make sure to stock up on not only cockpits and actuators, but all kinds of flight actuators of the highest quality. Visit us at www.sourcingstreamlined.com to get started.