The Role of Simulation in Commercial Aviation

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1. The Role of Simulation in Commercial Aviation Training

The training for commercial aviation cannot manage without simulation in the current world. The safety levels needed currently in the modern commercial and public aviation depends mainly on simulation. Flight simulators are critical both in pilot training and maintaining pilot currency. The technologies are not only important for training purposes but also in investigating air accidents. The role of simulators is increasing as the complexities in the design of the modern aircraft systems increases. Meaning that simulation is nowadays an integral part of pilot training and development (Hamel, 2017).

2. The Importance of Fidelity in Simulation

Fidelity is the degree of realism; simulation reproduces the behavior and state of a real-world object. Hence, fidelity measures the authenticity of the simulation. (b) Imperfect simulation of motion, many of the students or people assume that adding motion to the simulation of a flight makes it better, but that is not the case. It is tough to get rid of motion in a simulator since the simulator is not flying, but it is faked. The reason is that humans feel motion through detection of the acceleration and not velocity. Using simulator provide the students with certain sensation about motion and when they go to the aircraft, and the motions do not match they will make the incorrect judgment about their current situation. Had there not been a simulator there would have been no expectation (Hamstra et al., 2014). The differences in what the simulation creates and the expectation of the brain can easily lead to problems. There can be incorrect angels, timing mismatch between the visual and the motion. The situation is likely to cause nausea.

3. The Six Degrees of Motion in Simulators

Six degree of motion refers to the given number of axes that a rigid body can move about freely in a three-dimensional space. It states the number of parameters that define the configuration as a mechanical system. (b) Motion simulators create a feeling of being in a real-world motion. In a simulator, platform synchronizes with the visual display of the outside world (Shabana, 2013). Motion platform provides movement in the six degrees of motion which can be experienced by the objects that are free to move such as an aircraft. Roll, pitch, and yaw the three rotational degrees of freedom and surge heave and sway the three transitional degrees of freedom. (c) Many people belief that electric is better than hydraulic but the reality is that the hydraulic is more reliable, durable and can take in an extra overload compared to the electric.

4. The Order of Simulation Technique Systems

The following is the order of the simulation technique systems; Instructor systems, Structure and cockpit environment, Audio system including warnings and communications, Motion System, Visual system and Control Loading. Given that this is a training process all the elements of the learning process begin with the instructor. The growing complexities of the training process especially on the technical part increase the burden. More reason to have the instructor system in place. It is essential to understand the features of the operator, because the system analyzes, receives and responds to the information which is an integral part of the training process (Shabana, 2013). So as a student, having adequate knowledge of the instructor system is a necessary step for the training purposes. Understanding the structure of the cockpit is a vital element of the training process. An individual has to develop familiarization with the setup of the cockpit before other components. Mastering the structure and the environment of the cockpit is, therefore, an essential stage for the success of training process.

5. Collimating Optics in Visual Display Systems

a) It is the use of collimating optics in the visual display systems allowing images to be seen in a vertical curvature. (b) Both pilots are able to see the simulated image from a distance. The process improves the simulator's view and provide a realistic distance and perception of depth (Kaiser & Sweet, 2013).

6. The Role of ICAO in Aviation Regulation

ICAO is an agency of the United Nations, whose aim is to ensure friendship and understanding among the nations and people of the world, desired to avoid friction and promote the co-operation (Abeyratne, 2013). The body is an international oversight, ensuring harmonization of the regulatory procedures relating to aviation. Other regulatory authorities such as the ACC term common in the UK and China and FAA, American, are the aviation bodies responsible for national regulations in their respective countries. Others such as the FAA are responsible for airspace and air traffic management and active role in research and development relating to aviation.

7. ZFT Training for Pilots

a) ZFT training is a type of training given to the pilots who want to convert their license so that they can operate another type of aircraft. (b) This type of training is accomplished through the full flight simulator, which saves time and other expenses related to training with the airline (Anderson).

8. The Training Process and Hours in Full Flight Simulators

The total time taken in the full flight simulator varies depending on the type of the training undertaking. The training for commercial flight takes more number of hours compared to the ones for the private pilot certificate. The training for commercial takes approximately a total of 76 hours and approximately less for the private pilot. This, however, maybe above the approximate in other countries across the world depending on the set limits put in place by the regulatory bodies. The hours may be broken down to 4 hours simulator ride, with about 15 minute's break, to practice primary skills, the first two are the simulators for the systematic review. The next six simulators for the procedures training, followed by the five maneuver simulators and the last six rides to simulate a real-world line of operations (Goetz et al., 2012).

9. Factors Influencing Outsourcing of Training Simulators

Some airlines have their training simulators and trainer to provide training themselves; others decide to outsource the training processes. While making such decisions, the organization need to consider factors such as cost. This is a major economic factor to every organization. The training simulators are very costly. Therefore many airlines prefer to outsource it. Others look at the long-term and opt to purchase once. The other factor that needs consideration is the technology associated with the simulators which are always changing; this obsolesce nature of the technology in line to the training simulators will make many airlines outsource the process (Brady & Stolzer). The other factor is specialty some organizations have specialized in training of personnel.

10. The Limitations of Using Only Full Flight Simulators

Use of only full flight as a training tool is not adequately appropriate. It is true that it reduces the cost of training significantly. However, failing to enable the students with the real world experience regarding the training will most likely lead to destructive results. The simulations are not always necessarily corresponding to the real world events, thus need to expose the students to real aircraft for perfect evaluation.


Abeyratne, R. (2013). Trade in Air Transport: Have We Lost Our Way. J. World Trade, 47, 633.

Anderson, H. G. Flight simulator. World War II, 1939, 45.


Goetz, S., Harrison, B., & Robertson, M. (2012). Use of Simulation in Visual Flight Training: The Effect on Time to Solo. Collegiate Aviation Review, 30(2), 1.

Hamel, P. G. (2017). Introduction. In In-Flight Simulators and Fly-by-Wire/Light Demonstrators (pp. 1-4). Springer, Cham.

Hamstra, S. J., Brydges, R., Hatala, R., Zendejas, B., & Cook, D. A. (2014). Reconsidering fidelity in simulation-based training. Academic Medicine, 89(3), 387-392.

Kaiser, M. K., & Sweet, B. T. (2013). Relating Standardized Visual Perception Measures to Simulator Visual System Performance.

Shabana, A. A. (2013). Dynamics of multibody systems. Cambridge university press.

October 05, 2023
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