Getting a new full flight simulator ready for training means going through a list of processes and following a check-list of requirements. The full flight simulator assembling process requires extremely experienced professionals who know the exact place of where every tiny piece of a full flight simulator goes. Today SimHelp is pleased to share CAE expert’s, Dominic Beliveau, Integration Specialist insights and recommendations about the new full flight simulator assembly in a training facility.
1. Before the full flight simulator arrives, the aviation training center must arrange the facility where the simulator will be placed. One of the best known requirements is from EASA regulations. We received the first simple yet so useful tip from the FFS expert: “contact the FFS manufacturer”. This basic step of getting in touch with the provider will provide unique knowledge about all of the special requirements for the training center facility before the assembling begins.
Notably, according to the agreement between the manufacturer and the training center, as well as the shipping method, the full flight simulator can be delivered in ready-to-collect parts. “The logistics depends on the agreement between the buyer and the manufacturer.
2. As soon as the simulator arrives, the assembling can begin. The cabin montage is the first phase in this process. Dominic mentions that this process usually takes a couple of days if some of the FSTD parts were already combined in the factory.
3. The next step is to prepare the visual system. The expert mentions that the latest FFSs are equipped with innovative visual systems which create the highest level of realism and improves pilot training and enhances safety. For example, CAE has recently installed a new CAE 7000XR Series Boeing 737 NG full flight simulator and is equipped with CAE Tropos™ 6000XR visual system at the BAA Training Center. The FFS has new light points rendering which provides an effective training environment during critical training operations. The latest visual system also has shadow and lighting features which enhanced training realism.
4. In order to prepare and install the visual system, the team starts to build a special mirror screen. The CAE engineer points out that this is the most sensitive and mastery requiring job during the assembling process. Have you heard that just a few experts in the world can do this special job? These are not rumors, it’s true. The special CAE team are travelling around the world to do their highly-skilled work where CAE simulators are placed. Why is it so exceptional? The mirror screen for example is very easy-to-break and could be damaged simultaneously simply from a random move or even if a small bee was to fly inside the facility.
5. “The next phase of motion (actuators) legs montage is less sensitive compared to the mirror montage in terms of breaking”, the expert says. Nevertheless, this process needs attention to detail as the FFS motion legs must be centered and aligned according to the exact FFS position as planned. The motion system is responsible for producing the realistic feeling of takeoffs, landings and turbulence while flying, thus, its placing is important because of fitting in the FFS envelope. CAE’s Integration Specialist comments that special forklifts, which are used in the airports’ hangars to lift the plane for repairing, are used to lift the simulator cabin up on the motion legs.
6. The engineer notes that the next step of assembling a FFS is the bridge montage and it comes as one more test whether the motion legs have been placed as planned since this part connects the FFS cabin with the facility.
7. Once the hardware has been installed, it’s time for software installation. The heart of the entire system is the host computer. This computer is responsible for interacting with all the avionics hardware, motion and visual systems as well as simulating the aircraft’s aerodynamics. The engineer says that it’s important to plan the right place for the host computer as the closer it is to the FFS, the better they communicate. The cables at the host computer should be around 30 meters from FFS.
8. When the hardware and software have been installed, the FFS assembling process turns to the next phase of examination and evaluation. The brand new full flight simulator must be tested and certified before it is ready to be used for training. We asked how many tests are usually carried out for the brand new simulator and the FFS expert counts up to 250-300 tests which are meant to check FFS hardware, motion system, host computer, software, avionics as well as look for mirror screen defects, etc. The FFS engineer notes that some of the tests are performed by specially trained test pilots. They are the first ones to sit in the cockpit and check if the training device works as expected. Are you wondering how long it takes to carry out all of these tests? “If all goes as successfully as planned, it takes just a week”, says the CAE specialist.
9. The brand new training device has to pass the Qualification Test Guide (QTG). It’s a set of tests to set up the primary evaluation QTG document and later it will be used for annual flight simulator training device (FSTD) evaluation. “The first time, FSTD is compared with the real airplane functions to create the QTG. Later it will be compared with the first and previous year FSTD evaluation data”, tells Dominic Beliveau.
10. After a week of tests, performed by FFS specialist team, the next evaluation level to get FSTD approved is the Civil Aviation Administration (CAA) tests for getting its approval. CAA carries out a number of tests for Master Qualification Test Guide. As the specialist points out, if all tests have been successful during the montage stages, getting the CAA approval is not so complicated. “When the training device receives CAA approval, it’s ready to be used in pilot training”, says the expert.
Aviation is all about safety. FSTD preparation for training must be done by professionals and this process must come together with internationally approved safety regulations. It’s imperative to meet them and get the approvals needed to use the FFS for training.