Next-Gen Motion Technology Improving Performance
With the introduction of second-generation electric motion systems for full flight simulators and the further refining and improvement of FFS performance, training devices are becoming more capable of replicating actual aircraft performance. Chuck Weirauch writes.
new means of evaluating motion performance could be the means to improve the fidelity of simulators to match that of the aircraft dynamics even more. According to Nidal Sammur, FlightSafety International's director of Engineering for Simulation, the company has been working extensively on its second generation of electric motion systems to make them easier to set up and operate. The redesign of some components includes improved diagnostics for maintenance and setup with fewer steps, along with an advanced communication infrastructure, all of which makes the second generation system more robust than the first one. According to Mitesh Patel, L-3 UK's head of Product Line Management, one of the full flight simulator manufacturer's main areas of focus is on improving the diagnostics in the motion system. One of the reasons is because the company has seen a reduction in the experience and skills level of the technicians that maintain those simulators. "In the past, we have had more experienced engineers working at our customers' facilities," said Patel. "What we have seen going forward is that technicians' skills are not as highly developed as they used to be in the past. These newer technicians rely more on diagnostics to tell what is going on, so we spent a lot of time developing a more robust diagnostics tool so those with limited experience can get our flight simulators back in operation if there is something wrong." According to Jim Takats, president of Opinicus, there are some ongoing advances in the motion hardware which relate 14
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largely to improvement to the motion legs with respect to maintenance, reliability, quality control and other factors. As electric motion system hardware has been fielded for about seven years now, feedback from the users' maintenance departments are being listened to by industry, and improvements are being incorporated into the motion system hardware. "From a performance standpoint, Opinicus has developed motion cabinets to drive both legacy hydraulic motion systems, as well as new electric motion systems," Takats said. "This system is called REALCue. Opinicus is focusing our efforts on enhancements to the REALCue motion drive algorithms called oEMDS, which execute at 2000Hz. Our latest generation of oEMDS provides for optimization of the available workspace, using specially designed predictive software which provide for a continuous, real-time optimization of the motion system positioning in order to maximize the available workspace for upcoming maneuvers. This is particularly important
Above Opinicus ODYSSEY 10 Simulator with REALCue electric motion. Image credit: Opinicus Corp. Opposite One of L-3 Link UK's main areas of focus is on improving the diagnostics in the motion system. Image credit: L-3 Link UK.
The Journal for Civil Aviation Training.