In-Flight Simulation

What is In-Flight Simulation


In-Flight Simulators, also known as Variable Stability Aircraft or Variable Response Aircraft expose pilots and engineers to different aircraft flying characteristics and flight control systems.

In-Flight Simulation Research

In-Flight simulators serve as a test bed for research and development of new flight control systems.

Fly-by-wire in UAVs and manned aircraft is changing the face of aerospace. This technology will continue to have long term impacts. UAV technologies will continue to develop and this technology will transfer to manned aircraft and the NextGen system. We understand where the future of general aviation is going and we have the research tools and expertise to get there.

Our In-Flight Simulation aircraft were originally developed by Princeton University under contract by the Naval Air Systems Command and NASA. Since then, they have safely participated in the development of modern control law applications and provided education opportunities for test pilots and engineers.

How Does It Work?

These aircraft have seating for at least a Safety Pilot and an Evaluation Pilot. The evaluation pilot interfaces with the aircraft through a control yoke or center stick. The evaluation pilot’s inputs are fed into the aircrafts variable stability computers. In addition to the evaluation pilot inputs, the variable stability computers receive inputs from a variety of aircraft sensors. The computer is also told what type of aircraft or condition it is simulating.. These three inputs allow the computer to calculate an appropriate response to actuate the control surfaces. The control surfaces are actuated hydraulically. The safety pilot is always the pilot in command of the aircraft and has direct control of the aircraft through the aircraft’s standard reversible manual controls. The safety pilot or the evaluation pilot may disengage the variable stability system (VSS) at any time. The VSS system has several safety features that will restore manual control to the safety pilot in the event of a malfunction or if system limits are exceeded. The diagram below provides an overview of how our variable stability aircraft operates.