FlightSafety International is here at NBAA 2013 displaying the latest step forward in its quest for truly realistic flight simulation: the Vital 1100 visual system (see it at Booth No. N1921).
Dan Myers, FlightSafety’s director of marketing for visual simulation systems, told AIN that development of the Vital 1100 came about following extensive feedback from FlightSafety customers. “We were able to provide a high-end, quality product in the previous Vital system, but customers would often suggest, ‘what if you did this?’ Our engineers ran with that,” said Myers.
As with previous FlightSafety visual systems, Vital 1100 utilizes existing commercial off-the-shelf hardware platforms that allow the company to focus on optimizing its software to take advantage of ever-advancing technologies. “With the consumer side handling the hardware, that immediately allows us to dramatically increase capability in our system while focusing on what the customer sees outside the window,” Myers noted. “We’re able to transfer additional detail and content in our database, combined with physics-based simulations that add realism.” The latter includes detailed photorealistic surface imaging and lifelike rendering of weather phenomena encountered in flight.
“We’ve been able to incorporate many physics-based aspects, such as atmospheric scattering. Sunlight and moonlight are scattered in different ways, depending on humidity, incident angle and altitude,” he added. “The Vital 1100 also recreates hail of various shapes and sizes, depending on atmospheric conditions, that also behave differently depending on prevailing conditions. When hail impacts a grounded surface like a fuselage, it may roll off that surface, melt or bounce away from it. Physics-based algorithms allow our sims to recreate that level of detail.”
Among the first applications for Vital 1100 will be two new simulators announced this week at NBAA 2013. Early next year, a full-motion Bombardier Challenger 350 simulator will be installed at the company’s Columbus, Ohio training center, with a Challenger 605 simulator following later in the fall.
In addition to displaying Vital 1100 and its other simulator technologies at NBAA 2013, FlightSafety also announced its enhanced myFlightSafety Customer Portal, allowing Part 135 clients to manage their training documents, instructor and check airmen records online. That information may also be utilized by the company’s new online reservation system, allowing FlightSafety customers to schedule a training regimen based on these records.
“Over the past several years, we’ve focused a lot of attention on improving the quality and efficiency of our training programs,” said FlightSafety spokesman Steve Phillips. “It obviously involves a lot of IT work to coordinate customers’ specific needs, including the regulations they are subject to, and tailor their training requirements accordingly. We want our customers to be able reserve their training at a specific time and center, online, much like buying an airline ticket.”
The company also announced its enhanced iPad app that provides FlightSafety clients with convenient access to pre-study and classroom course materials. The app, available for free, also includes practical information such as detailed Aircraft Walkaround Familiarization checklists highlighting key exterior aircraft components and their functions. “In addition to replacing heavy binders full of paper, any course notes taken on the iPad stay with you, even when the materials are updated,” Phillips noted, adding that all materials are fully optimized for interactive digital presentation, rather than merely being copied from existing documents.
“FlightSafety is a very accomplished manufacturer of visual systems and simulators, but above all else, our primary business is training,” Phillips concluded. “Everything we do is to improve the quality of our training. That has been our focus for 62 years, and all new technologies that we introduce support that mission.”