flight simulation

How we replicate tiny details in aircraft cockpits

To the untrained eye, an aircraft cockpit can be daunting. Where do you start with so many dials, switches and levers?

That’s why simulator training is such an integral part of pilot training. You’re in an entirely realistic cockpit environment; yet have the freedom to explore the different instruments in a safe, secure – and, importantly, cost-effective – way.

Helpfully, for today’s cadets, the number of analog instruments in the modern-day cockpit has reduced significantly from those of 10 or 20 years ago. The evolution of glass cockpits, with adaptable screen displays, mean that different measurements and levels can be brought up on-screen depending on where you are in the flight: takeoff, cruise, approach or landing.

Fewer parts and more accurate data means a lighter workload for the pilot; more accurate flying; and a reduction in the aircraft’s payload and size – which leads to lower fuel consumption, and a higher ROI for the operator or airline. A win-win situation.

It’s the job of our software engineers to ensure that the digital displays in our simulators receive the same constant flow of in-flight information as in real glass cockpits. But what’s shown on these screens isn’t the whole story. Inside a replicated cockpit, visual realism is only a starting point.

The feeling, material and action of each instrument, button and knob must mimic that found in the real thing. Only by striving for 360-degree realism can these training tools help cadets develop their intuitive responses to real-life situations, built on muscle memory and high-level learning.

This is where our hardware team comes into its own. AXIS engineers replicate every single element of an aircraft’s cockpit, from the altimeter to the airspeed indicator. Crucially, they even use original parts for key areas such as flip switches or turn dials, to ensure maximum fidelity. To reduce the parts count for our simulators, we use a modular design which corresponds completely with the original cockpit, whilst simplifying maintenance procedures.

Above all, here at AXIS Flight Training Systems we are dedicated to reproducing the cockpit to an exacting standard. Because when it comes to manufacturing class-leading full flight simulators, the devil is truly in the details.