At AXIS Flight Training Systems we create tomorrow’s simulators for today’s training, using cutting-edge modular design. But how did we get to where we are now? To find out, let’s take a look back at the history of simulator design and the advancements that have allowed us to build today’s world-class full flight simulators…
The first ever prototype of a simulator was created in 1910 by the Antoinette company. The ‘simulator’ was made up of two mounted half sections of a barrel, which were moved manually to recreate atmospheric scenarios. The pilot sat in the top section and had to line up a reference bar with the horizon. Although this simulator – known as the ‘Tonneau Antoinette’ (Antoinette’s barrel) – was a breakthrough in simulator design, it was short-lived as the company went out of business in 1911. There is a rumored replica of the Antoinette simulator at the Airbus training centre in Toulouse, France.
Then, in 1929, Edwin Link pioneered a new training device that taught pilots how to fly by instruments. The basic set-up, which had no visual display and a simple motion platform, was revolutionary. During World War II, a version of the Link Trainer – also known as the ‘Blue Box’ – was used as a pilot training aid by almost every combatant nation. It’s now been designated as a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Despite gradual change, the next major design change came in the 1960s, when the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser simulator was manufactured. The ground simulator was unable to move and had no visual system, but the cockpit was an exact replica. Not long after this, simulators incorporated ‘up and down’ motion to mimic turbulence, takeoff and landing. In the 1970s, the industry was finally introduced to computer-generated simulators.
We have come a long way in the last 100 years and at AXIS Flight Training Systems, our full flight simulators are created and assembled with intelligence, innovation and quality in mind. When designing our simulators, we use actual aircraft parts for maximum realism; including, where available, upcycled aircraft noses to form the base of the modular design.
To ensure cadets have a realistic flying experience we use a 200 x 40 degree collimated visual system to replicate a full range of atmospheric and weather conditions. Our simulators also have the latest 60-inch stroke 6 DOF fully electric motion system and high-fidelity 16-channel 3D sound system.
There is a continuous need for improved pilot training across the globe, which is why it is so important that simulators are designed to the highest standards possible. We’re always searching for the latest research and technology to equip our simulators, so cadets can go on to become the most experienced and skilled airline pilots possible.