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Flightsim is a stimulating program that is extensively used by the aviation industry for training pilots. However, another popular usage of flight simulation is the numerous arrays of computer games. Since, flightsims try to replicate the experience of flying an aircraft, the youngsters take loads of fun in playing their video games. Flightsim is also helpful for the aviation and aerospace industry, as it is used for training and also testing, verification and development of flight hardware and cockpit.

History of flight simulation

The use of flightsim dates back to 1910 when a flight simulator was built by using a section of barrel mounted on a hoop. The Link Trainer was one of the most popular aircraft simulators, which was subsequently remodeled during World War II and used extensively for pilot training purposes. In 1941, the Celestial Navigation Trainer was built which was capable of accommodating even a bomber crew.

Built in 1948, The Stratocruiser, another flightsim made it to the headlines by being the first simulator to be owned by an airline. In 1950s, the full motion system came into being and in the 1960s; the first digital computers were used in a flightsim. A motion flightsim that housed a cockpit within a metal framework was built in 1954 and 1977 witnessed the beginning of flightsims made higher technologies.

The present scenario of flightsims

The present scenario is quite different. Now you can find different categories of flightsims, are used by pilot trainees. They range from system trainers to six degree of freedom motion flightsim.  The aircrafts of today are complex devices and the pilot must possess high technical and piloting skills to operate them.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a regulatory governmental body certifies a flightsim based on its matching performance with an airplane. Approval Test Guide (ATG) and Qualified Test Guide (QTS) are the test guides based on which the testing requirements are verified. The flightsims are then classified as Level 1-7 flight training services or level A-D full flight simulators.

The different uses of flightsim

The pilots are given training by the system trainers. After the pilots become familiar with the system operations, they are taught about the cockpit procedure. Here the fixed based devices are the replicas of an aircraft. The environment within it is exactly duplicated and the different sounds, light and the visual system are made the same. Here the pilots can experience natural jolts similar to the jolts in an aircraft. However, the motion of the flightsim does not copy the motion of the aircraft.

The common manufacturers of flight simulators are CAE INC., Flight safety International (USA), Thales Training and Simulation (France). Flightsims are used for research in various aerospace subjects. In a flightsim, an instructor can have all the facilities. This is known as Instructor Operating Station (IOS). With the help of an IOS, the instructor can create normal and abnormal conditions in the simulated aircraft.

Big companies have started building the next generation flightsim with higher technology and ample facilities. One such flightsim, like the Desdemona flightsim is built by the AMST system Tecnik (Austria) and TNO Human factor (Netherland). It provides sustainable G-force simulation with unlimited rotational freedom. Mimicker is another flightsim built by the Moran Simulation. This simulator can use all available floor space for maximum horizontal motion. Simulation kinetics is creating a flightsim, which uses spherical capsule.

The unending research and development aimed towards developing the perfect flightsim will prepare the pilots for all contingencies.
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