The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) Institute of Flight Systems in Braunschweig is home to the Air Vehicle Simulator (AVES) large-scale facility; it consists of two high-quality systems for aircraft and helicopter simulation, as well as a passenger cabin with a virtual exterior view. Researchers use the accurately replicated flight decks of an A320 aircraft and an EC135 helicopter to investigate how pilots cope with new flight technologies. The simulator can also be used to improve pilot training.
Researching how today’s pilots and passengers will fly tomorrow
The large-scale facility is equipped with state-of-the-art research and simulation systems that allow pilots and researchers to observe a 240-degree field of view and experience almost real-world flight conditions. Its impressive projector system, motion platform and adaptability make AVES unique within the global research landscape, allowing pilots and passengers to undertake flights as they would under real-world conditions, without actually taking off.
In addition, the facility can be very easily modified; specific features of different aircraft can be replicated with a high degree of accuracy by quickly adapting the software and changing the flight deck layout. Using software, the dynamic behaviour of the simulated aircraft, all flight deck displays, sounds, vibrations, movements and virtual exterior views can be adjusted based on specific experimental requirements.
Consequently, AVES enables a whole-system approach to exploring the future of flight – it addresses the following questions:
- How much additional information and technology can today’s airline pilots tolerate?
- How can aircraft noise be minimised?
- What are the benefits of active side sticks in a helicopter?
- How acceptable are completely new control concepts (for example, using a steering wheel)?
- How easy is it to operate new configurations, such as flying wings or combinations of fixed and rotary wings?
- How can passenger comfort be further improved and how can the fear of flying be reduced?