Full Flight Simulator Motion Is Useless


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1 hour ago, Canoehead said:

Have a read of the following paper.  I'm curious as to what other pilots on here think, especially those with instructional experience in flight simulators.

http://www.cqfayul.com/com/simulator-motion.html

 

Didn't read the full article only skimmed it at this point, but first comment would be that it is difficult to practice unusual attitudes, windshear episodes, engine failures (with associated yaw) without full motion. But what do I know.

 

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Agree that motion is a nice to have, not a need to have....BUT.....you need the fidelity of all the other attributes of a level D. The various acedemic studies are hard to argue against.

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I did instruct on the 320 for a couple of years and we used some fixed based simulation as well as the simulator. There is a huge difference and benefit to having full simulation. In an emergency part of dealing with the situation mentally is to be aware of aircraft movement, sounds and the whole environment of what is happening. The simulator does a much better job of preparing the trainee for that. 

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have you flown the full flight sim while doing steep turns and unusual attitudes with the motion off?  How long was it before you puked?

With the motion on you brain does not get as confused. 

 

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25 minutes ago, boestar said:

have you flown the full flight sim while doing steep turns and unusual attitudes with the motion off?  How long was it before you puked?

With the motion on you brain does not get as confused. 

 

Yes, I have...never got sick

The brain can get confused whether motion is on or off...spatial vertigo.......Over coming that is difficult but you can, if you  glue your eyes on the instruments and believe what they are telling you. I don't think there is a pilot alive that has not encountered  vertigo and that is why extreme unusual attitude recovery is taught in the RCAF in the aircraft, in the Sim, motion on and motion off.

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I think full-motion is necessary to simulate 3-axis acceleration forces which cues in situational awareness. Most here would know already, but acceleration for takeoff would have the sim pointing slightly up, deceleration slightly down, engine/power loss would be slight lateral forces, slight decelerations, etc.

So it isn't simulating "flight", it's simulating forces felt, and where the sim is observed from outside might be counter-intuitive to what's going on inside!

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Thank you Canoehead for allowing this discussion to occur. This group of professionals is refreshingly civilized. 

The comments above, referring to skills and abilities acquired during simulator sessions, are correct. There is abundant, solid and unrefuted scientific evidence that students learn how to control a simulator more quickly if it has motion. Instructors feel rewarded when their trainees meet the performance criteria at the end of the lesson. Everybody is elated and all praise the device. It works!

So, what's wrong with this picture?

The fundamental test for any training device is whether the learner will perform better on the job, in real life, because you used that training device. The question is not whether pilots will learn faster to fly the training device. 

The problem with simulator motion, is that pilots trained without it perform just as well on the line. Hundreds of very serious, well designed studies were conducted all around the world, and failed to demonstrate transfer of learning of motion systems. Some studies were funded by simulator makers. Instructional Return On Investment studies involving military, civilian, fixed wing, helicopter.

A whole industry bombarded us with marketing pitches for decades, making Regulators to mandate motion in training standards, forcing the airlines to pay for it. Then you add this comment from Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman: "A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. Authoritarian institutions and marketers have always known this fact. People tend to assess the relative importance of issues by the ease with which they are retrieved from memory—and this is largely determined by the extent of coverage in (our lives)." 

The FFS sold today are fantastic engineering achievements. The engineers making them are smart and motivated. I don't feel sorry if they end up losing some market segments. They are brillant and used to invent stuff, they will adapt. But I am sorry if the ton of evidence rocks your beliefs. The day a solid transfer of learning study will document a benefit of training with motion, and that reasonable cost/benefit relationship is established, I swear to change my mind and to write about it. 

But for the time being, Regulators cannot continue forcing airlines to spend billions of dollars on motion. EASA is the first regulator to understand this: They just announced dropping all requirements for motion for all type-rating training and recurrent training. By the end of this year, Transport Canada will announce new guidelines for the use of FTDs.

Ideally, you should not trust me or our paper. Read some of the references listed at the bottom of the article. Each article will list even more references. These are all peer-reviewed articles. Begin with the excellent FAA Bürki-Cohen 2011 article. I will add that what comes to mind when I read your comments, is how dedicated you are to better training. Collectively, we need to remind ourselves that instructors, not simulators, teach.

Thank you for your time. Regards from Montreal

 

Jean LaRoche, FRAeS
First author of the article

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5 hours ago, Jean LaRoche said:

Thank you Canoehead for allowing this discussion to occur. This group of professionals is refreshingly civilized.

I agree; many respectable contributors, many I've admired here for about 24 years. And hopefully more will weigh in here.  I'm glad to see you join in.

Disclaimer; Mr. LaRoche and I have previously exchanged some differing opinions "elsewhere".  I respect the work and research he and his writing partner have done, even though I disagree with some key components to the article.  However one thing we fully agree on though is the need for high quality teachers (instructors) in simulators as a major factor in successful learning.

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2 hours ago, Canoehead said:

I agree; many respectable contributors, many I've admired here for about 24 years. And hopefully more will weigh in here.  I'm glad to see you join in.

Disclaimer; Mr. LaRoche and I have previously exchanged some differing opinions "elsewhere".  I respect the work and research he and his writing partner have done, even though I disagree with some key components to the article.  However one thing we fully agree on though is the need for high quality teachers (instructors) in simulators as a major factor in successful learning.

A capable and knowledgeable instructor is paramount, not just on the aircraft being taught, but on the operation and intricacies of the simulator itself. For some guys/gals it just "flows" and is very enjoyable, for others not so much as it is a struggle for them, and becomes a struggle for the candidate as well. 

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This is an interesting subject.  For me as a pilot, motion is part of feeling the aircraft and how it moves through space.  For example a positive wind gust on approach and the aircraft pitch attitude decreases ( Pitch down) .  The wind drops and the pitch attitude increases. (Pitch up) You can actually feel what the aircraft is doing before the airspeed change is registered.  In fact if you watch closely, and are flying with an experienced pilot, you will notice many will start to override the auto thrust in anticipation of what the aircraft is doing, solely based on what they are feeling.  Some don’t even realize they are doing it.

Engine failures.  You will feel it before you see it is another example.

As a pilot no one will be able to tell me that being able to feel the aircraft isn’t a large part of flying.

But maybe I’m speaking more to the art of flying.  Kinda like driving a standard.  You get smoother as you get used to the feel of the clutch.  But does smoother translate into better?
 

 

 

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As a pilot no one will be able to tell me that being able to feel the aircraft isn’t a large part of flying.

Hi Turbofan,

The pinnacle importance of feeling the aircraft in flight is the reason why synthetic motion was questioned from day one. Solid empirical data show that training to react to synthetic motion cues and feeling the aircraft in flight don't always line up. Pilots trained without synthetic motion systematically perform just as well in the aircraft. It's got to be embarrassing, to say the least, when billions are spent on 6 DOF platforms. Could the billion dollars be spent differently? Did motion platforms contribute in reducing CFITs? Did it help the AF447 pilots?

Could motion be useful (to a degree) for ab initio training, but counter-productive to type-rate experienced pilots? How about for recurrent, active line pilots?

A few minutes ago, a senior regulator just wrote me this private message:

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If I may, at the risk of sounding like a CF-18 snob but in the spirit of peer review, I would add that the pinnacle of aviation is fighter aviation, where maneuvers, the envelope, the feel and the need to maintain situational awareness are maximum. And yet, the simulation is done on fixed platforms. So, if fighter pilots can benefit from excellent non-motion simulation training, why then would pilots who never exceed 1.4G or 45 degrees of bank need it?

 

Food for thought.

Thank you for allowing this exchange of ideas happen.

 

Regards.

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1 hour ago, Jean LaRoche said:

RE PM..............If I may, at the risk of sounding like a CF-18 snob

Your words, not mine🤨

 

1 hour ago, Jean LaRoche said:

RE PM..........I would add that the pinnacle of aviation is fighter aviation, where maneuvers, the envelope, the feel and the need to maintain situational awareness are maximum.

I call BS...You may feel the pinnacle of aviation is fighter aviation but there are literally thousands of pilots who think otherwise. Yes, whiz- bang aviation is fun but for the most  part but the string on your aircraft is only a few hundred miles long and then it is back to home base......almost everyday.

Try world wide transport.For example....  Calgary one night, three nights in Hawaii and then home...destinations around the world every month..

Maximum situational awareness...... ever flown in a three plane formation ..... C-130 night mission, LOW LEVEL and maintained position cross cockpit with the lead??? Do you not feel that "situational awareness" is at maximum when flying any aircraft type, helos included, when configured for what could be classified as a high stress mission? Hopefully all pilots maintain situational awareness no matter their mission and when operationally required that function may go up a notch or two. 

The fact that you can fly your aircraft type without Sim motion is the manner that was chosen for your aircraft, but comparing  the flight characteristics of a "fighter" vs a "trash hauler", ( "G" loading/normally,less bank angle) really does not bolster your argument.

IMO the important feature of the SIM is the visualization, (out the widow) that is available, to the pilot. Remember transport aircraft do not have a big glass bubble surrounding them, allowing almost 360 degrees of vision. They have two forward windows and perhaps one side window and most of every SIM mission is flown at night, and IFR. In some SIM exercises SIM motion highlights a problem and results in quicker action by the crew. I don't think there can be any real comparison between an F-18 SIM mission and a transport aircraft SIM session. The F-18 missions , I'm guessing, have  more to do with combat tactics  whereas transport SIM sessions have much more to do with in-flight emergencies. Whether that statement has any bearing on motion or non-motion SIMS...I do not know.

Perhaps non-motion SIMS will eventually rule the world and like you, my points are merely opinions based on my flight path through my aviation career.  

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Debating the "pinnacle of aviation".......in a discussion about simulators no less.....wow.....no irony there.

I have done a lot of sims,,,,a real lot....and have often thought that motion was overused and in some cases actually hindered the training objectives. However, I would take any advice from a military pilot with a grain of salt because during my time we were allowed to use the aircraft as a training aid (pounding the circuit, pulling engines to idle on the unsuspecting student in all flight phases etc, etc.) so having motion in the sim was a luxury. In the airline world I would suggest there is a need for full axis motion even if the "feel" is not completely accurate. But I admit there were times I didn't use it if I thought the session would benefit as a result. I believe there  could be a case for a broader mix of cheaper fixed base "simulators"  along with the full motion variety. Beware though....... training cost cutting or cost "transfers" should never be underestimated as a causal factor in leading training experts astray. 

Jean, your reference to AF447 could indeed be pertinent in this discussion. The accident may have been prevented if the pilots had been trained to identify and recover from unusual attitudes in a simulator that was able to replicate leaving controlled flight, the rougher the motion the better training it would be. This was a weakness in all airline training I have experienced.  I don't spend much time with professional pilots now so the training may have improved. I am thankful that I received a good variety of unusual attitude training during my military time.

With due respect, the comments from your "senior regulator" would suggest to the great unwashed, of which I am a member. that he may suffer from tunnel vision and also may have lost full situational awareness which is not unheard of in the regulator breed of pilot. Perhaps the quote was taken out of context. 

"The minute someone feels it is necessary to inform you that they are a fighter pilot they are no longer a fighter pilot."  A quote from an old man in the 439 Sqn dining room in the south dispersal Baden circa 1974, so long ago that I had to change the pronoun from "he" to the more inclusive "they" and that is a good thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sure seems intuitive for most pilots that motion should be better, but it seems credible to me that the benefit is illusory. I spent a few years SIM-instructing, and more than once was alerted by a super-smooth landing that we'd been sitting firmly on the blocks, motion-off. Both the candidates and myself none the wiser until touchdown.

Not surprised if fighter sims are fixed-base. Pretty hard to simulate the motion of 360 degrees pitch change through inverted :103:. Curious, do any carriers here do unusual-attitude/upset recovery with motion on?

(and yeah, a lot of 'Gods-gifted' self-confidence in that there PM ;))

Cheers, IFG :b:

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13 minutes ago, IFG said:

Sure seems intuitive for most pilots that motion should be better, but it seems credible to me that the benefit is illusory. I spent a few years SIM-instructing, and more than once was alerted by a super-smooth landing that we'd been sitting firmly on the blocks, motion-off. Both the candidates and myself none the wiser until touchdown.

Gosh, thank you for triggering a memory or two. Yes, I remember forgetting to put the motion on and nobody noticing or at least pretending not to if it was a check ride.  It happened more often than I would like to admit although I did get better at recognizing that the motion was off. 

 Perhaps the benefit of motion is indeed illusory.

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On 2/11/2021 at 11:34 PM, Dave Buggie said:

Gosh, thank you for triggering a memory or two. Yes, I remember forgetting to put the motion on and nobody noticing or at least pretending not to if it was a check ride.  It happened more often than I would like to admit although I did get better at recognizing that the motion was off. 

 Perhaps the benefit of motion is indeed illusory.

I remember being guilty of that a few times myself. Even did it with an inspector on board doing my recurrent monitor.

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A very interesting article discussing efforts in Europe to enhance hexapod and centrifugal simulators in SUPRA. The information on the improvements made in motion cueing is particularly relevant to this thread. 

Final report summary on the simulation of upset recovery in aviation (SUPRA) https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/233543/reporting

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Authors:

Hence, a centrifuge-type simulator seems to have potential to familiarize airline pilots with the physical demands during upset recovery in a transport cockpit environment, and demonstrate the effects on their spatial orientation, situational awareness and control behavior. 


Great article! Thank you. Good read.

Wouldn't it be great if we could experience this periodically, say, every 3 years or so? Of course, serious aerobatics training as part of the CPL course would also go a long way.

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