Standard for visual models?


We train Pilots and other Crewmembers on various rotary wing aircraft for military purposes and are trying to form standards similar to the FAA... The question I have is what is the standard for visual models? While integrated with the host computer how many moving models, e.g., trucks, planes, etc., should be seen in one screen?


There are two documents that define standards for commercial helicopter simulators; FAA Advisory Circular 120-63 "Helicopter Simulator Standards", and the European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) document JAR-STD 1H "Helicopter Full flight Simulators".

The referenced documents require visual systems to contain the following features:

  • Three specific airport models for use an operator's typical route flying procedures.
  • "Capability" to present ground and air hazards.
  • Sufficient scene content to conduct training scenarios in the operator's approved training program.
  • An "operator" in this context refers to commercial entities such as an airline or corporate operator of fixed or rotary wing aircraft.

Neither document specifies a minimum or maximum quantity of moving ground and air hazards that must be displayed in a visual scene.

Operators comply with the FAA/JAA requirements for moving models (e.g., trucks, planes, etc.) with a single airborne hazard that can be selected (by the instructor) to intrude on the host airplane from any direction or altitude. Ground hazards can be selected to appear at designated locations on the airport runways, taxiways or terminal ramps. The maximum number of moving ground objects that we have seen used in a current generation visual system is four (4), although we're sure more are possible.

Visual systems that we have seen on helicopter simulators contain many more moving ground objects than those found in a typical commercial simulator. However, we are not aware of any document describing a specified quantity of objects to appear simultaneously in a visual scene (database). Decisions on required quantity of objects and scene content are usually a determined by the user's training scenarios and capability of the visual system technology to meet the specified requirement.

Evans and Sutherland, a major visual system supplier, have a product called "Harmony" undergoing testing on a network of six helicopter simulators which can be operated together. It was due to the need to network the simulators that the initial demonstration was 350 models, the capability to demonstrate 500 models displayed simultaneously, or are selectable through a lesson plan menu, is now available.

Joe DePaola - Managing Partner, Training Technology International Ltd.