Aviation Cultures Spotlight Simulating Aviation

Simulating Aviation for Fun and Profit

Simulation has been used in aviation from the very earliest days, initially for teaching pilots the rudiments of controlling an aeroplane in flight on the ground before taking their first hops into the air. The uses of simulation quickly expanded to include training in navigation, gunnery, bombing and instrument flight. In later times simulators evolved from generic procedural trainers to highly realistic representations of specific aircraft. Simulation in aviation has also expanded to include, among others, testing and research, operational training, air traffic services, ramp safety, recruiting and gaming. Increasing technical capability has led more recently to virtual- and mixed-reality, networked simulation. These days simulation is all-pervasive in aviation. Why is this so, and how has it come about? Why do we simulate in aviation, both professionally and for fun? How much realism is enough? Where is simulation in aviation going? These are some of the questions we’ll be discussing at the Aviation Cultures Spotlight Simulating Aviation for Fun and Profit. We have an international panel of distinguished speakers to provide their perspectives on these questions and our audience will also have a chance to join in the discussion through questions to our panel.

Join us on Thursday 17 February at 1830 AEDT (0730 GMT) for
our FREE online Aviation Cultures Spotlight, Simulating Aviation for Fun and Profit!
The Spotlight will be held on Zoom: please register here, before the event.

Going nowhere fast: a supersonic history of flight simulation in Australia
Dr Peter Hobbins, Australian National Maritime Museum

For nearly a century, Australians have attempted to replicate flight without leaving the ground. As early as 1931, Qantas explored importing an early form of flight simulator as an ‘amusement’ to increase airmindedness. Just three decades later, they convinced the Department of Civil Aviation to accept that training completed in its Lockheed Electra simulator could be substituted for real flying hours. So why was it that in 1981, the Royal Australian Air Force still struggled to accurately reproduce operational sorties in its F-111 simulator? Take a supersonic journey through the local history of ‘sims’ to explore some common themes – and few quirks along the way.

How real is real enough? Simulation in aviation research
Dr Chris Best, Defence Science and Technology Group (Australia)

Simulator fidelity can be loosely defined as the degree to which a simulation environment replicates reality. When using simulation to address research questions relating to human performance, it is often necessary to consider the role of fidelity carefully, as it is just one of several factors that determine the utility of the research environment. In this presentation, I will discuss some of the key factors that should be taken into account when designing experiments in order to balance fidelity against other characteristics of the research environment. To illustrate different solutions within the trade-space I will describe examples of human-in-the-loop research undertaken within the Aerospace Division of the Defence Science and Technology Group.

Digital combat simulacra: divergent realities of air power doctrine in Second World War simulation and gaming
Henry Vinson, University of Kent (UK)

This presentation explores several intriguing examples of how developers and players of popular flight simulators and games interpret, represent, and interact with historical air power doctrine, through design, gameplay, and mechanics.