VSFS Goals and Objectives
The major aim of the VSFS is to produce an educational asset to the AMME faculty. The majority of the features that have previously been developed for the simulation have all been aimed at producing an educational tool.
The VSFS is designed to be used to teach students about the mechanics of flight. It has the potential to provide students with practical experience of how aircraft control and stability is affected by altering flight characteristics and environment properties. Moreover, students can become familiar with the manoeuvrability of various aircraft, their avionics systems and the skills required to pilot aircraft with varying stability and/or atmospheric conditions.
These capabilities provide practical aspects to the third and fourth year flight mechanics courses that are beneficial to the understanding of the courses and give physical results to assignments. The 'fun factor' of this exercise may also be used to inspire budding young aerospace engineers and attract students to the university.
The updated educational capabilities of the VSFS flight simulator are used in the second semester mid-semester break in simulator week to provide third year Flight Mechanics with a chance to experience aircraft stability first hand. That is, students take the controls of the simulator as an instructor varies aircraft parameters to observe stability changes that may be difficult to conceptualise in lectures.
In addition to the application of the VSFS to AMME flight mechanics courses, the simulator offers significant potential in other areas. For instance, current post-graduate study is being performed with the aim of producing an avionics course based on the simulator systems. Other post-graduate projects involve guidance and control (landing and flight path) using visual systems - simulated with the VSFS.
Then there is one of the main objectives, which is to continue to update the VSFS systems through future thesis or masters projects. The opportunity to work on a real flight simulator, that utilises a replica Boeing 707 cockpit and 3DOF motion, is a very rare opportunity. The VSFS system provides students with the ability to undertake high class research projects that reflects real industry employment. Attributes learned and gained through interaction with a working simulator are invaluable in the growing field of flight simulation. Thesis projects available on the simulator are designed to expand a student's understanding on the practical aspects of simulation as well as continue to foster the theory behind it all.