A flight simulator is a device that artificially re-creates aircraft flight and the environment in which it flies, for pilot training, design, or other purposes. It includes replicating the equations that govern how aircraft fly, how they react to applications of flight controls, the effects of other aircraft systems, and how the aircraft reacts to external factors such as air density, turbulence, wind shear, cloud, precipitation, etc. Flight simulation is used for a variety of reasons, including flight training (mainly of pilots), the design and development of the aircraft itself, and research into aircraft characteristics and control handling qualities.
In 1910, on the initiative of the French commanders Clolus and Laffont and Lieutenant Clavenad, the first ground training aircraft for military aircraft were built. The "Tonneau Antoinette" (Antoinette barrel), created by the Antoinette company, seems to be the precursor of flight simulators.
An area of training was for air gunnery handled by the pilot or a specialist air gunner. Firing at a moving target requires aiming ahead of the target (which involves the so-called lead angle) to allow for the time the bullets require to reach the vicinity of the target. This is sometimes also called "deflection shooting" and requires skill and practice. During World War I, some ground-based simulators were developed to teach this skill to new pilots.
The best-known early flight simulation device was the Link Trainer, produced by Edwin Link in Binghamton, New York, USA, which he started building in 1927. He later patented his design, which was first available for sale in 1929. The Link Trainer was a basic metal frame flight simulator usually painted in its well-known blue color. Some of these early war era flight simulators still exist, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find working examples.
The Link family firm in Binghamton manufactured player pianos and organs, and Ed Link was therefore familiar with such components as leather bellows and reed switches. He was also a pilot, but dissatisfied with the amount of real flight training that was available, he decided to build a ground-based device to provide such training without the restrictions of weather and the availability of aircraft and flight instructors. His design had a pneumatic motion platform driven by inflatable bellows which provided pitch and roll cues. A vacuum motor similar to those used in player pianos rotated the platform, providing yaw cues. A generic replica cockpit with working instruments was mounted on the motion platform. When the cockpit was covered, pilots could practice flying by instruments in a safe environment. The motion platform gave the pilot cues as to real angular motion in pitch (nose up and down), roll (wing up or down) and yaw (nose left and right).
Initially, aviation flight schools showed little interest in the "Link Trainer". Link also demonstrated his trainer to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF), but with no result. However, the situation changed in 1934 when the Army Air Force was given a government contract to fly the postal mail. This included having to fly in bad weather as well as good, for which the USAAF had not previously carried out much training. During the first weeks of the mail service, nearly a dozen Army pilots were killed. The Army Air Force hierarchy remembered Ed Link and his trainer. Link flew in to meet them at Newark Field in New Jersey, and they were impressed by his ability to arrive on a day with poor visibility, due to practice on his training device. The result was that the USAAF purchased six Link Trainers, and this can be said to mark the start of the world flight simulation industry.
The principal pilot trainer used during World War II was the Link Trainer. Some 10,000 were produced to train 500,000 new pilots from allied nations, many in the USA and Canada because many pilots were trained in those countries before returning to Europe or the Pacific to fly combat missions. Almost all US Army Air Force pilots were trained in a Link Trainer.
A different type of World War II trainer was used for navigating at night by the stars. The Celestial Navigation Trainer of 1941 was 13.7 m (45 ft) high and capable of accommodating the navigation team of a bomber crew. It enabled sextants to be used for taking "star shots" from a projected display of the night sky.
In 1954 United Airlines bought four flight simulators at a cost of $3 million from Curtiss-Wright that were similar to the earlier models, with the addition of visuals, sound and movement. This was the first of today's modern flight simulators for commercial aircraft.
The simulator manufacturers are consolidating and integrate vertically as training offers double-digit growth: CAE forecast 255,000 new airline pilots from 2017 to 2027 (70 a day), and 180,000 first officers evolving to captains. The largest is Canadian CAE Inc. with a 70% market share and $2.8 billion annual revenues, manufacturing training devices since 70 years but moved into training in 2000 with multiple acquisitions, making more than from producing the simulators. Crawley-based L3 CTS entered the market in 2012 by acquiring Thales Training & Simulation's manufacturing plant near Gatwick Airport where it assembles up to 30 devices a year, then UK CTC training school in 2015, Aerosim in Sanford, Florida in 2016, and Portuguese academy G Air in October 2017.
With a 20% market share, equipment still accounts for more than half of L3 CTS turnover but that could soon be reversed as it educates 1,600 commercial pilots each year, 7% of the 22,000 entering the profession annually, and aims for 10% in a fragmented market. The third largest is TRU Simulation + Training, created in 2014 when parent Textron Aviation merged its simulators with Mechtronix, OPINICUS and ProFlight, focusing on simulators and developing the first full-flight simulators for the 737 MAX and the 777X. The fourth is FlightSafety International, focused on general, business and regional aircraft. Airbus and Boeing have invested in their own training centres, aiming for higher margins than aircraft manufacturing like MRO, competing with their suppliers CAE and L3.
In June 2018 there were 1,270 commercial airline simulators in service, up by 50 over a year: 85% FFSs and 15% FTDs. CAE supplied 56% of this installed base, L3 CTS 20% and FlightSafety International 10%, while CAE’s training centres are the largest operator with a 13% share. North America has 38% of the world’s training devices, Asia-Pacific 25% and Europe 24%. Boeing types represent 45% of all simulated aircraft, followed by Airbus with 35%, then Embraer at 7%, Bombardier at 6% and ATR at 3%.
Several different devices are utilized in modern flight training. Cockpit Procedures Trainer (CPT) are used to practice basic cockpit procedures, such as processing emergency checklists, and for cockpit familiarization. Certain aircraft systems may or may not be simulated. The aerodynamic model is usually extremely generic if present at all.
Statistically significant assessments of skill transfer based on training on a simulator and leading to handling an actual aircraft are difficult to make, particularly where motion cues are concerned. Large samples of pilot opinion are required and many subjective opinions tend to be aired, particularly by pilots not used to making objective assessments and responding to a structured test schedule. For many years, it was believed that 6 DOF motion-based simulation gave the pilot closer fidelity to flight control operations and aircraft responses to control inputs and external forces and gave a better training outcome for students than non-motion-based simulation. This is described as "handling fidelity", which can be assessed by test flight standards such as the numerical Cooper-Harper rating scale for handling qualities. Recent scientific studies have shown that the use of technology such as vibration or dynamic seats within flight simulators can be equally effective in the delivery of training as large and expensive 6-DOF FFS devices.
Before september 2018  when a manufacturer wished to have an ATD model approved, a document that contains the specifications for the model line and that proves compliance with the appropriate regulations is submitted to the FAA. Once this document, called a Qualification Approval Guide (QAG), has been approved, all future devices conforming to the QAG are automatically approved and individual evaluation is neither required nor available.
The actual procedure accepted by all CAAs (Civil Aviation Authorities) around the world is to propose 30 days prior qualification date (40 days for CAAC) a MQTG document (Master Qualification Test Guide), which is proper to a unique simulator device and will live along the device itself, containing objective, and functional and subjective tests to demonstrate the representativeness of the simulator compare to the airplane. The results will be compared to Flight Test Data provided by aircraft OEMs or from test campain ordered by simulator OEMs or also can be compared by POM (Proof Of Match)data provided by aircraft OEMs development simulators. Some of the QTGs will be rerun during the year to prove during continuous qualification that the simulator is still in the tolerances approved by the CAA.   
The following levels of qualification are currently being granted for both airplane and helicopter FSTD:
The largest flight simulator in the world is the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS) at NASA Ames Research Center, south of San Francisco. This has a very large-throw motion system with 60 feet (+/- 30 ft) of vertical movement (heave). The heave system supports a horizontal beam on which are mounted 40 ft rails, allowing lateral movement of a simulator cab of +/- 20 feet. A conventional 6-degree of freedom hexapod platform is mounted on the 40 ft beam, and an interchangeable cabin is mounted on the platform. This design permits quick switching of different aircraft cabins. Simulations have ranged from blimps, commercial and military aircraft to the Space Shuttle. In the case of the Space Shuttle, the large Vertical Motion Simulator was used to investigate a longitudinal pilot-induced oscillation (PIO) that occurred on an early Shuttle flight just before landing. After identification of the problem on the VMS, it was used to try different longitudinal control algorithms and recommend the best for use in the Shuttle program.
AMST Systemtechnik GmbH (AMST) of Austria and Environmental Tectonics Corporation (ETC) of Philadelphia, US, manufacture a range of simulators for disorientation training, that have full freedom in yaw. The most complex of these devices is the Desdemona simulator at the TNO Research Institute in The Netherlands, manufactured by AMST. This large simulator has a gimballed cockpit mounted on a framework which adds vertical motion. The framework is mounted on rails attached to a rotating platform. The rails allow the simulator cab to be positioned at different radii from the centre of rotation and this gives a sustained G capability up to about 3.5.
Amateur flight simulation refers to the simulation of various aspects of flight or the flight environment for purposes other than flight training or aircraft development. A significant community of simulation enthusiasts is supported by several commercial software packages, as well as commercial and homebuilt hardware.Combat flight simulation game
Combat flight simulators are simulation video games (similar to amateur flight simulation software) used to simulate military aircraft and their operations. These are distinct from dedicated flight simulators used for professional pilot and military flight training which consist of realistic physical recreations of the actual aircraft cockpit, often with a full-motion platform.
Combat flight simulation titles are more numerous than civilian flight simulators due to the variety of subject matter available and market demand. Many free flight simulators, such as Digital Combat Simulator and War Thunder, can be downloaded for free off of the Internet.FlightGear
FlightGear Flight Simulator (often shortened to FlightGear or FGFS) is a free, open source multi-platform flight simulator developed by the FlightGear project since 1997.David Murr started the project on April 8, 1996. The project had its first release in 1997 and continued in development. It has specific builds for a variety of operating systems including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, IRIX, and Solaris.
FlightGear source code is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License and is free and open-source software.
Some commercial products—Earth Flight Sim, Flight Pro Sim, Flight Simulator Plus, Pro Flight Simulator, Real Flight Simulator, Virtual Pilot 3D, and others—are copies of old versions of FlightGear, see Commercial redistribution. They are not endorsed by the FlightGear project.Flight Unlimited II
Flight Unlimited II is a 1997 flight simulator video game developed by Looking Glass Studios and published by Eidos Interactive. The player controls one of five planes in the airspace of the San Francisco Bay Area, which is shared with up to 600 artificially intelligent aircraft directed by real-time air traffic control. The game eschews the aerobatics focus of its predecessor, Flight Unlimited, in favor of general civilian aviation. As such, new physics code and an engine were developed, the former because the programmer of Flight Unlimited's computational fluid dynamics system, Seamus Blackley, had left the company.
The team sought to create an immersive world for the player and to compete with the Microsoft Flight Simulator series. Commercially, Flight Unlimited II performed well enough to recoup its development costs. Critics lauded the game's graphics and simulated airspace, and several praised its physics. However, some considered the game to be inferior to Microsoft Flight Simulator '98. Following the completion of Flight Unlimited II, its team split up to develop Flight Unlimited III (1999) and Flight Combat (later Jane's Attack Squadron) simultaneously. Both projects were troubled, and they contributed to the closure of Looking Glass in May 2000.Google Earth
Google Earth is a computer program that renders a 3D representation of Earth based on satellite imagery. The program maps the Earth by superimposing satellite images, aerial photography, and GIS data onto a 3D globe, allowing users to see cities and landscapes from various angles. Users can explore the globe by entering addresses and coordinates, or by using a keyboard or mouse. The program can also be downloaded on a smartphone or tablet, using a touch screen or stylus to navigate. Users may use the program to add their own data using Keyhole Markup Language and upload them through various sources, such as forums or blogs. Google Earth is able to show various kinds of images overlaid on the surface of the earth and is also a Web Map Service client.
In addition to Earth navigation, Google Earth provides a series of other tools through the desktop application. Additional globes for the Moon and Mars are available, as well as a tool for viewing the night sky. A flight simulator game is also included. Other features allow users to view photos from various places uploaded to Panoramio, information provided by Wikipedia on some locations, and Street View imagery. The web-based version of Google Earth also includes Voyager, a feature that periodically adds in-program tours, often presented by scientists and documentarians.
Google Earth has been viewed by some as a threat to privacy and national security, leading to the program being banned in multiple countries. Some countries have requested that certain areas be obscured in Google's satellite images, usually areas containing military facilities.History of Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator began as a set of articles on computer graphics, written by Bruce Artwick throughout 1976, about flight simulation using 3-D graphics. When the editor of the magazine told Artwick that subscribers were interested in purchasing such a program, Artwick founded subLOGIC Corporation to commercialize his ideas. At first the new company sold flight simulators through mail order, but that changed in January 1979 with the release of Flight Simulator (FS) for the Apple II. They soon followed this up with versions for other systems and from there it evolved into a long-running series of computer flight simulators.Joystick
A joystick is an input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling. A joystick, also known as the control column, is the principal control device in the cockpit of many civilian and military aircraft, either as a center stick or side-stick. It often has supplementary switches to control various aspects of the aircraft's flight.
Joysticks are often used to control video games, and usually have one or more push-buttons whose state can also be read by the computer. A popular variation of the joystick used on modern video game consoles is the analog stick. Joysticks are also used for controlling machines such as cranes, trucks, underwater unmanned vehicles, wheelchairs, surveillance cameras, and zero turning radius lawn mowers. Miniature finger-operated joysticks have been adopted as input devices for smaller electronic equipment such as mobile phones.Link Trainer
The term Link Trainer, also known as the "Blue box" and "Pilot Trainer" is commonly used to refer to a series of flight simulators produced between the early 1930s and early 1950s by the Link Aviation Devices, Inc, founded and headed by Ed Link, based on technology he pioneered in 1929 at his family's business in Binghamton, New York. During World War II, they were used as a key pilot training aid by almost every combatant nation.
The original Link Trainer was created in 1929 out of the need for a safe way to teach new pilots how to fly by instruments. Ed Link used his knowledge of pumps, valves and bellows gained at his father's Link Piano and Organ Company to create a flight simulator that responded to the pilot's controls and gave an accurate reading on the included instruments. More than 500,000 US pilots were trained on Link simulators, as were pilots of nations as diverse as Australia, Canada, Germany, [(New Zealand)], United Kingdom, Israel, Japan, Pakistan, and the USSR. Following WWII, Air Marshall Robert Leckie (wartime RAF Chief of Staff) said “The Luftwaffe met its Waterloo on all the training fields of the free world where there was a battery of Link Trainers.”The Link Flight Trainer has been designated as a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The Link Company, now the Link Simulation & Training division of L3 Technologies, continues to make aerospace simulators.List of simulation video games
This is a list of simulation games for all video game platforms.List of space flight simulator games
This is a comprehensive index of commercial, indie and freeware space flight simulator games. The list is categorized into four sections: space flight simulators, space flight simulators with an added element of combat, space combat simulators with an added element of trading, and unreleased space flight simulators.
A space flight simulator game is software that allows the operator to experience spacecraft space flight in outer space with the added elements of gameplay. There are many different types of simulators. These simulators range in purpose from pure simulation to sheer entertainment. Space flight occurs beyond the Earth's atmosphere, and space flight simulators feature the ability to roll, pitch, and yaw. Space flight simulators use flight dynamics in a free environment; this free environment lets the spacecraft move within the three-dimensional coordinate system or the x, y, and z (applicate) axis.
See Lists of video games for related lists.Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator
Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator: WWII Europe Series is the first version of combat flight simulators from Microsoft, released November 1, 1998. CFS1 is set in the European Theater of World War II.Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator (often abbreviated as MSFS or FS) is a series of flight simulator programs, marketed as video games, for the Microsoft Windows, and earlier, the MS-DOS and Macintosh, operating systems. It is one of the longest-running, best-known and most comprehensive home flight simulator programs on the market. It was an early product in the Microsoft application portfolio and differed significantly from Microsoft's other software, which was largely business-oriented. At 35 years it is the longest-running software product line for Microsoft, predating Windows by three years. Microsoft Flight Simulator may be the longest-running PC game series of all time, and has been credited with instigating the emergence of aviation-oriented joysticks as the predominant control method for PCs.Bruce Artwick began the development of the Flight Simulator in 1977. His company, subLOGIC, initially distributed it for various personal computers. In 1981, Artwick was approached by Microsoft's Alan M. Boyd who was interested in creating a "definitive game" that would graphically demonstrate the difference between older 8-bit computers, such as the Apple II, and the new 16-bit computers, such as the IBM PC, still in development. In 1982, Artwick's company licensed a version of Flight Simulator for the IBM PC to Microsoft, which marketed it as Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.00.
In 2009 Microsoft closed down the ACES Game Studio, which was the department responsible for creating and maintaining the flight simulator series. In 2014, Dovetail Games were granted the rights by Microsoft to port the Gold Edition of Microsoft's Flight Simulator X to Steam and publish the new title - Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition.Microsoft Flight Simulator X
Microsoft Flight Simulator X (abbreviated as FSX) is a 2006 flight simulation computer game originally developed by Aces Game Studio and published by Microsoft Game Studios for Microsoft Windows. It is the sequel to Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 and the tenth and most current installment of the Microsoft Flight Simulator series, which was first released in 1982. It is built on an upgraded graphics rendering engine, showcasing DirectX 10 features and was marketed by Microsoft as the most important technological milestone in the series to date. FSX is the first version in the series to be released on DVD media.
In December 2012, over six years after its release, the FSX multiplayer matchmaking system over the GameSpy network was discontinued. On July 9, 2014, Dovetail Games, the developer of Train Simulator, announced that it signed a licensing agreement with Microsoft to continue development on FSX and the production of new content. On December 18, 2014, the FSX: Steam Edition version of the simulator was made available through digital distribution via Steam. The updated release of FSX includes support for Windows 8.1 and later, along with updated hosting of FSX multiplayer features through Steam.National Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, also called the NASM, is a museum in Washington, D.C.. It was established in 1946 as the National Air Museum and opened its main building on the National Mall near L'Enfant Plaza in 1976. In 2016, the museum saw approximately 7.5 million visitors, making it the third most visited museum in the world, and the most visited museum in the United States. The museum contains the Apollo 11 command module, the Friendship 7 capsule which was flown by John Glenn, Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, the Bell X-1 which broke the sound barrier, and the Wright brothers' plane near the entrance.
The National Air and Space Museum is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and spaceflight, as well as planetary science and terrestrial geology and geophysics. Almost all space and aircraft on display are originals or the original backup craft. It operates an annex, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, at Dulles International Airport, which opened in 2003 and itself encompasses 760,000 square feet (71,000 m2). The museum currently conducts restoration of its collection at the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility in Suitland, Maryland, while steadily moving such restoration and archival activities into the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar, a part of the Udvar-Hazy annex facilities as of 2014.Orbiter (simulator)
Orbiter is a freeware space flight simulator program developed to simulate spaceflight using realistic Newtonian physics. The simulator was released on 27 November 2000; the latest edition, labeled "Orbiter 2016", was released on 30 August 2016, the first new version of the simulator since 2010.Orbiter was developed by Dr. Martin Schweiger, a senior research fellow in the computer science department at University College London, who felt that space flight simulators at the time were lacking in realistic physics-based flight models, and decided to write a simulator that made learning physics concepts enjoyable. It has been used as a teaching aid in classrooms, and a community of add-on developers have created a multitude of add-ons to allow users to fly assorted real and fictional spacecraft and add new planets or planetary systems.Shuttle (video game)
Shuttle is a 1992 space flight simulator game developed by Vektor Grafix and published by Virgin Games. It has been praised as a reasonably accurate simulation game of piloting the NASA Space Shuttle.Space flight simulation game
A space flight simulation game is a genre of flight simulator video games that lets players experience space flight to varying degrees of realism. Many games feature space combat, and some games feature commerce and trading in addition to combat.