IS HIGH FIDELITY FLIGHT SIMULATION NECESSARY FOR AIRLINE PILOT TRAINING?
One of the difficulties when objectivity looking into defining the levels of fidelity required in training simulations is that simulators are frequently seen as replacements for training that previously would have been conducted on the real equipment. The perception therefore is that the simulation should be as close as possible to the “real deal” in order to successfully replace it. However, the genuine advantage of using simulation in training is that where the actual equipment is designed for real operations, a training simulator can be designed to meet specific training needs without unnecessarily extending the fidelity of the simulation. A vital aspect of any effective simulation based training is the impression of high fidelity. Typically, research and development in relation to simulation fidelity has focused on achieving high levels of visual, kinesthetic and functional realism. While this approach has produced significant advancements in simulator based training, there remains a need to ensure training is responsive to the real operational needs of an organization. This paper examines the nature of airline training requirements and aims to determine if high fidelity simulation is a necessity to meet those requirements.
Table of Contents
Vision and Motion
Review of Relevant Literature
Arguments persist that curbing the required fidelity of any training simulation will provide similar training benefits as well as financial relief and so should be considered. For example, does adding moving traffic on the freeways of a visual flight simulation increase the value and fidelity of the simulation? Can adding wipers and rain droplets to the forward windscreen display assist the pilot in learning to fly a CAT III approach? Does simulator motion do anything for transfer of training effectiveness? It is at this stage of the training solution design that the balancing of cost and training effectiveness specific to the particular program can best be conducted. This process forms part of the cost benefit phase of the training needs where the issues of state of the art fidelity can be addressed. The scope of technology applied to all aspects of a training solution needs to be matched to the training need. For simulation this includes both the trainings objectives and the enabling objectives assigned to the simulator, as well as the level of fidelity needed to achieve them. One must be aware of the possibility of negative training with a device that may be too complicated, even if the budget allows. Could it be that high fidelity equipment is not required for successful airline pilot training?
A vital element of simulation effectiveness is the level of fidelity achieved through the simulation. Before discussing the importance of high fidelity for training simulations it is necessary to clarify what is actually meant by the term “fidelity”. Fidelity, as defined for this paper, is the degree of similarity between the training situation and the operational situation being simulated. This definition can be approached from a number of perspectives. The Royal Navy has grouped fidelity under these three types (Bresee & Wagner, 1993): •
Physical – spatial, tactile and appearance
Functional – format, content and response
Environmental – sound, motion and ambience
Arguments exist regarding the suitability of placing high fidelity paraphernalia in each of these areas. Therefore, each type should be considered separately when it comes to defining the requirements for a training simulator. It is not necessarily the case that the same level of fidelity is required across the board. The levels of fidelity required can be...
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