Award winning flight deck simulator featured by IMechE

Published on: 26th May 2021

The IMechE has published an article about the Future Systems Simulator (FSS) that DCA designed and built for Rolls-Royce, in collaboration with a team of leading academics from Cranfield University and experts and pilots from Rolls-Royce.

The article explains how this purpose built test bed is being used by pilots to explore new aviation scenarios of the kind that will result from the adoption of new smarter engines in the short term and revolutionary technologies like electric propulsion only a little further in the future.

The FSS has been developed to be independent of any given airframe or manufacturer, yet reassuringly familiar to those used to traditional aircraft controls. As such, it’s possible to represent anything from relatively small single seat aircraft to the largest jumbo jets.

The simulator’s pilots are provided with a panoramic view of the external world presented on a large wrap-around display. Their internal information is presented across four large touch screens and two additional smaller side screens.  They can interact with the FSS directly using the touch-screens as well as through relatively conventional repositionable side sticks and thrust levers.

The FSS is reconfigurable at both a physical and a digital level. By adjusting the seating configuration, it can accommodate a traditional pilot set up, or be used to evaluate potential future arrangements, including a single pilot with a remote co-pilot.  Different physical controls can be introduced or removed completely, while the number of screens and their locations can be changed, all within a short space of time.

The FSS is, quite simply, a researcher's dream that allows an almost endless number of experiments to be accommodated, exploring the key questions facing aviation now about its future.