Avion A320

A new perspective on pilot training

Aviation is, for good reason, a highly conservative sector. Safety is a top priority, which is why emergency training is conducted in Full Flight Simulators: precise replicas of a cockpit surrounded by a complete projection screen. This setup is placed on a Motion Platform that simulates the G-forces of the aircraft.

But even in the simulation world, where one only flies into the virtual skies, innovation seemed to be scarcely present. Startup Avion saw an opportunity to develop a flight simulator that could outperform the competition and redefine flight simulation.

The plan was ambitious: a 30% reduction in cost, a 30% reduction in weight, and a halving of operational costs. It had to be suitable for an Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 cockpit, and meeting the EASA Level-D certification: the highest level ensuring a lifelike simulation. This set of requirements meant starting completely from scratch, but Avion had a clear and strong vision: Plug & Play.

Machine or ecosystem

A conventional full flight simulator is, in fact, a complex ecosystem, consisting of a large dedicated building with a walkway on a mezzanine floor and a movable bridge for access to the simulator. It also includes an external air conditioning system that provides the simulator with fresh cool air and a separate server room where the computers controlling the simulator and projectors are located.

What if we integrate all these systems into the simulator itself? Then a simple large hall with a power connection would be sufficient. A clever idea that significantly reduces installation and operational costs but seems to contradict weight reduction. Yet, less mass means a more efficient and responsive simulator.

Apply the obvious

The solution was close at hand: apply actual aviation technology to this virtual aircraft. Instead of a heavy steel base structure, a compact mainframe made of riveted aluminum sheetmetal was chosen. This frame, together with the cockpit and all functionality, forms the basis and is a fully pre-assembled unit that fits exactly within the allowable transport width. The enclosing cabin is constructed from self-supporting lightweight composite parts. The simulator also features foldable airstairs providing easy access from ground floor, inspired by the integrated access stairs on Airbus and Boeing aircraft.

By using compact up-to-date server technology and a customized air conditioning system, these systems could be placed underneath the cockpit floor, well protected between the mainframe. Thanks to the service hatches with the smart lift system, they are still easily accessible for maintenance.

The result is a simulator with a moving mass of less than 8 tons instead of 12 tons, resulting in lower energy consumption and reduced maintenance costs. A plug-and-play simulator, quick and easy to install, without special requirements for the infrastructure.

But most importantly, the extra low cockpit position close to the Motion Platform provides even better feedback of the G-forces. An optimal simulation result through a vision from a higher perspective.