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Graphical Capabilities Of Full Motion Sims  
User currently offlineBlahblah From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 1389 times:

g'day all...

i've always been curious about the graphical capabilities of the full motion simulators.
can any of you pilots give me your impressions on how they look?
also does anyone know of any sites with screenshots or photos, i know there's a few on this site, but they don't show very clearly how it looks outside the cockpit.

thanks. cya

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineSxmarbury33 From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 447 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 1348 times:

I have never flown a level D but i have heard from a lot of people the graphics of terrian are not as good as fs2000 but the graphics of the runways and approach lights vasi's/papi's are very good. There was an article in Flight international i think about the new military sims and the graphics look real good.

User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 1342 times:

Although definately not the real thing, they are quite good!

User currently offlineFLY 8 From Austria, joined Dec 2000, 329 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 1336 times:


Don´t listen what the other two have written. Don´t ask for any pictures, because there you can not see the real thing.
It´s true that the graphic is not that good, but that´s not that important. Important is the reality how the picture looks. When you get the chance to look into a simulator, do it. It´s quite of a strange view because you don´t see the sreen like in a cinema! your impression is that the sreen is 100 feet away and very huge! But in reality it´s only a few feet away from your nose. That´s called the IMAX effect. There are 4 to 5 projectors on the top of the simulator and they are producing one almost 3 dimensional picture.
Also the simulator by itself is very impressive. it´s very huge. You will see.
If you wan´t to know more about anything, just let me know!

Sincerly, Benjamin!

yes i can handle that alone. - - -famous last words
User currently offlineGate Keeper From Canada, joined Jan 2000, 176 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (15 years 5 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 1326 times:

I have had the pleasure of being a simulator trainer for some time now and the graphics are improving considerably. Here are a couple of examples: the wind sock will automatically adjust in direction and speed when winds are entered. Ground traffic like a 747 taxiing in front of you will move the blades of grass as it moves into position. The CAE simulators (I have been in them all) have the best graphics on the market. From a pilots perspective the simulator environment is looking more life like all the time.

User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (15 years 5 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 1311 times:

Just curious, how much would one of them cost about?


Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineN766AS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (15 years 5 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 1303 times:

Probably way more than you or I have, Greg!  
My uncle said he paid about $400/hour to Boeing to use one of their 747 sims at Boeing Field. So you can probably imagine how much one costs to buy!

User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3587 posts, RR: 44
Reply 7, posted (15 years 5 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1304 times:

IMHO, the quality of visual display is directly related to the mindset of the pilots flying the sim. First full motion sim I ever flew was the 2F110 (E-2C Hawkeye) in the US Navy back in 1981. Night visual only and pretty poor by today's standards. A couple of days after completing training I rode right seat for a new student (read the checklist when asked). 90 minutes into the hop the IP input an engine failure in the landing pattern. I sat as long a possible, but the student "froze" and we were going down. Eventually I took over and recovered at about 50'AGL.

How realistic was it? It was REAL and I was SCARED! Sweat... adrenalin rush... the works! Reality returned when the IP put his hand (through the curtain) on my shoulder and gently said: "...it's just a simulation."

I've flown a lot of sims since and even the old moving camera over model town visuals are realistic _if_ you go in with the attitude that you are going to fly an airplane, not just "the box."  

OTOH, if the motion doesn't match the plane or the visuals, it doesn't matter what your mindset is. One quickly knows "its just a simulation."  

*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlinePilot1113 From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2333 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (15 years 5 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1275 times:

>>OTOH, if the motion doesn't match the plane or the
>>visuals, it doesn't matter what your mindset is.

Won't you get sick from that though?

I heard that the "Back to Future Ride" at Universal Studios was off by a nanosecond (or something to that effect) and people were getting sick b/c the visuals didn't quite match the motion

- Neil Harrison

User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3587 posts, RR: 44
Reply 9, posted (15 years 5 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1269 times:

>>OTOH, if the motion doesn't match the plane or the
>>visuals, it doesn't matter what your mindset is.

>Won't you get sick from that though?

I think it depends upon the individual. The 2F100 at NAS (now MCAS) Miramar was out of sync by less than 2/1000th of a second. Took almost a year to get it fixed right (glad I wasn't debugging that program). During that time all pilots were grounded for 24 hours after flying the sim. Reason: the mismatched visual/sound/motion simulation induced vertigo in about 10% of the pilots flying it. Nobody got physically sick, but quite a few complained of headaches. Grades for flights immediately following a sim period were significantly below the norm... which lead to the initial investigation of the sim itself.

*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineWannabe From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 681 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (15 years 5 months 15 hours ago) and read 1235 times:

I've had the opportunity to spend a few hours in several of the 747 sims at the Pan Am flight center in MIA. This was in the mid-80's, and although by today's standards the graphics were not that great, combined with the motion and the sound, it was extremely realistic. When the mind is receiving realistic information from multiple sources, it will add it all up and assume it is real. As AAR90 mentioned, when I was in a "bad" situation, the adrenalin was pumping. The combination of multilpe realistic inputs, which on their own probably would not stand up to scrutiny, add up to a very realistic environment. I'm sure that the newest technologies are amazing.

User currently offlineBlahblah From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (15 years 5 months 3 hours ago) and read 1227 times:

what about the clouds? i guess they'd be done pretty nicely.
Do they do the textured cities thing ala msfs ... i really hate them from a visual point of view. how many of the buildings are in place on approaches like the old kai tak 13 approach, and what quality are the models?

Being a programmer myself who's main interest is in graphical type things (games, demos etc) i'm just curious about the techniques used when realism is the most important feature, hence wanting to see screenshots... allows me to look at them closely and see what they've done.

cheers for your anwswers!

User currently offlineQB001 From Canada, joined Apr 2000, 2053 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (15 years 5 months 2 hours ago) and read 1226 times:

Maybe I can be of some help here. I live in Montreal (YUL), that is where CAE makes these flight sims. I had a good friend of mine who worked there for a while and I even had the chance to try one of them, a MD-11 sim intended for Swissair (no motions though when I "flied" it, just the graphic).

Basicaly, every graphical detail one could think of has been taken care of. It ranges from the blue smoke coming from the a/c that landed in front of you, to sunsets, to birds flying away when you take off, to traffic jams on the highway beneath you on final approach. Sound simulation is near perfect; that is usually what impresses the pilots the most.

Also, I saw a sim session once from the exterior (I think it was a 744 for JAL, not too sure) and it's quit a show. These sims can move nearly 6m (20 ft) in all directions !!! It takes a building 3 stories high to host them.

These toys cost approximately 12 millions $(US).

Never let the facts get in the way of a good theory.
User currently offlineJetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (15 years 5 months 1 hour ago) and read 1223 times:

For what it's worth...
I've been training in state-of-the-art full motion simulators for nearly 20 years. They're very good and getting better. (And there is always some technition who has spent the time to program some fun scenarios into them - like carrier landings.) The graphics are good enough that after just a few minutes you are "mentally" in the real aircraft. However, I have a couple of problems with them:
1. They're good representations of the airplane, but they're not perfect. Usually (at least in the sims that I've trained in) the airplane seems to "fly" much better than the simulator. This is not necessarilary a bad thing. If you can "fly" the simulator well then the airplane is easy. That being said, after flying the "real" airplane for a few hundred or thousand hours those differences can become annoying.
2. For some,the computer displays can have a tendency to induce vertigo or conditions like it. For me it seems to be caused by stray light reflecting off the "windscreen" and it's especially bothersome during circling approaches and landings. Thank goodness those things aren't present in the "real" airplane.

I guess it all boils down to a question that one of my first sim instructors asked me: "Whats the difference between the simulator and the airplane?" His answer: "The airplane's more realistic."

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