Art of selection
The training of military pilots is an extremely costly and lengthy process. Therefore proper selection of candidates for pilots is very important to invest in training persons who through natural predispositions are particularly suited to the profession of a military pilot.
The selection of candidates for pilots is a multi-faceted task involving mental and physical predisposition test as well as the test of theoretical knowledge and practical skills of the candidate. The selection process requires a medical examination, psychological and practical tests. To meet the needs of the Polish Air Force ETC-PZL Aerospace Industries company has designed and built the Selector device which permits to carry out objective tests of candidates and automate the process of evaluation of their suitability for the job.
Many in one
To meet the needs of the Polish Air Force Academy in Dęblin, training pilots of different specialties, the Selector system allows the test of candidates for pilots of both aircraft and helicopters. Such versatility is possible thanks to the modular design of the device, which permanent elements are a spherical projection system with a wide field of view and an instructor station, while the cockpits, corresponding to different aircraft are interchangeable. In addition, each of the cockpits has the ability to easily exchange reproducing elements of different generation aircraft (analog or digital instruments). In the case of an aircraft it is possible to apply both the central stick and the side one. Imitation of analog instruments through the images displayed on the LCD screens accordingly allows, by way of software configuration and change of bezels, tuning of the system of instruments, depending on the hardware configuration of the cockpit.
The course of an exercise is supervised by an instructor having at his disposal comfortable station to provide him a full view of the situation on six monitors. Moreover, due to the additional control devices the instructor can play the role of a pilot of another aircraft moving in the same virtual space as the trainee. The system imposes no restrictions on the number of operated cockpits. Each cockpit is equipped with its own computer controlling the cockpit equipment and simulating on-board installations, the aircraft flight dynamics, sound effects and the pilot’s communication with the instructor.
Replacing the cockpit is a very simple activity. By equipping cockpits with wheels, setting them in the operating position does not require much effort and can be done by one person. Connecting the cockpit to the system is done using only two leads – power and communication. The duration of the cockpit exchange by one person does not exceed 15 minutes.The cockpits are equipped with consoles connected to the system via USB connectors, which allows for easy maintenance of damaged items or change in the cockpit equipment to the one that better suits the user.
Not just flying
A unique feature of the Selector system, which distinguishes it to other simulators, is the ability to conduct psychological testing of candidates for pilots in conditions as close as possible to the actual flight. To accomplish this task, the system was equipped with special software for testing during the simulated flight. The software uses the simulator’s projection system and the cockpit equipment to carry out the test tasks. The commands are displayed on the multifunction dislplays in the cockpit and uttered by a speech synthesizer, so that the pilot could hear them through the headphones. The pilot responds to commands using the buttons on the stick or the buttons surrounding the multi-function screens. Psychological tasks are to choose one of the many given options, performing simple arithmetic operations or recognizing shapes, and the performance of these tasks is done in parallel with piloting the aircraft. The system also provides tasks related to flying aircraft, such as the chase for maneuvering or not maneuvering aircraft, a cross-country flight through a “tunnel” delineated in the air with colorful frames or landing with use of the ILS.
Analysis of the results
The Selector system’s software allows clear presentation of the exercise results. It is also possible statistical analysis of conducted flights parameters, preliminary assessment of results and generating the reports enabling comparisons of the individual candidate’s performance with the group’s results. In addition, thanks to the camera mounted in the cockpit and connected to a video recorder, in evaluation of a candidate, it is also possible to film him during exercises.
Continuous selection process
In aviation, the selection process takes place during the whole life of a professional pilot. The Selector System allows continuing the pilot selection process at a later stage of learning. Training cockpits are so simple in operating that allow to make uncomplicated flight by a not prepared person, and yet so developed that allow for more advanced training, necessary for the later stages of pilot education. The system allows familiarizing with the operation of head-up display (HUD), multi-function displays and HOTAS system (to control a plane without taking hands off the throttle and stick). Simulation models allow to get acquainted with flight characteristics of the simulated aircraft and helicopters and training in more difficult flight elements such as take off, landing, hovering and flights in difficult navigation conditions.
More than selection
The system is equipped with a visualization database of a real terrain covering any large area. The visualization database is built based on the elevation model of the Earth and satellite imagery. The areas with greater detail are made in the form of three-dimensional models covered by photo-textures brought by photographing real objects. The database allows navigation flights trainings or flight trainings according to landform features. Precise mapping of the selected actual airfield areas actual allows familiarizing with the conditions landing approach there. The degree of reality of visualization effects can be intensified by changing the time of day and season of the year (with a corresponding arrangement of celestial bodies) and change in weather conditions (cloud cover, precipitations).
The complementary to the visualization database is a navigation aids database that allows for training instrument flights (IFR) and navigation flights. Therefore the system can also be used for air (flight) training.
More than one
The “Selector” system allows flying in formations with other aircraft, computer-generated or controlled by another simulation system, connected via HLA interface, which allows group mission training.