Simulation & training

The objective of this Shared Research Program “Simulation and Training” is to develop integrated solutions to help pilots in recognizing and avoiding of challenging conditions in a simulated environment that is representative of their type-specific, operational context.

One example is to incorporate reduced oxygen breathing devices in a full flight simulator to have pilots experience the effects of hypoxia on their decision making in a mission scenario.

Flight simulation has become an integral part of pilot training, both in military and commercial aviation. In comparison to on-airplane training, simulators offer a more controllable, cost-effective, and safe environment. Depending on the training task, the complexity of the required “flight simulator training device” (FSTD) may vary. For example, teaching checklists can be done in a simple, fixed-based mock-up, whereas teaching manual flying skills, or even “line oriented flight training” (LOFT) requires full flight simulators that are equipped with high-fidelity avionics, out-the-window display, and motion platform. Also, in military aviation, multiple flight simulators are sometimes linked to practice tactical and strategic aspects of operational missions.

Although the current level of simulator technology already allows for useful pilot training, there are areas of (flight) simulation which require research and development efforts to make the simulation better representative of certain, unusual operational conditions that challenge the physiological and cognitive performance of flight crews. Such conditions include spatial disorientation, degraded visual environments (for example Brownout, night vision), upset conditions (unusual attitudes, aerodynamic stall), hypoxia, and accelerated flight (G-induced loss of consciousness, G-LOC). Because of their risk for flight safety, for example as a cause of Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) accidents, these conditions should be addressed in pilot training.

The usual approach is to train these different aspects in dedicated devices, such as a hypobaric chamber for demonstrating the effects of hypoxia, or a terrain-board to show the limitations of night vision goggles (NVG’s). Although these demonstrations are very educational, they do not teach the pilot how this affects their performance in an operational context.

R&D activities of Aeolus will focus on: emerging technologies (e.g., special simulator devices such as DESDEMONA; flight modelling; Virtual Reality devices); training effectiveness (emphasizing positive transfer of training, while avoiding negative side effects, such as simulator sickness); cost-effectiveness and operational relevance. Aeolus supports the applied research and innovation on human centered simulation and can address the following (sub)topics:


  • Visual displays: Projection systems, collimated displays, helmet-mounted-displays, anti-motion sickness display
  • Motion platforms: Hexapod platforms, centrifuges, seat shakers, galvanic stimulation
  • Interceptors: Joysticks, data gloves, head trackers
  • Distributed simulation: Multi-player games, networked simulation

Human Performance:

  • Physical performance: control behavior, simulator sickness
  • Cognitive performance: situation awareness, spatial disorientation, cognitive task performance, decision making, immersion

Transfer of training

  • Upset recovery

The R&D activities can support the development of various products, such as:

  • Selection criteria: e.g. physical and mental condition, medication
  • Training programs for extreme operational conditions
  • Equipment: (awareness) training simulators for extreme operational conditions, HMI
    Mobile F-35 hypoxia simulator