A South Australian initiative involving sophisticated flight trainers could lure high school students into the aviation industry.
Located at the Australian Science and Mathematics School (ASMS), the flight trainers, which form part of a $1 million avionics training centre, are driven by seven dedicated servers, which can simulate four different aircraft, including single and multi-engine, piston and turbine, with full avionics.
An initiative of the South Adelaide Trade Training Centre, this is a collaborative effort of four schools, including the ASMS, Blackwood High, Seaview High and Pasadena High. Funding was received through the Australian Government’s Trade Training Centres in Schools program.
Incorporating two interchangeable cockpit assemblies, which can be wheeled in and out of the overall purpose-built facility, the flight trainers boast a 200-degree panoramic visual system. The panoramic visual system was developed in the US, while the simulator hardware and software were developed in Switzerland.
The flight trainer will complement a specialised Stage 2 Aviation course, developed by the ASMS. It is offered to students as a Scientific Studies program and is likely to be offered as a VET in SACE course in 2012.
Principal of the ASMS, Associate Professor Susan Hyde, said the synthetic flight trainers went well beyond a standard personal computer (PC) implementation.
“In a General Aviation context, the flight trainer implementation is understood to be the most comprehensive and sophisticated in the Asia/Pacific region,” she said. “Through dynamic control loading capabilities, students will be able to experience the actual sensations of turbulence, take off and landing and manoeuvring situations, which are experienced by pilots during normal flight operations.
“They will also be able to experience the sensations of varying weather situations, controlled by sophisticated software, as they fly through specially developed 3D visuals of the Adelaide, Parafield, Kingscote and Aldinga airfields and surrounds.”
The flight trainers will be supported by three additional computer simulators, each equipped with cockpit controls and instrumentation.
Hyde said that the specialised Aviation course topics, complemented by the flight trainers, computer-aided design software and extensive practical activities would allow students to learn the theory required for a private pilot’s licence, as well as further study in aerodynamics, human factors and navigation systems.
“It will also offer students career pathways in engineering with a focus on aviation, electronics, computer systems and instrumentation, helping to address the skills shortage in this area,” she said.
“The Aviation course applies a rich mixture of mathematics, physics, meteorology, information and communications technology, geography, physiology and psychology. Topics will include units and charts, aircraft systems, navigation, human factors, aerodynamics, radio and navigation systems, flight performance and planning and air law.
“In addition to this, the flight trainers will be a fun and innovative way to engage students with their studies. It will also ensure that training opportunities are available to many more students outside of the ASMS.”