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Canada Education The Military News

Royal Canadian Air Force Sees More Sims In the Future of Fighter Pilot Training 125

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the in-case-of-cyber-war dept.
dakohli writes "Currently, Canadian Fighter Pilots spend about 20% of their 'stick' time in Simulators. RCAF General Blondin states that this will rise to 50/50 in the future. The article goes on to state that the U.S. Army is moving in this direction, although the U.S. Air Force is a little more skeptical. Aircraft are expensive to fly, and if the fidelity of a simulator is good enough then perhaps real pilots will spend even less time actually in the air. Slashdotters, do you think that this will actually make recruiting pilots more difficult, or is it a sign of the things to come beyond Military Aviation?"
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Royal Canadian Air Force Sees More Sims In the Future of Fighter Pilot Training

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  • Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Monday February 04, 2013 @10:12PM (#42793151)

    In a decade or two, most of them will be flying drones anyway.

  • by Dzimas (547818) on Monday February 04, 2013 @11:40PM (#42793587)
    Canada's military spending ranked 14th in the world in 2012. There are 180 nations in the world that spend less on their militaries - hardly chronically underfunded. Canadian soldiers are dedicated and extremely hard working; your attempt to slander the present day Canadian Forces because of an event that occurred 20 years ago is ridiculous. We are not proud that two Canadian soldiers beat a teenager to death in Somalia in 1993, but they don't represent the 115,000 active and reserve personnel in today's CF in any way, shape or form.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @12:06AM (#42793689)

    One of the interesting things that I never thought about until I experienced it, is that because flight models are typically generated based on data from prototypes during late stage development, simulated aircraft generally fly like they just rolled out of the factory. The aircraft that most pilots fly are often closer to the end of their serviceable life than the beginning. (The oldest of the tails that I currently fly has exceeded its planned service life by a factor of 3) This does make a big difference. Engines are not quite as responsive. Controls don't feel quite the same, and electronics start to do unpredictable things.

    In the end though, while interesting, this is not that big of a factor. The significant limitations to simulator training are more human.

    In the sim, every time something fails, it looks the same as it did last time. In the sim you never loose your weather radar halfway through penetrating a line of embedded thunderstorms. In the sim, you are never scared, the comms are always crystal clear, ATC never spontaneously forgets how to speak english, the tanker never descends to the wrong altitude and civilian traffic never busts your airspace. Chinese fighters never disguise themselves as Singaporean airliners, and fishing boats never try to blind you with lasers.

    Even if we were able to integrate each of those things into the curriculum, it would not make much difference. Different weird things happen to every pilot. Almost anyone can learn to fly a plane, but gracefully and safely dealing with stuff that no one could ever anticipate is what makes someone a pilot. Real life is always more strange than anything a curriculum development committee can ever come up with, and real-world flying is currently the only way to teach pilots how to think like pilots and not just technicians.

  • by rocket rancher (447670) <themovingfinger@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @12:46AM (#42793941)
    I'm a private pilot with a multi-engine rating. Simulators seem to be a good way to rehearse cockpit procedures, but unless they figure out a way to simulate g-forces, that's about the limit of their usefulness. Simulating a spin recovery procedure is one thing, doing it for real with a two- or three-g load from the spin is another. With that said, I don't think commercial and military pilots are going to have a viable career field for much longer. Military pilots are already being replaced by drone operators, and I think the rate of replacement is going to accelerate if the drone program keeps posting the kind of successes it has enjoyed so far. Unmanned vehicles seem to be the future of military aviation. Commercial pilots will probably last longer, because commercial airlines have to convince a skeptical public that airliners are going to be as safe with a computer at the stick as they are right now with a human. Realistically, commercial pilots have a hand on the stick only during takeoffs and landings, but all modern heavies can land and take off under autopilot, and have been able to for about thirty years. IIRC, a Douglas Skymaster made a transatlantic flight completely on autopilot, including the take-off and landing, even farther back than that (late 1940s? have to google that) so the technology is definitely out there. IMHO, pilots are still in commercial cockpits (and will be there for a while) because the paying public wants them there, not because they need to be there.
  • by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @04:06AM (#42794685) Homepage

    Given the number of hours things like the F22 have managed to stay airworthy I'd say simulators were the future, yes.

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