Redbird Flight Simulations displayed a small-scale version of a manually operated full-motion simulator during EAA AirVenture that the company hoped would lower the cost of flight training. The all-metal proof-of-concept Redbird Alpha deploys weights, pulleys, gears, and jack screws for six-degrees of movement, said Redbird’s Josh Harnagel, as he swung the pilot’s platform to and fro, up and down, side to side.
The design idea is based on maximizing fulcrum and balance points for movement rather than through hydraulic and motor assistance for climbing, turning, and rolling motions.
Air carriers require their pilots to regularly attend full-motion simulator training sessions where they are exposed to routine and emergency scenarios. The training devices are very expensive and very large—American Airlines had to break through concrete walls and rebuild them after adding newer hydraulically operated simulators to its Dallas/Fort Worth facility.
The Alpha is “smaller, lighter, and has less power requirements” than a traditional hydraulically operated system, Harnagel noted, and could lead to “a more affordable price point” for the airlines.
In other news, the Texas-based simulator company’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) lab introduced during 2017 EAA AirVenture drew a steady stream of young people to the company’s red-and-white tent display. Redbird education department’s Joey Colleran said students brushed up on their skills during aviation-themed classes conducted at the STEM lab during EAA AirVenture. Some of the courses covered an introduction to aviation, aerodynamics and design, aeronautical decision making, airspace and navigation, aviation weather, and more.
Elsewhere on the AirVenture campus, the firm’s full-motion Xwind crosswind training device tested the mettle of flight instructors and pilots who visited the Pilot Proficiency Center. Redbird said the Xwind simulator was conceived to help pilots become proficient at battling crosswinds and wind gusts, which the company noted were key factors in weather-related landing accidents.