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Aircraft Simulation Laboratories

Our aerospace program has a strong emphasis on simulation. Our students are trained throughout the entire curriculum to use simulation tools. Most simulation software can be used in our dedicated computer classroom (G78) and on college-wide computer classrooms.

Some simulation tools require special hardware and they are used intensively for specific courses. Such is the case of D-Six. For this, we have dedicated teaching classroom G24-ESB. This laboratory is part of the Bernard Judy Laboratory Wing of the Engineering Science Building (ESB). It is used primarily for teaching Aircraft Simulation. It includes 12 aircraft simulations workstations with D-Six software, etc. Furthermore, we use a 6 degree of freedom full-motion simulator located in the AERO Lab, next to the low speed wind tunnel. This unique facility is described in the next section.

WVU 6 DOF Flight Simulator

The Motus 600 Flight Simulator manufactured by Fidelity Flight Simulation, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA offers a very realistic flight environment with extremely low operational and maintenance costs.

The system includes the following components:

  • 6 DOF motion platform driven by electrical induction motors
  • Laminar Research X-Plane flight simulation software
  • LCD Mosaic Wall four-monitor external visual display
  • Instructors operating station
  • Computer and control cabinet

The motion platform provides adequate six-degrees-of-freedom translational and rotational motion cues. Motion drive algorithms convert the motion of the aircraft as resulting from the dynamic model into motion of the platform such that the perception of the pilot is optimized within the physical limitations of the ground based simulator. For example, constant linear accelerations that can only be sustained as such for a very limited time, are simulated by tilting the cockpit at an angular rate below the pilot's perception threshold. Gravity is thus used to simulate the inertial force associated with constant linear acceleration.


X-Plane is a commercial comprehensive aircraft simulation package featuring high capabilities and flexibility in selecting the simulation scenario. It includes a huge database of aircraft, airports, and scenery around the world. Weather conditions can be selected prior and during the simulation to include cloud layers, wind and turbulence, temperature, runway condition, and a wide variety of visibility, precipitation, and other weather parameters. Malfunctions of the aircraft systems can be simulated in the following categories: overall, instruments, equipment, engine, engine systems and flying surfaces. New aircraft models can be introduced into the database using the aerodynamic capabilities of X-Plane.

CockpitThe 2-seat cockpit accommodates dual controls and instrument clusters. Visual information in the cockpit is provided by a total of 6 LCD visual displays. Two visual displays host the instruments clusters and four others provide the external visual cues.

The instructors operating station is located on a platform next to the cabin. The instructor has two visual displays for monitoring the simulation and perform simulation scenario set-ups/changes. All 5 computers can be controlled using the keyboard on the instructor's desk. All functions of the motion base can be controlled through a separate Motion Control Box.

simulatorThe large black aluminum cabinet next to the cabin houses all electrical and computing hardware. Five computers are used to operate the WVU Flight Simulator. Computer #1 drives the left 45 visual display. Computer #2 drives the left and right forward visual displays. Computer #3 drives the right 45 visual display. Computer #4 is the "Server" computer and runs the core flight simulation software and the pilots' instruments. All simulation data to be used for analysis is stored on this computer. Computer #5 is the instructor's operating station.