Variable Stability In-Flight Simulator

In-Flight Simulation

Calspan Aerospace has been the worldwide leader in developing and operating variable stability In-Flight Simulators (IFS) since 1947. The variable stability airplane was conceived as a device that would permit in-flight variation of the flying qualities of an airplane so pilots could determine the suitability of these characteristics in actual flight.

Today, with a nod to the fact that history shows in-flight testing provides better answers than ground simulation, the concept of the variable stability airplane has progressed into true in-flight simulators that are routinely used as an extension of ground-based simulators, adding the real flight environment and real-world cues. Calspan Aerospace’s current fleet of four Learjet IFS permit the safe evaluation of aircraft flight control laws and handling qualities in a real flight environment—before the aircraft is even built.

In-Flight Simulator Capabilities and Features

The capabilities of our In-Flight Simulation team include:

  • Configuring the Learjet to fly just like a customer’s aircraft
    • Modifying the IFS Learjet’s programmable flight control laws to match the open-loop flight dynamics of the customer’s aircraft
    • Integrating customer control laws
      • Using customers’ production or prototype hardware and/or hosting the control laws within our aircraft computer
  • Flying aircraft safely all the way to touchdown

Customer Benefits

Calspan Aerospace customers that engage our expertise in In-Flight Simulation receive innumerable benefits, including:

  • Conducting evaluations in a real flight environment that includes fully representative motion cues and real-world visual cues
  • Augmenting their test teams with our experienced test pilots, who can fly and evaluate designs
  • Evaluating aircraft early in the design process, as soon as a stability and control model exists
  • Gaining the ability to find and correct deficiencies before fabrication of the actual aircraft begins
  • Taking advantage of safety features that include:
    • An on-board safety pilot to monitor aircraft response who’s ready to take control at the push of a button
    • An Automatic Safety Trip System that monitors aircraft limits to prevent unsafe flight conditions from occurring

Related Documents

For more information, refer to the following documents on flight simulators located within our Content Library:

Click here to learn more about the “Calspan Customer Experience.”