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Special simulator enhances IAI avionics design

26th February 2020 - 11:30 GMT | by Arie Egozi in Tel Aviv

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Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is using a specially built VR simulator to help it design the layout of avionics systems in upgraded aircraft.

The VR simulator was designed and built by a team in IAI’s Aviation Group Innovation Unit. The simulator uses a very advanced VR system, seen through special goggles.

When Shephard flew the simulator in a recent visit to IAI, it simulated the cockpit of an upgraded Black Hawk helicopter.

The arrangement of every avionic system in the upgraded glass cockpit was visible through the goggles. By pointing the VR goggles around the redesigned cockpit, the user sees different combinations projected on a real-world image.

A pointer enables the user to ‘touch’ every avionic system and evaluate its location in the cockpit.

‘This simulator enables us to determine the optimal setting of the cockpit's instruments before going to production,’ said Ran Crissy, head of aviation engineering at IAI.

The VR simulator will be used by IAI not only for optimising the design of cockpits but also for mission debriefing.

Today, such a debriefing uses basic tools. ‘With this simulation technology we enable pilots to debrief a mission as if they are still in the cockpit of their aircraft,’ Crissy told Shephard.

IAI experts are confident that a similar VR simulator will replace existing systems that project an ‘outside world’ image onto a dome.

‘We already use this simulator for some of the company's projects and the results are excellent,’ Crissy claimed.

Another simulator enables the design of a cockpit with a central display that shows the pilot only the relevant avionic display according to the specific phase of flight.

‘While taking off, only the relevant data is displayed, and the same happens along the endurance of the flight. It also enables [users] to move the different displays on the screen for the most convenient pattern,’ said Rinat Berger-Peles, head of user experience.

The advanced simulator is an essential tool used in the various aircraft upgrade programmes performed by IAI. The most complicated of these involves the IAI Kfir fighter aircraft, including the latest upgrade version (Block 60).

Arie Egozi

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Arie Egozi


Born in Israel, Arie Egozi served in the IDF and holds a political science and …

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