Belgian firm unveils new Top Gun flight simulator

Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:05pm EDT
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By Ben Deighton

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian company has unveiled the ultimate fighter jet training tool, a fully immersive 360-degree flight simulator designed to reproduce reality exactly as a pilot sees it.

The dome is the first flight simulator to give trainee pilots a full unobstructed 360 degree view of the world as they conduct virtual missions, said Barco, a maker of high-definition projectors and displays.

"It's not an improvement, it's a new generation of simulators," Geert Matthys, research and development manager at the company, said.

"If a pilot has a cockpit where he can see 360 degrees, he also needs to be trained in a system which supplies 360 degrees, all deviation from real life can be dangerous," said Matthys.

The simulator can be used in a series, with several pilots working together to play out complex training missions such as mid-air refueling.

"For the first application there will be eight systems positioned next to each other and they will do mission training with each other," said project manager Kathy Verledens.

It can also train up pilots for solo sorties.

The development team has taken since 2009 to get the device just right.   Continued...

<p>Geert Matthys, research and development manager at Barco, a Belgian company specialising in high-definition projectors and displays, gives an explanation inside a fully immersive 360-degree flight simulator in Kuurne, October 11, 2011. REUTERS/Yves Herman</p>