The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 Conference Report includes language that requires a study of the implications of simulator-based training for fighter aircraft in a sustained gravity environment.
"We are pleased that Congress is embarking on this study and are optimistic the study will reveal what we support: that sustained G tactical flight simulators provide a viable, highly advantageous alternative to live aircraft for tactical flight training purposes," says William F. Mitchell, Sr., Environmental Tectonics Corp.'s (ETC) president and CEO. "We look forward to any and all opportunities to share our insights on the revolutionary and progressive research and development of sustained G and G on demand flight simulation gathered through more than 40 years of providing Aerospace Solutions both domestically and internationally."
The legislation states that among the emerging technologies available to simulate the dynamic forces experienced during flight is a new class of centrifuge-based flight simulators known as ''sustained-G tactical flight trainers." These simulators combine centrifugation with high fidelity cockpit modules to mimic the physiological stresses and gravitational forces experienced during actual flight. The legislation also instructs the Secretary of Defense to contract with a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) to conduct a study on the effectiveness of simulated tactical flight training in sustained gravity environments. The groundbreaking benefits of sustained-G flight simulation technology are embodied in the Authentic Tactical Fighting System(TM) (ATFS-400(TM)) (www.etctacticalflight.com), which is exclusively manufactured by ETC.
The study will assess the impact on training effectiveness, cost, pilot and aircraft readiness and life-cycle efficiencies from this technology, according to the legislation. The findings will be submitted to Congress along with any recommendations for administrative or legislative action.
As tactical flight training increasingly migrates to flight simulators, the ATFS-400 ensures pilot readiness will not be threatened. Traditional simulators can only reproduce the cognitive stresses of flight (workload and environment) and do not replicate the physical stress and duress a pilot faces in the aircraft. The ATFS-400 is a state-of-the-art flight trainer that prepares pilots to withstand G-forces while also providing high-fidelity flight simulation. It can provide significant cost savings for the Defense Department by complementing a portion of pilots' tactical flight training hours without sacrificing pilot readiness.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-PA, sponsored the Senate language in the NDAA FY13 Conference Report calling for a study of simulated tactical training in a high-G environment.