While the end goal of aerial mobility aircraft is fully autonomous flight, bridging the gap from the current technological state of manned/piloted aircraft to autonomous operation will take time. In the interim, trained pilots for aerial mobility systems will be required, and flight simulators will undoubtedly adapt in preparation of the unique training requirements for eVTOLs.
Some eVTOL manufacturers have already built their own training simulators for their pilots to aid in system checkouts and flight test preparations, while others do not yet have fully functional simulators. Third-party groups that specialize in flight simulation, such as MOC Simulation Services, are working to develop tailor-made full motion flight simulators for eVTOL flight training. MOC’s first simulator will be a full scale, representative 4 place eVTOL configuration with 6 degrees of motion freedom.
MOC’s simulator will feature an expanded vertical view of +30°/-60° and horizontal 240°. The -60° field of view is special for eVTOL operations, because it will be specially adapted to the needs of vertical takeoff and landing, similar to helicopter simulators which require wider ranges of view than classic fixed-wing simulators. The system will use a Roll-In/Roll-Off technology for modular eVTOL flight deck configurations, similar to RedBird simulators for general aviation aircraft, which feature interchangeable panel configurations. The company stated that the simulator will be fully functional for training near the end of 2022.
Why it’s important: MOC might be one of the few companies publicizing their eVTOL simulator at this time, but substantial R&D efforts have already been made by eVTOL makers and third party simulation engineering firms to prepare for the new demands of aerial mobility flight training. With the deferral of the pilot shortage due to COVID now coming to an end, a huge demand for pilots will also spill over to eVTOL aircraft in the next 5-10 years as initial designs achieve certification. Continue to monitor MOC and other simulation providers as the training infrastructure to support aerial mobility develops in the coming months.