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Evaluating Simulator Motion Fidelity using In-Flight and Simulator Measurements of Roll Tracking Behavior

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Pool, D., Zaal, P., Damveld, H., van Paassen, M., & Mulder, M. (2012). Evaluating Simulator Motion Fidelity using In-Flight and Simulator Measurements of Roll Tracking Behavior. In AIAA Modeling and Simulation Technologies Conference and Exhibit 2012 (pp. 563-587). Red Hook, NY, USA: Curran.

This paper describes an effort to objectively evaluate the effects of variations in simulator motion cueing fidelity on pilot manual control behavior. An experiment is described in which pilot roll attitude tracking behavior is measured both in real flight and, for varying motion cueing settings, in a moving-base flight simulator. Four different roll motion cueing conditions are considered in the simulator part of the experiment: no roll motion feedback, 1-to-1 roll motion feedback, and simulator roll motion resulting from the use of two different settings of a first-order high-pass roll motion filter. By fitting a multimodal pilot model that explicitly accounts for pilot's responses to visual and (simulator) motion cues to these collected measurements of pilot roll tracking behavior, the changes in pilots' control dynamics that are induced by these different simulator motion cueing settings can be quantified and compared to real flight data. In line with the results of previous investigations, clear differences in pilot control behavior were observed over the different roll motion cueing settings evaluated in the simulator part of the experiment. With increasing roll motion fidelity, pilots' were seen to increasingly rely on the presented physical motion feedback. The most notable variations in pilot control dynamics were a decrease in the visual lead time constant and an increase in the pilot visual response gain with increasing fidelity of the presented roll motion cues. Even though extreme care was taken to minimize differences in the experimental setups used for collecting the measurements in the aircraft and the simulator, consistent discrepancies in pilot tracking behavior between the collected in-flight and simulator measurements were still observed, which could not be attributed to differences in the supplied physical motion cues.