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  • A flight simulator is a device that artificially re-creates aircraft flight and the environment in which it flies, for pilot training, design, or other purposes. It includes replicating the equations that govern how aircraft fly, how they react to applications of flight controls, the effects of other aircraft systems, and how the aircraft reacts to external factors such as air density, turbulence, wind shear, cloud, precipitation, etc. Flight simulation is used for a variety of reasons, including flight training, the design and development of the aircraft itself, and research into aircraft characteristics and control handling qualities. Flight simulators employ various types of hardware and software, depending on the modelling detail and realism that is required for the role in which they are to be employed. Designs range from PC laptop-based models of aircraft systems, to replica cockpits for initial familiarisation, to highly realistic simulations of the cockpit, flight controls and aircraft systems, for more complete pilot training. The highest level of flight simulator for training Commercial Air Transport pilots is known as a Full Flight Simulator, and for training military pilots the highest level is a Full Mission Simulator. The FFS design is agreed by world civil aviation regulatory authorities such as the FAA in the USA and EASA in Europe, and has a motion platform on which the simulator cab is mounted, and a visual system that displays the Outside World. For instance, the international FFS Level D standard requires a motion platform capable of moving the simulator cab in all six degrees of freedom and an OTW visual system giving 150 x 40 degrees of view to each pilot. Military flight simulators are more variable in design but most military transport aircraft and many military helicopter simulators are based on the civil FFS design.

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