The Madrid, Spain, based international technology company, Indra, has a three billion Euro annual sales record across all its disciplines, and some 40,000 people on the payroll in more than 140 countries. That weight has been behind its advances in fixed wing and rotary simulation which first started in the early eighties with a fixed base trainer (FBT) for a CASA 101, which is still in service. The first entry into the world of commercial aviation was with a FFS Level D device for the ATR 72-500 in 2009. The defence market programs include AV8B, EF2000, A400M, A330 MRTT, NH90 and others.
As Pascual Arias, director Fixed Wing Simulators, explains that initiative has now built to an extended range of full flight simulators (FFS), flight training devices (FTD) and supporting initial procedure trainers (IPT). Not only are there fixed wing units with A320, B737, A330 and ATR 72 FFS on the inventory, but there is a wide range of rotary wing devices in operation, covering both military and civil helicopters - H225, EC135, AS 350, H175, H145, S76 and Bell 212/412.
Whilst the motion platform is supplied by MOOG, the internal capabilities of the parent company (which has a R&D budget of €200 million) means that most of the systems are made in house. The software and visual systems give a field of view (FOV) of 200 x 40 three channel collimated projection for the fixed wing devices, and typically, 220 x 80 direct projection for the rotary units.
The geographical distribution is wide-ranging, with 21 units already operating in 10 different countries, supported by 300 people at the main base, and some 100 located elsewhere.
The future holds the prospect not only of matching upgrades in the evolution of the major single-aisle types - A320 and B737, but also of further development in improved visual systems. There will also be increased support for the briefing/debriefing for instructors, and intriguingly, advances in augmented and virtual reality - drawing on expertise and experience from the gaming industry.
Arias sees a challenge in getting the regulations to move in closer step to the rate of advances in technology - looking to major players like the gaming industry, it is immediately apparent that now and in the future both technology and demographics expect continuous rapid change as the norm - a major challenge for aviation. - Chris Long