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Swedish fighter pilots continue to train in ÅF’s simulator

Swedish fighter pilots train in an advanced flight simulator developed by ÅF. This assignment, including operation, service and technical development, is now being extended. “Thanks to our latest developments, pilots can now retrospectively review the entire flight. All data is saved and can be visualised second by second. This is greatly appreciated,” says Fredrik Stråhle, responsible project manager at ÅF.

Photo Kim Svensson

Swedish fighter pilots are trained at the Swedish Armed Forces flight school in Linköping. This elite training makes extreme demands both on students and teachers, and on the external partners and suppliers required to make the training possible.

The training aid FlightBook, or Uth SK60 as the tool is actually named, is an advanced flight simulator for the SK60 trainer aircraft, allowing students to train for a variety of situations in a 3D environment. Among other things, the simulator is used in the Swedish Air Force’s basic flight training (GFU) and in basic tactical training (GTU), the phase in which pilots graduate from learning the basics of flying to advanced manoeuvres and aerial combat. ÅF’s engineers are together with The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, FMV.

“We are delighted, we have a great collaboration with FMV. The extension includes the operation, servicing and further development of FlightBook until 2020, with an option until 2023,” says Fredrik Stråhle, Uth SK60 programme manager and responsible project manager at ÅF.

The purpose of the simulator is to train new pilots within the framework of the Swedish Air Force’s basic flight training and basic tactical training.

“Pilots can practice everything from the basics of flying to advance manoeuvres and aerial combat and, above all, they are able to train for emergency situations – how to deal with fires, stalling or electrical system breakdowns,” says Fredrik Stråhle.

In addition to the safety aspects, the simulator also has other advantages.

“This is an extremely cost-effective supplement to normal flight sessions,” says Fredrik Stråhle.

The system consists of a fixed installation, in which the student sits in a plane cockpit with a 270° visualisation environment, as well as a number of simpler laptop-based workstations.

The fixed installation is constructed in two decommissioned SK60 trainer aircraft that have been sawn in half.

“The cockpits have been modified and each placed in their own visualisation dome, allowing pilots to see in 270°,” explains Fredrik Stråhle.

Mats Elfving at ÅF has developed software designed to automatically create a geometrically accurate, seamless image (warping) from five projectors aimed in different directions.

Both simulators are linked to an instructor’s station from where a flight controller can communicate with the pilots and lead the exercise.

Previously, students were required to memorise their flight sessions for subsequent analysis and evaluation. Now, the entire flight is saved digitally and can easily be downloaded onto a USB stick.

The laptop system is then used to evaluate the flight using special software, also developed by ÅF’s Mats Elfving.

“This solution provides pilots with the opportunity to retrospectively review the entire flight. All instrument and navigation system data and all communications are saved. This is greatly appreciated,” says Fredrik Stråhle.