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Simulation software aids cockpit safety

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Bombardier Aerospace is using optical simulation software from Optis to gain an insight into what the flight deck will look like in operation. Speos optical simulation software allows aerospace engineers to maximise pilots' cockpit safety, especially in military applications where reduced internal and external lighting conditions are often required.

The Speos Visual Ergonomics package, which precisely simulates the behaviour of the human eye, is integrated into CAD applications such as CATIA V5. It allows aircraft designers to refine the interior features of flight decks. This approach, which is unique in its reference to the performance of the human eye, allows the optimisation of interior lighting, control displays, reflective surfaces and the exterior view as perceived by the pilot.

The software considers a wide range of variables that affect a pilot's perception, such as materials of interior construction, reflective screen displays and surfaces, windscreen filters, head up display (HUD) performance, landing lights and even the position of sun and moon.

Optis software is helping not only in reducing reflections in windows and HUDs but improving visibility in night vision applications in both civil and military applications. As an example, one aircraft manufacturer is using the software to simulate what a pilot sees during a night landing, including when a plane lands on an aircraft carrier with minimal landing and navigational lights.

Bombardier Aerospace is using Optis to accurately predict glare, reflections, and other real-life factors which could distract or tire the pilot, to the point of compromising comfort and ultimately safety.

'By eliminating these negative points early in the virtual design stage we expect to reduce our design time by 50 per cent and avoid costly prototypes. Thanks to Speos' integration in CATIA V5 we already knew the interface, so it took just two weeks for us to learn Speos,' said Richard Heppell, manager of core systems engineering at Bombardier Aerospace.