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The University of Southampton

Flight Simulator

The Southampton flight simulator is unique in the UK, developed by students for students. Originally funded by BAE Systems, many third- and fourth-year group projects have been involved in developing the hardware and software for the simulator over a decade. It is used to test student design programmes and plays an important role in the design, testing and manufacturing aspects of air vehicles.

Developed by student research groups
The Flight Simulator

Several years ago, BAE SYSTEMS funded the University and donated equipment to allow the construction of our flight simulator, including two Harrier T4 ejector seats, taken from the actual aircraft used in a James Bond film. Later on, GKN Westland Helicopters also contributed to its development and support from Qinetiq, Microsoft, Intel, Matrox, Just Flight, Thrustmaster, Eizo, Visual flight, Getmapping and Tigress Productions is currently helping further development of this facility.

By using student projects, both group and individual, the simulator has been used to link design programs to the simulator and to software driving Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). In this way the ability to place the simulator within the design, testing and manufacturing aspects of an air vehicle is generated.

Over the past few years the flight simulator has allowed undergraduate engineering courses to run many different student projects.

Research and Enterprise
The flight simulator has allowed researchers within the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment to continue to work closely with leading aerospace, flight simulation, hardware and software companies. For example, in a research collaboration with the Human Factors Research Unit at the University, the flight simulator team have developed an innovative head-up display of the ground terrain to guide pilots when landing in foggy conditions with poor visibility.

The flight simulator team were also approached by the makers of the 2003 Channel 4 documentary, The Dambusters, to build a unique, full-size, seven-crew Lancaster flight simulator that could be used to recreate a host of missions. The final simulation was incredibly convincing as the aircrew took to the virtual skies for a solid week of flying.

The flight simulator contributes to the University's outreach activities and aims to show potential students that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are both exciting and rewarding.


Aeronautics, Astronautics and Computational Engineering Group

Engineering and the Environment
Building 13 (Tizard)
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
Southampton SO17 1BJ

Administrative officer: Richard Allan
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 2936

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