This year, severe weather has accounted for approximately 10% of aircraft accidents. Even though pilots can’t control the weather, they can be safely prepared to fly through tough conditions. Thus, Simple Flying recently spoke with Ryan Binns, Chief Architect at simulation software developer at (Bohemia Interactive Simulations) BISim, to find out more about how his company simulates accurate fog, rain levels, and storm clouds.
BISim is a wholly owned subsidiary of BAE Systems and is at the forefront of simulation training solutions for global defense and civilian organizations. The software outfit works with game-based technology to develop high-fidelity, cost-effective training and simulation products.
When it comes to aviation, the firm highlights that every aircraft, both commercial and military, corresponds with a simulator. Every time an organization procures a new plane or updates a current system, it must simultaneously translate that data to a simulator.
A key component of simulators is image generation software. Unlike traditional Image Generator (IG) products, BISim’s offering, VBS Blue IG, is a standalone software solution that doesn’t need any proprietary hardware. Simulator developers and integrators can integrate the IG software with whatever hardware they require to build their simulators. VBS Blue IG has an extensive content library of over 20,000 high-fidelity models, including many aircraft types, which gives integrators a fantastic head start.
Still, this robust approach is crucial across the board, especially when it comes to the environment.
Operating in perfect conditions seldom represents the realities of actual flight. Flight simulators need to meet high standards of realism in terms of visibility and aircraft behavior in strong wind or other harsh conditions. For example, if a pilot’s visibility is supposed to be 5 mi (8 km), simulations are better and more precise in meeting that requirement.
VBS Blue IG already supports various types of precipitation and fog. The company has just added realistic-looking volumetric clouds in its most recent release, and it is presently working to improve the visuals to better represent storm clouds, scud, and similar weather features. Some large-scale simulators are incredibly effective at this, and BISim is working to ensure it meets the highest standards for replicating weather conditions.
A replica of Earth
One advantage of BISim’s image generator is its level of scale and graphic fidelity. As Binns explains:
“Our Blue IG terrain engine produces high-fidelity terrain anywhere in the world. It is essentially a digital twin of the entire planet. Whole-earth support is unique in the market and gives our customers a lot of flexibility for training. Our whole-earth capabilities offer much more interoperability than other providers, requiring customers to build different simulators for different regions or flight paths. The level of fidelity also provides options for a more immersive experience of weather conditions and how they affect flying. From a low-earth orbit to individual blades of grass, these elements have details and features that look and behave as they would in real life.”
With more than 60 NATO and NATO-friendly countries using the company’s software across the globe, this assistance could be fundamental in ensuring safe operations. The goal for BISim is to get its Blue IG software integrations to the point that they offer the equivalent value to the expensive, room-sized simulators. Currently, the company feels that its small-scale and MR solutions can potentially provide over 90% of the value of these enormous simulators at a small fraction of the cost.
Just last month, we reported that the Precision Air ATR 42 lake crash occurred during bad weather and low visibility. Of the 43 individuals on board, 19 died during Flight 494. Thus, it’s as critical as ever to have the best preparation possible when operating in harsh conditions.
What are your thoughts about how this software is addressing weather challenges? What do you make of the overall initiatives? Let us know what you think in the comment section.