Meet the world’s first ultralight flight simulator that uses VR technology.
It was developed for Pipistrel’s airplanes ALPHA Trainer and ALPHA Electro. The simulator consists of several elements that, combined together, offer a unique experience of flying.
The first element you notice is X-Alpha’s physical cabin, identical to the cabin of a real ALPHA Trainer or ALPHA Electro airplane. It has two seats with the pilot seat on the left side. The pilot has all of the controls needed to fly a real airplane: joystick that controls roll and pitch, pedals that control yaw, flaps, throttle and brake levers and elevator trim control plate. The controls are fully operational and are connected to sensors that read their input and transfer it to the computer.
X-Alpha relies on versatile software, both developed in house and from third party developers, that runs the physical simulation of the airplane, reads the inputs from the sensors on the controls and draws the airplane and its surroundings on the monitor and inside the virtual reality headset that the pilot uses.
And that brings us to another very important element. Virtual reality. The X-Alpha uses VR headset instead of monitors. This is a huge advantage because the headset allows the pilot a 360 degree view of the cockpit and the landscape. He or she can lean in closer to the instrument panel to read the marks written in smaller font, look through the window and check if the landing gear is still in one peace after the landing or whether the flaps are indeed in the second position. And this way the experience is extremely immersive.
X-Alpha was developed in cooperation with Pipistrel test pilots and flight instructors and it accurately simulates the behaviour of the real aircraft. The simulator can be used for basic flight instruction and currency training.
It was first presented to the public on AERO Friedrichshafen 2017 where it attracted a lot of attention.
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