Gunship Academy

by Richard Sheffield

Instructional Features

For each of the two trainee positions, there is an instructor position located behind the trainee cockpit on the moving simulator platform. The instructor is equipped with many of the same instrument displays and visual screens as the trainee. The simulator provides the instructor with a number of features which allow control of the learning process much more than is possible in an actual aircraft. Here's a description of some of these features.

Malfunction insertion. This feature lets the instructor insert various sets of malfunctions into the simulation. As the student progresses in training, more malfunctions are inserted at the same time. The system has the capability to cause as many as ten malfunctions in one set—quite enough to try the courage and intellect of even the best pilots.

Performance recording. The system can record a trainee's performance when engaged with an enemy weapon. All important information is recorded including number of shots fired, type of threat weapon, hits scored, aircraft performance, and heading. This data can be played back at a later time to evaluate and analyze a trainee's performance.

Automatic flight. The pilot and copilot/gunner's simulator cockpits are completely independent modules. The instructor for the CPG station can use the Automatic Flight Mode of the simulator to let the computer fly the aircraft while the CPG practices various duties. A number of different 15-minute preprogrammed exercises have been developed for this purpose.

Target control. The instructor has complete control over the simulated targets. This control includes where they're placed, which ones will shoot back, how lethal they'll be, and what types of threats are to be used. Fifteen types of enemy weapon options—ranging from trucks and personnel carriers to T-80 tanks and SA-9 surface-to-air missiles—are available. Even Soviet Hind-D helicopters can be realistically simulated.

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