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Applications and Evaluation of a Motion Flight Simulator
AdvisorDascalu, Sergiu M.
Computer Science and Engineering
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This dissertation presents a collection of discoveries and results obtained in assembling and utilizing a high-fidelity flight simulation system. Two users, secured with a seatbelt and harness, can experience the simulation together (lasting 3 to 6 minutes). At appropriate intervals G-forces and quick rotations are introduced, so users can experience the feeling of control of a powerful aircraft. This effect is further enhanced through the incorporation of a virtual reality and a gesture tracking experience. In this dissertation a review of the existing literature is provided, and an enhanced solution is proposed for a flight simulator using the Maxflight platform. Details of the simulator’s renovations and improvements are provided, together with a presentation of the key aspects of the platform’s hardware and software integration. These activities constituted a massiveengineering effort, involving work in various fields, including mechanical and electricalengineering. Furthermore, descriptions of gesture tracking, error handling, flight formation scores, and other key features of the software created are also presented. In particular, the software built to deliver an immersive flight simulation experience is described in terms of software model, including requirements specification and design, prototype implementation, and user interface design. Four research questions were formulatedregarding the application of the simulator to entertainment, education, and training, and two usability studies were conducted to answer them. The results of these user studies are presented in the dissertation. Finally, two case studies illustrating the use of the simulatorare also described and several potential directions of future work are outlined.