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Definition: flight simulator

Hardware and software that models the behavior of airplanes and spacecraft. Flying a plane can be simulated in a regular computer with flight simulator software; however, pilots and astronauts learn how to fly in full-scale systems that recreate the experience with extreme realism. See simulator.

Flight Simulator
Evans & Sutherland supplies the computer simulation for flight simulators used in commercial and military aircraft training. This 20' dome in the Netherlands has an actual cockpit inside. The simulated scenes are projected onto the dome, and the hydraulics move the unit. (Image courtesy of Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation, www.es.com)

Military and Commercial Simulations
Military pilots are trained by simulating enemy aircraft. Commercial pilots are trained by simulating takeoffs and landings at major airports. (Images courtesy of Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation.)

In a Gaming PC
In 2012, PC maker MAINGEAR introduced a very elaborate game controller for flight simulation on a Windows PC. With the monitor placed on top of the controller, you are flying the plane! For more information, visit www.maingear.com.