Flight simulator is the electronic or mechanical system for training airplane and spacecraft pilots and crew members by simulating flight conditions. Flight simulator training is a major part of training for cockpit crews, ensuring that pilots can undergo practical and efficient training – the necessary foundation for flight operations to be successful and safe. It includes replicating the equations that govern how aircraft fly, how they react to applications of flight controls, the effects of other aircraft systems, and how the aircraft reacts to external factors such as air density, turbulence, wind shear, cloud, and precipitation, etc.
Flight simulation is used for a variety of reasons, mainly for flight training for pilots. The simplest simulators are used to practice basic cockpit procedures, such as processing emergency checklists, and for cockpit familiarization. They are also used for instrument flight training, for which the outside view is less important. During the aircraft design process, flight simulators can be used instead of performing some flight tests. Such “engineering flight simulators” can provide a fast way to find errors, reducing both the risks and the cost of development.
Flight simulators may include training tasks for crew other than pilots.
All classes of Flight Simulation Training Devices require some form of replicating the cockpit. To achieve a good transfer of skills, there are very specific requirements in the flight simulator regulations that determine how closely they must match the real aircraft. Outside view from the aircraft is an important cue for flying the aircraft and is the primary means of navigation for visual flight rules operation. Depending on the simulator type it may be sufficient to provide only a view forward using a flat display or a very large field of view.
Based on type, the market is classified into full flight simulators, flight training devices, full mission simulators. According to a market forecast, the full flight simulator segment is projected to experience high demand around the globe due to its excellent training capability for the pilot, crew, and ground support and is expected to dominate the market throughout 2021-2028.
By platform, the market is segmented into a fixed-wing simulator, rotary-wing simulator, and UAV simulator. Fortune Business Insights reported that the increasing demand for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for commercial and defense applications is likely to fuel this segment’s growth across the globe by 2027. The fixed-wing segment is expected to hold the largest flight simulator market share in the global market while the UAV simulator segment is projected to grow at the fastest rate during the period 2021-2028.
By application, the market is segmented into commercial and military & defense. The market report also showed the commercial application segment registered the largest market share in 2020. This large share is attributed to the increased adoption of commercial aircraft in high-growth regions due to exponential air passenger traffic growth.
The aviation industry witnessed a growing global pilot demand over the years, which, in turn, has led to the high demand for training aircraft and simulators in flight schools.
According to Fortune Business Insights, the global flight simulator market size was 3.55 billion USD in 2020. The market is projected to grow from 3.67 billion USD in 2021 to USD 5.75 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 5.99% in the 2021-2028 period. The rise in CAGR is attributable to this market demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.
Some well-known companies in the Flight Simulators industry are CAE Inc., The Boeing Company, and Thales Group. Diversified products of simulator systems and increasing investment in R&D contributed to the dominance of these companies.