The ACFS is a unique tool that was developed at Ames specifically for research with advanced aircraft. This highly customizable aircraft was conceived and scaled on the basis of projected air traffic usage requirements in the 21st Century.
ACFS Cockpit Interior
The ACFS simulates a generic commercial transport aircraft and employs advanced flight systems including many features from the newest aircraft being built today. The cab is mounted on a six-degree-of-freedom synergistic motion system and uses side-stick controllers for aircraft control in the pitch and roll axes.
Among its many advanced technologies, the ACFS includes fly-by-wire flight controls, touch-sensitive electronic checklists, aircraft systems schematics, a customizable flight management system, and cutting-edge graphical flight displays including head-up displays.
The visual systems closely match those of the B747-400 simulator and offer a 180-degree horizontal / 40-degree vertical field-of-view. The ACFS visual databases depict specific airports ( SFO, LAX, JFK, DEN, DFW, SEA, ATL, ORD, BOS, and EDW) and their surroundings under a variety of temporal and meteorological conditions.
Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) provides computers for the host system, as well as the simulators flight systems and programmable flight displays.
Currently, the ACFS is used to simulate two aerodynamic aircraft models, a generic narrow-body transport vehicle (similar to a Boeing 757) and a C-17 transport. However, the systems built-in flexibility enables configuration for simulating a wide range of other flight vehicles in the future, including the Space Shuttle or new aerospace prototypes.
Commissioned in the mid-1980s, the ACFS has played a significant role in a variety of experiments and demonstrations, such as:
evaluating the award-winning NASA Propulsion Controlled Aircraft (PCA) in conjunction with the B747-400 with regard to retrofitting existing aircraft at a significantly lower cost;
examining the effectiveness of the Integrated Neural Flight Controls/Propulsion Controls System in the ACFS as a means of controlling a damaged aircraft;
integrating the wide-body, C-17 military transport vehicle model into the ACFS as a follow- up study to previously performed experiments; and
evaluating the use of a head-up display and an electronic moving map to provide navigation and guidance information to the flight crew, with the goal of improving airport surface operations and safety.
Details on projects involving the ACFS can be found in SimLabs Annual Reports, which are available for download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format from our online library in the Annual Reports section.