Tectra Automation resolves flight simulator software and programming challenges for Simex

The cockpit interior of the Embraer 120 simulator. The rudder pedals are situated on the floor below the instrumentation and the flight controls are positioned directly in front of each seat. The conversions, implemented for software compatibility purposes, pertain to the controls directing inflight aircraft angles (side-slip and shade), the aircraft roll (side-to-side inflight movement) and pitch (altitude increase/decrease).

Simex, a South African company specialising in the fabrication and upgrading of flight training devices like flight simulators, contracted Tectra Automation to upgrade software, supply new hardware, and adjust and convert a portion of the motion logic control across three flight simulators. The conversions, implemented for software compatibility purposes, pertain to the controls directing inflight aircraft angles (side-slip and shade), the aircraft roll (side-to-side inflight movement) and pitch (altitude increase/decrease).

The simulators benefitting from the upgrades are the Embraer 120 and the King Air 200, 350 and 1900, located at Lanseria airport in Gauteng; and a generic twin-piston simulator, based on a Piper Seneca V, at Port Alfred airport in the Eastern Cape. All force-feel and control-loading equipment and componentry used for the simulator upgrades are Bosch Rexroth engineered.

The Embraer 120, an FNPTII (Flight Navigation and Procedures Trainer) MCC fixed-base simulator, which is used for imitation training and proficiency checks, experienced compatibility issues with its motor program and its motion logic controller (MLC) device.

As the components are Bosch Rexroth, Simex approached Tectra Automation in Johannesburg for assistance. The fault lay in under-resourced componentry (known as CML) for a program contained within the MLC, which Tectra Automation resolved by replacing the existing CML25 with a CML45 and adjusting the software programming.

Wiets Pretorius, Electric Drives & Controls Manager, Tectra Automaton, verified the fault, provided and installed the correct hardware and adjusted the software to ensure compatibility. Commissioning was conducted jointly by Simex and Tectra Automation, and subsequently reconstructed and approved by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), the aviation industry regulator in South Africa. “All of this was completed within standard industry time-expectations and to our exact requirements,” comments, Leon Postma, Simulation Engineer, Simex.

Based on the successful conclusion of the Embraer 120 project, Simex again contracted Tectra Automation, this time for the other two simulator projects, both of which are ongoing. The Port Alfred-based generic twin-piston simulator had been upgraded with new motors and requires higher grade firmware and the King Air three-way simulator (200, 350 and 1900) involves work on its control loading.

The firmware upgrade for the twin-piston simulator however, proved to be incompatible with the PLC leading to a PLC firmware upgrade. This entailed motor parameter checking and adaption to the motor programming to correct an inverted analogue signal – both of which were conducted remotely.

Tectra Automation also supplied all required Bosch Rexroth equipment and components for the control loading of the King Air 200, 350 and 1900 simulator. This aircraft simulator can be adapted to precisely duplicate the airplane cockpits of any of the three aircraft types through the use of interchangeable panels.

All Bosch Rexroth hardware has been delivered to site and Tectra Automation is on standby to assist with commissioning once Simex has completed the installation. “For all projects, which first began in 2017 when we conducted upgrades to the Embraer 120, until now with the work undertaken on our two ongoing projects, we have not experienced any unsolvable challenges subsequent to Tectra Automation’s involvement,” Leon points out.

“The service we have received from Tectra Automation exceeds even the exceptional high quality of the Bosch Rexroth equipment they represent, if one could draw a quality comparison,” he concludes.

The standard one-year Bosch Rexroth warranty on all products and equipment apply, and Tectra Automation provides a 24-hour call out offering as part of its aftersales service.

Contact Tectra Automation on +27 11 971 9400 to find out more about this project!
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