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Helicopter Simulation - What Does "Faking It" mean?

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Even among developers we have used the term freqently. "Faking It". For example, Microsoft Flight Simulator does not support autopilot features for their helicopter flight models. Yet this hasn't stopped a few clever and talented developers from creating their own autopilot control systems. Sometimes these additional features are referred to as "fake". Or they are described as "faking it", because the simulation software does not support a certain feature by default. Also, dual turbine helicopters such as the Hovercontrol 412 and the Antti Pankonnen Dauphin are creating features that are not natively supported in Microsoft Flight Simulator in regards to multiple turbine power sources for helicopters. As the developer of the 412, even I have referred to some of the features as "faking it".

However, the outcome of "faking it" is often just as valid, or even more valid that the default feature set of the simulation software. Most importantly, the user is simply judging the simulation by what he observes. Not by inspecting the logic of the simulation behind-the-scenes.

When the entire aircraft and the environment it flies in are a facsimile of reality, and when everything you see is "simulated", the term "faking it" becomes sometwhat meaningless. In the world of simulation, there are basically 2 important factors. Behaviors and Results. The wholy grail of simulation is to have a behavior that appears realistic, but also produces accurate results. For example, if you lower the nose of the helicopter and begin to fly forward in the simulator, you would expect the behavior to appear realistic and natural on the screen in front of you. Regardless of which viewpoint you might be choosing (internal, external, etc). You would also expect the result of increasing airspeed displayed properly on some sort of airspeed indicator. Also, by increasing the throttle grips on a turbine aircraft, you would expect certain behavior from the turbine and the sounds it produces. You would also expect to see the proper results on a variety of engine monitoring gauges in the cockpit. The user doesn't care how any of this happens...as long as it happens, and happens correctly based on what they know to be true.

If a developer can extend the functionality of the simulation software with new features, ones that display the correct behavior and produce the expected results, it is a bit strange to call that approach "faking it". Regardless of where the behavior and results are being manufactured, the outcome to the user is just as valid.

The term "faking it" as it applies to helicopter flight simulation development does not bother me. I understand why the term is used, and have used it myself on occassion. I just started to ponder how ironic it is that we refer to only certain simulated behaviors and results as "faking it" and others as not. I think that is interesting.









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