flight simulator with fms

The research team at the Next Generation Advanced Research (NEAR) lab at ERAU has developed a simulation-based FMS embedded with Boeing 737 and Bombardier Global 5000 aircraft Flight Dynamic Models (FDM) in the JSBSim M&S (Modeling and Simulation) tool. NEAR-FMS employs equations of motion in aerodynamics, as well as ideal Proportional-Integrative-Derivative (PID) control theories using a C++ simulation engine supported by an xml model specification language. The NEAR-FMS is capable of storing flight plans using 3D waypoint trajectories (latitude, longitude, altitude), as well as spawning multiple simulated real-time aircraft. Flight plan trajectory can be provided for autonomous navigation of an aircraft. In order to leverage the simulated flight management system, autopilot scripts have been developed using fine-tuned PID controllers. A high-resolution, wide-angle virtual reality visualization is provided by three monitors, which render the graphical terrain images as well as auxiliary Primary Flight Display (PFD), joystick control, are also interfaced to the system. The NAS flight display integration console, where real-time flights are displayed alongside the simulated ones, allows the FMS to fly in a realistic ATM environment and test simulated scenarios that are correlated with national air traffic.

Data-Link Simulation/Emulation, Cyber Security Research

The NEAR Data-Link Emulator is composed of a Cisco Catalyst 2960 Series Switch and a Cisco 5505 Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) IP Firewall/router, as well as several servers, Wi-Fi routers, and network analysis/packet capture hardware/software. This module provides any IP-link or packet-switch network emulation by setting up the target network performance metrics on the Cisco router/switch combination. The following Network Performance Metrics can be configured and assessed in the data-link emulator:

  • Bandwidth utilization limits can be set such that a desired QoS (Quality of Services?) for the flight deck services will be maintained
  • Traffic prioritization through utilizing Class of Service (CoS), differentiated services (DiffServ) and Type of Services (ToS) where applicable, to prioritize the critical data versus the non-critical data, as well as flight deck versus cabin
  • Delay (Latency)
  • Unidirectional delay (the average time it takes packets to complete a one-way journey)
  • Bi-directional delay (Round-Trip-Time (RTT) is the average time it takes for packets to travel from the sender to the receiver and back; e.g. request-response)
  • Routing map, routing table, and routing style (static vs. dynamic)

NEAR lab Cybersecurity research investigates threat vectors and cybersecurity risks associated with data flow in a digital network. Some of the capabilities include:

  • Identifying threats associated with the target network
  • Developing test cases to validate attack vectors
  • Developing a laboratory environment in order to emulate/test  key scenarios and evaluate mitigation strategies
  • Developing threat mitigation strategies
  • Providing  recommendations

Real-time Distributed Simulation (RTDS)

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s (ERAU) RTDS was built by the NEAR lab to support human-in-the-loop experiments in a multi-center and/or multi-sector NAS environment. The RTDS consists of a Flight-Plan Filer, Simulation Controller, Data Recorder, Pseudo-Pilot, ATC Displays, Target Generator, a conflict detection and resolution service, an Electronic Library System (ELS), and a Voice Communication System (VCS). All these systems communicate through a Network Communications Backend.

The Simulation Controller controls the launching of the various systems that create the simulation. The Flight-Plan Filer files the flight plans at the appropriate times and the Target Generator will fly the aircraft according to their characteristics and flight plan. The ELS handles the coordination and registration of all the simulation components and acts a queryable data store.

The displays (ATC and Pseudo-Pilot) complete the Human-In-The-Loop part of the simulation by providing an interface for pilots and controllers to manipulate the aircraft. The ATC display has the ability to prompt for and record Human Factors metrics for post-simulation analysis.

Communication between pseudo-pilots and controllers is facilitated by the Voice Communication System (VCS), which uses Voice-Over IP technology to simulate radio frequencies and controller intercom. The VCS provides Controller Preemption and Step-On Prevention features developed by the NEAR lab to model a possible NextGen communication system without the garbled simultaneous broadcasts seen today.


Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s (ERAU) CASP displays the full suite of messages involved in the NEO demonstration. These messages are delivered by Harris’ implementation of the NAS Enterprise Messaging Service (NEMS) using mechanisms specified by the FAA’s System Wide Information Management (SWIM) program.

CASP subscribes to a predefined set of messages published by the various systems in the NEO environment. The messages include Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) alerts, aircraft state, Mini Flight Objects (MFOs), track data, four-dimensional trajectory predictions, Airspace Volume of Interest (AVOI), Geographic Point of Interest (GPOI), and aircraft Point Outs. AVOIs can include aircraft trajectory corridors and STARS aircraft Dynamic Protection Zones (DPZ).  The content of each of these message types is displayed to the operator using a customized user interface specific to the CASP.  The CASP is also capable of publishing CAP, AVOI, GPOI and aircraft Point Out messages.  The CASP can be used by anyone that needs situational awareness but does not require a full automation system, such as a UAS operator, airline, or fixed-based operator.


The Electronic Flight Bag for iPad provides several features to assist pilots both on the ground and in flight:

  • A moving map display that shows the aircraft’s current position, bearing, and desired track
  • Several types of maps, including VFR Sectional charts, street maps, and topographic maps
  • Aircraft traffic (using ADS-B surveillance data)
  • NEXTRAD weather overlay
  • Airport information
  • Flight planner
  • PDF Document navigator
  • Simulated route visualization tool
  • 3D synthetic vision

ERAU Multi-Information Display (EMID)

EMID is a Geographical Information System (GIS) based application capable of displaying geospatial referenced data such as ESRI shape files, weather data, and Geo Tiff files. It supports pan and zoom and allows the user to turn data layers on and off. EMID is capable of displaying high fidelity ESRI shape files of airspace volumes and airport layouts for precise tracking of aircraft taxiing. EMID also displays ADS-B and TIS-B aircraft position data received from SWIM-like surveillance services. ADS-B and TIS-B aircraft are represented by symbols that have optional data blocks capable of displaying altitude, speed, heading, and latitude/longitude information. For ease of visualization, TIS-B aircraft are displayed in cyan, and ADS-B aircraft are displayed in blue when airborne and brown when on the ground. Additionally, a speed vector is rendered for both ADS-B and TIS-B aircraft to show their predicted heading and distance to be traveled in the next 30 seconds.

ERAU Multi-Information Display for Portable Device (iEMID)

The ERAU Multi-Information Display (iEMID) is a mobile geographical information application developed on Apple iOS for displaying surveillance data. It runs on iPhone, iTouch and iPad devices. iEMID is capable of displaying different types of surveillance information such as Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B).  The application uses the Google Map API as the underlying mapping system. A separate layer is added to render the ADS-B surveillance information. Additional layers can be added for other data such as weather and VFR sectionals.

User tap gesture recognition is enabled to allow the user to tap close to an aircraft object to trigger the display of an extended data block for that aircraft. The extended data block includes altitude, speed, heading, and latitude/longitude information. Commercial 1090ES ADS-B equipped aircraft are rendered in blue while general aviation UAT ADS-B equipped aircraft are shown in green.