AFRL's Total In-Flight Simulator is celebrating 50 years of service.

TIFS has supported a variety of programs. For instance, it aided National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) researchers in developing a cost-effective, next-generation supersonic transport. Essentially, it helped the NASA team evaluate the feasibility of landing without forward visibility and relying on sensors and displays alone. In addition, AFRL scientists used TIFS to evaluate an autonomous guidance and control system for Boeing's X-40 Space Maneuvering Vehicle.1 Recently, TIFS supported an ITT Industries technology known as ANGEL: Airborne Natural Gas Emission LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging). ANGEL uses LiDAR lasers to detect natural gas pipeline leaks and identify their location within 10 ft of the source, from a distance up to 1,000 ft in the air. (See inset for a listing of other TIFS-supported programs.)

TIFS' flexibility significantly expands its capacity to support a wide variety of programs. In addition to changing nose configurations, engineers can easily modify TIFS to carry project-specific test components such as sensors, computers, or displays. Each project is different; further, the evolving requirements unique to this type of research have proven the need for implementing continuous updates. TIFS' simulation cockpit configuration most recently gained a new nose cap and canopy, adding room to accommodate additional test equipment comprising a new instrument panel, side and center consoles, a rudder pedal, throttle feel systems, additional sensors, and displays including a Silicon Graphics® computer and a high-definition television camera.