It was a trip of a lifetime for twenty students from a computer science course at the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) when they 'flew' around Dubai in a full flight simulator at Emirates-CAE Flight Training (ECFT).
The exercise enabled students to experience flight simulators that are used for training commercial pilots around the world. Two hundred engineers, aircraft fitters, hydraulic and electronics technicians are involved in building these simulators which have a list price of approximately US $ 9-16 million.
The students were given a tour of the facilities, including viewing the 11 pods at ECFT which comprised the Airbus, Boeing, Gulfstream, Hawker and helicopter simulators. The students were shown the computer control center, where the software engineers maintain the computer programs to enable the simulators to operate.
Following the walking tour, flight simulator engineer Melanie Janelle spoke to the students about various aspects of the simulator system, details of her work as an expert in the field and an insight into the ECFT workplace environment. Students were then given an entertaining insight into the life of an IT professional by IT Specialist and Project Manager, Ghassan Hassan.
The highlight of the trip was flying in the simulator. Students were able to take off, fly virtually around Dubai viewing graphics including Sheikh Zayed Road and Emirates Towers, and land the plane.
Students were amazed by how realistic the simulator was. "The cockpit was just like a real airplane, take-off and landing felt so real, said Hina Majeed student of the Bachelor of Computer Science. Regarding the trip to ECFT one student commented that "it was the most exciting and informative experience Ive had during my University life.
CAE provides training solutions to civil and military markets and develops, designs and manufactures aviation training systems for civil and military applications. CAEs affiliates have operations and training facilities in 19 countries on five continents and 90% of annual revenues are derived from worldwide exports to militaries, commercial airlines, business aircraft operators, aircraft manufacturers.
The field trip, organised by Dr. Catherine Todd at the College of Information Technology (IT) at UOWD, and Megha Merani, UOWDs Career Advisor, was aimed at providing students exposure to their future work environments. It gave students an insight into computer science, business management and IT in a workplace environment whilst experiencing a flight simulator first hand. The students had recently studied the topic of real-world simulations, including 3D modelling and virtual reality training systems. "The enthusiasm of our students has been fantastic", commented Megha Merani, adding "occupational information is necessary to allow students to make informed career choices. The University is grateful to the Emirates Group and CAE for providing this learning opportunity to our students."