FAA Flight Simulator Classifications:
AATD Advanced Aviation Training Devices

The FAA classification Advanced Aviation Training Device or AATD closely aligns with what we would consider to be the starting point for advanced flight simulators. An AATD must meet all of the qualifications of a BATD, as such we we recommend you read the BATD page first.

In addition to the requirements for the BATD an AATD must meet some more stringent demands. These produce a simulator which is more immersive and provides the opportunity for a faster transfer of knowledge and skills.

The most important difference is that the simulator must have a realistic cockpit which features correctly sized and positioned controls and instruments. This means real switches, knobs and levers in correct arrangements and the correct distances from the pilot. The cockpit may be open or enclosed but enclosed is far more desirable as it keeps outside distractions to a minimum. .

There must also be a digital avionics panel, and a realistic GPS navigator with moving map. For AATDs representing fixed wing aircraft there must also be a two-axis autopilot and if appropriate a flight director. Helicopter AATDs do not require this. There must also be pitch trim (manual or electric). The seat must be realistic for the kind of aircraft being represented.

Although most BATDs have them anyways AATDs require an Out The Window (OTW) visuals representing the virtual environment the user is flying through. The visual must be capable of providing realistic cues in both day and night Visual Flight Rules (VFR) and Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) meteorological conditions to enhance the pilot's visual orientation in the vicinity of airports. Both visibility and ceiling must be adjustable. Most AATDs provide highly sophisticated weather and visibility controls to the instructor.

AATDs must have a separate Instructor Operating Station. The IOS must have the following capabilities:

  • Oversee tracks along airways, holding entries and patterns, and Localizer (LOC) and glideslope (GS) alignment/deviation (or other approaches with a horizontal and vertical track).
  • Function as air traffic control(ATC)in providing vectors, etc.
  • Change weather conditions, ceilings, visibilities, wind speed and direction, light/moderate/severe turbulence, and icing conditions.
  • Invoke failures in navigation and instruments, radio receivers, landing gear and flaps, engine power (partial and total), and other aircraft systems (pitot, electric, static, etc.)

An AATD must also be capable of all of the emergency procedures for which a checklist is prescribed in the aircraft Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH) or flight manual.