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SEPHIR - Simulator for Educational Projects and Highly Innovative Research


Flight simulation is used for very different purposes:

  • for pilot training and pilot training on realistic flight simulators certified by the aviation authorities to save expensive flight hours and to be able to practice behaviour in critical situations in a safe environment,
  • for the development of new aircraft and their control and display systems, to evaluate different designs, validate them, investigate failure cases and define flight test procedures,
  • in the training of aerospace engineers in order to demonstrate the dynamic flight characteristics to the students and to show them experimentally, for example, the effect of control commands, size modifications and controller coefficients.
  • Since the human being is always involved as a pilot in these flight simulations, they must be carried out in real time. Of course, there are also simulations for other purposes for which real time is not required.


The goal of SEPHIR is to have a modular flight simulator at the Institute of Aerospace, whose generic cockpit corresponds to a modern commercial aircraft, and which can be used in teaching and research

  • to use it to investigate flight characteristics, innovative operating and display concepts and new types of simulation models in research projects,
  • to illustrate the theory taught in the lectures to the students in practical exercises in the flight simulator.

For this purpose, software and hardware must be flexibly adaptable by the department to different research tasks. SEPHIR is also an important part of the simulator network at the institute, which includes the AARES simulator of the Flight Guidance Department and the Airbus A330/A340 flight simulator of the Centre for Flight Simulation Berlin (ZFB).



The simulator was used for the pre-development of a 100-seat commercial aircraft and served from 1997 on in the national technology project "Electronic Flight Control System, EFCS" for the development of the electronic flight control of the technology carrier VFW-614 ATD (Advanced Technology Demonstrator). Airbus Deutschland GmbH has donated the ATD Research Flight Simulator to the TU Berlin - on the occasion of the appointment of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Luckner - to the Institute of Aerospace, Department of Flight Mechanics, Flight Control and Aeroelasticity for research and teaching.

Pictures from the simulator in Hamburg


Technical Data of the VFW-614 ATD
Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke-Fokker GmbH
21.50 m
20.60 m
64.00 qm
Max. Take-off Mass
19,950 kg
Maximum speed
700 km/h
Max. Altitude
25,000 ft
Max. Range
1,200 km
Max. Passangers

Disassembly and assembly

July 2005 the simulator cockpit and parts of the vision system were disassembled into individual parts and packed in two large containers and transported from the Airbus plant in Hamburg to Berlin. After moving the simulator to the TU-Berlin many modifications were necessary to adapt SEPHIR to the spatial and technical conditions. Furthermore, an extension with additional components (e.g. generic overhead panel, increase of the number of displays) was carried out.

  • Pictures of the dismantling in Hamburg
  • Pictures of the arrival in Berlin
  • Pictures of the construction in Berlin

Simulator Equipment


The simulation must be calculated in real time. For this purpose, an iHawk multiprocessor system from Concurrent is available with a corresponding real-time operating system based on Linux. The communication between the systems is done via a 1GBit Ethernet network. The entire structure is designed for flexibility in order to be able to introduce changes and innovations as quickly and easily as possible.



The simulator has a high quality vision system with collimator optics that project the image through semi-transparent mirrors into the cockpit, so that the pilot can theoretically focus his eyes on infinity (in reality approx. 20m). This is very important for the realism. The system consists of 4 collimators with 3 channels. The front channel for the pilot and co-pilot is split.





In the cockpit, original aircraft parts are used for all controls important for flying, such as sidesticks, rudder pedals, thrust, flap and landing gear levers, as these are essential for the evaluation of flight characteristics. The instrumentation is shown on commercial displays for cost reasons.




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Dipl.-Ing. Bernd Boche
+49 (0)30 314-22138
Building F