The Easiest Way to Create Highly Effective Training Scenarios
for Microsoft® Flight Simulator X and Lockheed Martin® Prepar3D™
Scenario-based training (SBT) is changing the way pilots learn to fly and stay proficient. The Flight1 Aviation Technologies Scenario Builder is a tool that lets you easily create immersive simulation experiences for Microsoft® Flight Simulator X and Lockheed Martin® Prepar3D™.
Scenario Builder was designed with the FAA/Industry Training Standards (FITS) in mind, and is a FITS-accepted product. It’s ideally suited for creating simulation scenarios that focus on Scenario-Based Training (SBT), Single-Pilot Resource Management (SRM), and Learner-Centered Grading (LCG).
Scenario Builder works just like you think, so you don’t need to be a computer programmer to use it. With an intuitive interface that’s much easier to use than the mission creation tool Microsoft and Lockheed Martin provide in their Software Development Kits, Scenario Builder will enable you to quickly create scenarios you can use in training.
Scenario Builder is for you if you are:
- A flight school owner or manager. Scenario Builder, Prepar3D, and VISPRO can be combined to provide your instructors and students with scenario-based training experiences that are in many ways more effective than what they could do in an airplane.
- An independent flight or ground instructor. Using Scenario Builder, you can create a library of training scenarios your students can fly under your supervision using Prepar3D, or at home on their own using Flight Simulator X.
- An entrepreneur. The Publisher Edition of Scenario Builder gives you the right to distribute and/or sell any scenarios that you make: to your students, via the web, however you want.
The Power of Simulation for Scenario-Based Training
The goal of scenario-based training (SBT) is to “train the way you fly” and “fly the way you train.” To this end there is no better tool than simulation. A flight simulator can provide a pilot with virtually the same cognitive experience he or she would have in a real aircraft, with some important additional benefits:
- A simulator is more flexible than a real aircraft.
- A simulator offers repeatability.
- A simulator knows exactly what the pilot does, and keeps a record that can be analyzed.
- A simulator gives the instructor complete control over every aspect of the experience.
The FAA defines scenario-based training as “a training system that uses a highly structured script of real-world experiences to address flight-evaluation in an operational environment.”
Delivering scripted experiences on the ground or in an airplane typically requires a lot of role-playing and a suspension of disbelief. Using Scenario Builder, you can create detailed simulation experiences that leave very little to the pilot’s imagination. Unlike “brain flying” on the ground or simulating experiences while burning fuel in a real airplane, a realistic Flight Simulator or Prepar3D scenario completely immerses the pilot in the flight.
Become a Scenario Publisher
In order for scenario-based training to be most effective, instructors need to have access to a library of scenarios covering a wide variety of skills and situations. While there are a wide variety of teaching aids available for maneuver-based training (MBT), scenario-based training in general aviation is still gaining widespread acceptance, so SBT scripts and syllabuses are harder to come by. Simulation scenarios for Flight Simulator X and Prepar3D exist, but they aren’t widely available.
The Publisher version of Scenario Builder gives you the right to distribute and sell any scenarios that you make. Once you become a skilled simulation scenario builder you may want to sell your creations to pilot, instructors, and flight schools. One of the easiest ways to distribute your scenarios is via the Flight1 Tech Marketplace.
Mission Creation … the Intuitive Way
You’ll create your simulation scenarios using the Flight Simulator X or Prepar3D “mission” system.
A mission does two things:
- It structures a user’s experience of the default simulation environment via a series of triggers and actions.
- It adds to the default environment via custom weather, sounds, scenery, animations, and effects.
The Mission Creation Software Development Kits (SDK) provided by Microsoft and Lockheed Martin include a complex tool that allows you to create missions. Most people find it quite difficult to understand and use.
The flight instructors and aviation educators we talked to told us they didn’t want to spend their time learning complicated tools or coding schemas. They just wanted to design effective scenarios, and then quickly turn those scripts into simulation experiences that could be delivered using Flight Simulator X or Prepar3D. So we created Scenario Builder.
Scenario Builder gives you access to the most important elements of the Flight Simulator X or Prepar3D mission system via a simple, intuitive interface ... so you can focus on the training instead of the tool.
Scenario Builder makes it easy to quickly create missions for:
- Learning cockpit flow/procedures
- Mastering emergency procedures
- Aircraft checkouts
- Route familiarization
- Teaching and evaluating decision-making skills
For most general training, Scenario Builder alone will get the job done. If you want to create especially complex missions and you’re tech savvy, you can use Scenario Builder to structure the basic flow of a mission, and then use the SDK tool to add additional functionality.
A Simple Building Block Approach
Scenario Builder is a stand-alone application that integrates with Flight Simulator X or Prepar3D. To create missions with Scenario Builder, you don’t even have to have the Mission Creation Software Development Kit (SDK) installed.
Scenario Builder organizes mission triggers and actions the same way you design your scenarios on paper:
in a series of steps.
The left side of the screen shows the sequence of steps, and the right side shows the properties for the currently selected step. You can easily change the order of steps, and copy and paste them (both within a mission and between missions). When you save a mission, Scenario Builder will automatically translate it into a format understood by Flight Simulator X and Prepar3D and generate all the necessary files.
A Preview/Edit mode lets you visually place and move mission components within Flight Simulator X or Prepar3D (either on the same monitor or on another one). You can move custom scenery objects and area boxes by simply clicking and dragging within the simulated environment.
What You Can Do
Scenario Builder gives you access to virtually any parameter the simulation uses or keeps track of (ranging from airspeed to the position of individual cockpit switches). You can keep an eye on what the pilot does, how the aircraft responds, where the aircraft is, and how it’s performing. Standard and custom variables (which can be edited) give you access to, and control over, almost anything you can think of.
You can play sounds
During a mission, you can trigger spoken voices to simulate air traffic controllers, other pilots, a dispatcher, a co-pilot, or passengers. The voices can be synthesized from text or recorded, and can be captioned.
You can also record non-vocal sound files and play them at specific points during a mission. You can play sound effects, or provide the pilot with audio cues that an assigned task is completed.
You can make things happen
You can have the mission itself perform basic actions (like adjusting the throttle, tuning radios, or switching on lights). This facilitates the creation of scenarios that feature a co-pilot, or tutorial scenarios in which the pilot watches a demonstration of tasks before doing them.
You can also:
- Adjust the weight and balance. By adjusting the weight of payload at different stations you can simulate people getting in and out of the aircraft, or the loading and unloading of baggage—with realistic results on aircraft performance.
- Create new camera views. For a more cinematic experience, you can create new views of the pilot’s aircraft during a mission. For example, a mission can begin with an orienting shot of the aircraft exterior, then switch to a first-person in-cockpit view once the mission begins.
- Start and stop timers. Timers are an important tool in creating realistic missions. You can use them to create pauses between the execution of mission steps.
- Give the pilot choices. By creating an on-screen menu prompt you can give the pilot a choice to make. What happens next depends on which option the pilot chooses. Menu prompts can be used for Learner-Centered Grading (LCG) to evaluate and provide feedback on the pilot’s application of Single Pilot Resource Management (SRM) concepts. They can also be used to create missions with branching decision trees, or to accept or decline requests from simulated crew members, air traffic controllers, dispatchers, or passengers.
- Reward the pilot for a job well done. In Flight Simulator X missions, you can grant a reward (an image file of a certificate, trophy, medal, badge, postcard, etc.) to the pilot, which is stored on the Pilot Records screen.
You can require the pilot to take a specific action
In many missions you’ll want the pilot to perform actions, or to fly within certain tolerances, before the next mission step occurs. You can require the pilot to:
- Reach or maintain a specific parameter. You can require the pilot to maintain an altitude, airspeed, or heading; to set a specific flap position; or to maintain a certain temperature or RPM setting. You can require each parameter to be above a specific value, below a specific value, between two values, or not between two values.
- Reach, leave, stay inside, or stay outside an area. You can place an area box at a fixed geographical position or attach it to a scenery or AI object. You can specify the size of the box, as well as its pitch, bank, heading, and whether or not a mission “compass” and “pointer” helps the pilot locate it. To simplify things, you can work with area boxes visually in the simulation window using Preview/Edit mode.
- Drop payload so that it lands within a specified area box. This action can be used for missions in which the pilot needs to drop something from the aircraft.
- Land at an airport on a runway. You can require the pilot to land on a runway at more than 20,000 airports around the world.
- Land inside an area box on the ground. You can require the pilot to land within a specified area on the ground (or on a scenery object). This is especially valuable for route-familiarization scenarios with off-airport landings (such as helicopter, seaplane, or ski-plane operations).
To support the Learner-Centered Grading (LCG) tenet of FITS, the mission can provide feedback on the pilot’s action or lack thereof. You can:
- Verbally remind the pilot of a required action (once or at regular intervals until completed).
- Provide spoken feedback to the pilot after each decision.
- Fail the mission if an action is not completed within a specific time limit.
- Wait (or not wait) until an action is completed before continuing with the next actions.
You can display scenery objects, ground vehicles, and aircraft (and make them move)
You can design your mission to automatically create scenery objects, ground vehicles, AI aircraft for realistic ambiance, or as a critical part of the scenario. You can:
- Add new scenery objects to the world that only appear during a mission. You can select objects from a vast library of more than 3,500 objects included with FSX or Prepar3D using a list or thumbnail view. You can change the scale of an object, and position it by entering data or by dragging it in the simulator window using Preview/Edit mode. Objects in the default library include airport objects, people, buildings, trees, and more.
- Make any scenery object follow waypoints. By making a scenery object a “mobile object,” you can make it move along a specific path at a specific speed, turn speed, turn time, and acceleration.
- Add ground vehicles that move realistically. Choose from a library that includes airport vehicles like fuel trucks and luggage tugs, other vehicles, boats, and more.
- Add AI aircraft that are either parked, taxiing, or flying. By specifying waypoints and movement parameters, you can make the AI aircraft taxi along specific routes, takeoff, fly to multiple waypoints, land on a runway, and taxi to parking.
- Add special effects (with or without associated sounds). Effects include flashing lights, smoke, fire, fireworks, explosions, lightning strikes, volcanic eruptions, and more. You can place effects at fixed positions, or attach them to mission scenery objects.
- Set new waypoints for mobile scenery objects, ground vehicles, or AI aircraft to follow. You can modify an object’s movement based on the pilot’s actions, or to delay setting an object in motion. For example, a “Follow Me” vehicle or a fuel truck can respond to the pilot’s movement or lack thereof.
- Hold sequencing until an AI object enters or leaves an area box. You can wait to trigger an action (like playing a radio call or triggering an effect) until an AI aircraft is in a certain location.
- Hold an AI object inside or outside of an area box until the pilot performs a specific action. You can keep an AI aircraft within (or outside) a specified area until something else happens (like the pilot’s aircraft flying close to it).
- Hide AI or scenery objects. By making objects disappear you can simulate things like luggage being loaded, or a person getting into an airplane or going into a building.
You can cause malfunctions
You can trigger a variety of failures in the pilot’s aircraft, and repair them. A health percentage value determines how badly the system is affected. Failures you can trigger include:
- Instruments (Attitude Indicator, Heading Indicator, Vertical Speed Indicator, Altimeter, Airspeed Indicator, Turn Coordinator, Compass)
- Systems (Vacuum, Pitot-Static, Electrical)
- Radio receivers (Comm, Nav, ADF, Transponder)
- Engines (Engine Failure, Engine Fire, Fuel Leak, Fuel Pump, Oil Leak, Oil System, Generator, Magnetos,Turbine Ignition)
- Elevators, Ailerons, Rudder, Flaps, Brakes, and more.
You can customize things
Want even more options? If you’re technically-inclined and want to dive into the Mission Creation Software Development Kit, you can:
- Execute any custom action assignable to a key command. This essentially lets the mission itself do anything the pilot could by pressing a keyboard command.
- Execute custom actions that can be set via SimConnect. SimConnect is an Application Programming Interface (API) that lets third-party software interact with Flight Simulator X or Prepar3D. (For example, using custom parameters and SimConnect you could have third-party software interact with the simulation, or export simulation or mission data to an external scoring module or learning management system.)
- Interact with certain third-party add-on gauge modules. You can create missions in which the pilot interacts with complex systems and avionics created by third-party developers.
You can review scenarios in VISPRO
Scenario Builder can record and save the aircraft’s flight track during a mission, along with a record of all mission events (such as instructor voice prompts, pilot actions, etc.) and when they occurred. This “flight track” file can then be imported into VISPRO (a Flight1 Technologies instructor station for Flight Simulator X or Prepar3D) for review and analysis using a map view, graphs, and replaying in the simulation environment.
Start Turning Your Scenarios into Immersive Simulations Today
As you’ve seen, Scenario Builder is incredibly powerful ... yet you don’t need to be a computer programmer to use it because it works the way you think.
Using Scenario Builder, you can you can begin building your own library of simulation scenarios, and you can distribute and sell the scenarios you create. You can quickly go “from script top screen,” turning your own FITS-inspired scenario ideas (or scenarios you’ve acquired from books, magazines, and web sites) into immersive simulation experiences pilots will find both educational and fun. With Scenario Builder, there’s no longer any good reason not to incorporate scenario-based simulation training into your educational toolbox.
With more than 15 years of industry experience, Flight1 is one of the most respected third-party solution providers for Microsoft’s simulations. We use the depth and breadth of our knowledge to create products that push the limits of what can be done with PC-based simulation for both entertainment and flight training.
We’re excited about the ways people are using our products, and we’d love to hear about your success with Scenario Builder.
Order a copy of Scenario Builder today:
$295.00 (Works with Microsoft FSX and Lockheed Martin Prepar3D)
This version is licensed for personal, non-commercial use.
Note: Please inquire re multi-seat site licenses.
The Publisher Edition allows you to create scenarios to sell. Please CALL FOR PRICING.
After you install Scenario Builder, we suggest you dive right in and try creating your first scenario. Spend a few minutes looking through the included manual and addendum, then give it a try. After some experimentation, you can give the manual a more thorough read so you’ll learn how to take advantage of all of the features we’ve described here.
- Simulation Platform: Microsoft Flight Simulator X or Lockheed Martin Prepar3D
- Operating System: Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7
- Video Card Memory: 256 MB
- Hard Drive Space: 101 MB
We welcome the opportunity to help you learn more about our products. If you have questions before purchasing Scenario Builder, please contact us via our support ticket system.