Aircraft Cabin Simulators
Cranfield University houses two aircraft cabin simulators, the Large Cabin Evacuation Simulator and the Boeing 737 cabin simulator. Both of these simulators are used to conduct research into various aspects of cabin safety. For example, previous research has examined the effectiveness of cabin crew procedures and behaviour in emergencies, passenger evacuation rates under various scenarios and conditions, and passenger attention to safety information.
Research trials in both simulators can be filmed using a range of video recording equipment, and cameras can be located as required. Video footage can be taken in conditions of darkness using infra-red lighting and IR sensitive cameras. Thermal imaging cameras can be used to obtain footage where non-toxic smoke has been introduced into the cabin(s). A video editing suite is also available, with time-coding equipment, to analyse research footage.
Boarding cards, safety briefings, and passenger safety cards can all be produced for particular research requirements. Items such as cabin crew uniforms, galley trolleys, oxygen masks, seatbelts and lifejackets are also available.
Large Cabin Evacuation Simulator
The Large Cabin Evacuation Simulator is a wide-bodied cabin simulator, capable of seating up to 300 passengers over two decks (depending on the configuration).
This facility was commissioned and funded by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, and was officially opened by HRH The Duke of Kent on 12 July 2001. The facility is modular, and therefore fully flexible. The walls, seats, aisles, exits and the internal staircase can all be relocated and reconfigured according to research requirements.
The sill of the lower deck is 5 metres above ground level, and the upper deck is 8 metres above ground level. The upper deck is currently fitted with an escape/evacuation slide, which is 16 metres long. Additional slides could be fitted depending on research requirements. Cabin lighting, emergency lighting, sound recordings, the PA system and the introduction of non-toxic smoke can all be controlled from a number of observation stations within the facility.
Footage of the upper deck of the Large Cabin Evacuation Simulator is shown below. Footage is courtesy of Apex Images.
Boeing 737 Cabin Simulator
The Boeing 737 cabin simulator can seat up to 60 passengers, and the seating arrangements can be changed to various configurations. It has two fully functional Type I exits, a fully functional Type III exit, and a service door. The bulkheads can be reconfigured to give the desired passageway width to the Type I exits, and one of the Type I exits is also fitted with an escape/evacuation slide, which is 3 metres above floor level. Cabin lighting, emergency lighting, sound recordings, the PA system, the passenger seat belt/no-smoking signs and the introduction of non-toxic smoke can all be controlled via a computer workstation.