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Ferranti Computer Systems Ltd, Stockport is taking a first step into the rarified but lucrative field of flight simulators with a multi-million pound contract from the Ministry of Defence for five simulators to be used to initiate rookie pilots in the intricacies of the Royal Air Force’s new basic training plane, the Tucano. The simulators will be built of distributed 68000 family VMEbus processors under the PDOS operating system, each processor simulating a different function of the single engine, gas turbine powered Tucano – communicating over an Ethernet. PDOS consists of a small – 2Kb – real-time kernel with floating point, file management, and user monitor modules originally created for the Texas Instruments TMS9900 chip, but transferred to the 68000 family. It comes from Eyring Research Institute, Provo, Utah, and supports PDOS Pascal and PDOS Basic. The Tucano, built by Short Brothers of Belfast in an agreement with Brazilian firm Embraer, is expected to replace the RAF’s venerable current training aircraft, the Jet Provost. Ferranti looks for the first simulator to complete its site acceptance by June 1989, followed by the other four over a period of 16 months. Two will be installed at RAF Cranwell and RAF Linton-on-Ouse with the other going to RAF Church Fenton. This is the first time Ferranti has gone into full motion aircraft flight simulation and it hopes will provide it with the experience necessary to take on market leaders Rediffusion and Singer.

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