What is involved in developing flight simulators? On a plane the safety of all passengers is in the hands of the pilot. To develop the necessary skills, pilots use flight simulators before flying with passengers. The machine moves, feels and visually displays images which would be experienced by pilots on a real plane. A graphic designer takes photos from around the airport and uses aerial images to add to the computer model so the images displayed from the cockpit windows of the simulator are as realistic as possible. Pilots have to fly at night as well as during the day, so we also see how the night images are created. Viewers are given the chance to watch a short daytime sequence and imagine what they would see at night in terms of lights.

First broadcast:
12 October 2007

After viewing the clip, ask pupils to photograph the school building at different times of day. They should note how the lighting changes, depending on the conditions. Ask the children to distinguish between primary light sources (those that produce light) and secondary ones (those that reflect light from elsewhere). Children could go on to use a range of different textiles and materials to design armbands that could be used to safely identify pedestrians in low light conditions. Which materials are the most reflective?