Test bed for the Simona flight simulator

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TU Delft

Simona is the international research institute for "Simulation, Motion and Navigation". This institute makes facilities available for fundamental research into improving simulation techniques and the use of those simulation techniques for improving vehicle performance and safety.

Simona is a collaboration between three faculties of TU Delft: the faculty of Information Technology and Systems (ITS), the faculty of Design, Production and Construction (OCP) and the faculty of Aerospace Engineering (LR).


The Simona flight simulator is an advanced flight simulator built for doing research. This consists of a cabin made of aramid fiber, on a chassis with six degrees of freedom of movement.

In the Simona flight simulator (software-) errors can lead to situations in which equipment and possible passengers are at risk. That is why a systematic approach to safety is needed. At lower levels, safety is guaranteed by measures regarding the servo motors and the PLC that coordinates the movements. A systematic approach is needed to gain more confidence in the exactitude of the software.

What did we do?

West has developed a so-called test bed. This is an environment in which tests can be developed, executed and evaluated. Furthermore, the coverage results are collected and presented.


The test bed is written by using make files, shell scripts and perl scripts. For the unit tests we used cppunit, a C ++ port from the popular JUnit test tool for Java. The Bullseye CodeCoverage tool was chosen to measure the coverage results.


The test bed supports both module tests and unit tests. A module test is a blackbox test. This test is just like a simulation of an aircraft. The same steps are followed during the test as during a simulation flight.

A unit test is intended to preferably test a source file and uses as few other source files as possible. In some cases, such as when several source files are interdependent, a unit test can also test multiple source files. A unit test is a whitebox test.