SUPRA Project

Simulation of UPset Recovery in Aviation

Funding: European Union Framework Seven Programme

Collaborators: TNO, The National Aerospace Laboratory, Boeing Research & Technology, AMST-Systemtechnik GmbH, CSTS Dinamika, Max Plank Institute for Biological Cebernetics, Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute, Gromov Flight Research Institute, Dinamika-Avia Ltd


Loss of control in flight (LOC-I) today is the major cause of fatal accidents in commercial aviation. Although based on available statistics these events are quite rare, from time to time due to severe environmental conditions, pilot’s error, system’s malfunction, etc. the aircraft may enter into dangerous attitudes or stalls, usually named as aircraft upsets. To prevent or adequately recover from upset conditions it is essential that the pilots are able to recognise the upset situation and apply appropriate recovery actions.

Expert community is considering modern flight simulators as a viable option for effective and cost-efficient pilot training for prevention and if necessary recovery from extreme upset conditions. However, due to the lack of validated aircraft models outside the normal operating flight envelope, current flight simulators are unable to adequately represent aircraft behaviour at the edge and beyond of the flight envelope.

The European FP-7 project SUPRA – Simulation of Upset Recovery in Aviation (2009-2012, total cost 4.928.779 €) has addressed this problem by extending dynamic simulation models beyond the current state-of-the-art and investigating the feasibility of conducting advanced upset simulation on hexapod-type as well as centrifuge-based flight simulators.

Partners in the SUPRA project have the vast expertise in the aerodynamic modelling, flight simulation and flight-testing of out-of-normal-envelope maneuvers (TsAGI, DMU, NLR, FRI, R&D Boeing Europe), in the field of motion perception and vestibular modelling (Max Plank, TNO, TsAGI, NLR) as well as possess a unique set of experimental facilities including an advanced, one-of-a-kind, centrifuge-based research simulator, called Desdemona, capable of reproducing sustained accelerations up to 3g (TNO, AMST, NLR, TsAGI, Dinamika).

The SUPRA Expert Group included specialists from aircraft manufacturers (Airbus, Boeing), airline operators (Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa), training organizations (Sabena Flight Academy, Austrian Aviation Training Centre), aerodynamic modelling experts (NASA, Boeing), and flight simulator professionals (IDT Engineering, SimConsult). More than twenty pilots including experienced test pilots from the expert group (Vladimir Birukov, Dave Carbaugh, etc.) were involved in the final evaluation of the SUPRA aerodynamic model for extended flight envelope and proposed simulator’s motion drive algorithms.  The SUPRA success story has been presented at the project final event in June.

Results of the SUPRA project were also presented at the following:




Home-pageCentrifuge-based-flight simulator “Desdemona” (TNO, Netherlands)



Hexapod-based-flight simulator PSPK-102 (TsAGI, Russia)