This project was an investigation into the feasibility of developing a cost-effective high-fidelity type-specific small aircraft simulator for use as part of an ab-initio flight training program. The development of the KatanaSim, a Diamond DA20-A1 Katana flight simulator built with commercial off-the-shelf components and original aircraft parts wherever possible, proved the feasibility of the endeavour. In order to acquire the data necessary for flight model evaluation and tuning, a minimally-intrusive flight testing methodology for small aircraft was developed. A compact instrumentation
package was designed and tested, and a flight permit from Transport Canada was obtained. Two flight tests in a DA20-A1 Katana were completed and several hours worth of flight testing data was acquired. A curve-fitting genetic algorithm was developed to automate the flight model tuning process and was validated using a variety of dynamic models.