Sample Chapter. Building. Simulated. Aircraft. Instruments. John Michael Powell. Mike's Flight Deck Books. Lafayette, CA 4 Building Recreational Flight Simulators today s flight simulation download Options Options for Building Simulated Instruments Air-core Movements. Flying in your own cockpit is one of those aspirations many flight simulator users gauges is Building Simulated Aircraft Instrumentation (Mike Powell). This is.

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performance of a safety analysis on flight simulation devices to its future .. depending on the similarity to the aircraft it was build for, being D the most real Devices. They consist of a set of software and instruments that provide a realistic view. Building Simulated Aircraft Instruments -- sample chapter. Building Simulated Aircraft Instruments at It's in pdf. Fill Building Simulated Aircraft Instrumentation, download blank or editable online. Sign, fax and printable from PC, iPad, tablet or mobile with PDFfiller.

Some 10, were produced to train , new pilots from allied nations, many in the US and Canada because many pilots were trained in those countries before returning to Europe or the Pacific to fly combat missions. The Celestial Navigation Trainer of was It enabled sextants to be used for taking "star shots" from a projected display of the night sky. This was the first of today's modern flight simulators for commercial aircraft. Now CAE makes more from training than from producing the simulators.

The fourth is FlightSafety International , focused on general , business and regional aircraft. Airbus and Boeing have invested in their own training centres, aiming for higher margins than aircraft manufacturing like MRO , competing with their suppliers CAE and L3.

Several different devices are utilized in modern flight training. Cockpit Procedures Trainer CPT are used to practice basic cockpit procedures, such as processing emergency checklists, and for cockpit familiarization.

Certain aircraft systems may or may not be simulated. The aerodynamic model is usually extremely generic if present at all. Large samples of pilot opinion are required and many subjective opinions tend to be aired, particularly by pilots not used to making objective assessments and responding to a structured test schedule.

For many years, it was believed that 6 DOF motion-based simulation gave the pilot closer fidelity to flight control operations and aircraft responses to control inputs and external forces and gave a better training outcome for students than non-motion-based simulation. This is described as "handling fidelity", which can be assessed by test flight standards such as the numerical Cooper-Harper rating scale for handling qualities.

Recent scientific studies have shown that the use of technology such as vibration or dynamic seats within flight simulators can be equally effective in the delivery of training as large and expensive 6-DOF FFS devices. Once this document, called a Qualification Approval Guide QAG , has been approved, all future devices conforming to the QAG are automatically approved and individual evaluation is neither required nor available.

Building Recreational Flight Simulators

Some of the QTGs will be rerun during the year to prove during continuous qualification that the simulator is still in the tolerances approved by the CAA. This level does not require an aerodynamic model, but accurate systems modeling is required. FAA FTD Level 5 - Aerodynamic programming and systems modeling is required, but it may represent a family of aircraft rather than only one specific model. All applicable aerodynamics, flight controls, and systems must be modeled.

A vibration system must be supplied. This is the first level to require a visual system. Airplanes only. The lowest level of helicopter flight simulator.

You can imagine a continuum in the realism of the flight illusion that ranges from sitting in a noisy room looking at a picture on a computer monitor, to experiencing the real thing with all the attendant sights, sounds, smells and perceived motions.

The relative importance of elements of the flight sim illusion provides the means to prioritize projects, allocate resources, schedule work, and incidentally, structure a book.

Book Structure This book presents material about many of the important elements that go into making a home flight simulator. It s generally presented in order of descending importance to the flight sim illusion. This varies somewhat based on just what sort of aircraft is being simulated, how it might be used i.

Chapters generally begin with descriptions of how the chapter topic is implemented and functions in an aircraft.

There s often material covering functionality, appearance, and feel. There may be drawings illustrating the underlying workings. While it is certainly 16 17 Introduction not necessary to duplicate the flight rated mechanisms, it can be very helpful as you design your simulator to know how they work.

A chapter s next section presents various options for downloading commercially produced equipment. There is some risk here, as commercial products go off the market all too often, while I hope that this book has a very long shelf life. Nonetheless, I think it s important to be aware of the option. Building can be a source of satisfaction, but you may not want to build everything. There are many different ways to build sim projects. Often the best way is largely a matter of personal choice.

It depends not only on the project specifics, but also on available resources. Chapters cover various hobby techniques. You ll find approaches using wood, plastic, metal, and various combinations. Adapt what works best for you. The flight sim hobby spans many topics. Inevitably this means a single book which covers the breadth of the hobby can t provide in-depth coverage of each topic in a single volume.

Each chapter lists references to more detailed information. Finally, many chapters include a project. Projects are fully documented. Projects with micro controllers have commented source listings for the firmware. There are printed circuit board layouts for any electronics. The layouts are single-sided so it s easier to make the circuit boards at home.

Mechanical assemblies have dimensioned drawings. And of course, the project operating principles are explained. Appendices I ve included a few appendices that cover material that either applied to many of the chapters or is a bit too detailed to include in a chapter.

It s really annoying to build several components of a project and find that they don t fit together because the mounting holes don t line up. Fortunately, you don t have to be a machine shop wizard to make pieces that fit together.

All that s required is a bit a planning and a few simple layout tools. The appendix on precision layout is an introduction on how to do just that. Many of the book projects incorporate electronics. All of it can be built using prototyping perf-board.

Of course, you may choose to use printed circuit boards instead. If you get excited about the DIY instruments and decide to build the engineer s station of a classic B, having printed circuit boards is a real plus. You ll want to read the appendix on making circuit boards.

Whole books have been written on the subject, so don t expect miracles. Nonetheless, you ll find a good introduction to options for having boards made professionally, and to products and techniques for making them yourself. Consider a radio control head, a typical sim project.

It responds to knobs being turned, it displays active and standby frequency settings with LEDs or an LCD, and it communicates with the host computer. You can do all this with an inexpensive micro controller and a few support chips. Of course, to make the micro controller do this, you ve got to be able to program the little beastie.

If you ve never done this, it looks like a mysterious black art. Once you know how, it s no big deal. The appendix on programming micro controllers gives you a good start to using these fantastically useful devices.

In reality, you ll be using power tools, probably a variety of them. Please do so safely. Please remember, the only time these projects should even be inside a real airplane is when they are in your luggage going to a flight sim convention!

Commercial simulators exist to train pilots, investigate accidents and develop new aircraft. These simulators have objective performance goals, for example, there might be a requirement to implement the exact behavior of a particular model navigation system. Recreational simulators exist to create an experience akin to flying, feelings of excitement or wonder or satisfaction.

But feelings are subjective. Which factors are important in creating a flight simulation experience depend entirely upon your personal expectations. Perhaps you feel precise behavior of navigation avionics is critical; perhaps you don t. This subjective nature leaves room for many different approaches to building a simulator, but also provides little guidance.

The growth of information technology led to the creation of the flight simulation hobby.


With IT s continuing growth the hobby has expanded to performance levels that rival commercial systems. A newcomer is faced with a riot of opinions, options and possibilities. The chaos can be overwhelming. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a little order. The mention of a home flight deck or cockpit may bring to mind images of incredible flight sim projects that capture with great fidelity the interior of commercial jet liners right down to the exact sun-faded color of the main instrument panel.

There can be great joy and a huge sense of satisfaction in building a picture perfect replica of a flight deck, but if it s the experience you re after, perfection isn t necessary.

You don t need a hyper realistic flight deck to make vast improvements in your flight sim experience. The quality of the experience depends on the depth of immersion you get from the flight simulation application.

Playing the application on a desktop computer creates a shallow experience. Almost anything can kick you out of the flight illusion: having to use the keyboard to control the throttle, random noise, the view of wallpaper above a too small monitor, and so on. A recreational flight simulator delivers a better experience because each of its components deepens the feeling of immersion. A component can strengthen the experience by adding directly to the illusion or by excluding distractions.

A control yoke that accurately mimics a Boeing part strengthens the experience by being a tangible item you touch and move.

Building Recreational Flight Simulators

An interior side panel may be the precise shade of Boeing brown, but may add more to the illusion because it blocks the view of your game room carpet. You ll get the best overall results by adding both kinds of components to your simulator.

Sim building can expand to absorb all available resources, plus some. You need some way to prioritize if you re to keep this monster under control. Simulator components are important to the extent that you notice them, or don t notice what they exclude. Systems that you physically interact with most are quite important. Things like primary flight and engine controls top the list.

Systems that command visual attention like the primary flight instruments and the out the window views are pretty close. By ranking the importance of simulator components you can prioritize your efforts. An important qualifier to prioritizing components is the word you. A component is important to the extent YOU notice it. You re contemplating a recreational simulator so you can experience flight. Experiences are ultimately subjective. The next section lists a number of simulator components, but their relative importance is entirely your call.

In this hobby it really is all about you! You don t know what s possible. You don t know what resources are required.

So you don t really know what you personally might realistically aim for. Newcomers often make their first post on a flight sim forum by outlining a rough idea for a sim then ending with an open-ended question to the tune of, What do you think? Usually a few helpful souls will offer a useful critique or two, but the most frequent response is to do more research.

Research is the right answer. It s the one I ll use to close off this section, but before we get there, here are a few thoughts on getting started. Almost anything is possible. Hobbyists have built home simulators that rival high end commercial units. They ve built motorized throttle quadrants, back-lit light plates, panoramic though-the-window displays, dimensionally accurate cockpits and flight decks, and even motion systems.

Some of these may be impractical given personal circumstances, but there is no magic barrier beyond which you simply cannot go. If you ve got the resources and desire, you can do it.

This is an iterative hobby. You have a lot of choices. Build or download? Commercial, civil, or warplane? Fixed or rotary wing? Solo or interactive flying? And so on. You make your choices and factor in available resources time, money, skills, available space, spousal acceptance, etc. The pieces don t fit together. Back to square one. Or maybe just to square two. After all, you learned something the first time through, right?

Learning-while-doing is another aspect of this hobby. It s not unusual for people to complete a simulator then immediately begin rebuilding portions of it. Parts they had initially been satisfied with are now seen as well below their recently elevated acceptable level of quality, and newly acquired skills. By practicing on smaller projects first, you will find yourself successfully completing complex projects you might not otherwise have attempted. So, in this anything s-possible, learn-while-doing spirit of things, here are some things to think about while planning your simulator project.

Your Expectations a. Square 1 A good starting point is deciding what you want from your simulator and what an acceptable cost might be. Focus on the experience you want rather than on the specific hardware and software.

Saying you want to create the experiences of a short haul pilot operating out of Southwest US is better than saying you want a B NG simulator accurate to the CDU functionality. This gives you flexibility for choosing which simulator elements are really important when you find you don t have the resources to precisely mimic all aspects of a B NG and its CDU. Is there an existing flight simulation application that meets your experience expectations?

If you re planning on building an open cockpit biplane simulator and flying it around an animated King Kong atop a 3D model of the Empire State Building poking above a period accurate New York City, this might be a good time to take a step back. Once you find software that will create your suitably adjusted experience expectations, make a note of its technical specs.

You ll need those in a bit. There are several good choices, including, but not limited to these. Both have many add-ons available and large user communities. Some of these applications are very extensible, so if you re good with animation software maybe, just maybe, you actually could add King Kong. If they are not commercially available, can you make them? Does your chosen simulator application support their functionality? These controls are your primary means of physically interacting with your simulator.

Functionality, feel, and appearance can profoundly impact the flight illusion and your experience. While a small general aviation sim might only have a trim switch on the yoke, a contemporary warplane with HOTAS style controls depends heavily on additional switches on the stick and throttle. If your sim doesn t support the additional functionality, it can t create as rich an experience. Generic controls are available from several vendors.

A few vendors offer controls that closely mimic flight rated controls. You can opt for the relatively low cost controls marketed as game controllers, or you can pursue controls manufactured with the flight training industry in mind.

And, of course, you can build controls. Visual Display System What sort of display system will you need for viewing the world outside the aircraft? The display system not only gives you a view of the simulated outside world, it also blocks out a portion of the real world.

This is a good thing. The fewer reminders you have that you re not really flying, the stronger the illusion that you are. So, at least here, bigger really is better. The more of your field of vision that you can fill with simulated scenery or sim cockpit the more you enhance your experience. This is nice for all FS 23 Recreational Flight Simulators applications, but is more important for some.

Book overview

If you re planning a combat sim, a wide field of view is a critical part of the experience. Check your six! Creating a sense of depth is important as well.

You ll get a stronger sense of the 3D nature of the scenery if the imagery is located farther from you. A projection screen positioned 12 feet from your eyes is much nicer than a monitor at 18 inches. A 17 inch monitor is a workable solution for some FS apps and quite lame for others. The prices of video projectors are low enough that massive display systems are worth considering.

Even collimated displays are edging into the realm of DIY possibility. Are you building a glass cockpit, or do you prefer steam gauges?

Is a computer drawn image of a moving needle adequate or will you simply not be happy until you re peering at real instruments? Instrumentation is essential to controlling the aircraft, and it provides a large part of the ambiance of the simulator. It s constantly in your field of view, so, the more realistic the instrumentation, the stronger the illusion.

All FS applications provide instrumentation, albeit drawn on a computer screen. A quick way to boost realism is to mount the computer screen behind an instrument panel with appropriately positioned cutouts. This works extremely well when mimicking aircraft with glass cockpits, and moderately so with analog dial type instrumentation. Non-functioning, but photogenic, mockups can be used in place of less frequently referred to instruments in your simulator.

This helps control overall cost while still providing a bit of illusion-supporting eye candy. Several companies sell functional instruments for simulators, although not all FS applications are capable of exporting the data needed to drive them.

It s quite possible to build functioning sim instruments 3. For the ultimate in realism, you can convert flight-rated instruments to simulator use. Does true happiness come only from operating complex radio navigation equipment, and controlling a large aircraft with multiple complex systems?

All but the simplest aircraft have secondary systems. In general aviation, it might be a basic communications transceiver. Commercial aircraft have navigation receivers, computers, transponders, autopilots, and fuel management systems. Military aircraft add surveillance gear, targeting and weapons systems. To the extent that you can support them in your simulator, you will have a more immersive environment.

A few companies offer modules for controlling sim radios. There are companies and individuals offering back lit panels for commercial transport aircraft and for a few select warplanes. You can convert retired aircraft control panels to simulator use.

It s likely you will be building some or all of this gear from scratch. Will the FS application exchange data with them? This is an important bit of behind the scenes scaffolding.

It s certainly a step up to add realistic switches, knobs, and annunciator panels, but it is outstandingly wonderful to have the simulator respond when you flip those switches and twist those knobs.

One of the least expensive approaches to interfacing switches is to use the electronics from a USB gamepad. This will provide as many as a dozen switch inputs.

Since the software is already in place, all you need to do is configure your simulator application to respond to the modified gamepad. You can also download generic interface modules that come with their own driver software. And, of course, you can build your own interface hardware, and write your own software for the ultimate in flexibility.

Do you lust after engine noise? Will you chat with squadron members, or ask for ATC clearance? Sound is a nice boost to simulator ambiance. It supports the flight illusion by adding aircraft specific sounds, and by blocking out distractions. It can also be a method of direct interaction. A number of simulator applications incorporate or support add-on speech-related applications. You might use speech recognition software to interact with applications on your own computer. You might also use VoIP 4 applications to interact with others across the Internet.

Your computer quite likely has most of what you need, a sound card and a pair of speakers. You might need to download a microphone, although a headset incorporating a microphone is probably a better choice. The headphones will provide isolation from room noise.Since the software is already in place, all you need to do is configure your simulator application to respond to the modified gamepad.

File Library - What's New. Do you lust after engine noise? You can also download generic interface modules that come with their own driver software.

We need to create a stronger flight illusion by building a more immersive simulator environment.

JEANELLE from Spokane
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