Sunday 23rd November 2014

 
 
 
 

 


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Introduction

Aeroventure Flight Simulator Group

Museum Treasurer Ian Kingsnorth (left) opening the flight simulator room.

The room opened with two flight simulators representing Cessna 172's operating at Finningley (the new Doncaster Sheffield airport)

We now have a dedicated room for flight simulators.

A lot of effort has gone into making the simulators easy for visitors and non-technical museum staff to operate.

Full instructions are supplied so that visitors can try their hands at flying.  So far we have had 'test pilots' ranging from under 5's to over 80's trying their hands at flying, so the new room is proving popular.  A big thanks to my dad for taking the time to build the simulator cockpits, they are fantastic quality and very strong - just what we needed for our visitors.

Flight Simulators As an Educational Aid

As well as taking off and landing, flying around the airport just operating a simulator shows the effect of the following aircraft controls and instruments:-

  • Ailerons
  • Elevator
  • Rudder
  • Flaps
  • Throttle
Basic instruments include:-
  • Altimeter (height)
  • Attitude Indicator (also known as artifical horizon)
  • Airspeed Indicator
  • Magnetic Compass
  • Heading Indicator
  • Turn Indicator
  • Vertical Speed Indicator
  • Engine Speed (RPM)

Aims

To encourage and develop interest in flying in people of all ages.

Updates

03/10/09 First set of repairs (replaced CMOS batteries - twice)
17/10/09 Replaced all A4 wall instructions with A3 versions

10/12/10 Its been a very busy year and the flight simulator kit has taken a lot of battering.

Around March we found that some 'enthusiastic' person had managed to pull a lot of the equipment out of the inside of the flight simulator cases

We spent a day sealing any remaining gaps so it would not be possible to do that again - against this it now takes even more time to do any maintenance

Towards the end of the year we found that the original joysticks were getting quite worn / sloppy and I replaced them with two new ones. To avoid a lot of potentially difficult installation work I waited until I could locate something similar to the previous ones. I haven't found a problem with calibration with the Logitech joysticks that I have seen with others (calibrate them once and they stay calibrated) so these were preferred.

Here is the museum flight simulator setup after the work and ready for more visitors (in the middle is my Gazelle pilot seat ready for the helicopter simulator when we get more space):-



Closing 2010 setup after replacing damaged / worn equipment

I also removed the flight simulator cushions as I was always finding them thrown around the room. I don't think they are needed however.

The (what were then) large 19" CRT's were bought for the first museum flight simulator day around five years ago and then put into storage afterwards until the flight sim room opened. After some 14 months of use one of them failed in October but I had a spare Sony Triniton available.

I also replaced some of the signs leaving everything ready for 2011. I managed to spend 20 minutes or so on a couple of take-offs and landings - the new equipment is certainly a big improvement and it is easy to find yourself immersed in a flight in a way that doesn't happen using a PC at home.

15/09/11 With the holidays out of the way it was time for more maintenance after another years hard work. We found that first one then both machines stopped working half-way through the day (after restarting they were fine until the end of the day). After a trip away for testing and repair everything is back up and running. As a precaution I have replaced the power supplies and cpu fans. During soak test I found that one machine also needed new memory. Hope to have everything back and working again in a week or so.

15/09/12 To the same day as last year we had another couple of visits to undertake repairs and updates. The computers have been taken away for testing and repair. This time replacement memory was required but on the whole things aren't too bad for a couple of older systems that basically run unattended 5 days a week. There is one ongoing snag, although we couldn't find a hardware issue, one of the systems does lock-up during the day and needs rebooting. I think this was introduced when I set up one machine ready for taking off, one ready for landing. So I think the machine that is constanting landing resets itself over and over during the day and the flight simulator then runs out of some resource, eg memory or stack space and so their isn't an obvious fix. I haven't seen this myself but restarting the sim takes 30 seconds and apparently this happens around the same time each day it is not considered a big issue. I did consider setting up both sims ready for taking off again or starting both 'paused' but both of these options will spoil what we are trying to achieve.

Future Projects

We are now working on a helicopter flight simulator that will eventually have more realistic controls replacing a joystick.

Create wall displays or instructional videos to train on different aspects of flight to complement our simulators eg take-off, circuits and landing.

 

Interested in Flight Simulators?

If you are interested in flight simulators you are welcome to join us, email me jim @ aeroventure.org.uk for the next meeting day which is typically on a Saturday from 10:30 onwards.

 

Unless other credit given photographs on this site are copyright Jim Keable 2002-2012