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Hardware Hacking

Learning To Fly, With a Full-Size Cockpit Simulator 77

Make Zine features the story of Aidan Fay, a 17-year-old San Diego student who has constructed a full-size Cessna 172 cockpit simulator in his bedroom, controlled by Arduinos and using scavenged game-controller parts. Because the display Fay is using is an Oculus Rift headset, the visual similarity to an actual plane's interior (not to mention the view) isn't as great as some simulators', but the hardware makes it nonetheless more realistic for a headset-wearing pilot than some simulators that might look prettier: he's got actual rudder pedals, and a force-feedback system on a yoke (also real). Fay's interest is more than as a flight simulator enthusiast, though: he's built this system primarily as an educational tool, as he works to get around a medical problem that's delayed his quest for a pilot's license.
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Learning To Fly, With a Full-Size Cockpit Simulator

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    All this knowledge is suspicious. Probably a terrorist.

  • Not new. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @02:50AM (#50752405)

    Hobbyists have been building home cockpits for years now. I don't know why this is suddenly groundbreaking news. Anyone with about $5000 and a lot of free time can do this.

    • For whatever reason anything that gets done using one of those is somehow "news". Doesn't matter if it is the same sort of thing does all the time, if you use a Rift to do it that somehow makes it newsworthy. Most likely because Facebook hypes it.

      • Sadly the guy who wrote the article is a couple years late and a dollar short. Us in the simming community have been using the rift since day 1

    • Slashdot isn't exclusively groundbreaking news.

      I'd be quite interested to see how the combination of real world controls and the VR headset works in practice. How do you align their position in the sim to the position you have to reach with your hands.

    • Re:Not new. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @05:03AM (#50752613)

      Well, I think it is news. Most of "those meddling kids today" spend all their time looking at crap on Facebook and YourBoobs. This kid actually went out and constructed something! I can see my mom know:

      Mom: "Kid, what are you building in your bedroom?"

      Me: "It's just a flight simulator, Mom."

      Mom: "Ok . . . as long as you are not using it to cook crack or smuggle in weed from Mexico, we are fine with that."

      Anyway, Slashdot is not about reading the news . . . it's about reading about what other geeks think about the news. I wouldn't mind a story being posted here about the various sizes of Kardashians' asses. Someone would post that he just completed his Ph.D. dissertation on the mathematical models of pseudo celebrity asses.

      This guy would be trumped by someone claiming to have earned his doctorate on the physical motion of ass cracks.

      . . . and then, the "Lone Liberal Arts Major" would chime in about the esthetics of ass antlers . . .

      To summarize, you don't read Slashdot for the news . . . you read it for the wacky commentary about it.

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        I wouldn't mind a story being posted here about the various sizes of Kardashians' asses. Someone would post that he just completed his Ph.D. dissertation on the mathematical models of pseudo celebrity asses.

        I have, to the best of my knowledge, never seen this ass or this person but I hear about her or, more accurately, read about her. I know some fluid dynamics and have some modeling skills. We can do this. Someone did try to link a picture of her for my benefit but I refused to click on it. I find it comforting to know that I don't know. I'd break that rule just to see what we could come up with.

        It might give me motivation to finally learn how to use this: []

        Which, by the way, looks awesome.

        • by chihowa ( 366380 )

          I'm game. My dissertation concerned modeling light propagation at the surface of fatty tissues, which seems pretty relevant here.

          I've also refused to discover who these people are on principle, but this seems like a good reason to make an exception.

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            It does sound tempting, sadly. However, do you know how much time we'd waste for naught? It does sound like fun. I presume we'll need some measurements. We should be able to get those fairly accurately from images if we know the dimensions of the items around her. I'm not going to participate in scanning. I do have my limits.

        • by sconeu ( 64226 )

          Well,let's see... Kardashian's asses.... Kanye looks to be about 200 pounds or so, does that count?

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            I don't actually know what you're talking about at this point. Is Kanya a kid, boyfriend, father, mother, dog, miniature pony? I refuse to Google. So you can say it's a moose and I'll just take your word for it.

            • by sconeu ( 64226 )

              Lucky you. Kanye West... the rapper. Her boyfriend. A total ass.

              • by KGIII ( 973947 )

                He will be forever known as a 200 pound moose in my head. So, there's that. I simply refuse to Google this stuff. I don't mind being ignorant. I'm okay with that.

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      I'm guessing it's a followup to another story from a couple of weeks ago. Next we'll be reading "Hey Aidan, cool simulator. Want to bring it over to my place?"
    • Can be done cheaper then that. Those in the Digital Combat simulator http://www.digitalcombatsimula... [] and xPlane [] community have been building stuff like this for years. With extensive instructions on how to use everything from MFD's to rifts to io boards for all the buttons and switches. With all age groups and budgets.

      This individual is probably a user on one of those very forums. The blogger who wrote the article just saw something cool. Did no research and blogged about

    • Occulus Rift VR headset rig?
  • This may have changed in the 20 years since I knew it to be a factoid. But in the world of simulators there were classes. I forget how they classed but let's assume that 1 is pretty much the instructor sitting behind you in a chair while you both made brruuum brrrumm noises and class 4 is one that moves and carefully simulates a plane.

    Well for airline pilots who couldn't exactly go out in the 747 and so spins and stalls the class 4 simulator was legally considered to be flying.

    Thus, in theory, a studen
    • "for airline pilots who couldn't exactly go out in the 747 and so spins and stalls the class 4 simulator was legally considered to be flying."

      Yes, but only if you already were certified for that plane.

      "Thus, in theory, a student could start on an airline simulator and get their private pilot's licence without ever leaving the ground."

      No, in theory, he can't. Flight licenses are interdependant. In order for you to legally fly your 747, that means (roughly): single engine visual -> s.e. instrumental -

  • Anyone have a mirror for this site - the images aren't loading (perhaps due to the slashdot effect?).

    Reading about it, it's impressive what he accomplished. It would be nice to see it, though.

    • But he did not really accomplish anything amazing. He most likely read the forums at DCS http://www.digitalcombatsimula... [] and or xPlane []

      Doing what many others have done already. The rift has been used in sims since it came out. With extensive instructions on how to simulate every detail of a cockpit from a simple 172 to 777 to an F-18. How to get all of that working on a PC. As a simmer myself. Much of it is simple stuff.

      Looking at his build, it is cool. But in no way amazi

  • FTA, not sure what his medical condition is that's holding him up, but he may be able to get a glider pilots license instead. The medical requirements are not as stringent. As opposed to a simulator, glider flying would teach good stick and rudder skills, energy management, reading weather conditions, and sound decision making. On top of that, soaring is a great hobby.
  • Of all the things you can find on Kijiji / Craigslist... here's a fancy 747 Simulator including a few Boeing parts - but not the ones that get you in the air ;) . Built for a TV show??? []

  • Are you sure he didn't just take a fully assembled cockpit,
    pry it out of a working Cessna, put it in his bedroom,
    and claim that it was one of his precocious "inventions"?

    When is he going to be invited to visit MIT and the White House?

  • People are pretty good at abstracting from a simple display to the real thing. There is a short period when learning to fly when working the actual controls has to be mastered, and an accurate simulator would be helpful. But soon that becomes second nature and the real learning begins.

    Most of the time is learning procedures, navigation, etc. And that can be done on a very ordinary simulator.

  • Simers in the DCS http://www.digitalcombatsimula... [] and xplane [] community have been using the rift since day 1. With home simpit builds that put this "news worthy pit to shame.

The first Rotarian was the first man to call John the Baptist "Jack." -- H.L. Mencken