Saturday, October 13, 2012

Global Flight Simulator Challenge

Note: Re-posted with additional photos and bit more blether here and there...

Popped over to the UK for a very brief visit between business in France and Germany. While there Kevin, my brother in law, took me over to Blackbushe airport to show me around a charity fund raiser for Aerobility, an organization dedicated to providing the disabled with an opportunity to fly an airplane.

Kev is an air traffic controller in the UK. Along with his fellow members of ATCOS,  they are heavily involved in the fund raiser. The idea is to beat the work record for longest flight simulator session, per rules laid out by the Guinness Book of Records. The goal is to raise £100,000 to cover the costs of the simulator and maintenance for 5 years. This follows a successful fund raiser for an actual plane, a TECNAM 2002JF they acquired for the charity.

Here are some pictures I nicked from other websites. First, some pictures of the sim, a Piper PA28
The big clock on the nose of the plane is for a time lapse camera, to demonstrate to Guinness that they really did fly the plane for the full duration.

There was no one there with any technical knowledge of the sim when I visited. Best I can tell it was a Microsoft Flight Simulator set up, with 5 projectors beaming on flat screens, as shown above. The rig was fixed, ie no movement of the platform. The plane looked like the body of a real Piper. The MIP seemed to have a couple of flat panel displays behind cut outs for where the various instruments would be. A very tidy job all around.

Shown below, the flight progress to the point in time I visited:

One of my personal heroes took a couple of stints at the yoke, none other than Buzz Aldrin. I got very close to him at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum a few years back but never got to shake his hand or let him know how much of an influence he had been to me as a kid. On the drive back, Kev casually mentioned that he did get to meet him, grab his hand and exchange pleasantries. Lucky bugger!

You can see his entries in the log book below. Looks like former pilot of "Ed Force 1", Iron Maiden front man Bruce Dickinson also had a go:

My jealousy aside, this is a good cause and I encourage you all to donate. For your convenience, here's the link: