The simulator is now complete!
The 3D printing is complete, so we installed all the electronics and tightened the last cable ties before putting the glider’s seats and flooring back in place. Bolting the flooring and seats back onto the glider’s frame really gave us a sense of accomplishment: we had always said that this would be the last step before our first proper flight.
We put the We calibrated tested the rear simulator. After some troubleshooting of 1 of the momentary buttons on the control panel, everything was ready for a first flight.
We put the 2 parachute harnesses donated to the unit by a gliding club member (thank you very much Adrian!) and took our seats.
There is something inherently wrong when 2 pilots are flying different flights yet sit in the same aircraft… (and fly without a canopy).
We still have some cosmetic work to do when face-to-face scouting is allowed again but we have reached our goal: Endeavour ESU’s simulator is really complete and working now.
Thank you to our 3 sponsors for the opportunities you gave us:
The red PLA has arrived! It’s not quite the same colour as the first roll we used but it’s close enough. The 3D printer is going to be busy for a few days!
The big day.
This morning we made some final adjustments to the wire ropes and cabling before checking all cables and tightening the remaining cable ties.
When all was in place, we connected everything together and calibrated our software, running our first test flight.
After a bit more calibration work and software tuning, we were ready for our first flight using the front simulator (G-DDYR-1):
SUCCESS!!!! We had an 18 minutes first flight, exercising all controls successfully. From winch launch to soaring to a safe landing, all worked well.
Once the red PLA we ordered finally arrives, we’ll be printing the display panels for the rear simulator.
Cabling time! Very early on through our design process, we decided to use Cat5e or Cat6 network cables for the long runs required to connect the sensors, buttons, switches and displays to their respective controller enclosures. Now that these are all in place, it was time to install and tie cables securely in the glider after crimping the RJ45 plugs at both ends of the cables (and testing them before installation).
We deliberately did not tighten our cable ties initially to allow us to reposition cables if needed. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to use re-usabel (velcro) cable ties everywhere but we did where we could to reduce the amount of non-recyclable materials we used.
The last remaining “big item” on our list was to install the LEDs in place to provide lighting inside the glider. We identified that the initial plan to use a contiguous 7m string of LEDs wasn’t going to work. So we looked at options and decided to split the string into 4: a long, 5m (150 LEDs) strip running along both sides of the glider, a 1m strip along the top of the wing box and 2 shorter, 50cm long strips along either side of the wing box.
We made the modifications to the lighting controller, adding 3 new connectors, and to the LED string. We installed 5V DC cables and data wires for the 4 LED strings before gluing the LED strips in place.
We added a connector to the cable of the rear simulator for the LSM6DS3 sensor.
We started tuning our software and modified the lighting controller software to allow for the 3 new LED strings.
We made final adjustments to the enclosures before screwing their lids and tightening cables ties to secure the cables in place.
The time to install the potentiometers in the simulator and to connect them to the rudder and trim cables as well as the air brake tubes has come!
We spent a lot of time looking at various designs before deciding on our design. This also required a fair bit of adjustment, creating longer or larger parts as needed. This demonstrated the power of using 3D printed parts for both prototyping and final assembly.
We installed and tweaked the trim potentiometers.
The air brakes potentiometers And the rudder potentiometers:
We also greased, re-routed and adjusted the rudder cables a final time to reduce friction against the aircraft frame. We made some small adjustments to the stops on the front air brakes tube and the trim cables.