Our glider simulator project:
In early 2019, the unit was given the decommissioned airframe of the University of the West of England (UWE) gliding club’s old Ka7s glider to turn into a glider simulator. Our objective is to turn this 2 seater glider into a dual simulator i.e. a simulator at the front with its own set of controls and a simultor at the back also with its own set of controls. To achieve this, the unit plans on using virtual reality headsets.
The benefits of such a simulator are:
- It can be used by 2 people, independently and concurrently, hence allowing more time per person during a section / unit night;
- Head tracking ensures that the pilot has visibility of his/her instruments and is also able to keep a good lookout naturally (through head movements rather than the unnatural action of pushing buttons);
- More immersive and easier to use than a more traditional, “open air” simulator using a large screen or projector;
- Ease of setup;
- Usable in all lighting conditions (including bright sunlight).
Current project status:
- The airframe has been extracted from the hangar, cleaned, cut (1st rough cut) and moved to a workshop for the explorers to work on.
- We have sucessfully tested our concepts to translate control movements into signals the flight sumulator software understands.
- We successfully applied for 2 grants:
- £1,750 grant from Wiltshire Council’s Community Area Board – Thank you!
- £1,750 grant from the Scout Association’s W T Taylor Fund for air scouting – Thank you!
- We received £250 sponsorship from Ausculta Ltd – Thank you!
- Condor Soaring gave us a 50% discount on the simulator licences and aircraft packs – Thank you!
- Using our prototyping kits we wrote and debugged the firmware for the Arduino boards:
- Simulator controller (we’ll have 2 of this)
- Lighting controller
- We proved that we can control a VR glider using our sensors and firmware
- We finalised the design for the simulator electronics
- We used Fritzing to create the schematics for our simulator electronics
- With all the funding needed for the project in place, we have been able to purchase:
- 2 refurbished Dell G7 gaming laptops capable of running the simulation software and Oculus Link
- 1 Oculus Quest virtual reality headset
- 2 x Condor soaring licences, K8 and K21 aircraft packs
- The electronics components we need to improve our prototyping kits
- We have started work on the support cradles
- Solder the boards for the simulator controller, control panels and buttons/switches
- Finalise the firmware for the simulator controller
- Tune the firmware with the simulation software
- Finalise the lighting controller firmware
- Create the mechanisms to connect the mechanical controls to the electronics sensors
- Design and 3D print the enclosures for the electronics
- Design and 3D print the control panels
- Refurbish and repaint the airframe
- Create the support cradles and the transport cradles
- Create and install the wooden supports for the control panels
- Create and install the shelf for the electronics at the back of the glider
- Creates the cables for the electronics
- Install the cabling for the electronics
- Install the cables in the glider
- Install and secure the electric cabling
- Purchase the 2nd virtual reality headset
- Apply sponsor logos to the airframes
Photos and videos of the K7 simulator project:
Click here to access the project documents and resources (please note: All documents were scanned for viruses prior to uploading to our website).