Scouts - Be Prepared

Endeavour Explorer Scout Unit

By Land... By Sea... By Air...

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;
  • Portability;
  • 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

Next steps:

  • 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).