Scouts - Be Prepared

Unit photoOur 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 K7M glider to turn into a glider simulator.

Our objective was 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 simulator at the back also with its own set of controls. To achieve this, the unit wanted to use 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).

Our simulator was only made possible thanks to generous grants and donations from:

Our simulator is now fully operational. To see how we built it, check out our glider simulator blog.

Unit photoUnit photo

The unit’s explorers flew in G-DDYR before it was decommissioned in 2015

Current project status: front seat is complete and operational, rear seat awaiting 3D printed parts

  • 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 successfully tested our concepts to translate control movements into signals the flight simulator software understands.
  • 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
    • 2 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 completed our electronics design
  • We have built the electronics for 1 simulator and the simulators’ lighting
  • We have written and tested the firmware for our simulator and the simulator’s lighting
  • We can control the glider in virtual reality with our electronics
  • We have designed the mechanisms to connect the mechanical controls to the electronics sensors
  • We have installed steel cables (wire ropes) in the glider and designing the 3D printed parts we need
  • We have created the support cradles
  • We have created wooden panels and 3D printed control panels for the buttons, switches,
  • We have installed the cabling and connected the electronic components
  • Tune the firmware with the simulation software
  • Calibrate and test the front seat
  • Front simulator test flight completed successfully
  • panels and enclosures for the rear simulator 3D printed (we ran out of PLA filament and were not able to get new stock of the same colour for several weeks)
  • Calibrate and test the rear seat
  • Rear simulator test flight completed successfully
  • Fly both simulators simultaneously

Next steps:

  • Refurbish and repaint the airframe
  • 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).