FlightGear Newsletter August 2009
2,029 bytes added
20:16, 3 August 2009
Add F3 simulator
- Francesco Brisa
==Tornado F3 Simulator==
I had the very good fortune to use a genuine Panavia Tornado F3 simulator at RAF Leuchars in Scotland at the start of August.
I flew in from the south in my microlight, as part of a fly-in to the base. This was a rather unique event, as the last fly in to the base had been some 15 years before, and the RAF made us very welcome, with talks about their ATC and how to avoid the fast jets that fly near us (top tip - don't be at 250ft AGL - that's where they spend most of their time!).
The simulator itself did not have a moving platform, but did use a real cockpit, had a 120 degree field of view display and was used for training by the pilots, including interceptions and weapons training. The short sortie I flew took off from RAF Leuchars (EGQL) up the Firth of Forth, underneath the Forth Bridges, and then landing at Edinburgh (EGPH). The feeling of "being there" was quite remarkable, and it was a real privilege to have the opportunity to use it.
One of the things that struck me however, was that there was nothing there that was beyond the capabilities of FlightGear. The graphics were possibly slightly lower in quality (no scenery objects apart from the bridges) and the display technology was using DLP projectors (there's a description [http://ntdd2489.fm.netbenefit.co.uk/recentInstallations/Industry/Simulation/RAF_Leuchars/index.asp here]). The key thing that made the experience so realistic was the wide field of view and the use of real hardware. I was sat in a real Tornado cockpit, the canopy was closed (with warning klaxon), the stick was heavy, and the throttles had to be moved appropriately for reheat or reverse thrust. So, perhaps its time to see if there are any real cockpits available...
Of course, none of this is news to the various people who are building fixed base simulators using FG as a software platform. There is a list of the known FG-based projects [http://www.flightgear.org/Projects/ here], and almost certainly plenty more around.
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