Thursday, July 18, 2013

Long before Twitter

There was the "Tweet".

So I have spent parts of the last couple months working to convert something like this:
into this:

This would be the instrument panel and cockpit of a T-37 "Tweet". The one on the bottom is located in a lab in the basement of the AeroSpace Engineering Building at work. The only things left original are the seats, left stick, rudder pedals, throttle quadrants and landing gear controls. The right stick has been upgrades to a force sensing side stick and the entire instrument cluster is now two touch screens. This cockpit is surrounded by three projection screens to give the outside view to the pilots and the dash panel is now programmable so it can be configured to match any number of glass cockpit designs. Unfortunately, this cockpit assembly is hard mounted instead of being articulated so there is no motion but it does have surround sound to go with the big screens. I've also had to install electronic feedback from all of the controls, both analog for the various controls and analog from all of the switches into an NI cRIO chassis so the computer can read them into teh flight simulator software.

Once the entire system is up and running I'll have to capture an in cockpit video and post that. Probably one of me flying into a granite cloud somewhere. Or just CFiT.


  1. I remember a similar beast, not as high tech, but the same concept. Even without the motion of a Level D, with the visuals, you'd SWEAR you were flying. The window was clear, a projector giving the picture that was amazingly realistic. One day, one of the tech's put on a red shirt and a clown mask, and as I was just about at V1, FLUNG himself on the windshield, bouncing off to a mat on the floor.

    Picture the cockpit "Abort! Abort! Holy F*&k, I just hit a clown!"

  2. OK that's just funny. It's good to work with people with that fun of a sense of humor. Once we get this bugger up and running, my next project is reassemble the full motion shuttle simulator we inherited from NASA Houston. Waiting on funding for that one. I can't wait!