Australian Lightwing’s fascination with flight simulation goes back to the early 80’s when we dabbled in the manufacture of what turned out to be a flight simulation fairground ride. It was a capsule that sat eight people and moved in sync with movies that were shown on the screen inside the capsule. This device was able to be trailered behind a car and could be towed to air shows and festivals. The concept being that whilst at air shows it would generate an income. This worked quite well, however the ‘Reality Simulator’, as we called it, was sold to an Italian entrepreneur in the 90’s. We delivered it and subsequently lost track of the device.
Above: Final stages of testing The Flight Simulator in the Hughes Engineering workshop.
More recently however, an actual single seat aircraft flight simulator has been built which runs proprietary flight simulation programs such as ‘X Plane’, ‘FSX’ (Flight Simulator X) or ‘Prepar3D’. The simulator moves in two dimensions or has two Degrees of Freedom (2DOF), as the current flight sim vernacular puts it. The Simulator also features a super wide screen video projector and all in all the result is nothing short of spectacular. There is an additional computer screen displaying the cockpit controls, as well as a throttle mechanism and foot pedals.
We have yet to go down the CASA certification track to get the simulator approved for flight training but this is unlikely to be a very difficult step.
The virtual reality of the flight simulator is marvellous and it’s certainly more than possible to get a basic grounding in flight training from our system. Navigation exercises can be carried out, as well as instrument flying. A GPS is on the screen at all times and quite a wide variety of aircraft can be loaded into the computer and flown from jumbo jets to a simulation our very own ALW SP2000 which we are currently working on.
We plan on installing the first Simulator in our Australian LightWing Showroom at the Ballina airport in the Northern Rivers, NSW, Australia.This is particularly fantastic, as after a real flight from the Ballina-Byron Gateway airport, you can hop in the flight simulator and experience just how accurate the graphic displays are for the very same airport.
This project is nearing completion as of the beginning of 2014, so stay tuned on this website, or on our News and Diary Blog to keep track of this exciting project.