Up, up, and away – Beckman style

March 18, 2010

“Status report?”

“We have clearance, Clarance.”

“Rodger, Rodger.  What’s our vector Victor?”

Apart from the chatter with flight control, the flight simulator at the Beckman Institute’s simulator building allows every aspect of flying apart from actually being in a plane.  There is a pilot and co-pilot seat complete with a full dashboard including control of the throttle, cowl flaps, and aileron trim.  The outside world is projected onto three large walls.  The simulator software offers a variety of terrain (from mountains to cities), weather (including rain and snow), and aircraft (from commercial and military jets to single prop) .

I was given the chance to fly an F 22 Raptor through the grand canyon.  It felt so realistic that I was very tense as I banked sharply through the canyon walls.  At one point I tried a barrel roll but did it so fast that I think it made everyone in the room dizzy.  I’ve always liked planes and flight (hence my major as an aerospace engineer) so this being the closest i’ve ever been to flying a jet really made my day.

F 22 Raptor by Lockheed Martin

The flight simulator is extremely useful for conducting flight training in a safe environment.  For example, a flight problem or disaster can be purposely caused in order to practice what one would do in the situation.  Another use could be for the practice of dangerous maneuvers.  The simulator’s realism causes different planes to handle differently.  For example, a large commercial airliner is much harder to pull out of a dive as compared to a jet.  The simulator is a safe method of experimenting with different, unfamiliar planes.


One Response to “Up, up, and away – Beckman style”

  1. edemuyn2 said

    Great post.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the flight simulator. I wish I had gotten a chance to use it, though I was already dizzy from the cube!

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