Thursday to Saturday, July 28, 2018
Continuing our quest for all things simulator here at Oshkosh AirVenture 2018, I spent some time visiting used parts vendors. There is a whole flee market here where you can find anything from fuselages, cockpits, panels (many), controls such as yokes, rudder pedals, throttle quadrants and more. For one of our sims, I picked up a breaker sub-panel with labels and original breakers for $35, which I considered a bargain, considering the prices we pay now even on eBay.
I started my meetings day with Frasca. I have been always interested in Frasca, because it was a flight school household name since the days I started training in the 80’s. At that time, Frasca made a ‘procedure trainer’ which had a great, complete panel but no visuals or sound. It was great to learn basic IFR procedures and I used it often. Times have obviously changed as Frasca is now one, if not the oldest manufacturers, with 60 years of service under its belt. It serves a broad range of simulation missions from AATD’s to level 6 FTDs (level 6 are aircraft-model-specific simulators where aerodynamic programming, control feel, and physical cockpit are required). We did not fly their sims here, but we saw two AATDs with wrap-around visuals an full controls. Their ‘RTD’ line is meant to be quickly reconfigurable to simulate different types of aircrafts, a trend we now see in many offerings. Current prices range is $70k to $90k. The units are very well built and run on Frasca’s proprietary software.
Right around from Frasca, the Marines were showing their highly customized Redbird simulator, full motion, single seat, demonstrating the interest the military is taking in primary trainers for extremely complex aircrafts.
I then headed to the “One Week Marvel” shop to follow progress on the RV12s built. Nothing to do with simulators, but it showed me what a group of very motivated people can achieve in a very short time. Clock ticking in the background, this is where hundreds of volunteers start building a homebuilt on Monday and they fly it by Sunday. I mean, every rivet, part and component is built right here and now. I got instructed on how to ‘pull’ a rivet, which qualified me for pulling more rivets on one of the wing spars. I was particularly interested in the avionics, which came from Dynon, and looked great in the demonstrator sitting just outside the shop.
I accepted an invitation from Redbird to fly their full-motion, dual control MCX. I will write a full review of this experience because it made me change my mind about their full motion concept. Why? It’s amazingly realistic to simulate turbulence, which adds an entire dimension to the flight. The MTX is based on P3D and uses G1000 software provided by Mindstar plus aircraft specs and configurations designed by RedBird. In the same exhibit area Redbird was offering STEM lessons to kids of all ages with great, and fun explanations on aerodynamics, flying theory, physics and more. That’s a great effort which should help getting kids excited about aviation through the interest for a simulator and away from playing a video game.
I then joined the international parade, which was fun and gratifying, to see how many people came to Airventure from all over the world. We went to the main podium and were treated with cheers and a flight of F16s.
Last in my agenda with a scheduled chat with FlyThisSim CEO, but unfortunately he had to attend to other issues and wasn’t available. From previous conversations I understood that FTS has received a letter of authorization from the FAA to qualify their Sim as AATD and I wanted to learn more. I will report what I learn in a further post.
As always, we welcome questions and comments.