Other: Simulation
Flight Simulator Centrifuge   (+7)  [vote for, against]
A simulator with realistic forces

This combines a G-simulating centrifuge (as seen in Moonraker) with an aircraft simulator.

The cockpit would be at one end of an arm with a counterweight at the other end of the arm, which is split in half like bicycle forks. The arm would revolve around a central pivot, supported by a vertical column in a spherical room.

When the simulation starts, the arm will be vertical and will rotate, with the cockpit at the top counter-rotating to keep it stationary.

As the simulated aircraft encounters a force, the arm will move outwards to simulate the amount of force and the orientation of the cockpit will change to control the direction of the force.
-- marklar, Jul 23 2007

Like this!? http://usera.imagec...atorCentrifuge2.JPG
[quantum_flux, Jul 26 2007, last modified Jul 27 2007]

1G roll of a Boeing 707 http://www.aviation.../707_roll_video.htm
Video of a 707 doing a chandelle (test pilot Alvin M. "Tex" Johnston August 7, 1955) [Klaatu, Jul 27 2007]

Graveyard spiral http://www.aero.ca/...aveyard_spiral.html
[Klaatu, Jul 27 2007]

How will you handle rapid changes of g-forces? Simulating a pilot pulling out of a dive then flying straight and level for moment, then into a power climb, for example.
-- Galbinus_Caeli, Jul 23 2007

I think this is nice idea (though with the rate-of-change problem raised by GC).

I first thought that this was no good, because you'd still always have a minimum of 1G acting in some direction or other - therefore you can't simulate the weightlessness of maneuvers like dropping the nose into a dive.

However, if you applied a constant force slightly above normal gravity (say, 1.5G net force), then I think people would largely acclimatize to this and then, when you dropped back to nearer 1G, they'd get something of a loss-of- weight sensation.

In any event, it gives you more options for providing sustained changes in simulated G's than a regular simulator, so [+].
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 23 2007

I think you would be able to simulate all G force changes up to and including the weightless feeling of reaching an apex and beginning a dive by having a gimbal-ed cockpit on the end of a swing arm. By controlling the orientation of the gimbol in relation to ascent or descent, even negative G forces, (not really sure if that's even a thing), like those experienced in violent downdrafts should be able to be simulated. (+)
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jul 24 2007

So a pivoting gymballed pod with a counter balance that rotates about a disk joint in the center of a spherical room, where the joint is held held at the center of a vertical column....hmmm, maybe the column itself should be dynamic, rotating up to 180 in a vertical plane. [+]
-- quantum_flux, Jul 24 2007

// up to and including the weightless feeling// I don't see how that's possible. Whatever the centrifuge does, you've always got 1G downwards (ie, "truly" downwards). I wasn't sure what you meant about the gimballed cockpit and ascent/descent: do you envisage the end of the arm moving up and down as well? This would give you brief weightlessness (aside from whatever the centrifugal forces are at the time). But you won't get G-less situation sustained for more than a moment, surely?
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 24 2007

Weightlessness could only be simulated momentarily and the transition between forces may not be as quick as a stunt plane.

The main aim is to provide an appropriate amount of force during turns. A decent pilot can fly with his eyes closed and know the amount of bank/pitch by feel without needing to see a horizon. Currently, this skill can only be acquired through experience in the air. In a traditional simulator, there is no way to feel if you are just banking or actually turning and you can't feel a stall approaching until it actually happens.
-- marklar, Jul 25 2007

Baked! Although I'm glad to see that none of you guys frequent Disney parks :-) (I only went there myself because my wife dragged me along. I find the whole thing very depressing). Anyway there's some sort of "Trip to Mars" ride that does exactly what you describe, except that I believe in recent years they've toned down the G-force because of their lawyers.
-- gtoal, Jul 25 2007

//A decent pilot can fly with his eyes closed and know the amount of bank/pitch by feel without needing to see a horizon.//

What? I don't think so. A well executed turn feels almost indistinguishable from straight and level flight. Balancing aileron, elevator, and rudder keeps all g-forces directed straight down, and in a gentle turn the increased pressure into the seat will be minimal.
-- Galbinus_Caeli, Jul 26 2007

Assuming the aircraft is at constant altitude, there is always 1G pulling towards the centre of the Earth. If you bank and then 'redirect' the force to go through the seat, that force will be always be greater than 1G and it is detectable, even at 5-10 degrees bank.
-- marklar, Jul 26 2007

[marklar] That is true. I am just saying that the effect of that is not huge. It is also indistinguishable from rotating into a climb, and could be masked by a slight dive. Also it is impossible to tell a right turn from a left turn.
-- Galbinus_Caeli, Jul 26 2007

//a decent pilot can fly with his eyes closed and know the amount of bank/pitch by feel without needing to see a horizon. [snip] you can't feel a stall approaching until it actually happens.//

Remind me to never fly with you in the left seat.

#1 Spatial orientation is very real. I am a very decent pilot and flying from DAG to SJC in CAVU conditions on a moonless night, found myself in a left turn. My body was screaming "straight an level", yet my instruments showed a turn. A "decent pilot" will put his/her head down and fly by instruments and ignore everything else. After 3 minutes of true straight and level, I was able to control the plane by visual references alone. Had I not resorted to my training, I could have entered a "graveyard spiral" <link>. The cause of my disorientation was a distraction when I had to look down to switch tanks, and an angled row of lights on the horizon.

#2 A "stall" will normally be proceeded by an aerodynamic buffet. In a graveyard stall it will typically occur as an accelerated stall. The plane may be near VNE and the initial reaction may be to pull out of this condition. "Fast glass" planes can reach VNE in seconds and if the pilot follows instincts instead of training, it will typically result in aerodynamic loads which exceed structual load limits. Surprisingly, many instructors advise that if there is ample altitude, that simply releasing the controls will allow a properly trimmed airplane to resume normal flight attitude.

"There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots. There are no old, bold pilots"

The reason for so many aviation accidents in the early days of flying was that the pilots HAD to fly by feel alone. Few survived.

Oh, [+] for the idea.
-- Klaatu, Jul 27 2007

random, halfbakery