Computer: Game: Simulation
In-flight Flight Simulator   (+5)  [vote for, against]

Airplane seats equipped with individual video units usually offer a selection of (mostly pretty lame) games. Even if I had to pay a modest premium, I'd like to see an up-to-date flight simulator offered among the choices.

More specifically, I'd like to see it pre-loaded with the flight plan of the current flight, and the controls and graphics for the current aircraft.

This way, one could attempt to control the FS plane to track the actual flight as closely as possible. As long as the simulated plane is close enough to the position of the real world plane, the view through the FS windows could be fed by real-time video from cameras on board the RW plane. If the positions of the FS and RW planes deviated too much, the exterior view in the simulator would revert to computer-generated graphics. Clicking a button could return the FS plane to perfect corellation with the RW plane.

But what I'd really like to do with something like this is to put the FS plane on "autopilot" to automatically track the RW plane, and essentially ignore it for most of the flight. But then, when we come upon some interesting mountain range or other landscape feature, I could take control of the FS plane and take a little CG sight-seeing detour of the scenery we're passing by in the RW plane.

If you have a window seat in the RW plane, it might also be cool to decouple from the RW plane and fly a parallel path, looking out your FS window at the CG version of the real plane to see a CG version of yourself in the window.

Or select a different aircraft, and race the one you're on.

I only wish I could think of a way to allow the FS software to continue running during takeoff and landing. Surely there's a way to build a system that wouldn't compromise control of the plane if it were built into the system, isn't there?
-- beauxeault, May 07 2003

Seat-back Aircraft Instrument relay http://www.halfbake...0Instrument_20relay
related idea by [8th of 7] [krelnik, Oct 05 2004]

Or the opposite http://www.halfbake...-flight_20simulator
[mrthingy, Oct 05 2004]

Link to real plane is cool, but sometimes you like to fly planes of different builds -- fighter, non-commercial, etc.

I love planes. Thanks Beauxeault
-- mahatma, May 07 2003

Good point, mahatma. Idea modified accordingly.
-- beauxeault, May 07 2003

Awesome! And it would also allow passengers to suggest possible flight routes to the pilot. +
-- phundug, May 07 2003

Ah yes, practice flying your passenger plane into skyscrapers. Give the hijackers something to while the time away until they make their bid for immortality.

But aside from that, just as airplane disaster movies are not shown as in-flight movies, I vote against this one.
-- DrCurry, May 07 2003

You could turn off the crash feature in the simulator, sort of a bumper plane mode. This would especially be needed if all the simulators were linked, so that you could see the simulated planes of other passengers. There would be dozens of planes flying in a convoy.
-- AO, May 07 2003

DrC, don't you understand that this system would be able to recognize users with a preoccupation for flying into buildings? It could actually identify terrorists *before* it's too late!
-- beauxeault, May 07 2003

//flying your passenger plane into skyscrapers//
[Doc], this is a flying game, by definition, not a crashing game. You shouldn't vote it down just because there might be a nutcase onboard. On the other hand, I agree I’d probably get bored with flying and try to crash it into things...

//system would be able to recognize users with a preoccupation for flying into buildings//
[beau], OK, Ok, I'll just watch the movie.

// continue running during takeoff and landing//
It’s not due to electronic interference. It’s the controllers and monitors hanging out that would be a problem in an emergency evacuation. Put it in the seat backs, have a touch pad in your armrest for control, and can leave it on.
-- Amos Kito, May 07 2003

Amos: promise not to tell DrCurry, but there are no plans to actually implement the spyware version.

To tell the truth, crashing into buildings was one of the first things I did with my first flight simulator (pre-9/11 days). Even on purpose, once or twice. But you'd discover that that particular diversion quickly gets old. The buildings are just vertical polygons, and there's nothing in them. Flying under bridges or the Eiffel Tower or using the launch gantries at Cape Canaveral as slalom pylons, or landing on the Golden Gate Bridge, things like that remain entertaining for a longer time.
-- beauxeault, May 08 2003

Reminds me of the classic PC game "Balance of Power" by Chris Crawford (one of the great game designers). It wasn't a flight simulator but rather a world politics simulator of the Cold War era. There were several scenarios you could get in where a global nuclear war would erupt. The game author had a conscience, so when that situation happened, the screen would go completely blank and display this text:

"You have ignited a nuclear war. And no, there is no animated display or a mushroom cloud with parts of bodies flying through the air. We do not reward failure."

It occurs to me that conscientious authors of flight simulators should include a similar screen for when people crash their planes into buildings.
-- krelnik, May 08 2003

To some extent, this is what happens with Microsoft's Flight Simulator, at least. You don't get a finger-wagging message, but there is a noticeable absence of dramatic effects. Only a cracked windshield and the word "crash" in small text.
-- beauxeault, May 08 2003

// To some extent, this is what happens with Microsoft's Flight Simulator, at least. You don't get a finger-wagging message, but there is a noticeable absence of dramatic effects. Only a cracked windshield and the word "crash" in small text. //

Sublogic's simulator for the Commodore 64 or IBM PC didn't even have the cracked windshield. Just "CRASH" in small [but uppercase] letters on an otherwise blank viewport.
-- supercat, May 08 2003

Didn't Microsoft buy the Sublogic flight simulator and make it the basis for the initial Microsoft Flight Simulator?

And Dr. Curry, re your comment about in flight movies: I was once on a TransBrasil flight from São Paulo to Miami, on which the in-flight movie was "Forces of Nature," which begins with a plane crash. It's a minor crash, to be sure, but I remember the movie precisely because it seemed to break the assumed rule you mention.
-- beauxeault, May 13 2003

(+) for getting me to think of ways that you could use the FS plane's view of your CG self looking out of the RW plane to comb your hair!
-- benlevi7, May 13 2003

Brilliant! In fact, why have pilots at all? The real aircract should take the average of all the passenger's control inputs/decisions, and use that to control itself. :)
-- Achenar, Jun 17 2004

yeah <achenar> can you imagine standing in the departure lounge realising your on a plane full of school kids and drunks.

average flight path = going into the ground like a fucking dart!
-- etherman, Jun 17 2004

random, halfbakery