On Fri, Feb 29, 2008 at 10:03 PM, Bill Galbraith <billg42@bellsouth.net> wrote:
Schweet. Details?  Are those dedicated instruements, or a FG monitor behind a mask?

Hi Bill,

The instruments are built using a 2d flightgear panel displayed derived from real photos of a Seneca panel.  Displayed on an LCD monitor behind an sheet metal cutout with plastic bezels.  The knobs on the face in front of the LCD are all functional and correctly placed.  All 7 visual channels are running the newest OSG version of FlightGear, being driven by the 8th machine that interfaces to the cockpit hardware and displays the instrument panel.  The flight dynamics are purchased from a commercial company (running as a separate application) and have all the documentation and support for achieving FAA certification.  So the particular simulator in the movie is not FAA certified, but it is FAA certifiable should the customer ever want to do that.  They use their facility to train aerial water bombers in all the communication and group strategy involved with water bombing forest fires.  They actually have 5 sims ... 2 light twins (as seen in the movie), a single engine sim, and two helicopter sims (that I hope to install flightgear on soon.)  The helicopter sims have controls taken out of real helicopters.  I ran out of time to try the FlightGear helicopter dynamics on their hardware this trip ... next trip ...

Right now they mostly run other software in their facility to do their training, but high on my wish list would be things like:

- a forest fire MP model with fire and rising smoke that can grow and expand and leave darkened areas in it's wake.

- OSG partical based retardant drops (that can be seen by other MP players.)

- The retardant needs to color the ground that it hits ... and this needs to be visible to all players in the MP system.  They drop retardant, not suppressant.  In other words, they aren't trying to put out the fire, they are trying to box it in with suppressant and let it burn itself out.  The retardant will leave a "line" on the ground where it is dropped.  The goal then is to "paint" in the fire with an enclosing perimeter through several drops.  There are often several teams working together so they need to all see the retardant that everyone else has previously dropped.

We probably could do most of this in flightgear between the OSG particle system and the ability for MP models to share their submodel data ... or at least share when a submodel is released so each system can compute it's trajectory and impact point identically.

For what every it's worth, this facility trains pilots from several different countries to fight forest fires ...


Curtis Olson: http://baron.flightgear.org/~curt/