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Military Flight Simulators (Full Size Kit !) : Early Analog Scenery

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Military Flight Simulators (Full Size Kit !) : Early Analog Scenery

Old 1st Nov 2012, 19:06
  #41 (permalink)  
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I seem to recall the VC-10 sim at BZZ had a huge model vertical on the inside of a hangar door.
Perhaps Beags can confirm this.
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Old 1st Nov 2012, 19:14
  #42 (permalink)  
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Wiggy waggle

I seem to recall that when I visited Coningsby as a university cadet in late
'74 that there was a visual model. However by the time I first flew the beast in
1980, on the OCU at Coningsby and then later in the year at Wattisham (I joined
23 at much the same time as your visit) the visual model had gone.

suspect there was no real justification for it once the aircraft went full time
into the AD role.
I seem to remember that the visual model was in a dedicated room adjacent to the simulator. The model stood on end and there were a variety of extras such as a tyranosaurus in the Avon gorge etc.

It didn't work in 1979/80 but I'm sure it was still there.


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Old 1st Nov 2012, 19:15
  #43 (permalink)  
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The VC10 Sim at BZN was originally a 'model' type and, as has been pointed out, the lighting heat output was prodigious!! Quite useful at Brize as the sim building had a leaky roof and the carpets were dried out by the floodlights! The model was horizontally mounted on 4' x 2' welded aluminium angle 'tables (lots of them) When the system was binned, the tables were surplus to requirements and one has ever since been the base for a very substantial workbench in my various sheds. The introduction of the original digital visual system (before the full 'wrap-around' setup) released a huge amount of building space.
The introduction of the full air-to-air visual produced a few modelling anomalies initially. If the receiver started to overtake the tanker, the probe would appear in the windscreen visual!
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Old 1st Nov 2012, 20:41
  #44 (permalink)  
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Before the C-130 sims were delivered, we studes at 242 OCU, RAF Thorney Island, were driven along the coast to the Link Miles factory at Lancing for training on one there. The site was originally the Carriage & Wagon Works of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, and the sim was in one of their original brick buildings, with the visual model situated in the attic of the pitched roof.
The limitations of this arrangement became clear when the simulated emergency climaxed in incredibly realistic flames erupting on the windscreen visual monitors. It transpired that the realism was caused by real flames as the intense heat from the lighting required had caused the model to catch fire. The session finished with a real evacuation from the sim and then from the building, followed by a real appearance of the emergency services.
Who says that sims then weren't realistic?
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Old 1st Nov 2012, 23:48
  #45 (permalink)  
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I can remember seeing an external shot of the simulator camera tracking over the model landscape being featured in an RAF recruitment/PR advert which aired on ITV (presumably) during the 1970s/80s.

Harrier was the featured type as I recall.
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Old 2nd Nov 2012, 10:58
  #46 (permalink)  
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VC10 Simulator BZN

I was the installation engineer on the current VC10K Mk3 (My first job on joining Rediffusion Simulation). The original VC10 C Mk1 had a vertically mounted solid model. As I recall there was a small model of the chequer board at Kai Tak which had to be attached to the main model when required. When it was not in use it sat in a display cabinet in the simulator entrance lobby
At one stage the control signals to, and the Video outputs from the visual system could be coupled to either the VC10 or the Belfast simulator.
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Old 2nd Nov 2012, 20:25
  #47 (permalink)  
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From 1969 to 1976 I was a Computer Tech on the Harrier Simulator at RAF Wittering.
The system was designed and built by Link Miles later to become Singer Link i think.

The Sim had 3 models as described previously, horizontal mounted on the floor.
The large scale model filled a large part of one model room covered about 200 by 200 miles of Poland centred around the River Vistula. It was indirectly lighted with a light box system mounted on the camera gantry and was used for high-level work.

The second model contained 2 models a tactical low flying model and the airfield model, it was light by 400 x 1000watt ceiling mounted lamps. The camera gantry had a scale speed limited to about 320knts but we as systems techs could override that.

The cockpit system was mounted on a 4 axis motion system, pitch, heave roll, and sway. The whole thing weighed about 10 tons and could move up to 24 inches a second in sway. I once tested all axes from 1/64 cycles a second up to 5 cycles a second to measure the lag between the Visual / Motion and Flight systems for the IAM, as there was a lag between the 3 systems. The system was driven by a pair of massive hydraulic pumps operating at 400psi????

There were 2 generations of visual display system. The original system consisted of 3 high power projectors mounted on a gantry above and behind the cockpit illuminating a large screen mounted in front giving around 20/20 (???) Degs left / right and 15/15deg up down. Because of the massive load on the motion system this caused the 2-foot diameter roll bearing to fail several times. This system required a massive effort to set it up correctly and was also deadly as the projectors required around 25 Kvolts and lots of care was required to ensure they were fully discharged before servicing. One of out Techs Ian J (Put Put )
Was a past master at setting this all up, would take him all night!

The replacement system consisted of a large TV Screen (32 maybe) mounted above the cockpit wind shield area which shone onto a special lens mounted at 45 deg to reflect the picture with much smaller screens behind it. This system gave a much-improved field of view, but was a bit sensitive to heavy bumps from the motion system. Think this was called WAC Window (Wide Angle Collimated) Display

The cockpit system comprised of as much original equipment as possible and Link Miles had devised some special electronics to interface to the original gauges and display units such as the HUD and moving map

The original (before 1976) computers were Elliott 4130, which was 24, bit register digital computers.
The Harrier sim had 2, one with 16K of 24 bit core memory the other with 32K. The maximum memory was 64k. The system was programmed in NEAT (National Elliott Automatic Translator) and data entry was by high-speed 8 bit paper tape readers. With 2 Westrix teleprinters for human interface.
Between the computers was a device called the trainer and simulator transfer unit (TSTU) and 2 massive cabinets that converted the digital signals into analogue signal to talk to the simulator electronics.
Consisting of things like digital to analogue converters, DC analogue to Ac converters, syncro drivers and lots of other very cleaver things.

We all became expert jockeys but with the added advantage that we could do special things. E.g. we could freeze the fuel at 1 lb a side, or double the thrust of the Pegasus 101/3.

We were very much involved in system programming doing command mods for things like IFF, Dive brake functions and other things. We also assisted in a programming exercise with RR and LM for the 103-engine development.

For its day it was a chunk of very cleaver engineering by Link Miles and much enjoyed by the Instructors and Engineers.


Last edited by orionsbelt; 2nd Nov 2012 at 20:29.
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Old 2nd Nov 2012, 20:55
  #48 (permalink)  
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I just wanted to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread so far ... it's been great to have some of the original Technicians and Aircrew users share their experiences and knowledge during the development of these various systems. It just shows how far we have come in such a relatively short space of time.

Best ...

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Old 2nd Nov 2012, 21:54
  #49 (permalink)  
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When I was posted to Lossie in the mid 70's, part of our arrivals course included a trip to the Jag Sim. There was one of those rubber monster thingys, that you put on the end of a pencil, in the middle of the landscape model.

I had a go on the Nimrod Sim in 83ish and can remember flying at altitude above clouds. I was later shown what appeared to be a hubcap with cotton wool in it, and I had been flying in that. The other lad from my section got to beat up Luqa(?) on it.

Last edited by Dan Gerous; 2nd Nov 2012 at 21:58.
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Old 2nd Nov 2012, 22:12
  #50 (permalink)  
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I remember Diana visiting the GR5 sim at Wittering, but what has happened to this kit; does it all end up in a skip somewhere?

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Old 2nd Nov 2012, 22:24
  #51 (permalink)  
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We didn't have a visual on the old Hunter sim; instead there was a translucent canopy to let in ambient light from outside.

One day I was doing some exercise and the fire light illuminated. So, throttle to HP OFF, LP cock closed, boost pumps OFF, press the extinguisher. After the briefed time, check for signs of fire - and I noticed a flame visible through the canopy. "Very clever", I thought - and promptly ejected. Which caused the canopy to open and the seat to move up slightly....

Whereupon I saw the console instructor halfway through lighting his pipe.....he was rather miffed that I'd jumped out as he was expecting a 1-in-1 approach!

The early Hawk sim produced so much UV light that the sim instructors developed significant sun tans even in the Valley winter!

I remember Diana visiting the GR5 sim at Wittering, but what has happened to this kit; does it all end up in a skip somewhere?
Diana's old 'kit' would no doubt command a fair price on eBay!

Last edited by BEagle; 2nd Nov 2012 at 22:26.
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Old 5th Nov 2012, 10:01
  #52 (permalink)  
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The GR5 simulator was designed and built by Singer Link Miles. It was designed to be movable . So that if the unit relocated the whole system could be broken down and moved. It was originally to go adjacent to the GR5 Harrier school building which, incidentally was the Harrier GR3 sim building.
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Old 5th Nov 2012, 10:37
  #53 (permalink)  
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Apologies for poor quality

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Old 5th Nov 2012, 13:11
  #54 (permalink)  
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F4 Simulator

As OLDSIMMAN has said the F4 simulators had 2 models. A high level transit model and a 2nd model known as the 3 Facet model. This was a triangular shaped frame which was designed to carry 3 separate models . In the F4s only two facets were used one carried airfield model and the other the Ground attack model. When a model change was demanded the whole model frame was retracted away from the horizon mirrors, rotated to bring the new model into position and then raised back into the mirrors. The whole sequence took about 2 minutes during which time the picture was in simulated cloud.
The big problem was that the whole visual system was very maintenance intensive. The cameras used were standard Phillips / Pye studio cameras. The ones on the F4s were LDK33s which were designed for use as tele-cine or fixed caption work. The cameras were capable of producing superb images in a studio environment. The problem was that in the simulator the depth of field was required to be from a few inches to approx. 30 feet, consequently the lens aperture to achieve this was extremely small. This meant that the camera video gains were always up towards maximum and the tubes (plumbicons) degraded quite quickly. Similarly with the projectors, to get an adequate daylight brightness level on the screen the system was always working flat out and the tube phosphors quickly lost brightness. The picture displayed to the pilot was always good immediately following a tube/plumbicon change but a month later was normally very poor.
On the Phantom another short coming was the scene displayed on approach. At 0 degrees pitch angle the horizon was at approximately the centre of the screen (Pilots Eye height). When the aircraft was on approach the horizon moved down the screen to reflect the pitch attitude, the trouble was the runway dropped off the screen, there was of course no peripheral vision, this was a bit of a bummer if you were trying to do a visual approach . The solution was to pitch the visual scene down on the approach. The aircraft instruments continued to show the correct attitude.
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Old 5th Nov 2012, 17:48
  #55 (permalink)  
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The Bucc sim at Lossie initially had no visuals, but later had a vertically mounted model. There was, as someone has pointed out, a model carrier offshore, theoretically with working lights etc so that one could practice DLs. It never worked very well: the best thing about it was that you could come in over the round-down, crank on a handful of right bank and shout "Death to Wings!" as you knocked the island off the model. Very satisfying, I'm told.

Last edited by Schiller; 5th Nov 2012 at 17:51.
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Old 5th Nov 2012, 17:51
  #56 (permalink)  
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Big V et al,

The scenery was indeed still there in the Coningsby Phantom sim in the early 80s. And very fine models they were too!
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Old 5th Nov 2012, 18:10
  #57 (permalink)  
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Where was this one based then?

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Old 25th Nov 2012, 01:17
  #58 (permalink)  
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If anyone is still following this thread-
I recall the visual model in the Coningsby F4 sim as described by others. I don't recall that we used it tho- it might have been U/S. This was mid 70's. However...

I seem to recall that one side was modelled on Coningsby and the other on an airfield in a certain Eastern European country, and that we sometimes did sim rides based on an airfield in said country. I assume it was to break the monotony. Anyone remember this, and especially why that particular airfield and location was chosen??? (yes I know there was a cold war on)
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Old 25th Nov 2012, 09:30
  #59 (permalink)  
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I had a chance to do a short guest flight myself onboard the former east german MiG-29 cockpit simulator. It was still used then by the Luftwaffe evaluation squadron at Preschen back in 1991. This used a real model and a black and white TV set for outside forward views. No motion but rudder pressure. Surprisingly "real" given the very limited infrastructure. Everything was containerized and movable by trucks. So that one might likely have ended up at Laage.

I have seen a similar sim at Finow airbase north of Berlin in the early 90s which was still russian operated back then. They had two landscape models there. One for pattern work and another "endless" belt-type one for bomb runs.

Finow's aerodrome model (upright on a sidewall):
MiG-29 flight simulator

P.S. Look at those turnout scratches behind the lower taxiway

Last edited by Kerosene Kraut; 25th Nov 2012 at 13:10.
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Old 7th Jun 2013, 22:42
  #60 (permalink)  
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One technician told me the same story about Lossiemouth with those small pop-up toys with the spring and suckers. On the final day of training the standard practice was to place one or more of those just behind a cliff edge. When the pilot flew 300 feet over the tree line and dropped down, that was the first thing he'd see. Bonus points if the toy jumped into the air at that moment. I can only imagine what one of the toys must have looked like when scaled up.
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