Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

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

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

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

Old 31st Oct 2012, 18:40
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Sussex UK
Age: 63
Posts: 6,995
Military Flight Simulators (Full Size Kit !) : Early Analog Scenery

Hi all ...

Before the use of digital computer generated virtual scenery became the norm to augment both military and civilian training, I seem to recall the use of large area mini-scale landscape models and a camera to generate a moving scenery image. I vaguely remember seeing in the early 80's an arrangement the RAF had which consisted of a vertically mounted model landscape (trees, house railways etc.) with a primitive video camera that could track across the model in the X, Y and Z axes. The resultant moving image was then projected on to a screen in front of the pilot undergoing sim training ... clearly there was some electronic jiggery-pokery between the camera and the simulator hardware to give the illusion of flight !

I'm not that certain of which aircraft sims were hooked up to this arrangement ... but think the good old Phantom was a probable candidate. That said, I don't remember seeing this scenery capability hooked up to the Wattisham Phantom sim when I had the opportunity to visit the Sim Wing in Sep 1980.

Maybe a bit of an anorak thread ... but I'd be very interested to hear a bit more of the history around the technology and how useful it really was as a training aid ... as I would have thought it would have only been of use for Low Level " through the trees" stuff !

If anyone has some pics to share ... that would be great

Best ...

Coff.
CoffmanStarter is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 18:50
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1998
Location: Canada
Posts: 344
The Nimrod Dynamic Simulators (Flight deck simulator) at St. Mawgan and ISK were models until the early 90s.

Oh the fun of putting spiders and other such things on the runway!!
Avtur is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 18:52
  #3 (permalink)  
SKOTAS, LAPIFC
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Sunny (or Rainy) Somerset, England
Posts: 2,024
The Jaguar flight sim at Lossiemouth certainly had a huge scale model that it used.

It wasn't unusual to come rattling round a bend in a valley only to come face to face with a very large dinosaur!

How true it is I have no idea, but the rumour mill stated that the combined bill for electric lighting and cooling systems in the sim buildings was bigger than that for the whole of the rest of the station.
Wholigan is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 18:53
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Stamford
Posts: 489
The early Jag sim did it this way too.

Had a look on youtube and there's a video of it there, only snag is the commentary is in Hungarian


Last edited by Stuff; 31st Oct 2012 at 18:53.
Stuff is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 18:54
  #5 (permalink)  
t7a
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: nr Bury St Edmunds
Posts: 115
The Bucc sim at Honington had such a setup. You could actually do approaches to a carrier parked on the oggin. Favourite trick was for the sim staff to put a spider in front of the camera lense - one hell of a mid-air!
t7a is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 18:54
  #6 (permalink)  
Tightgit
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: The artist formerly known as john du'pruyting
Age: 62
Posts: 774
I remember back in the late 70's at Wilders that we TWA types used to congregate in the corner of the bar at the Mally with the techs from the harrier and jag sims. Both of those were old fashioned fly around the model simulators. I believe that there were actually two separate scenery rooms, a small scale scene which seemed to be most of W Germany for high level work and a larger scale scene (of the 1 Br Corps area IIRC), for low level flying. After a session in the Mally we would occasionally manage to persuade the guys to escort us to the Sim for a quick mission to go and bomb Detmold!!
handysnaks is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 19:03
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: The Winchester
Posts: 6,028
Coffman

I'm not that certain of which aircraft sims were hooked up to this arrangement ... but think the good old Phantom was a probable candidate. That said, I don't remember seeing this scenery capability hooked up to the Wattisham Phantom sim when I had the opportunity to visit the Sim Wing in Sep 1980.
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.

I suspect there was no real justification for it once the aircraft went full time into the AD role.

Last edited by wiggy; 31st Oct 2012 at 19:06.
wiggy is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 19:12
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Under the clouds now
Age: 83
Posts: 2,276
The Argosy simultor at Benson had this system. I seem to remember having a midair collision with a christmas cracker elephant on a piece of wire.
brakedwell is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 19:29
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Scotland
Posts: 247
I definitely remember visiting the sim at Coningsby as a kid in the early seventies. Snoopy & Red Baron were the cockpits and the landscape was the model of the area around Coningsby, with the camera above it.

I didn't really register what it was until I clocked Tattershall Castle, the big church in the middle of the village and the gravel pits in Tattershall where the station PTIs taught us canoeing during the school hols.

I guess it was state of the art technology then (the landscape model, not the canoeing), but now all seems rather quaint.

Last edited by alwayslookingup; 31st Oct 2012 at 19:31.
alwayslookingup is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 19:29
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: The frozen north....
Age: 46
Posts: 538
I remember being a space cadet attending summer camp at Lossie in the 80s and seeing a cunningly placed giant Honey Monster surprise some poor chap during a low level sim session....

Last edited by Unusual Attitude; 31st Oct 2012 at 19:35.
Unusual Attitude is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 19:51
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Burton Latimer, Northants
Age: 74
Posts: 35
There were three C-130K flight sims at Lyneham in the late 60s with horizontal models - they took up quite an area each. As far as I can remember, one was a UK scene including the local Lyneham area, one a desert landscape and, possibly, a Far East scene - not completely sure about the last. I also remember a change of light bulb to 'cold' lighting.
Blanket Stacker is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 20:09
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 25,858
I remember the one at Honington - the model was very primitive and it was like looking over a rolling cylinder rather than a distant horizon. Electicity pylons looked like the Eiffel Tower and the cables were like railway lines.

Spiders were amusing, but a giant wasp certainly wasn't....

Early digital images for the VC10 simulators were less fun - the mafia staff car at Palermo was rather amusing, but there was a picture mismatch at Manchesterrr which often resulted in people taxying through the duty free shop!
BEagle is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 20:29
  #13 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Sussex UK
Age: 63
Posts: 6,995
Thanks guys ... keep it coming if you can ... anyone got a clue as to what sort of primitive computing was used to do the magic back then ?

So it looks like this type of kit went back to the late 60's with Blanket Stacker's post ... Wow !

Hi Wiggy ... what a coincidence ... the OC of the Wattisham Sim Wing at the time was my ex Chipmunk QFI and good friend S/L John Shelton (sadly no longer with us) ... during his final tour before retirement. It always amused me that he ended up a Phantom Sim Boss having never flown the F4 !
CoffmanStarter is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 20:54
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: 51.50N 1W (ish)
Posts: 1,039
It's well over 40 years, and I wsn't on the sim section, but I recall the Lightning F3 sim at Coltishall being a vertical roller blind setup for one axis, with the camera moving across and 'up and down' (actually away from/towards) the landscape. The computery was valve analogue stuf, and was often out of action to the frustration of the conversion pilots.

I had the odd ride during maintenance and it wasn't terribly realistic.

Last edited by Fitter2; 31st Oct 2012 at 20:55.
Fitter2 is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 21:12
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: The Winchester
Posts: 6,028
the OC of the Wattisham Sim Wing at the time was my ex Chipmunk QFI and good friend S/L John Shelton (sadly no longer with us)
Ah yes, remember him well for all the right reasons so very sorry to hear he's no longer with us.
wiggy is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 21:27
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: scotland
Posts: 168
First F4 flight in Jan 69, but didn't fly the F4 sim till Aug 71. So F4 sim not around at the start, but not sure when it arrived as I was in RAFG when it di. As I remember, there was a general flying area in which we could low fly and a more accuate area around Coningsby for approaches. I don't seem to have logged any official low level nav sorties (only emerg and PIs), but can remember rushing around the model. It was possible to crash the camera into the model which made one unpopular! The model consisted of 2 large (estimate 10' * 30') - anyone have a more accurate size? As stated the modelling was impressive, and on the Coningsby model ground features were recogniseable. The other model was more generic
CharlieJuliet is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 21:32
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: South Africa
Age: 84
Posts: 1,325
Not Pilot simulators, but Navigator 'Trainer's'.

At Bomber Command Bombing School, Lindholme c.1955 we had two H2S, Mk4a that is, not the Mk9 NBS trainers, that had glass plates about 4 ft square with mythical model terrain built onto the glass plate. The plate was put in a tank of water, and a crystal transmitter/receiver mounted on a 'crab' that was moved by X and Y coordinates, sent sound waves through the water. This was then fed into the normal H2S receiver and displayed on the fishpond indicator.

Above the 'crab' that carried the crystal Tx/Rx there another glass sheet, with a map of the model terrain below. A felt tip pen that left the track on the lower side of this glass, the pen retracted at the time of bomb release and rose with a clunk to mark the point of impact.

While I was working on this kit, I assisted the guys from EMI to install the 1st H2S Mk9/NBS trainer. This used a large, about 3 ft square, sheet of film and a photo electric system to achieve the same sort of simulation. The device held two such sheets of film vertically and was promptly nicknamed the 'Fish Fryer'.

We also had two Gee-H trainers that had 'bog roll' displays the same as a seismograph. The paper roll unwound at a rate proportional to the a/c speed and the trainer gave a kick to one side for when the bomb should have landed and a kick the other way when it did land. Errors were calculated in time for under/over shoot and in yards left or right.

This is as I remember it, but after 57 years, my memory is somewhat subject to errors.
ian16th is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 21:37
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Land of Oz
Posts: 497
It always amused me that he ended up a Phantom Sim Boss having never flown the F4 !
That was quite common in the RAF. In FJs, the OiC Sim was an old guy, perhaps grounded, and the other sim instructors were often younger re-roled crew before a FJ OCU. Also ROs were used, often with no experience on the jet. Basically, sim instructor was not considered a glamorous job and there were not enough experienced FJ hands to be permanently posted into these positions.
BBadanov is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 21:57
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: York
Posts: 456
I seem to remember that the Bucc Sim at Laarbruch had a massive model landscape laid flat. The camera set up had a wire protruding from the lens connected to a microswitch that switched the motors off preventing damage to the lens and landscape in event of a crash. I also remember there was a J/T working in the sim in the late 70s that could 'fly' the sim better than most aircrew. That generation of sim ran 24/7 if my memory serves me right so there was plenty of opprtunity to 'play' on it if you worked there.
dctyke is offline  
Old 31st Oct 2012, 21:59
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: EGTD
Age: 75
Posts: 5
I was a member of the first eng team that set up and ran the F4m Sim at Bruggen and then on to the f4k at Leuchars. The visual models were of two types. The large area model was mounted vertically and the camera unit was mounted on a gantry that ran on rails which allowed it to roam over the model. The model was illuminated by 50 1kw halogen lamps,[it got warm in there]. In another room was a triangular A frame with another two models attached, one of these models was of the airfield and local area, the other of a target area which was an expanded area of the large area model. The high intensity lighting was needed because of the poor light transmision properties of the tiny prism [the pitch prism] which nodded up and down to simulate the aircraft pitching.
On the f4k sim one of the secondary models was ogin with a model of Ark Royal in the middle.
Each sim was controlled by two Honeywell computers running DAP2 a language similar to Fortran. The memory was ferrite bead core 32k on one m/c and 24k on the other,[yes k].Each Bite was 24 bits. Programming was punched tape or C60 cassette.
oldsimman is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.