Cockpit evolution

A static classroom test cockpit simulator as a stepping stone to proof of concept

Objectives and deliverables: Test cockpit ergonomics and technology interface, team interoperability and procedure, hunt for emergent negative properties, define age boundary lower limit.   

Before we engineer sophisticated motion simulators, cockpits and cabins, we need to develop a better understanding of the complex nature of how a team of four, of vastly different ages and cultures, interacts and works in such an environment.  Some ideas will work, others will not.  Some results will be emergent in nature and unforeseen.  The physical nature and design may well have to be adjusted a number of times.  The earlier in the project development cycles these changes can be identified and implemented the more efficient and cost effective the process will be.  

The current focus is based on an Airbus A320 cockpit template.  Our partners and engineers already build A320 cockpits for commercial use, this allows us to keep costs to a minimum by adapting this template.  Our static classroom test simulator like wise will be built around these ideas.  The following images give you an overview of the A320 cockpit environment.

Main instrument panel A320 Cockpit 

Detailed A320 cockpit graphic 

As a test platform our representation of the cockpit environment will be very loose in nature. It is expected that the pilot/crew interface will be fluid and adjusted as required.  The idea being that we evolve the cockpit to best serve a crew of four in a flexible mission architecture.  

Educators have used flight simulators for a long time with both flight schools and after school programs.  Enthusiasts and flight sim gamers have been building hom made cockpits for even longer, and today a large industry has grown around supplying the public with cockpit parts and accessories.  The difference between our approach and everyone above is that VPACC is creating its own unique cockpit environment and vehicle.  For educators and enthusiasts it's a matter of replication of a number of real world aircraft, light prop aircraft for educators, commercial airliners for enthusiasts is the norm.  

Educators working with young students

MIT Lab using a desktop space simulator

Students at Space Camp Huntsville Alabama

Students at Space Camp Huntsville Alabama