Practicing For Flight

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By Tris DeRoma

Thanks to a donation by a local aviation hobbyist, cadets in the Los Alamos chapter of the Civil Air Patrol will be able to experience the wonders of flight without leaving the ground.
Los Alamos resident Brent Budden donated a hand-built, computerized flight simulator to the patrol. Calling it a labor of love, the physicist built the impressive looking device in 2007 as a way to satisfy his love of space, as well as flying until he achieved his pilot’s license.
“Originally, I wanted a completely-enclosed simulator that I could do spaceflight in,” he said. “As I was designing it, I also decided to include atmospheric flight as well.”
The simulator is designed to roughly mimic the inside of a two-seater cockpit, with physical, built in controls the cadets should already be familiar with to run the “plane.” The “windows” include three computer monitors positioned in such a way as to mimic the view a pilot and co-pilot would see from an actual plane.
Different types of software can be loaded into the simulator. Microsoft Flight Simulator 10 and Orbiter Space Flight Simulator has already been loaded in, with plans to also load Laminar Research’s X-Plane 10 in the future.

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