Hang Glide!! Hang Gliding Flight Simulator

See also www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXFblIoShg8

Don Burns and I just finished installing a Hang Glide!!! flight simulator at the Fantasy of Flight Museum.


This installation brings to four the number of major aviation museums where you can see and enjoy these marvelous flight simulators. Besides the Fantasy of Flight Museum our simulators can now be seen at Museum of Flight in Seattle, the Anderson-Abruzzo, Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, and the Oshkosh Air Venture Museum.

The Fantasy of Flight Museum, between Tampa and Orlando, is one of the coolest aviation museums I have seen. The owner, Kermit Weeks (another south Florida Palmetto High School graduate like me!), flies most of the scores of antiques and warbirds in his collection. Kermit also has done a fair bit of hang gliding both solo and tandem with Malcolm at Wallaby. Kermit and a couple of his friends had fun competing with each other on the hang gliding simulator after we got it up and running. Not surprisingly for such an accomplished pilot, Kermit flew the simulator like a champ. When they finished, Kermit walked out to the tarmac and took his friend up in what may be the only operational two seat P-40 Warhawk (of Flying Tigers fame). What a life!

When in central Florida this is a museum not to be missed. It is only 15 miles from Wallaby Ranch. When it's blown out for hang gliding go fly the Hang Glide!!! simulator.

During the week we were in Florida working at the museum we stayed at the Wallaby Ranch. Malcolm Jones treated us like royalty although I suspect he treats everyone that way! I never found time to fly but I will definitely go back. There seems to be absolutely everything a pilot could wish for and I can't imagine a better place to vacation for a hang glider pilot. Malcolm and Lori are the most gracious host and hostess and Don and I thank them for taking such good care of us.

You will recall seeing a very early version some years ago of Hang Glide!!! at the Soaring Convention in Ontario, CA however the differences between that one and the current version are night and day.

HangGlide!!! is an interactive, full-scale, first person flight simulator, built for entertainment and training. Participants experience flight and control that resembles closely that of a real hang glider. By use of multiple, large, synchronized displays, HangGlide!!! convincingly immerses the user in the virtual world.

Participants are given the task to land their hang glider as close as possible to a bulls-eye target. For assistance, a second glider flies ahead of the participant's glider, leading the way. The experience teaches fundamental weight shift control skills as used by real hang-gliders, and glide management. Glide management involves choosing a flight path that takes into account the hang-glider's glide slope (amount of units of distance flown forward for every unit of descent), and choosing turn points that will put the pilot directly on the bulls-eye when it comes time to land.

The visual database is of an actual hang-gliding flying site named Ed Levin Park, in Milpitas, California. Takeoff positions and landing site are the same positions on the terrain, complete with tree obstacles, fences and all visual cues of the actual flying site.

The flight dynamics model used to control the hang glider is the result of years of development and research. At its base is a rigid-body dynamics package. Forces are applied to the rigid body which are derived from static load and stability testing data taken during glider certification processes. The hang glider can be looped, if the pilot is skilled enough!

The flight simulator is designed primarily for high-traffic participation as would be found in a flight museum or location based entertainment venue. The unit has a single button control to initiate each participant's experience and can be left largely unattended. Flights last about 90 seconds with a 20 second interim stage, replaying the previous participant's landing and landing score, which allows time for the next participant in line to get in place for their flight.
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