Camouflaged Learning: STEMulation Learning Systems & Prepar3D
July 27, 2015
Imagine going to high school and instead of sitting at a desk, you take a seat inside a flight simulator rivaling the top systems used to train fighter pilots. STEMulation Learning Systems has brought that reality to life in public schools in Minnesota and Colorado by designing and installing sophisticated flight simulation labs. Featuring Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D simulation software, the labs contain multiple cockpit types and student-directed air traffic control stations. STEM instruction is literally being taken to new heights within these schools.
The flight sim labs stimulate student’s interest in STEM subjects by harnessing the nearly universal fascination with aviation. The schools are leveraging this interest in aviation by using the simulators as teaching tools for math, physics, science, geography and even meteorology. St. Paul City Council Member Dan Bostrom, a long time backer of innovation in the schools, says “we use aviation as the hook to get kids interested in Science and Math. It has succeeded because parents and administrators have backed the original vision of teacher/aerospace coordinator Jill Wall”. Another key to success is making the flights as realistic as possible. By using accurate flight controls, instruments, cockpits, radio communications and seamless curved visual displays (wrapping around the pilot) students are fully immersed in their flights and “buy in” to the experience.
The results speak for themselves. After experiencing outstanding results with their first flight simulation lab, Saint Paul Public Schools expanded their Aviation Magnet program from a single school to three schools. Students can now remain within the Aerospace learning track all the way from Pre-K through the 12th grade. This “Kindergarten-to-Diploma” Aerospace learning track is the first of its kind in the nation.
Johnson Aerospace & Engineering High School
The flagship flight simulation lab is located deep within Johnson Aerospace & Engineering High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Seven flight simulators are matched up with seven Flight Controller Stations. This gives the lab the capacity to engage large groups of students as both pilots and air traffic controllers. Two of the systems are Surround View Flight Simulators (SVFS), which are similar to the $3 million Tactical Operational Flight Trainers (TOFT) used in military flight training. The SVFS features a ten foot diameter seamless spherical screen that wraps around the cockpit, providing a 230 degree horizontal field of view. Five of the machines are Dual Seat Flight Simulators (DSFS). These also feature a seamless curved screen, six feet across and three feet tall. The students, as pilot, co-pilot and flight controller work together to accomplish the assigned tasks during their flight.
Flight Sim Lab teacher Scott Schaffer (a pilot himself) says, “The simulators allow me to put students in real life flight scenarios. The pre-flight briefing students get prior to their flight is camouflaged learning of Physics and Math. The end result is learning physics and math in an effective, practical way.”
More information and videos at www.STEMulationlearning.com.
Showcasing Flight1 Aviation Technologies G530 Simulator
July 10, 2015
Flight1 Aviation Technologies has released a new avionics training solution for the Garmin GNS 530 that works with Lockheed Martin® Prepar3D® to help pilots learn to use the GNS 530 and stay proficient.
The G530 Simulator Enterprise Edition features a realistic hardware Navigation Unit mounted in a vertical desktop stand, and software that provides a nearly one-to-one simulation of the GNS 530W.
“The 530 is powerful, but it’s also complex,” says Flight1 Aviation Technologies President Jim Rhoads. “There are a bunch of ‘gotchas’ to be aware of. So after they read the manual, many pilots buy a course or play with a part-task trainer. They become really familiar with the operation of the 530. But courses and part-task trainers don’t allow you to practice using the 530 in the context of actually flying. And that’s a problem.”
By flying with the G530 Simulator Enterprise Edition in the simulated environment generated by Prepar3D, pilots can become comfortable operating the 530’s interface while simultaneously aviating, navigating, and communicating. They can practice using the 530 during VFR and IFR flights between any airports, anywhere in the world, in any season, in any weather conditions, at any time of day or night. They can even learn to use 530 features they might never have the opportunity to explore during a real flight in a real airplane.
“There’s no reason to jump straight into an airplane,” explains Rhoads. “We all know that the cockpit is a poor learning environment for many skills. It’s also an expensive one. The G530 Simulator is much more cost effective, and it’s a much better training tool.”
The G530 Simulator software includes a multi-channel capacity VHF comm radio, a detailed basemap, terrain proximity warnings, Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) alerting, updateable terrain and navigation databases, a multi-channel ILS/VOR with localizer and glideslope receivers, WAAS navigation capabilities, and integration with simulated autopilots that accept roll-steering commands.
It’s a stand-alone application that can be run on a separate PC connected to the flight simulation via a network. (Most other 530 simulations available for Prepar3D and FSX are derivatives of the default GPS created by Microsoft for entertainment. The few solutions that do offer more realism are add-on gauges that run within the flight simulation—and use up valuable processing power and memory.)
The G530 Simulator Enterprise Edition hardware features a scale replica of the real GNS 530, with a 5.6″ VGA LCD display, fully functional buttons and knobs, adjustable backlighting on each button, and cables to connect it to a PC.
“The industry is moving to touchscreens, but there are still a lot of 530s out there,” concludes Rhoads. “And simulation is the best way for pilots to gain mastery using it. The G530 Simulator Enterprise Edition is the best tool for that job.”
About Flight1 Aviation Technologies
Flight1 Aviation Technologies was launched in 2004 to focus on delivering PC-based simulation solutions to aviation customers. With a unique history that has followed the simulation and training industry’s appropriation of game-based technologies, the company is changing the way pilots train and stay proficient. To learn more about the G530 Simulator Enterprise Edition and other tools for flight training and pilot proficiency, visit www.flight1tech.com.
Showcasing Flight1 Aviation Technologies Ground Environment (GEP3D)
July 7, 2015
Flight1 Aviation Technologies in cooperation with the Ground Environment Team has released the award winning Ground Environment scenery product for all versions of Prepar3D. The Ground Environment scenery line has been a staple in Flight Simulation for over 10 years and they are now bringing that experience and knowledge to the Prepar3D simulation world.
Experience Flight1 Scenery Quality and Performance in Prepar3D
Performance and Sight Seeing in One Package:
You can now experience a Flight1 award winning scenery product that changes the entire Prepar3D simulation ground texture and autogen world from pole to pole in one install. Ground Environment Prepar3D (or GEP3D for short) greatly improves the Prepar3D simulation world with detailed texture sets which include a complete set of matching night lighting maps. Autogen has been meticulously placed and done so with reasonable virtual address space (VAS) consumption and overhead in mind. A secure backup is established by the product for easy and quick restore at any time.
From Kabul to Kathmandu, from Cape Town to Anchorage Ground Environment strives to make the world look like the world and not sacrifice one part of it for another.
Keep it Simple – Sandbox Friendly Approach:
Flight1 understands the importance of a free and open sandbox system where everyone should be able to enjoy their freeware and payware scenery products alike. Airport, scenery or photo-scenery products that work with default Prepar3D core control files will work with GEP3D.
Ground Environment Prepar3D does not replace environmental textures such as clouds and water and will not interfere with any environment add-on that may. The GEP3D product does not alter any core control files and will not create conflicts. GEP3D is made to work just like the Prepar3D default texture system so you can be assured that your scenery add-ons will overlay and work with GEP3D the same way the default Prepar3D system allows.
Updates and Improvements:
Regular update cycles are scheduled for the product. Updates for GEP3D will be free of charge for the life of the product. The next update cycle is for Northern Europe and is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2015.
Ground Environment and Ultimate Terrain Landclass/Scenery Products:
Ground Environment is a development partner with Scenery Solutions and their Ultimate Terrain series. The Ultimate Terrain landclass and scenery series is one of the most used and highly rated award winning flight simulation product lines in which they incorporate the highest quality commercial source data for their products. All Ultimate Terrain products have been pre-tested and verified for use with GEP3D. As the Ultimate Terrain developers release and update their products for Prepar3D the Ground Environment team will be there to maintain continuity between the product lines for seamless blending between the two products.
The combination of the latest Ground Environment and Ultimate Terrain products produces one of the highest volume autogen renders with the least virtual address space consumption, something that is critical for the serious simulation user with current render engine limitations. A setup and use guide for UTX and GEP3D is available at the Ground Environment support forum: http://www.simforums.com/Forums/setup-utx-all-versions-update-new-lights-settings_topic46147.html
Ground Environment and 3rd Party Landclass and Vegetation Products:
GEP3D supports all the major and minor freeware and payware landclass products on the market that do not alter landclass texture calls and follow the SDK for Prepar3D. Our suggestions for such products and the regions they cover are listed here: http://www.simforums.com/Forums/landclass-products-suggested-use-with-gex-gep3d_topic50977.html
Sample gallery of Ground Environment Prepar3D World Edition:
• Full day and night texture support for all Ultimate Terrain Prepar3D landclass products
• Enhanced textures to assist in rendering clear visuals as low as 250-500ft
• High volume autogen layout with optimizations for maximum performance
• Worldwide coverage from pole to pole with one texture product install
• Low virtual address space consumption with maximum visual results
• 1m/pixel – 1024×1024 Textures – No excessive resolution to render
• Automated file backup system with smart backup storage
• Automated one click/browse move of backup directory
• Includes all seasons and night lighting environment
• Exceptional cloud shadow and lighting response
• No cost updates for the life of the product
• One click automated update system
• Real time status interface readout
• Quick Enable/Disable on the fly
For more information, view more images or to purchase GEP3D:
The Academic version of GEP3D is available at the Flight1 website or at the Ground Environment support forum (linked below).
Ground Environment Prepar3D is also available for Professional and Enterprise license and support. If you wish to obtain the product for professional pilot training, military, FAA, academy training, or, affiliated with a corporation and require that level of support contact Flight1 Aviation Technologies directly at http://www.flight1tech.com for information regarding Professional and Enterprise licensing, otherwise the Professional and Enterprise license editions are not required.
Ground Environment Support Forum: Click Here for Images and Installation Help
Flight1 GEP3D Web Page: http://www.flight1.com/products.asp?product=gexp3dworld