Thursday, September 24, 2015

Flight simulator

At the beginning of the unit, I found a few options for free flight simulators (limited ones, of course, that you can use on your home computer) online. I downloaded one of them, but honestly, when I tried to read through the lengthy .pdf of instructions, I thought we'd never be able to use it. I couldn't even figure out what keys you were supposed to push to take off! But, I told the boys if they could figure it out, they could use it.

Of course, they figured it out. It took them many days of trial and error and watching online tutorials, but first they were saying, "I did it! I took off!" and then, "I figured out how to turn on autopilot!" and then "I landed without crashing!" and then "I found another airport!" and then "I tried landing on an aircraft carrier!" I was amazed. They downloaded a bunch of other planes and scenery packs, so they're always flying some new thing, too—the Wright Flyer or the SR-71 Blackbird—or the Follow-me car (they are very silly). It's been really fun for them. We don't have a joystick or anything, but apparently there are enough ways to use the keyboard that they can still make it work.

Flight simulators are pretty amazing, actually. We watched this video that shows clips of how they've looked since they were first used, and it's unbelievable how far they have come! The ones real pilots use now are almost indistinguishable from reality. I would love to go in one of those someday.

Anyway, the program they use is called Flight Gear, and you can download it (and learn more about it) here:
I like all the different views you can switch between---there's more than just the cockpit view
Wing view
A short video of Sebby taking off

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