How one Temple Engineering senior design team is creating a low-cost flight simulator at Temple Ambler.
The Senior Design capstone has seen student teams help to create solutions across disciplines, from improving healthcare outcomes to restoring suburban wetlands. The Light Aircraft Dynamic Flight Control Simulator (LA-DFCS) team, working primarily out of Temple University's Ambler campus, is hoping to eventually see evidence of their work by looking up toward the sky.
"The main objective is to develop a safe and low-cost solution to train pilots to fly small aircrafts through a dynamic flight simulator for a Cirrus SR22 plane," team member and engineering management major Michael Hiltwine shared. "This simulator will be the first of its kind using the cockpit of an actual Cirrus SR22 aircraft, with the intention of giving the most realistic experience for flying an aircraft."
The team hopes to mitigate some of the barriers toward learning to fly a small aircraft through a realistic experience in the cockpit. Naturally, a project of this nature is costly, challenging the team to be budget-conscious while providing a quality product to the end-user.
The project is in its second year of a multi-year effort to raise funding for this project and continue to design the simulator from the ground up. Planning is underway to build and design simulators and structural health monitoring systems for other types of aircraft and to leverage a portion of the project to develop an aviation Summer Camp STEM program for middle and high school students at Temple's Ambler Campus.
"Our advisor (Professor Sherwood Polter) has been a tremendous help in adding his experience and expertise to the mix. Overall, we could not have accomplished everything so far without the contributions from our sponsors," Hiltwine said. "Getting our own space to work independently has driven us forward as a team. The sim room allows us to focus and accomplish tasks together in a safe environment. Many thanks to Temple Ambler for accommodating us."
Prof. Polter expressed thanks to Stratus Aviation Foundation STEM program director Mr. Dimitri Vassiliou and co-director Mr. Michael Schultz for sponsoring the project and loaning the cockpit of the Cirrus SR-22, computers, flight and avionics instrumentation and software. "We also want to thank the STEM Outreach coordinator, Mr. Tristan Wolfe at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division for funding and mentoring support," Prof. Polter added.
Sam Feldan, an electrical engineering major, touched on some of the lab experience that informed the team's work.
"Much of what I'm doing on this project (integrating flight controls and motion platform) lends itself to some of the lab experience I've had, especially my embedded systems course," Felden said. "For example, minimizing input/output latencies between the microprocessor and motion/controls is key to this project and I worked with this concept throughout the course."
Hiltwine, focusing on energy and power engineering for the simulator, added that the team had to apply skills above and beyond course and lab work.
"Engineering is more than just designing and building. You have to sell your ideas. You have to write creatively and technically to convey them to different audiences. You have to understand the social and environmental consequences of your project and goals."
Click here to support the LA-DFCS team. To learn more about Senior Design and how you can help support student projects, visit https://engineering.temple.edu/students/senior-design.
Meet the Team
Paul Anouna - Mechanical Engineering - East Brunswick, NJ
Ryan Coney - Mechanical Engineering - Philadelphia, PA
Sam Feldan - Electrical Engineering (Computer Engineering concentration) - Moorestown, NJ
Michael Hiltwine - Energy and Power Engineering - Fort Washington, PA
John Kurtz - Mechanical Engineering - Lancaster, PA
Moin Siddiqui - Electrical Engineering (Computer Engineering concentration) - Dhaka, Bangladesh