Students Create Own Interactive Aircraft Simulator

The team of Level 1 students from Darlington College designed and built a model simulator as part a celebration of the centenary of the RAF and as a motivational tool to inspire other young engineers.

Senior lecturer in electrical electronics and mechatronic engineering Steven Corner said: “Model building, hand skills and following instructions are all a basic part of the Level 1 engineering course and we have brought all of these elements together in creating our aircraft simulator.

“With a background as a Royal Marine reservist I am always actively encouraging the students to look at careers within the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers so to create a model based on a WW1 fighter plane gives the project a great military link.

“The simulator is more of a motivational tool than an introduction into aerospace engineering but the core skills that the students pick up on the course, such as team working, use of engineering drawings, integrating software and hardware, fault finding and communication skills are all key elements that they will use in the real world.”

The simulator, which took four months to build, was created free of charge from items donated from various departments within the college.

“The wooden cockpit and Perspex viewing screen were built with spare materials from the college’s construction department,” said Steven.

“Our engineering tutor Dennis McCabe donated the TV and the old monitor was found at the back of the staffroom, the paint came from the store cupboard and I bought the helmet and goggles from a fancy dress shop.

“The Windows 7 based computer and the joystick were donated by our IT department and I paid £5 for the computer software so it really was a cross-college collaboration.”

The interactive simulator will be used on college open days to attract more school leavers to think about engineering as a future career.

Student Hessam Karimi, 20, who moved from his home country of Iran to Darlington 18 months ago, added: “Designing the flight simulator has been very good for learning building and technical skills.

“My uncle has lived in Darlington for 18 years and is an engineer. I am hoping to get an apprenticeship at the company where he works and this course has been an excellent foundation.

“When I came to England I couldn’t speak the language at all, but Darlington College has helped me so much with my English, maths and engineering and, if I am successful in securing my apprenticeship, I am hoping to progress onto the Level 2 course.”

Related News