Northern Paragliding and the University of Hull’s Department of Computer Science have developed the world’s first immersive paragliding simulator. The English weather is a problem for budding paragliding pilots; training days are often cancelled due to excessive winds and unsuitable weather conditions. It comes as a relief therefore for pilots to learn that the University of Hull has come to their rescue with the creation of a paragliding simulator – the first of its type in the world.
Ian Currer of the Northern Paragliding Association commented: “I visited a number of Universities about the project, but decided to collaborate with Hull’s SimVis research group due to their wealth of experience in computer graphics and modelling, together with their genuine enthusiasm for the sport.”
Project Leader at the University of Hull,Dr Paul Chapman added: “I am a qualified skydiver and made the BHPA aware that I would be willing to learn to fly paragliders. You can’t build an accurate paragliding simulator by hiding yourself away in a lab, you need to get up there!”
The simulator will prove to be an effective learning tool because the pilot will be able to learn the paragliding controls, understand thermals and be able to negotiate air traffic before even lifting off the ground. The team has also created a realistic visual simulation where fields, mountains and landing strips can be seen and other paragliders come into view.
Commenting on the results of the creation, Dr Chapman said: “One of the most significant consequences of the simulator is that it will save lives. Paraglider and glider pilots die every year due to human error. By creating a realistic training environment, trainees will be able to learn about such issues as collision-avoidance and the understanding gained will be far more effective than that obtained from watching a video or reading a book.”
And the potential of the simulator doesn’t stop there, research collaborations with other parts of The University of Hull are taking shape; the Sports Science department are keen to use the simulator to investigate the psychological and physiological effects of exercising in a virtual environment. The Psychology department has registered an interest to use the simulator to research how the decision-making process can break down under high pressure, such as falling towards the ground upside down after the canopy has collapsed.
In December, the simulator prototype made its first appearance at the NEC’s ‘Sport and Aviation Show’ where it proved to be a real crowd stopper, receiving positive feedback from both novice and experienced pilots. The simulator’s use is not limited to paragliding - the software has been written so that it can be easily modified for para-motoring or hang-gliding and would therefore open up a huge potential market worldwide. The project will undergo further developments before being manufactured next year.
Dr Chapman concluded: “This has been a thoroughly interesting and challenging project. I am excited about the potential for future developments and I am now hooked on paragliding – I am currently investigating how I can legally fly to work in the mornings!”.
More info about the project and simulator you can find at the homepage of the university.
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Paraglider simulator DemoFly 4Reply »
DemoFly 4.0 – February 2008
The next, fourth version of simulator updated at 80%. Change concerned all aspect of the program. Greatly extended and are added new functions flight dynamic of paraplane, aerologic and indicator. Briefly about changes and novation:
Optimized mode of play with wing on the land. Now possible not only stand, but also fast running before take off.
The wing became more realistic in condition of the turbulences. Asymmetrics, frontal collapse, back collapse and transition between them and normal flight look the more realistic.
Added indication of the overloading (the effect of the darkening in eyes).
Removed glitches of the strange flight with impossible altitude.
The big territory over 600 square kilometers with flat area and maintained terrain. Photorealistic panoramas due to Google maps. The one part of Honolulu Island was selected for the main prototype of terrain.
Absolutely new model of aerologic of ground winds. Dynamically calculating zones of dynamic in depend of power and directions of winds, relief of terrain. Theoretically possible load any relief and get more realistic picture. The algorithm which used in simulator similar methods calculation of aerodynamics of resistance cars and flying machines. Winds are transformed both on vertically and on horizontally (effects of the reinforcement of wind on top of hills and weakening where it is necessary).
Completely modernized dynamic model of thermal in average and upper zone of flow. Also added gradient crater of horizontal winds. Clearly simulated effect of weakening before and reinforcements after passage thermal flow of horizontal winds. The bases of thermal and processes inside it looks more naturally. Now these thermal always end by the cloud and mainly with leeward sides.
Firstly added thermo-dynamic model of thermal flows of lower level “bubbles”. Now, warming of surface depends on the azimuth and angle of the sun lights. Warmed air bubbles leave with trigger where it must leave. The particularity: model start to work in 10 minutes after start of simulator - this time required for installing the thermodynamic balance and warming surfaces. These thermals do not get to the bases of clouds: or weaken, or dissolve by the more powerful thermals at average level. Lower level flows have a gradient crater of horizontal winds like as average level thermals.
The comfortable user interface allows changing practically all parameters of aerologic of simulator without close program: azimuth and angel of the sun place (thermal activity), azimuth and power of winds, diameter of the thermal flow and altitude of the cloud base. Also it possible to change parameters of the wing (old-new) and etc.
On number of requests added GPS which automatically record track of the flight in format of OZI_EXPLÎRER!!! and maps for it. Why invent the bicycle - OZI - a good analyzer of the flight.
As before, the simulator is freedownload but now need to register it. Unregistered version working will close in 10 mines after start. This is for following possible commercial project.
And last suggestion. You can switch on\off mode of lower level of thermal and aerologic of land wind. To safe dynamics of simulators at unpower computers try to combined modes.