Make: has a story today about a San Diego teen, Aidan Fay, who was obsessed with airplanes and wanted to get a pilot’s license. Sound familiar to any readers of this blog? Unfortunately he has a pre-existing medical condition that prevents him from becoming a licensed pilot.
A pilot’s license isn’t required to fly a plane — my dad lets me fly his plane under supervision, just like a parent can teach a kid to drive before he/she gets a license. It’s a little different in planes because the pilot and co-pilot both have full access to all the controls, so it’s relatively easy to take over if something goes wrong. But obviously it’s less convenient and potentially more expensive if you need to bring a pilot along every time.
To overcome the flaws of traditional desktop flight simulators, Aidan built his own Cessna 172 simulator that includes a full-size control panel with haptic feedback and an Oculus Rift headset for more realistic visual input. Even though it’s still not as good as the multi-million dollar simulators used by commercial pilots, he’s significantly improved the experience at a fraction of the cost.