About the software solution
The software brings together the live readings from more than 70 sensors installed on the customised SAAB 340 which are digitised with military spec hardware. Where possible, existing aircraft sensors have been used, with data extracted from the aircraft’s serial buses, although many additional sensors were required for non-standard measurements. Along with acquiring sensor readings, the software is also calculating a range of aircraft data in real time such as engine thrust, sideslip and the aircraft’s current centre of gravity.
All of this data is processed by a central server running on a rugged laptop which then wirelessly streams it to 30 Microsoft Surface Pro tablets, providing participants with a high-resolution 12” touchscreen display from which they can interact with the data. The server is capable of recording all data at up to 100Hz as part of The Flying Classroom and, for more advanced research, up to 1024Hz.
The data is displayed on the touchscreen in gauges similar to those found in the SAAB’s cockpit, and with an update rate of 100Hz, participants can see the data changing with minimal latency. This results in an experience akin to that of the pilot looking at the actual cockpit cluster. In addition to real time data, historic trends of particular data points are available along with up-to-date VFR maps showing the aircraft’s current location, flight path, heading and live camera feeds from the cockpit.
SCITEK has used National Instruments LabVIEW to create all of the software components used in The Flying Classroom. LabVIEW’s native support for a range of communication protocols and ability to rapidly create user interfaces for displaying data made it an ideal choice for The Flying Classroom. This has resulted in a robust system which can be easily scaled for future Flying Classroom experiments or adapted for more specific advanced research projects.
SCITEK is delighted to be able to contribute towards this platform which will greatly improve participants’ inflight experience, enhance learning opportunities and ultimately extend the boundaries of Cranfield’s aviation research.
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