Williams Air Force Base | Cypress Semiconductor
Williams Air Force Base
December 12, 2010
Over Thanksgiving I got to go see the High Resolution F16 Fighter Simulator at Williams Air Force Base. I would have posted a picture if they let me bring a camera. (I had to surrender my phone at the door.) Basically it is a big video game except that instead of a controller, you get a full F16 cockpit, with full panoramic screens. `It was realistic enough that I would have gotten airsick if I hadn’t spent time on research ships. Other in my group did. I died three times but I didn’t barf!
I managed to crash 5 seconds into it. I took the jet straight up and instead of hitting the afterburners I turned off the turbines. The second time I was flying 100 ft off the ground. This is easy to do if you are using the ground tracking radar, I wasn’t. The last time I went to do a full loop and when I noticed that all I could see was ground it was too late. I did manage to successfully fly down the Vegas Strip at 100 feet off the ground, doing Mach 1 point 1. The instructor said I broke a lot of windows.
Seriously, the simulator offers the pilots a chance to practice against simulated versions of enemy planes, not just other F16 pretending to be bad guys. It also allows the pilots to fly at real fighting altitudes, not at some civilian minimum floor.
What is cool is that they analyze a pilot’s performance and design a training program specific for them. I would have to take about a 100 hours of not crashing lessons. The hourly cost of this training is less than 1% of real jet time. It allows more pilots to serve while in the reserves.
I am pretty sure that all the young engineers I work with could easily master this simulator. They have logged more video game hours before they were 15 than I evr will in my whole life.
Anyway it’s good to know that America is safe with me not flying in defense of our country.