Flight-Dynamics Model (and Miscellaneous Flying)
This page needs to be totally revised and merged with Flight-Dynamics Data Logger and Genetically Programmed Flight-Dynamics Model for Machine Learning of Flight Control to reflect the nature of the work I'm currently doing.
For now, it somewhat loosely describes the process of collecting data for a flight-dynamics model that I used in Software Engineering recently.
I collected data a couple summers ago in a Cessna 172XP rented from Avcenter in Pocatello, Idaho. I used to use my own bird N2870Y, but he's back in New Mexico and not mine anymore :-( I had two synchronized video cameras running: one out the front window and one fixed on the instrument panel, as well as a GPS unit recording the flight track and an audio recorder for communication. I considered taping another camera to my head (don't laugh) to show where I was looking while piloting, but in practice, it was pretty useless and boring. And most of that video is captured by the camera fixed on the instrument panel anyway. Flight-Dynamics Data Logger extended this with a series of more advanced data-collection devices.
I cross-referenced everything so my students could see the relationships among various parameters (which didn't work out very well). And I sampled the data manually and put them into a three-dimensional graphical visualizer I developed for my Artificial Intelligence course. This way the students could see what's going on from within the cockpit and from various perspectives outside. The flight-dynamics model is an engine I developed for the students because it's far too complex and out of scope for them to do.
Introducing Mike, my new Cessna 182. It's not new new, but new to me. It's a 1976 model, which is actually indistinguishable from my old 1962 one. But this is a beefier rig with extended fuel tanks, short-takeoff-and-landing retrofit, etc.
My brother has a good point: "Your plane has a rototiller on the front. Did you realize that when you bought it?"
After Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 went missing, mom got all worried that my plane could wander off unattended with me incapacitated (and the dogs flying it). She wasn't too reassured to see its maximum range, but at least this is more promising than that 777's.
According to my insurance company, the bigger threat is actually this.
N758LW, which was a Cessna 172 rental I was flying back in Idaho to collect data for some of this work.
Looking west, outbound from the Pocatello airport to the northwest.
Looking east. I somehow managed to miss every single mountain in these pictures.
The approximate location (red dot) where these pictures were taken. I have the actual GPS tracks for exact data, but nothing is in a presentable form yet. This is what I mean by crossreferencing and fusing data sources.
Here's some of the instrumentation data. (I couldn't have faked a picture with better needles.) There's no way to sample this other than to watch the video and periodically write down what's there. Tedious, for sure, but it's worthwhile to understand what's really going on. Learning to establish context is a main focus of my software-engineering projects.
This is a slightly different but still very related trip. Jim Wolper, a colleague from the ISU math department, needed a safety pilot (basically a required co-pilot) while he did some instrument approaches (ILS 25 and VOR 7) into Twin Falls. And I flew back. The classic $100 hamburger. The green box is the chart above.
My track is the upper one. The GPS was sampling at one-mile intervals, so some course changes appear choppy. The overall meandering, on the other hand, is correct. Nobody flies straight manually, especially in conversation and sightseeing mode.
As cool as the ILS approach would be to model in this project, I think the poor students' heads would explode. We're sticking with flight dynamics, not procedural stuff.
Here's another data-collection trip from that series: Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
Grand Teton is 13,775 feet. Wind conditions were perfect to fly right by it.
Mind you, this was in July with all this snow.