Posted by: stetler735 | April 27, 2013

Gonna Fly Now? Try the Flight Simulator First

The remote control flight simulator at Busch Campus today is like training wheels for the X8 Flying Wing, a large model plane that can fly autonomously.

J'Onai Dixon Jr. prepares for takeoff.

J’Onai Dixon Jr. prepares for takeoff.

The X8 was created by student members of  the Rutgers Autonomous Aircraft Team , who designed and programmed it to fly by itself for as long as 25 minutes.

“We start new members out on the flight simulator so they learn how to fly a plane instead of starting right away on the real plane and smashing it up,” says Daniel Collison, treasurer of the team and a major in Mechanical Aerospace Engineering.

The flight simulator allows aspiring pilots to experience flight by  guiding an onscreen plane from runway to wild blue yonder.

“It feels like you’re really flying,” said J’Onai Dixon of Piscataway, who tried out the simulator, along with his son J’Onai Jr.

For Dixon, the simulator was a way to gauge whether to buy his son a toy remote control plane. After trying out the simulator, he was leaning toward it, but maybe not until J’Onai Jr. is a bit older.

The younger Dixon gave a thumbs up to the simulator.

“It was so much fun,” he raved.

Although the X8 was grounded for the day, members of RU Autonomous, as they call themselves, were happy to show it off.

Later this year, it will take off at the  AUVSI UAS student competition in Maryland, where Rutgers placed 11th last year.

The X8 Flying Wing

The X8 Flying Wing


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