Sunday, September 9, 2012

Flight Simulation Program

Back when I was an undergrad in England, a good buddy of mine was a crack programmer who taught me some things about computer programming. Now I've used that knowledge to write a simple program simulating my balloon flights. The program runs on an ancient Mac that I pulled out of a closet. Using a simple formula that takes into account many variables that result in buoyancy force of the balloon (the essence of balloon aviation) it simulates ALT = altitude, FPM = feet per minute ascending or descending, FUEL = fuel consumption (not being monitored just yet), OAT = outside air temp in F, BET = balloon envelope temperature, OXY = oxygen supply (not monitored either just yet), APSI = ambient atmospheric pressure in PSI and some other variables. This sim will be run many times, and refined, with me in the suit / cockpit mockup, communicating with my buddy Chuck Sullivan, who will run the sim and coordinate things like running the burner and bailout scenarios while I'm in the pressurized suit, communicating by radio. By running sims we can get a handle on things like how we communicate, power and gas consumption rates, how long it takes to do certain things, and so on. Another piece of the puzzle in place :)

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