Learning to fly an aircraft typically requires a certain set of prerequisite experiences and knowledge. But anyone can get a feel for a day in the life of a military pilot at Orlando Science Center’s new permanent exhibit, Flight Lab. Flight Lab’s grand opening is the same weekend as Otronicon!
This unique space will contain 13 flight simulator stations to accommodate both a pilot and co-pilot. Guests, or “cadets” will use computer stations with Oculus Rift head-mounted display units as they learn how to fly, navigate, communicate, and work as a team. Some missions will require all 13 teams to work together, while others will pit the best pilots against one another to see who might be the next Maverick and Goose.
“One of our main objectives is to create a fun and engaging way to teach about the mathematics involved in aviation and engineering,” said Brandan Lanman, Vice President of Visitor Experience at Orlando Science Center. “So as the co-pilot, you have the task of solving the math problems that are associated with getting your aircraft where it needs to be. … It’s using real-world applications to show the practical use of mathematics in our everyday life, and how amazing is it that you get to fly an F-35B to do it?”
After Otronicon, the lab will remain as a versatile space available for both school groups and the general public. Certain days, there will be open lab time for guests to complete self-guided tutorials. Other times, guests will join a scheduled group mission led by a flight commander.
In addition to offering a new, engaging experience, Flight Lab will support STEM education by helping the next generation develop skills they will need to be scientists, engineers, aviators, technicians and other STEM professionals.
Orlando Science Center gives special thanks to our funder and partners for Flight Lab. Funding is provided by the Office of Naval Research. Subject matter expertise and curriculum support is provided by the Naval Air Warfare Center/Training Systems Division. Technology and curriculum is designed in partnership with TEQGames. The flight training software was developed by Lockheed Martin and has been used to teach real pilots to fly.
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