Cockpit Instruments for an Aircraft Simulator

A defence aerospace company approached Funambolo to develop analogue cockpit instruments to meet the needs of one of its Simulator programs, which required actual / hi-fidelity replicas of the cockpit instruments. The requirement was to design 16 different types of instruments which provide same look and feel and functionality as available in the original trainer aircraft but interfacing with their simulator computer system.

The challenge was to design instruments to fit into the limited space available and to design the front bezels, needles and back ground lighting. Funambolo engineers studied the instruments in the actual aircraft cockpit, took dimensional measurements, noted colour schemes and functionality of the same.

The instruments were designed to have same dimensions and look and feel. The instruments bodies were CNC machined using aluminium and anodized, front bezels were machined using acrylic and painted as per requirement. For the movement air core motors were used and the drive electronics board was designed based on a microcontroller. The electronics and motors were packed in a limited space available using suitable holding structure. Embedded software is developed to get the required functionality and the instrument is calibrated in the actual simulator environment. The instruments were designed keeping in mind the requirement of maintenance, calibration etc in the field. 15 different types of analogue instruments were designed, manufactured and supplied.

The AOA and Accelerometer gauges were more complex with different working mechanism. It warranted complex electromechanical design with geared stepper motors, precision gear mechanism, limiters and silicon oil based dampers etc. The body of these instruments is CNC machined by using Acrylic as material and painted as per the colour requirement. The front bezels were also machines and painted. The electromechanical structure was also precision machined using CNC machines. The electronics board was based on microcontroller and number of sensors and multiple stepper motor drivers. These components were packed in the limited space available and embedded software was developed to get the required functionality as the original gauge and calibrated in the actual simulator.

This demonstrates the design and development capabilities of Funambolo team in developing customised, complex electromechanical precision instruments meeting specific needs.

Funambolo also has the capability to design instruments for aircraft usage also, particularly for aircraft requiring repair and maintenance of legacy instruments, controls & gauges.