Date: October 25, 2019
Time: 9 am to 4 pm
Location: 4908 Tampa West Blvd, Tampa, FL 33634
Point of contact: Allan Brannan
Attendance: 3 students (1 Cohort A, 1 Cohort B, 1 non-FlitPath) and Sulav Malla
Overview by Allan Brannan (9:30 – 10:00 am)
Mr. Allan Brannan was our point of contact and he received us at the Lobby when we arrived. He had planned an entire day of activities and presentations for us. He told us about the different kinds of simulators that CAE makes and provides to the military around the world. He mentioned that their major product was the C-130 cargo aircraft simulator. They sell these simulators to US Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Army, as well as other international military groups. They also bring in pilots to train them on site.
Tour of the facility (10:00 – 11:00 am)
Since the entry to the simulators required proof of citizenship, only Jordon Miller, who had his passport, got the chance to step inside and fly the simulator aircraft. The rest of us got a tour of the facility and could observe the simulators from outside. These were big pods with actuators at the base to move the pod. They were connected to a few racks of servers outside where all the computation happened.
Talk by the Production Engineer and IT Manager (11:00 am – 12:00 pm)
We were then given a presentation by a production engineer, Antonio, who was leading a project to deliver a new kind of helicopter simulator to an international client. He talked to us about the kind of deadlines the team has to meet to deliver the product. He also mentioned that most of the parts are made in their parent company in Montreal and the Tampa office mainly does the parts assembly, integration and software component.
Lunch (12:00 – 1:30 pm)
Presentation on Instructional Operation System, Motor Control and Project Management (1:30 – 3:30 pm)
After lunch, we had a series of presentations from three presenters. 1) The Instructional Operation System (IOS) is the interface used by trainers to create different scenarios for the pilots in training. For example, with a flip of a button, the operator could create a rainy day, a storm at a certain position, make the engine fail, etc. This also helped train for a particular case repeatedly, for example, practicing landing from a certain height. 2) The Motor Control module was responsible for creating realistic haptic feedback on the simulator york (control wheel) as well as create the different motions when the pilot used it steer the aircraft. The presenter stressed that such calculations need to happen in real-time and a normal operating system would not work. So they used real-time operating systems like Integrity and RTX. 3) The third presenter was a project manager and he jokingly mentioned how managing engineers in a project was like herding cats in a certain direction. One interesting story from his presentation was that, once they had to ship a simulator to Denmark quickly and they used a Russian cargo aircraft to transport it in 2 days (from TPA to client airport) which cost a million dollars. Normally, they ship cargo via land and sea which generally takes 3 months.