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Realistic simulator created by ROTC students opens opportunity for future aviation students

Five students pose with a three-ring binder and the flight simulator chair
ROTC group members, left to right: John Sampson, Nolan Buck, Joe Pallante, Andrew Vance and Logan Florence (Anurag Rathore not pictured)

A group of Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) students at The Ohio State University, who are all on track to becoming United States Navy pilots, created and executed a realistic flight simulator that includes a virtual reality headset and a chair that gives a sense of motion and immersiveness into the flight experience.

Students enrolled in the Center for Aviation Studies program must participate in the capstone group project during their last semester in order to graduate. The goal is to tackle different stimulating projects for various organizations in hopes to benefit students in the future.

The ROTC group members include Midshipmen: Nolan Buck, Logan Florence, Joe Pallante, Andrew Vance; Civilian: John Sampson; Air Force Cadet: Anurag Rathore.

The simulator itself is made up of a computer screen, VR goggles, a motion responsive chair, Microsoft Flight Simulator and a throttle that allows interaction with the cockpit. This simulator helps students practice digital combat, basic flight experience (like approaches and landings) and instructor-created challenges.

“We were responsible for setting it up and making sure that it was operational,” stated group member Vance. “We’re currently working on making improvements for it to extend its longevity and improve its capabilities."

There is still an opportunity for this project to continue even more. The group has drafted up a mock Carmen page, the university's platform students use to access all class content, where students who use the simulation can track and record their accomplishments compared with their peers.

Not only are the students participating in this project creating a useful and operational simulation for others, but they get to gain experience in working as a team and professionally executing a project for an organization.

Sampson noted that the main goal of the project was “to create something useful for the people who come after us.”

Greg Kociba, capstone project instructor, noted how this group's work was beyond his expectations. He described them as “extremely polished and well put together.” He also noted how well they worked collaboratively and dedicated their time.

This was Kociba’s first semester running the CAS capstone project and it is safe to say that the bar has been set high for future projects to come.

"They really started it from the ground up. This team added real structure to using the simulator for prospective military pilots. They created a forum with various resources to help students determine if military aviation is suitable for them,” Kociba stated.

The ingenuity and skill of all these group members combined has led to the opportunity for following students to be provided with high-tech experience that sets them up for success in a future career. These students weren't set out just for a good grade, but giving others the chance to experience something they didn’t have.

by Josie DeCaro, professional writing intern

Category: Students