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Mariposa EAA Flight Simulator will be at the Butterfly Festival

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Update on this story:
The flight simulator will be at the Butterfly Festival on
Sunday only.

Young aviators will be given an introductory lesson in aerodynamics and
airplane control systems at the Mariposa Butterfly Festival. On Sunday, May 2nd the Experimental Aircraft Association will have their flight simulator at the the festival. The simulator will provide an opportunity for future aviators to better understand what is going to happen even before they take their first lesson. Rather than give the potential pilots just a lecture about flying the Experimental Aircraft Association decided to create an interactive flight simulator that would allow each student to closely experience what real flying is like while safely on the ground. The EAA also wanted to provide some fun for those younger than 8 years, which is the limit for young eagle pilots. Built in the summer of 2008 the flight simulator was initially a static model with working control surfaces and a computer based Microsoft Flight Simulator program. It was a big hit at the 2008 Mariposa Airport Open House. It also took first in category at the Christmas Parade that year. Inspired by that success, the team added pitch and roll motion that is coordinated with the control inputs of the pilot. The motion of the airplane adds a lot to the excitement and it was an even bigger hit at the 2009 open house and garnered the first place overall trophy at last year's Christmas parade.
 
Although primarily intended to introduce children to the wonders of flight,
the small airplane the EAA built is large enough for a 6 foot 250 pound
adult to fit into, thanks to a sliding seat donated by Ponderosa Auto
Wrecking. It is built with a combination of store bought and surplus
hardware and materials the team scrounged and modified to do the job. Troy Foster donated some of the nuts and bolts used in the construction. The fuselage is wood and built by Greg Bean and Rob Binder. The wings were built by Tim Wennberg who also made much of the motion system. Compressed air is used to power air cylinders with switches and solenoid valves for controls. A pendulum and three switches are used to hold the airplane level, no matter what the weight of the pilot. Air pressure can be adjusted to change the ride from mild to wild. The Mariposa flight simulator has become known outside the county and for the second year we are taking it to Merced Airport for their Young Eagles Day event in May.
 
At times during the construction process of the simulator, some things did
not go smoothly and it took more time than the creators thought it would.
Seeing the faces of the kids while they fly on an imaginary trip makes it
all worthwhile.
 
About the Crew
 
Greg bean is a master craftsman who worked at CKC Laboratories for much of his career, building exotic test equipment for Electromagnetic Interference testing. He is a perfectionist in everything he does, whether working in wood, fiberglass, plastic or metal. Greg flies a classic Cessna 170 and has plans to build a mostly wood airplane someday, powered by a model A Ford engine.
 
Rob Binder is a retired Chemist who worked in the semiconductor industry in the Bay Area. He is currently building a fiberglass and foam experimental
airplane called a Long Eze, designed by famous aviation innovator Burt
Rutan. When not playing bridge, he is very active in the Mariposa EAA and the "save the terminal" effort. His attention to detail allowed the airport
budget to finally be unraveled for all to see.
 
Tim Wennberg is a Electromechanical Designer who spent much of his career designing biotechnology instruments, motion and laser systems . He is one of the inventors of PCR technology, which won the Nobel Prize for chemistry. He flies an experimental aerobatic CAP10 airplane and runs the volunteer program that operates the airport terminal.

For more information about the Mariposa Butterfly Festival go to:
MariposaButterflyFestival.org
 



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