An airplane factory and a damn cool simulator.

So today I visited the London, Ontario airport.

We started out by visiting the weather flight information centre. Learned some cool stuff about weather. I really won’t bore you with the details.

This is where they build Diamond Aircraft. More specifically, they build the Eclipse (also known as the Katana), and the Diamond Star. They also assemble the very, very cool diesel powered Twin Star. (Those are all taken at London, not by me, of course. They ferry aircraft all across north America, hence the US registrations)

Got to tour the factory, which was pretty interesting, getting to see the aircraft made, entirely from scratch out of composites, all the way to final assembly.

Unfortunately, pictures weren’t allowed on the tour, or I’d make a whole post about it. If you want to see how they’re made “How it’s Made” on the Discovery channel did a nice little 5 minute tour of the factory a little while ago.

Oh, and during the tour they showed us the moulds for the new D-Jet , and we saw their proof-of-concept (the aircraft in the link, actually) being towed around the airport. I think it went for a test flight in the late afternoon, but we missed it.

After that we visited the Diamond delivery centre, and they let us loose on the DA-42 Twin Star simulator (which looks like this) Those two big LCDs are quite the change for me, I’m used to something like this. I figured it would be pretty easy, considering I’ve played video games my whole life.

Apparently it takes quite a bit of getting used to. Quite frankly, it’s too accurate… I can see that I’m 10 feet off my altitude… Then I try to correct it. In the aircraft I normally fly, 10 feet means the needle moves about a mm. Here it seems like I’m completely wrong and don’t deserve to fly ever again.

Eventually, I gave up and used the backup “steam” gauges that surround the panels. I guess I’m just a steampunk at heart after all.

Actually, the simulator’s pretty cool, it’s about 170 degrees of vision around you, showing the terrain. All it’s missing is motion.

I also got the chance to do something I would never do in a real aircraft. I rolled over about 50-60 degrees to the right, and pulled back on the stick as I killed my right engine and firewalled my left. The thing cranked way the hell over and some damn horn went off (in all honesty, I’m not sure whether it was the stall horn from the load factor being super high or the gear horn from putting the right engine down so low) I think I made it as far as the sim will let you roll it. I’ve always wanted to do that. I’ve rolled one sim, failed to loop another and managed to crash a KC-135 sim before it could even take off. I think it makes a good addition to the list.

So that was my day. I don’t think it was too bad. Now I have some exams, two presentations and a one project to hand in and I’m done my college academics, and all I have left to do is fly! The end run is here.

I’ve toured the local giant airplane factory here many times. I’ve been inside 757s that had no interior walls yet.
That cockpit picture, I have several of those the size of a picture window, some framed some not. My husband would hang them all over the house if I let him, :rolleyes: but I won’t.
He’s gotten to help calibrate the simulators a few times. He once ran over a marshaler at Heathrow. He won’t ever be driving the plane, in real life. :smiley:

I work in the 737 assembly plant in Renton so seeing thing like that is the everyday routine for me. But I still get a kick how excited the visitors to the factory get over seeing a half built airplane.

Diamond aircraft are built in London, ON? How did I not know that? I have family there, now I have an excuse to visit :slight_smile: