A week before we were to ship the simulator, we were saved by 2 Air Force pilots/instructors. They came to tune the many software parameters that controlled the simulator’s behavior and to stress test the sim. The hard stress testing they supplied provided our most challenging problems to date. The electromagnetic actuators, specifically the one that controlled roll, was overheating. Overheating to the point of crashing the software. The team came together quickly and designed a cooling system that was effective in resolving the heat issues. We would have liked another month for testing, but it was time to ship the simulator to the Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) in Bossier City, LA just outside of Barksdale AFB.
Flyoff week! The simulator was shipped in 2 custom-made containers and arrived a few days before setup. We reassembled, tested, and tuned the simulator on Monday and Tuesday in preparation for the actual event on Wednesday and Thursday. The event was extremely well planned. There would be 24 pilots in groups of 2 coming to test each simulator over the 2 days. One would fly the simulator and the other would serve as instructor/observer. The entire project was supervised by former B-52 pilot instructors who were serving in the reserves. They helped write the testing rubric that the test pilots would grade our simulator. In addition to the pilots, we had Air Force Distinguished Visitors (Generals and Colonels), members of different bases, contracting officials, the Chief Scientist from the Air Force Global Strike Command, and members of the Air Force Research Laboratory.
Everything went exceptionally well. The pilots had been reluctant to take time out of their busy schedules but after flying the simulator were very excited about where this new mixed reality technology could help them. They absolutely saw the benefit of practicing on the ground instead of taking up the 60-year-old planes. The simulator performed wonderfully. It was incredibly rewarding to have designed and built a simulator that could help our airmen train in a no-risk environment that could save money and wear and tear on the amazing B-52. Thank you to all the Air Force personnel that help design and manage this challenge and the team at the CIC that ran it. A big win for everyone.