• FlightSim.Com Interviews Wesley Bard Of Lockheed Martin About Prepar3D

    Interview: Wesley Bard Of Lockheed Martin

    By Victor Baron

    About Wes Bard

    Q: What is your role for Lockheed Martin and the Prepar3D team?

    A: I am a software manager at Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems and Training business, and I am the technical lead for the Prepar3D® team. In this role, I manage our development team and ensure that we are incorporating feedback from the Prepar3D community into future releases.

    Q: When did you first start working with flight simulators? Do you have an interest in real aviation and are you involved in it in any way other than what you do for Lockheed Martin? Tell us about any experiences you've had in Real World Aviation?

    A: My background is in software engineering, but aviation has interested me for quite awhile. I look forward to getting up in a Cessna 172 whenever I can. In fact, several of us on the Prepar3D development team are studying towards various licenses. I'm enjoying ground school at the moment.

    About The Company

    Q: What was Lockheed Martin's reason for deciding to develop a flight simulation program?

    A: Lockheed Martin continuously looks for new and cost-effective ways to help our customers rise to the challenges of tomorrow. Thirty years ago, Lockheed Martin worked with customers to introduce simulation to maximize the training experience. Our Mission Systems and Training business currently provides training systems for 36 military aircraft variants, including the most advanced training system ever developed, the F-35 Lightning II. These training systems are engineered to provide the shortest path to learning by incorporating simulation.

    In 2009, Lockheed Martin had an opportunity to enter an intellectual property licensing agreement with Microsoft to further develop its ESP™ technology. Lockheed Martin launched our version of the simulation software, Prepar3D®, in 2010 for immersive learning and training.

    This is a natural fit for our business as we look to reduce costs for our customers by moving training tasks from aircraft to full mission simulators, and from full mission simulators to part-task and desktop trainers for the right level of technology to meet the learning objective.

    Q: Does Lockheed Martin use the simulator in the real world aviation side of the company and if so how?

    A: Absolutely, we work across our corporation to advance global security technologies every day, including with our Aeronautics business which develops mobility aircraft like the C-5 and C-130, fighters like the F-16, F-22 and F-35 and trainers like the T-50.

    Here's an example. Recently, the U.S. Air Force noted an opportunity to provide cockpit familiarization and procedures training to C-130J aircrews before they enter full fidelity simulators for mission-based training.

    Lockheed Martin developed a quickly reconfigurable platform called the Multi-Function Training Aid to provide familiarization and procedures training for aviation and ground vehicles. This training tool uses Prepar3D and commercial-off-the-shelf hardware, and it has integrated touch screen panels, switches, dials and simulated controls.

    For C-130J training, we worked with our Aeronautics business to equip the Multi-Function Training Aid with the operational flight program of the actual aircraft. Today, Air Force Special Operations personnel train on the systems at Cannon and Kirtland Air Force Bases.

    Q: Where does the Prepar3D department sit in the structure of Lockheed Martin?

    A: Our Prepar3D program team is part of Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems and Training business area which develops training systems for the aviation, ground, maritime and cyber domains. Mission Systems and Training also provides platforms like the Aegis Combat System, Littoral Combat Ship and unmanned K-MAX as well as alternative energy solutions.

    Q: In what ways does your team interact with the real world aviation side of the company?

    A: Vic, let us know if the MFTA example also addresses this question. We work across our corporation to address our customers' challenges every day!


    24 Comments
    1. MikeSim68's Avatar
      MikeSim68 -
      Interesting interview, and I was impressed with the questions that Victor Baron asked. Wes Bard, the LM Software Manager for P3D, gave enthusiastic answers, but sometimes his answers were very general and non-specific. This was particularly the case when answering questions about the future development of P3D and the role of P3D in the greater LM corporation, and even the role of P3D in the specific company where P3D is being developed: Mission Systems and Training. As a point of interest I went to the Lockheed Martin Corporation web site and then to the web site for the Mission Systems and Training Company. One of the tabs was "products". I went to this page and found a list of 50 products. Prepared3D was not on the list.
    1. Allen Craig's Avatar
      Allen Craig -
      Thanks for the screenie, those DUMB lookin landing lights convinced me to keep my dough in my pocket, and FS9 on my puter

      Also, none of the rest of the pic looks any different than what FS9 can replicate

      thanx again :O)

      p.s my clouds look better - LOL
    1. degeus's Avatar
      degeus -
      Very interesting story, but as FSX-user I really am interested in the legal availability for us. I understand the compatability, easy conversion etc, but will there be a license that does not conflict if you are not a student but a retired person?
      Also I would like to know about 64bit version, when will it come, at what price etc?
      Piet de Geus
      Netherlands.
    1. JSkorna's Avatar
      JSkorna -
      Not according to the last part of the interview.

      No mention of 64 bit details. Others have guessed that possibly by 2016.

      Keep enjoying FSX!
    1. clutchcargo's Avatar
      clutchcargo -
      Great news! FSnext will be in beta this summer.
    1. RAFSB1's Avatar
      RAFSB1 -
      The Regional Community Aerospace Facility, Cadet Youth Developement Center in Breslau, Ontario Canada is now partnered with Lockheed-Martin with Prepar3d. we just had our launch yesterday afternoon.
      Check out the CTV News. http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=909740

      And the Kitchener-Waterloo Record http://www.therecord.com/news/local/...chance-to-soar
    1. Coneman's Avatar
      Coneman -
      This really didn't do much to boost my confidence to make the jump to P3D. Sticking with FSX.
    1. ivanomarongiu's Avatar
      ivanomarongiu -
      FS9 remains the best flight simulators for PC.
    1. deltaleader's Avatar
      deltaleader -
      Makes no sense to develop this with backwards compatibility with FSX when FSX is a consumer product and LM has no intentions of making this available to consumers.
    1. Hughesmdflyer4's Avatar
      Hughesmdflyer4 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ivanomarongiu View Post
      FS9 remains the best flight simulators for PC.
      There's this fancy thing called FSX. You should try it! It will make FS9 look even older than it is.
    1. Pjotrke2626's Avatar
      Pjotrke2626 -
      I hope one day we can import google 3D objects straight into Prepar3D... this will add even more super reality into Flight Simulation.
    1. Mickeyj_71's Avatar
      Mickeyj_71 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Hughesmdflyer4 View Post
      There's this fancy thing called FSX. You should try it! It will make FS9 look even older than it is.
      I thought the same about FS9 and it is still on my hdd.

      Unfortunately Hughes is right. 7 months ago i moved to FSX. I never thought that it would have made such a difference. Tuned it with Kosta Jesus and a bunch of other guys recommendations and tweaks. Freshed it up with REX, orbx and a few other HQ add ons gave a little pepper with the OpusFSX throwed it on to the wall 7 feet away from my chair via a small portable HD beamer and took my first flight in ND´s UH-1. It was like sitting in the real deal flying tree top level @90KIAS.

      The biggest down thing is its demand on hardware or better cpu power and its 4GB VAS limit on 64 bit systems. But nevertheless its by far one of the best simulators around.

      P3D is now on my hdd too and the 1.4 version is a step ahead of FSX when it comes to performance. Not faster in terms of FPS but way smoother in demanding situations ex. Flightbeam KPHX full autogen FSGenesis and UT2 50% and Ceras Bell 212.

      I would say try FSX or P3D and see for yourself....

      Greetz

      MJ
    1. Jimmi_Swe's Avatar
      Jimmi_Swe -
      Quote Originally Posted by deltaleader View Post
      Makes no sense to develop this with backwards compatibility with FSX when FSX is a consumer product and LM has no intentions of making this available to consumers.
      It's a strange and frustrating situation. The vast majority of the FSX addons have EULA:s that explicitly state that they can only be used for entertainment purposes, not for education or training - the total opposite of the P3D EULA. Yet LM keep bragging about how most FSX addons can be used in P3D and call that a "feature". Obviously someone in their legal department has thought this through and given it the go ahead.

      I don't think LM are as disinterested in the consumer (hobbyist) market as it seems. For one, most of their precious feedback in the forums are from "simmers", hobbyists. Professional users don't have time to tweak config files endlessly and report the results - they want a sim that just works.
      P3D add-on developers also need money from the hobbyist side to finance development. For example, OrbX, who are rumored to be involved with P3D 2.0 would not be around if it wasn't for flight sim hobbyists. P3D can't leech off FSX indefinitely. As the old sim keeps aging, people are eventually going to move on to something else, and if that "something else" isn't compatible with P3D (or *is* P3D itself), P3D is going to lose much of its appeal to professional users as well.

      Personally, I say just give P3D a shot. You have nothing to lose other than the small cost of the Academic license (about the same price as an FSX addon). Should LM terminate your license (never heard of that happening), you can just go back to FSX and all your add-ons will still work (although with more stuttering, blurries and CTD's).
    1. me1900's Avatar
      me1900 -
      Everyone of us is missing the point. This company is developing Prepar3d for professional training venues and not sit at home playing. It is concrete that Lockheed means it to be training only. Keep your FSX/FS9 sims. Be happy with what you got.
    1. Screwbottle's Avatar
      Screwbottle -
      me1900, that maybe so, as MS also had a professional option to FSX, of which Prepar3d is built on, but they are making it available for sit at home players, and are supplying tools, along with third parties to port FSX materal across. Many have even released FSX/Prepar3d compatible add-ons.

      Without raising the debate of FSX over X-Plane, I have moved on, FS2004/FSX code is old and will never be fixed in FSX. Yes add-ons are doing their best to squeeze the last out of FSX, but systems and technology are moving on, 64bit is a reality, and the only SIM out there current and up to date is X-Plane 10, and as ground swell increases, add-on specialists move over to it, it will excel way beyond what we could ever imagine in MS products. So for me personally the best simulator is X-Plane 10 in the sit-at-home use environment.
    1. JSkorna's Avatar
      JSkorna -
      Quote Originally Posted by me1900 View Post
      Everyone of us is missing the point.
      Some of us knew the point a long time ago.
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Quote Originally Posted by Screwbottle View Post
      me1900, that maybe so, as MS also had a professional option to FSX, of which Prepar3d is built on, but they are making it available for sit at home players, and are supplying tools, along with third parties to port FSX materal across. Many have even released FSX/Prepar3d compatible add-ons.

      Without raising the debate of FSX over X-Plane, I have moved on, FS2004/FSX code is old and will never be fixed in FSX. Yes add-ons are doing their best to squeeze the last out of FSX, but systems and technology are moving on, 64bit is a reality, and the only SIM out there current and up to date is X-Plane 10, and as ground swell increases, add-on specialists move over to it, it will excel way beyond what we could ever imagine in MS products. So for me personally the best simulator is X-Plane 10 in the sit-at-home use environment.

      If X-Plane can get itself pointed in the right direction it should do well, but, and it's a bit but; the problem with X-Plane (in some areas) is that its a constantly moving platform. As such, it gets broken as many times as it gets fixed.

      For developers brave enough to venture into the X-Plane world it's a big gamble and one which only a few have made so far.

      Don't get me wrong; I'm a big X-Plane fan (written reviews at flightsim.com) but considering that FSX is only 32bit code; you only have to look at what's been done to FSX in its lifetime to see it transformed into a completely different sim.

      Yes, X-Plane is 64bit, but at the moment, what's it doing with that capability? Where are the numerous add-ons? They are there, but they aren't exactly flowing. Plus...when I see in the X-Plane forums that X-Plane users are required to have 1GB video cards to run some add-ons which look sub Orbx; then I begin to think that something is indeed wrong. How does this attract new users by having such high end requirements?

      FSX is a Hornby train set; it may be old, but it sure does have a lot of wonderful add-ons to make a very unique world; a world tailored to the individual.

      Dom
    1. deltaleader's Avatar
      deltaleader -
      Quote Originally Posted by me1900 View Post
      Everyone of us is missing the point. This company is developing Prepar3d for professional training venues and not sit at home playing. It is concrete that Lockheed means it to be training only. Keep your FSX/FS9 sims. Be happy with what you got.
      Hey! I take my Flight Simming very seriously...if everyone was to just be happy and accept what they got, then we wouldn't see the evolution of flight sim like we have over the years because everyone would be satisfied with 8bit graphics and playing with their keyboards...
    1. JSkorna's Avatar
      JSkorna -
      Quote Originally Posted by deltaleader View Post
      Hey! I take my Flight Simming very seriously...if everyone was to just be happy and accept what they got, then we wouldn't see the evolution of flight sim like we have over the years because everyone would be satisfied with 8bit graphics and playing with their keyboards...
      What does that have to do with the licensing agreement between LM and MS?
    1. nupers's Avatar
      nupers -
      Quote Originally Posted by clutchcargo View Post
      Great news! FSnext will be in beta this summer.

      When I googled the FS next, it mentioned nothing about Flight Sim at all, just a social site. Do you have a specific link to this info?