[hide][top]Page under construction
[hide][top]So you want to be an aircraft designer?
Or, Getting Started
is often seen as a "dark art" by much of the Flight Simulator community. It needn't be, and in this article I'm going to show you how to get started in this new world. If you are reading this, you've probably downloaded new aircraft from FlightSim.Com, UKMIL, or one of the other flightsim sites. You might have peeked into the aircraft folders to see what it looked like. You might even have made modifications to the textures(repainting) to create your own customised aircraft.
We're going to go one step further, and create our own aircraft from scratch. This process involves many individual steps that go together to make a complete aircraft. So, I hear you cry, what do
you do to create an aircraft? These are the rough steps you'd take:
- Research - collecting blueprints, photos, drawings, sounds, videos of your aircraft.
- Visual model - creating the 'shape' of the aircraft.
- Textures - how this model is painted.
- Panel - The cockpit and instruments of the plane*.
- Sounds - Well, you don't want it to be a silent movie, do you?
- Putting it all together - pulling all the files together, and configuring it to work.
- Throttle up and fly!
* Note - this does not include the virtual cockpit - more on this later.
This is one of the key parts of creating your aircraft. If you don't have enough good quality reference materiel, you won't be able to fully model a realistic aircraft. You'll need photos from every angle and drawings at a bare minimum. If you can get hold of manufactures blueprints, videos, recordings of the engine noise, details of the flight dynamics, interviews of people who have flown it, so much the better. Collect all this together in one folder.
The most important thing at the moment is to have a clear 3-view drawing of your plane. That is, it has a side elevation, a top view, and front or back view. This is what you will model the aircraft with.
: Good drawings will have the top and bottom views combined into one, with one side of it being the top, the other being the bottom. Identify if your drawings do this, and take note ? having both is very useful.
PHOTO of J-29 3-view.
Sites you can use for research:
excellent site offering 3-view drawings of virtually anything.
the ubiquitous Wikipedia will probably have a page on your aircraft. Don't rely on it though, get other sources too.
has more detailed info than some other sites, worth checking.
Don't forget books! The internet is not the be-all and end-all of research. If you can visit an example of your aircraft in your area, perhaps at a museum or elseware, arrange a visit so you can get up close with your camera, and maybe your tape measure.
For he purposes of this and following documents we are going to construct a SAAB J-29 Tunnan. This rather portly aircraft was quite agile, and was a stalwart of the post-war Swedish air force.
[hide][top]Ok, so I've done my homework...
Great! You might want to review the wiki page about tools to make sure you are ready.
So, gather your research, your tools, and your wits - we'll see you in the workshop...