• Interview With Michael De Feyter

    Interview With Michael De Feyter

    Conducted by FlightSim.Com Staff

    Michael, how did the iFMS project come about?

    About 15 years ago now, when I was still living in Belgium (I live in Australia now), I had my own company and was involved in a project with DHL.

    At the time DHL's central European hub was located in Brussels, and they operated Boeing 757-200's out of Brussels international airport.

    The purpose of the project was to build a Boeing 757 simulator for procedure training (not actual flight training of course).

       

    This would save them a lot of money as they normally had to hire a fully functional Level-D simulator from CAE, to perform training that actually does not focus on the "flying" but more on running through checklists (in emergency procedures, for example). At the time, the sim at CAE cost 4000 euros for a two hour session, this is a lot of money to spend especially when you're not using the sim for actual flight training.

    We had a set-up of seven touch screens - three in front of the pilots on which to project the main instrument panel, two in the middle to project the pedestal console and two above the pilots to project the overhead panel. The outside view was just projected on a wall in front of the panel touch screens with a data projector. To model the outside world we just connected our set-up to MS Flight Simulator and used their model.

    Most of the cockpit could be modelled on the touch screens using a program called Quest3D, however, complex systems like the FMC (flight management computer), HSI (horizontal situation indicator) and ADI (attitude direction indicator) could not. This is where I got involved.

    At the time I was developing software for the flight simulation community (in my spare time) and was quite well known in the community, so this is how DHL found me.

    I was initially asked to write the interface between Quest3D and MS Flight Simulator but later on they also engaged me to develop the FMC, HSI, ADI screens and the MCP module (autopilot). I built these in C++.

    Unfortunately the project was never completed for various reasons. A little later I moved to Australia and completely lost contact with the people at DHL.

    I still had all the software I developed for them but was never able to fully implement it and integrate it with the Quest3D simulator model.

    The software was close to completion though and very accurate in simulating the real thing.

    The idea came to me a bit later to port the software to my windows mobile PocketPC. I had just gotten my private pilot's license at the time so I had lost a bit of interest in flight simming back then. Hence I focused on building the software for use in real-world flying, so I would be able to use the power of a Boeing style flight computer in the small airplanes I fly and navigate like the commercial airliners do.

    It took me about two years (in my spare time) to complete the software and get it running on my PocketPC, however, in the meantime smart phones were on the rise and Windows PocketPC's had completely disappeared off the market so again I was left with a software package I could not sell.

    I did fly quite often with the app myself though, as you can see from these photographs.

       

       

    Anyway, I soon bought myself an iPhone and an iPad, and it did not take long for me to decide to port my software to iOS.


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