Ok… Everybody’s interested in what I am doing for my airplane. As a lot of you know (or might have heard) I am doing some interesting stuff for my RV8A Cockpit. Yep… I’m going to be running Windows in my plane. A lot of people are going to immediatly say “What??? Are you crazy???” To which, I’ll answer… no… I know what I am doing. I know how to write reliable software and I know how to run it reliably on my computer. You see, what most people don’t get is that computers fail because of a very few number of problems. Most of those problems are either due to failing hardware or software that is conflicting with other software. In my design, I have a very basic OS… it’s a lightened version of XP. And all my software is basic C#… no fancy Win32 Calls… no fancy 3rd party stuff and no off the shelf software. It’s all basic and will be tested under extreme circumstances. However, I’m not an idiot… and I’m not going to put my life on the line with just one computer. My design has 3 independant computers… which vote on what to display. They even have redundant power. Cool, huh? You can see pictures of an early prototype on my website… http://www.wjsteele.com/cockpit.htm. This will give you an idea of what I’m doing.
Something else that is interesting, is how much interest I’ve recived in this project from aircraft manufactures and even gov’t agencies (like NASA.) I’ve come to understand a lot about what makes planes fly… what makes the FAA tick, and how much gouging is being done to the flying public. The system that I am developing will cost me under $4000 total… and you couldn’t buy one off the shelf for under $25000. Oh, sure, there are cheap little displays out there, but they won’t do everything that mine does. Mine is currently rendering 3d terrain maps… warning about obstacles (like towers, hills, etc.) Contains the entire USGS Topo map for the US. Contains the entire US map of airports, frequencies, charts, etc. All of this… under $4000… actually, I’ve only invested $750 so far… but I’m working on the rest. 😉
The best is yet to come. Stay tuned.