You might be envisioning NASA’s mission control in Houston, and you wouldn’t be far off. Yes, that is an example of a control room. So is this CNET.com photo–it is the control room at the US Air Force Test Pilot School.
The control room is a place where a team of engineers and other flight test experts can monitor data that is sent from the aircraft via telemetry. It includes data that the pilot cannot see on any of his instruments, as well as a view through the HUD (center screen in photo) that the pilot does see.
Engineers in the control room communicate with the pilot to ensure that the proper data is collected and maneuvers do not compromise the safety of the flight.
In larger aircraft like the C-17, the control room is in the cargo compartment. There engineers can tap directly into the aircraft computer systems, avionics, etc., to monitor the required data.
Don’t just imagine your dreams–explore them, because we need you. The aerospace industry needs innovators. The flight test community is looking for the next Neil Armstrong, and that’s what this column is about, helping you take that next small step.
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