Introducing the Social Flight Sim

(Crossposted from http://www.ewanspence.com/blog)

In fact a bunch of developers are building a flight simulator to bring along that they intend to fly around the world in Google Earth, making all their data available as they go. You’ll have everything you’d get from a real plane, right there inside Ally Pally!
Matthew Cashmore, Netmag

Yep, right there, in the halls of Alexandra Palace, we’ll start constructing our aircraft (a mix of Grob 103 and A4 Skyhawk styling), putting together flight controls and avionics, with the latest web 2.0 principles and 1930’s rear screen projection special effects. Designed for twin seat operations with a pilot up front and a Navigator/Wirleess (Internet) Operator in the back seat, if all goes well construction should be finished by noon on Saturday, with flight testing over the next hour.

And as the 24 hack-a-thon starts, the first pair of flyers will take to the sky at 1pm, from London Stanstead, overfly Alexandra Palace (how meta!), head over to Dover and through Europe on the first leg of a 24 hour flight around the world. With frequent planned stops along the route to land and change over the crew (think Le Man driver changes), constant twittering and blogging from the cockpit, and a live webcam feed mixing in Google Earth views, pilot and navigator cams, and other fun stuff, there should be a lot of content going out.

But it’s also social.

By that I mean we’re providing information about the flight as we fly via a Web API that any developer can call on during the day for the live position or historical flight path, and build their own hacks from that. I’d really love to see a number of hacks around the Flight Sim, perhaps a “Simulated Carbon Calculator,” an automatic “Lonely Planet Guide to What You’re Flying Over,” or tie in with a wealth of data already geo-tagged and available on the web. Just amble over to us at the event and we’ll let you know how to access the API (or we’ll point you at Alistair, who’s writing it as you read this…)

Of course the Social Flight Simulator is not just for coders. With a round the world flight, there’s a lot of bum-in-seat time to share out, so we’re on the lookout for people who’d like to do some piloting or navigating of the aircraft through the journey – training will be given. It’s struck me there are always people who come to Mashed (and similar Hackday events) just to find cool things to do, soak up the atmosphere, and maybe do a few little things. Hopefully the appeal of flying round the world, and talking to the audience watching the flight on the internet, is something that’s cool.

Feel free to comment here, otherwise see you all at Ally Pally on Saturday – and if you’re not at the event but want to watch, then https://socialflightsim.wordpress.com/ is the place to be.


Proposed Floor Plan