ROTC students' flight simulator opens opportunity for future Buckeye aviators

Posted: March 22, 2023
A group of ROTC students stand alongside their flight simluator capstone project
ROTC group members (L to R): John Sampson, Nolan Buck, Joe Pallante, Andrew Vance and Logan Florence (Anurag Rathore not pictured)

A group of Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) students at The Ohio State University created a realistic flight simulator that includes a virtual reality headset and chair, giving users a flight experience that mimics the real thing.

Students enrolled in the Center for Aviation Studies (CAS) program must participate in the capstone group project during their last semester in order to graduate. The goal is to tackle different stimulating projects for various organizations in hopes to benefit students in the future.

The ROTC group members include Midshipmen: Nolan Buck, Logan Florence, Joe Pallante and Andrew Vance, all aviation engineering majors; Civilian: John Sampson, and Air Force Cadet: Anurag Rathore, both air transportation majors. All members are on track to becoming United States Navy pilots

The simulator itself is made up of a computer screen, virtual reality goggles, a motion responsive chair, Microsoft Flight Simulator and a throttle that allows interaction with the cockpit. This simulator helps students practice digital combat, basic flight experience such as approaches and landings, and instructor-created challenges.

“We were responsible for setting it up and making sure that it was operational,” said Vance. “We’re currently working on making improvements for it to extend its longevity and improve its capabilities."

There is still an opportunity for this project to continue even more. The group has drafted a mock page on Carmen, the platform Buckeyes use to access all class content, in which students who use the simulation can track and record their accomplishments compared with their peers.

Not only is the group creating a useful and operational simulation for others, but they are gaining experience in working as a team and professionally executing a project for an organization.

Sampson noted that the main goal of the project was “to create something useful for the people who come after us.”

Capstone Project Instructor Greg Kociba noted how this group's work was beyond his expectations. He described them as “extremely polished and well put together.” He also noted how well they worked collaboratively and dedicated their time.

This was Kociba’s first semester running the CAS capstone project and it is safe to say that the bar has been set high for future projects to come.

"They really started it from the ground up. This team added real structure to using the simulator for prospective military pilots. They created a forum with various resources to help students determine if military aviation is suitable for them,” he said.

The ingenuity and skill of these group members combined will lead to opportunities for future students to gain high-tech experience that sets them up for success in their professional careers.

by Josie DeCaro, Center for Aviation Studies professional writing intern

Category: Students