By using publicly available information, software, and some ingenuity, [Information Zulu] has created a live simulation of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for your simulated plane spotting pleasure. Aircraft positional data is gained through an ADSB receiver and piped into a the flight simulator software with a Traffic Injection Addon, and the simulator itself is used to properly place aircraft, set the weather, and even the correct aircraft types and liveries. Setting off the illusion of a real plane spotting adventure is the live Air Traffic Control radio chatter!
We love the creativity that went into not just making all of the software available, but in combining it into a cohesive product that can be viewed 24/7 on YouTube that, if you squint just right, could be mistaken for a view of the real thing.
If you’re not familiar with ADSB and how it’s used to track aircraft in such a way that anybody can receive it with the right equipment, check out this beginner’s course on ADSB from a few years back!
If you’re going to do it yourself, you might as well outdo yourself. That seems to be the thinking behind this scratch-built CNC mill, and it’s only just getting started.
According to [Kris Temmerman], the build will cost about $10,000 by the time he’s done. So it’s not cheap, and a personal CNC from Tormach can be had for less, but that’s missing the point entirely. [Kris] built most of the structural elements for the vertical mill from cheap, readily available steel tubing, of the kind used for support columns in commercial buildings. Mounted to those are thick, precision-ground steel plates, which eat up a fair fraction of the budget. Those in turn hold 35 mm linear bearings and ball screws for the three axes, each powered by a beefy servo. The spindle is a BT30 with a power drawbar, belt-driven by an external motor that [Kris] doesn’t share the specs on, but judging from the way it flings chips during the test cut in the video below, we’d say it’s pretty powerful.
There’s still plenty to do, not least of which is stiffening the column; perhaps filling it with epoxy granite would do the trick? But it sure looks like [Kris] is building a winner here, and if he keeps the level of craftsmanship up going forward, he’ll have a top-quality machine on his hands.
In a 1999 movie (Pushing Tin), a flight controller is a passenger on a plane and tells the flight attendant that he needs to speak to the person controlling the plane. The flight attendant tells him the pilot is very busy to which the controller responds, “…you really think the pilot is controlling this plane? That would really scare me.” We wonder what that fictional character would think flying into Loveland Colorado. Their Colorado Remote Tower Project. While there’s still a human flight controller, they aren’t physically located at the airport and rely on remote cameras and radar so the controller can be located elsewhere.
The subject airport is the Northern Colorado Regional Airport and is the state’s busiest airport that has no tower. While the concept — generically known as Remote and Virtual Tower or RVT — dates back to 2002, its adoption is only now starting to pick up steam. An airport in Sweden was the first to go live for normal use in April of 2015, but the Colorado installation is the first approved in the United States. If the official site is a little too dry for you, there’s a CBS report with a video that gives you a quick overview of what’s happening. Or dive in with the demonstration video you can see below.