The Microsoft Flight Simulator X is a popular (though not open source) program used by many aeronautical enthusiasts and gamers. (There’s even a free trial version.) One aspect of the simulator is to allow the user to enter an autopilot mode, whereby various modes can be controlled using a 3D point-and-click interface. Practical use of this feature can be tedious, so the crew at Area51staff decided to design an Arduino-based workaround.
“This easily replicable piece of hardware consists of a Atmel microcontroller which drives a 2×16 LCD display, a buzzer, one encoder and some buttons. The firmware allows the user, by means of a simple text-driven user interface, to visualize and set all the most common autopilot parameters, such as Altitude, Speed, Engagement, Track, Heading, Direction, and so on. Audible feedback is provided through a buzzer to indicate disengagement.
The firmware is written in C and communicates to the simulator through the Arduino′s built-in USB-to-serial interface.”
The project also includes a driver written in C#, allowing the device to communicate with the FSX program.
The firmware is an Arduino sketch which compiles and loads to the board using the standard IDE. If you get a compile error complaining about Bounce, you can find the library here.
For project schematic and code links, visit Area51staff.