J.A.R.E Airline Training Partnership (JARE ATP) have operated in the aviation sector for more than 30 years. Providers and practitioners of realistic work environments, training and support to airlines, airports, colleges, universities and schools, JARE ATP are respected and trusted worldwide. Central to their solution offering is a mock aircraft cabin for aviation training. Static assemblies, the mock cabins are typically used by airlines, airports and education providers to train cabin crew and air marshals. On occasion, they have even been used as film props.
JARE ATP approached Ourgate Productions, a Technical Solutions for Industry Company, to create an interactive system that operates equipment within the interior of a mock aircraft. The aim was to provide a broad range of aviation activities using genuine aviation equipment and realistic sound effects to present an overall experience as close to real-life as possible.
Critical elements included:
Flight Attendant Panel (FAP)
Situated within flight attendant areas forward and aft of the cabin, HMI touch screen devices replicate Flight Attendant Panels to control all functions within the cabin. It is also essential that instructors can replicate the control of the FAP via a portable Wi-Fi handheld device.
Intercom / PA
Intercom handsets situated alongside the FAPs alert cabin crew with an audible chime and can also be used to make public address (PA) announcements or for private communication between cabin crew located in separate flight attendant areas.
Passenger Service Units
Passenger service units, above each seat row, feature three reading lights, a cabin crew call button, a seat belt indicator, and a "no smoking" indicator. The operation of these is accompanied by alert chimes, for example when a call button is pressed or the seat belt indicator is illuminated. Two emergency exit signs operate in a similar fashion.
The main cabin light, strip lighting and emergency pathway marker can all be controlled via the FAP. The strip lighting system has the capacity for both simple on/off settings and dimming from a level of 100% to 20%.
A central audio system provides background music, Sound Effects (SFX) and the aforementioned chime generator and PA system.
An optional feature, again controlled via the central FAP, is a smoker that fills the cabin to simulate emergency scenarios. This feature would typically be coupled with an extraction system, featuring a high-power extract AHU with two settings: Ventilation Mode or Fast Extract.
With extensive experience developing custom microprocessor solutions based on the Arduino platform Ourgate Productions initially considered a custom microprocessor system. A key benefit would have been a completely individual custom Human-Machine Interface (HMI) skin. The major drawback would have been that a custom microprocessor system is typically expensive to develop. Furthermore, it was simply not viable due to the volume of mock cabins built each year and the short timeframe to deliver the initial project.
A Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) combined with two HMIs designed and manufactured by building control supplier Resource Data Management (RDM) presented a cost-effective solution for the project. For this project, an Intuitive TDB PLC controller with a custom software solution provided a central point for all basic switching.
Two TouchXL devices were installed in the forward and aft cabins and configured with a FAP-style layout. The 10” touchscreen displays increase the flexibility of the system, allowing switching functions to be performed at either of these locations.
The TDB platform from RDM is a user-friendly programming tool featuring an extensive library of functional blocks, allowing for the creation of control algorithms as simple or sophisticated as the application requires.
Using a Universal (Analogue) output on the Intuitive TDB controller, a custom-designed strip dimmer board allowed the strip lights to dim without causing interference on the audio side.
Ourgate Productions developed a custom microprocessor containing three MP3 UART modules: one for the music, one for the SFX, and one for the chimes. The custom microprocessor was interfaced to the Intuitive TDB controller so that the SFX and music could be controlled from the Touch XL HMI (FAP).
The various chimes were programmed to sound automatically as required. To develop the PA/Intercom system, the stock electronics were removed from a proprietary handset, and custom electronics were installed to improve the clarity. The Intuitive TDB controller was then programmed to carry out the switching between the intercom and PA.
Using a single button on each handset, the operator could push once for an intercom call and session, or hold for three seconds whereas that handset would then go live for a PA to passengers. Following the announcement, a single press of the button cancels the PA call and places the handset back into standby mode.
The custom audio interface allows the sound levels to be adjusted and the sound is then distributed through the cabin via a mixer, amplifier, and four speakers. The system was easy to install over two days and works extremely well. With over a dozen such systems installed around the UK, the RDM components have operated without issue. A five-year warranty, included on all RDM products, highlights the trust RDM has in the reliability and durability of its products.
Utilising RDM’s TDB programming, this type of complex switching is not only possible, but also extremely easy and fast to set up. The TDB Desktop Editor is free to download, and new features such as a Lua Code Block reinforce its status as a powerful, versatile programming tool to suit Building Management System applications of all varieties.
Whilst not designed for energy reduction, the project utilises components removed from end-of-life aircraft. Windows, seats, galley, toilet cube, overhead lockers, and passenger overhead service units (PSU) are reclaimed from decommissioned (EOL Scrapped) Jet aircraft. These components cannot be recycled in such a way as the alloy from the airframe. Utilising them in these mock aircraft projects has almost definitely prevented them from going to ground-fill sites.
Ourgate Productions consider their role in the marketplace to be a Technical Solutions for Industry Company. Finding affordable technical solutions for companies using skills and experience in electronics, microprocessor hardware, software, electrical, inverter drives, electromechanical. specialists in refrigeration & heat pumps, they provide a full service, including design, build, install, commission and maintenance.
Established in 2014 proprietor Jules Freeman has developed a broad depth of knowledge, pulling from experience in electronic & electromechanical design gained over 47 years in the technical sector – 20 years of which he worked as a Senior Technical Manager for a refrigeration company
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