I built go-karts as a kid, and a moon rocket that, on launch, caught fire and burned in the Jamaica, New York driveway of my childhood home. (When Dad got home from a hard day of bolting wings onto Navy jets out at Grumman Aerospace, he was not amused by the burn stains my little imitation of Saturn-V had left in the driveway, but I digress). Anyway, a group of San Francisco Bay area high school students have used the cockpit of an old piper Cherokee, a pile of computer hardware, a bunch of LCD screens and some fierce programming skills to build a simulator of, of all things, a Battlestar Galactica Viper of the 1970s-era TV show “Battlestar Galactica.”
The basic idea is, they mounted the cockpit section of a small plane, a Piper PA-28 Cherokee, to a platform that can rotate 360° across two axes. They added flight controls driving motors that spin the cockpit, along with LCD screens to simulate what you would see from a Viper’s cockpit (if a Viper existed). This has got to be one of the geekiest things ever constructed in the history of man, and yes, I’m envious- wish I’d had this in my driveway at age 15. Check it out on mashable at http://mashable.com/2012/03/22/battlestar-galactica-viper-simulator/.