Microsoft Flight Simulator: Get flight data and send it to Arduino


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In the article “Microsoft Flight Simulator: Build your own controller based on the Arduino Micro”, we have described how you can use an Arduino to create additional operating hardware for the 2020 flight simulator from Microsoft, along with a few ingredients. There are hardly any limits to the hobby pilot’s imagination for his own simulator cockpit. However, what is still missing for the hobby pilot’s happiness are interactive control elements, which also show whether, for example, the landing gear has been retracted or what the current altitude is.

Eliciting the information about it from the flight simulator is not as easy as simply sending it operating commands. This requires its own program that receives the desired data from the simulation and either processes it itself or forwards it, for example to an Arduino. The necessary software can be programmed in a few minutes even without prior knowledge. As an example, we will show step by step how to let the built-in LED of an Arduino indicate whether the landing gear is retracted or extended. Our second example is hardly more demanding: the display of the current flight altitude on a text display on the Arduino.

Flight Simulator 2020

After years of abstinence, Microsoft has released a new flight simulator. The 2020 edition is graphically enormously impressive, but the game also impresses simulation fans with its old virtues.

Both examples are only intended to illustrate the procedure. If your Arduino LED shows the state of the landing gear, you can also create and program your own controls, such as a landing gear lever with corresponding signal lights for the two possible states.

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