Below are various artifacts that have been produced related to flight accident presentation. Many are based on older technologies and techniques, but might be of interest in understanding the progression of approaches used to present flight accidents.

Analysis using Flight Simulators

Commercial off-the-shelf flight simulators like MS Flight Simulator and X-Plane potentially have a lot of value in flight accident data analysis. The underlying flight models have become very accurate and realistic. However, these programs are fundamentally game engines and there are number of caveats when using them for realistic flight accident analysis and portrayal. X-Plane partially supports an SDK for reading from and writing to the flight model. MS Flight Simulator did not have a supported API for interacting with the flight models, but it was possible to some extent using the low level FSUIPC library.

3D Animation Collage

Scene Visualization using Flight Simulators

MS Flight Simulator and X-Plane also have complete worlds, including accurate airports and navaids. However, these simulators are designed with expectation that most of the time will be spent in the air. By nature, most flight accidents involve events that happen nearer to the ground where these simulators aren't as accurate or detailed.

The short below video starts with a real photograph showing runway 36 at Weaverville Airport (O54). It then morphs to show the same view from within MS Flight Simulator 2004.

The next two videos attempt to recreate an accident sequence at the same airport. The aircraft took off in the wrong direction and was overloaded for the conditions. Trees at the end of the runway were a factor in the accident, and had to be inserted in to the simulator environment.

VRML Scenes

This 3D elevation view is Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) scene that can navigated interactively when loaded into a VRML player program. The scene contains accurate elevation data for the El Yunque USGS quadrilateral and uses the corresponding DRG map image as a texture overlay. The aircraft crashed just west of the road seen near the last visible RADAR return.

Download VRML Files (~1MB, .ZIP Archive)

The VRML scene .zip archive contains two files; the ".wrl" scene file, and the texture image. Both files must be in the same directory when the scene is loaded. To view the VRML scene, a VRML 2.0 player program is needed. A list of VRML player programs is available here:

Radar Data Analysis

Radar data must be filtered and smoothed before it can be used for realistic accident analysis.

Radar Smoothing Graph