Poco-Intro: George Nelson

This is the kind of plane I usually fly, a Cessna 172

Hello everyone, I’m George. I am a big fan of both mechatronics and aviation. I’ll be posting about both of those here.

The 172 has been around since 1956, and while there have been many improvements, the basic airframe has changed very little. The engine has gotten bigger, more powerful, and more reliable, but its wing design and four-seat cockpit configuration are very similar to the original design. A pilot that could fly the 1956 version would not be lost in a more recent model; it is still a very popular airplane. The reason I’m bringing this up is that until a few years ago, cockpits used to be filled with round dials and elaborate instruments. Now, the cockpit has two LCD screens that give more information to the pilot in a much more efficient way.

Modern Instrument Panel (left) and Steam Gauge Instrument Panel (right)

These screens have to take data from extremely accurate instruments scattered around the plane, check them for accuracy, and display the data to the pilot in a meaningful way.

Not your father’s compass

This is what mechatronics is all about: using cutting edge electronics and engineering to transform an otherwise stagnant technology. Integrating super precise instruments with the physical airframe, creating a clean circuit, and writing intuitive software that a pilot can use, even in emergencies. Mechatronics really brings a bunch of technologies that used to be separate and integrates them all into one awesome package. I’m really excited about mechatronics, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you.

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