Flight simulator / realistic airplane animation & rigging

I am researching ways to realistically animate a dogfight scene. Some approaches I am considering:

  • Use a flight simulator to choreograph the scene, then export the position/orientation/etc data somehow and import it into Blender, tweaking the animation as necessary
  • Build a rudimentary flight simulator in Blender—it doesn’t have to be realistic enough for training, as long as it (1) reduces the number of parameters that need to be animated, (2) allows somewhat intuitive choreography, and (3) prevents obviously unrealistic behavior.
  • Use a flight simulator to help choreograph the scene, then rig and animate a model in Blender.

I would imagine that, as long as the data export/import is not too difficult to get working, piggybacking on a quality flight simulator as a data source would yield the best results with the least effort.

Any suggestions?

When you consider a flight sim and trying to get data out, I highly recommend to take a look at X Plane and its UDP output possibilities.

I haven’t used the latest one (xplane 11) yet, but in the last one there was a Menu to tickmark the values from the sim you wanted to See or Export.

There will be some scripting necessary, but I gues you will find good stuff in the x plane Community.

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FlightGear may also cover what you’re interested in if looking for an open source solution.

http://wiki.flightgear.org/Fgtape

From that you should be able to get the data of a simulated flight, but it’ll still take some scripting work in Blender to parse the data and produce an animation. (I don’t know enough about scripting myself - so don’t ask about specifics, but I know it should be possible.)