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#1 2005-11-18 02:09:28

John Hagensieker

Graphical Display of Trig Functions.


I'll apologize first for not being a math junkie however I test, and certify aircraft visual landing aids.  The math is simple triangle math and not the problem.  The problem is that once I work my glide slope numbers with elevations I have to make a depiction or drawing of the visual landing aid and it's slope.

Is there any kind of software that will allow me to input my equations and create a visual display?

For instance.....To test a glide slope beam a visual landing aid is placed 122.5' from the runway center and 750' from the end of the runway.  The aid projects a 3 degree beam.  We test the beam at 150'

so basically the formula is 1800" x tan (3) + 52" - (H2-H3)

1800*tan(3) gives me the beam height and 52" is how high the beam is from the ground.  H2-H3 is the difference in elevation between where you check the beam and where the visual landing aid is setting.

The math is easy money...........Drawing it for a technical report is not.  I'd love to input the equations and graphically display the results.  Pipe Dream?


John E. Hagensieker

#2 2005-11-18 08:49:04

Registered: 2005-07-24
Posts: 445

Re: Graphical Display of Trig Functions.


John Hagensieker wrote:

Is there any kind of software that will allow me to input my equations and create a visual display?

Math software? For me, these are the best options:

*** Texas Instruments' Derive ***
Currently at version 6, its very intuitive and has a command-line style. Can graph *simple* 2D and 3D equations on the fly but more complex problems can be hard to input. Great for high schools students.
It handles a more advanced math too, like number theory, non-trivial integration, matrix algebra, graph theory.
Can be expanded with "modules" (you can add your own functions and algorithms).

Belive me, it's so easy to use that I replaced my Windows calculator by this program

*** Maplesoft's Maple ***
I think it's currently in version 10, but I don't know much about this one. The symbolic manipulation is very easy and has a symbol recognition feature. Creates amazing interactive reports and sheets.
Try a demo and see if it serves your needs.

*** Matlab ***
This one is a must have if you work with science/research/I&D in general - allows integration with popular hardware and other products. You can develop a mathematical model for any problem and simulate it. From GUI's to repetitive calculations, gathering data, statistics... everything can be programmed and simulated. But mastering this software takes a while.

*** Wolfram's Mathematica      (/*bows*/) ***
This one I personnaly recommend if you have:
- the money to buy it *:)*
- the time to master it.
You can do, basically, everything - primitives, derivative, matrices, graphic representations, create and design math presentations (called "notebooks"),  *-algebras, graphs, strings, programming, number theory, combinatorics, numerical computation, diferential equations, 2d-3d graphs of anything - from random data to complex zeta functions, dynamical systems, differential geometry - you name it.
..Every day you find a new command or feature. It's just amazing.

But in the beginning it can be REALLY hard to interact with the program. So be prepared if you are choosing this one.

Here are the websites if you want to know more: … tures.html

Good Luck!


#3 2005-11-18 09:42:34

Registered: 2005-01-21
Posts: 7,685

Re: Graphical Display of Trig Functions.

Really great info for everyone ... thanks kylekatarn.

John, could you show us what your drawing has to look like when completed? (If you are a Member you can upload images, as a Guest you link to an image elsewhere on the net using the img tag)

"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman


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