Exciting start to 2020!

The year has gotten off to a fantastic start!

We have had significant interest in the project and 9 Build Licences have been issued to date. Feedback from the purchasers has been overwhelmingly positive. The questions we receive are extremely valuable in refining the product and enhancing the ease of build.

Expansion of service

As a result of demand we will be making available kits for the aluminium and mild steel laser cut, engraved, profiled and machined components. This in addition to the plastic thermo moulded components and canopy currently available. Pricing will be published soon.

Relocation to Ireland

We can also announce that we are relocating to Ireland and should be ready to serve our customers from there from July onward. This naturally has tremendous benefits to our clients in the UK and EU where providing wood routed kits in addition to the above also becomes viable. Shipping of complete simulator builds and servicing of those units now becomes easy. The distance to North America is also significantly reduced. We are working with an Ohio based engineering and machine shop, who is also a build license holder, to set up a supply service for the Americas.

Completion of cabling on Prototype

The period since we issued the Build Licence and Plan set in November of last year has been pretty busy, with little time to sit and update the blog. Just catching our breaths now to reflect on what we’ve done. Because of the pressure to complete the prototype for exhibition at Aero SA in July of last year, a decision was made to complete the build without the cabling and to retrofit this after the show. That then had to wait while the Build Manual was being completed. So in December we pulled the controls apart again and did the cabling up.

The cabling process was interesting and very satisfying. It curiously brought the cockpit to life. Almost like laying the veins in place and changing it from a mere object to something with soul.. I wasn’t the only one that felt like this, receiving the same comment from others.

Getting into the heart of the matter – The Controllers!

This month we expanded the design to include an improved Instrument Shelf and have started doing the wiring from the connector blocks up to the controllers.

There are two sets of controllers, one for DCS World using DCS-BIOS and the other for X-Plane 11 using VatSim. Both systems share a joystick controller. I am testing a Teensy++2 for this task before going to a Leo Bodnar card. The potential advantage of the latter is that it is said to have built in signal filtering and it has individual connectors for earth and 5V. We will let you know how that pans out.

The joystick function is used for the primary flight axis. For these the response time for the Arduino’s would be insufficient. Hence the shared functionality. We couple it in this case to the elevator, rudder, aileron and wheel brakes. The Arduino’s are fine for all the other functions as their sensitivity is not critical.

For X-Plane 11 we use one Arduino Mega, two 16 channel multiplexer cards and the shared joystick card, controlled by SimVim. There are many other controller programs out there, and SimVim is for non-commercial use only. But you can use programs such as Air Manager commercially.

Starting connections to the 16 Channel Multiplexer

DCS-BIOS uses two Arduino Mega’s in conjunction with the joystick card.

For IL2 use you would only need the Leo Bodnar Joystick card as you are setting up the simulator as a giant joystick interface.

We cannot wait to finish this phase and start flying!