Last Post 2020… and Reveille for 2021!

2020 – Last Post

Our motto: “Making Historical Flight Accessible” is underlying to the tagline in our website address: “We shall remember them”. Through our work we wish to not only share the beauty and joy of flight, but importantly, pay tribute to the millions who took up arms to defend us from the dark insanity that was sweeping the world . It is our mission to ingrain that knowledge in generations to come, so that we may never allow the forces of tyranny to sow their dark seeds again.

The year of 2020 has been a tough and sad one, with many lives and livelihoods lost.

This Last Post is dedicated to all of them. (This tribute, recorded at the Menin gate, Ypres, is performed there daily by a team of local buglers.)

 

The year has fortunately brought us many blessings and high points too.

  • We managed to sell 24 Build Licenses for the full HFS Spitfire Mk.IX Cockpit and have been thrilled to see a number of these builds rapidly taking shape.
  • We managed to move our business to Ireland in spite of the difficulties imposed by travel restrictions and lockdowns.
  • We have obtained a wonderfully atmospheric building in which to set up base and build on what we have started by sharing the wonderful experience of flight and keeping history alive.
  • We have made many new friends who share our interests and have been extremely supportive and encouraging of our efforts.

For this we are very grateful.

The world may never be the same again, but we enter 2021 with great expectation and excitement. There are many things happening which promise to make it a great year. So while this is our Last Post for 2020, it is also our Reveille for 2021!

2021 – a year full of promise!

VR for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

There are some fantastic developments in the world of flight simulation. Not least is the coming of Virtual Reality in MSFS. I am waiting with great excitement for the download to become available in the next hour or so while I write this. Not only that, FlyingIron Simulations will also be porting our jointly developed Spitfire Mk.IX to the platform. I can tell you from flying their beta that nothing will beat cloud surfing in MSFS with the HFS Spit in VR!

G-Force Seat Update

The HFS G-Force Seat design concept is complete. It is looking great and will provide 4 seat air cushions and activated lap and shoulder straps.

The design uses a very simple and cost effective approach, using readily available components.

The prototype will be built in the new year before the designs are published in an update. It will be suitable for all existing and future projects. The design pictures tell the story:

3D Printing Upgrade

Other exciting news is that we will be lowering the current printing cost of the 203 SLS Nylon printed components. All this while improving the quality and ease of purchase!

Our Shapeways shop, while providing good quality printing has been a nightmare to work with. This is because each component has to be added to the order basket individually. Their system can also only handle 100 items per order so you would need to place 3 orders, each with shipping cost, and then request for them to be shipped together. Despite many interactions with their management, we have not been able to change this.

We are happy to say that that we have established a supplier relationship with a printer in Italy who has been very accommodating and well priced to boot. Not only that but the printing is done with HP Multijet technology, which provides a premium finish to the end product. (Shapeways charges a significant premium for HP Multijet printing so we never went that route).

In future our builders will be able to place their order with me for the full package and their components will be drop-shipped from Italy. We are busy reducing the cost which is pushed up by the minimum price of multiple items by binding them together with tabs and sprues. This will allow them to be priced as one article rather than say 10 switch levers. The following is an example of the gears and other items held together with a sprue:


It requires quite a bit of extra work from our side to join these models together and each part needs to be numbered with their assembly number for purposes of identification. Once done however it will make life easier and cheaper for everyone. Expect to have this ready by the new year.

The HP Multijet gives a very nice finish as evidenced by these samples. It will mean that when paint wears off it will leave an authentic looking cast iron finish:

European Supplier of Plywood Flatpack Kits

One of our builders has indicated he will be offering plywood flatpack kits to Build License holders of the Spitfire Mk.IX cockpit. Contact us for more details.

DCS World Developments

Finally Eagle Dynamics have provided a few glimpses of their new clouds. This looks very promising, as does one of their new models in particular….wink…heheh… We look forward to this greatly!

I cannot phrase it any better that Nick Grey of Eagle Dynamics:

Have a safe and Merry Christmas and we look forward to the New Year!

Roel Stausebach

 

HFS in Ireland..Turning the Dream into Reality!

It has been 2 months to a day that we arrived here on the beautiful coast of the Emerald Isle. In that time there have been some major developments which I am very excited to share with you today!

Heritage Flight Simulation Centre

We are creating the HFS Flight Simulation Centre where you will be able to experience the wonder of flight through the magic of Virtual Reality.

The envisaged Heritage Flight Simulation Centre in Blackwater, Co.Wexford

An agreement is being finalised on a physical home for Heritage Flight Simulation here in the sunny South East corner of Ireland. This will also provide a wonderful opportunity for all to come visit our workshop, have a cup of coffee and see how the Spitfire Mk.IX HFS Cockpit looks and works and how it is built.

For those wishing to train in or simply experience the Spitfire Mk.IX cockpit we will be taking bookings. HFS Build License holders will be able to do so for free 🙂

The facility will have ample space

Manchot Design: Make In Workshop

As some of you are aware, Heritage Flight Simulation is part of Manchot Design Limited, my company now being registered in Ireland. We will be making available our workshop equipment and design expertise to others at minimal cost. Anyone who wishes to give expression to their creativity will be able to do so without having to invest in expensive equipment of their own. Other than what you would normally expect from a well equipped workshop, there will also be a large CNC router able to process full plywood sheets, a professional 3D FDM printer, workspaces with high speed WiFi and more to come.

Make In Workshop – Come express your creativity!

More on these and other exciting developments coming soon!

Builders Update

A number of our HFS Spitfire Cockpit Build License Holders have been kind enough to share photos of their progress. I am so very impressed by the quality of all these builds!

Build 001

Build 005

Build 012

It is so nice to see this new build taking shape!

Now here’s something you don’t see every day..Builder 012 is also busy with a full size, flying version of the Spitfire Mk.IX.. It helps to practice! 😉

 

News Update August 2020

Relocation to Ireland

We will be relocating to Wexford, Ireland from South Africa in the middle of August. It will take a few months to get our new premises established but this should not affect any of online activities. We are looking forward to being more centrally located and will be able to offer more direct services to our European clients. We are also looking at the possibility of taking the prototype cockpit over to the UK for the airshow season next year. Otherwise, visit us in Wexford for a cuppa and to experience the magic of flight first hand.

21 Licenses – We have come of age!

We have reached quite a milestone having issued Build License No.21

We have also shipped 8 canopies and seven metal, spring and moulding kits to various parts in the world. For those interested, a few kits remain available but anyone interested will have to wait until they have been shipped and unpacked in Ireland. Note too that it may take a while before I am able to restock given our relocation.

Kits ready for shipping

G-Force Seat Progress

The next step in the development is coming along nicely. We have elected to utilise air wedges instead of flaps/paddles for the g-force seat in order to prevent any pinch points. The four slave wedges will be inserts in the seat upholstery. The air will be pumped from four master air wedges which will be neatly located in the wing cradle. The setup will use SimTools to control electric actuators which compress the master air wedges at the appropriate moment to simulate g-forces. In addition there will be a belt tensioner which tensions and slackens the seatbelt. The effect is created when, for instance, you go into a loop; the two bottom slave wedges inflate while the seatbelt slackens, providing the feeling that you are being pressed down into your seat. In contrast to a motion simulator which can only provide this sensation for the briefest of moments (and costs megabucks), the pressure is sustained throughout the loop. The activation of the airwedges) whether inflating or deflating) and the seatbelt tension, also provide sensations of sway, acceleration, deceleration and roll.

Simple yet effective G-Force Seat solution – Air Wedges

We are also working on the development of a proper leather cutting pattern for the seat upholstery which will capture the look of the original while providing G-Force functionality.

Flying Veterans give thumbs up!

I was privileged to have two very experienced aviator friends come over to try out simulator. One of them is an RAF veteran with a huge diversity of aircraft in his logbook. I was very fortunate to have done my training on the Stampe under his expert tutelage. Each flew a mission in the new DCS World Channel Map. In addition to some expletives there were gasps of wonder and much fun was had. I think the pictures tell the story…

 

Fitment of Wing Fillet undersides

It’s been a while but I finally got around to fitting the undersides of the wing fillets. The very elegant shape is now complete (other than some paint required).

Elegance of the Spitfire Wing Fillet has been beautifully captured

My next post will hopefully be from the Emerald Isle.. Stay safe everyone!

Rev 1.5 of the HFS Spitfire Mk.IX Build Manual released!

I am pleased to announce the release of Rev 1.5 of the Build Manual. Thanks for everyone’s help in continuing to improve this product. As you know it is a significant piece of work and feedback is extremely important and much appreciated.

A significant change has been on the electronics side. I have much simplified this with the use of Leo Bodnar joystick cards which has the following advantages:

  • You can run any simulation program off it, the cockpit is simply a large (or in this case 2 large) joysticks as far as the computer can see.
  • There is no duplication of electronics for different simulators
  • There is no interference between electronics systems
  • The Leo Bodnar cards have their own push in terminals, so no more barrier terminal blocks required

The Force Feedback system still runs of DCS-BIOS and hence is limited to that simulation currently. We are however working on running this off SimTools which will make it available to X-Plane and IL2 as well, among others.

In addition, this will make the forthcoming G-Seat modification work on all those platforms too. That is the next exciting step in this development!

Spitfire Mk.IX Engine Start-up

So, I have been working on improving my video techniques, so hopefully this one is a little better than the previous video 🙂

Nevertheless, what I am trying to show is the fidelity of the HFS Cockpit systems and how beautifully they interact with the DCS World Spitfire Mk.IX. Here in the following video I demonstrate the start-up procedure for the Spit. It’s a little rough, I really need to work with a checklist off a kneeboard until I become really adept at the process and checks required. It’s enough to get the engine going however.

The Intro photos are from the Wally Brunton collection of the South African Air Force No.4 Squadron in Italy, 1945. Maj. M.V. ‘Wally’ Brunton was the OC. No.4 Squadron, Italy, 1945.

This year is the SAAF’s 100th anniversary!

Dedicated to all those brave South Africans who gave their all in the fight against tyranny. As you can see from the photos they came from all walks of life in South Africa. We shall remember them…

(Intro music from the Eagle Dynamics DCS World Spitfire Pre-release video.)

HFS Builders Feedback and Progress

I have received a few pictures from two of our HFS Spitfire MkIX builders. I think you will agree their work looks stunning! Their build quality is beautiful, truly pieces of art. I am quite humbled by what they are shaping from the HFS plans.

Having others do the build has also provided hugely valuable feedback, resulting in improvement of the product overall. Thus we are now at Rev1.4 which incorporates additional drawings, improvements and corrections for points I had missed.

Also most gratifying have been the compliments I have received from the builders.

“As it comes together, I am loving it, love how big it is, how well designed it is. It really becomes very solid.”

“I am honestly so impressed with how everything is fitting together, you need to be very proud of what you have done Roel.”

“Did I tell you that the Shapeways parts have arrived and are stunning.”

“I am so impressed with the speed you provided me the files and your enthusiasm for details.”

“I got 1 set of 3D printed parts from SHAPEWAYS to day, It looks very good and top Quality”

I hope to be sharing many more of their pictures as their builds progress. Without further ado, here they are 🙂

 

Build License 005: Cradle and Seat
Build Licence 005 Spade Grip
Build License 005 Fuselage
Build License 001 Engine Quadrant

 

Build License 001 Rudder Bar

 

Build License 001 Spade Grip

 

Build License 001 Painted sheetmetal

 

Build License 001 IFF Panel

 

Build License 001 De-ice Pump

 

Build License 001 Compass

 

Build License 001 Carb Fuel Jettison

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Shapeways Shop up, stocked and running!

We are pleased to announce that the Heritage Flight Simulation Shapeways Shop is up and running. Here you can purchase all the 203 components for inclusion in your HFS Spitfire Mk.IX Cockpit Simulator build. The total price of the components comes to US$3945.

They are printed in white SLS Nylon. We have found we can get a better result using acrylic model paints as opposed to the (expensive) Shapeways die colouring method.

You can find our shop here.