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#2979069 - 03/19/10 10:09 AM WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project  
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Rich_Price Offline
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Hi Guys

Thought I would start a thread to show the progress of the Apache Flight Controls I have started. The overall plan is to have the Cyclic and Collective available to buy! Enjoy!


Stage 1
Initial Prototyping of the Cyclic.



Cheers

Rich

www.komodosimulations.co.uk

Last edited by Rich_Price; 03/19/10 10:10 AM.
Inline advert (2nd and 3rd post)

#2979071 - 03/19/10 10:20 AM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: Rich_Price]  
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Ivonq Offline
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Very nice, Rich, Longbow Time!

#2979102 - 03/19/10 12:41 PM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: Rich_Price]  
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GlynD Offline
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Rich

Nice project smile

And I know it is very early days yet and also my next question is a bit of a case of "how long is a piece of string", however I am going to ask anyway lol!

Do you have a price range in mind yet please?

Cheers

#2979122 - 03/19/10 01:08 PM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: GlynD]  
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Rich_Price Offline
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LOL I was waiting for that question to come up!

So, going to do that annoying thing of answering a question with a question!!

What would people be happy paying?

I have got a rough idea of production costs, but haven't actually bought all items required so that might change. I am hoping to have the first Cyclic finished in around a month or so for testing. I will have a better idea then!

Cheers

Rich

#2979140 - 03/19/10 01:56 PM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: Rich_Price]  
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GlynD Offline
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Mmmm difficult one that - obviously it will be more than a mass produced joystick, possibly anything under the 180-200 mark would be acceptable to the WGPAF (Wife/Girlfriend/Partner Approval Factor) smile

Just a suggestion if I may, you might be better off doing the collective first as there is not a reasonably priced version available at the moment, whereas with the cyclic many people may be happy using their joystick of choice...

Cheers

#2979209 - 03/19/10 03:36 PM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: GlynD]  
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Rich_Price Offline
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That much! hhhmmmm!! LOL

For that amount I take it you would expect a complete Plug and PLay Joystick rather than just a grip?!?

Going for the Cyclic first as its so much easier than the collective, as that has loads of stuff on it. This is a feasability test aswell at the moment to see if I can actually make it! But see your point tho! If the cyclic is successful the collective wont be far behind!

BR

Rich

#2979237 - 03/19/10 04:06 PM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: Rich_Price]  
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GlynD Offline
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Rich

Yes at that price point, I would be expecting a plug and play solution. If a grip was available to integrate with a custom built flight stick then that would be a good option as well. Not so sure on a good price point for that...

Horses for courses - some people like to custom build and would prefer just a grip and then others would prefer the whole thing in a nice and easy user friendly package.

Up to you chap but I would say go ahead and do the grip first, followed by a collective - just my two pence worth though smile

Cheers

#2979447 - 03/19/10 09:10 PM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: GlynD]  
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In the world of high end HOCAS (non existent) I would start you're pricing in the area of the upcoming A10 HOTAS from Thrustmaster. Expecting a quality A/C specific controller for under $300-400USD is just non sense. If it was a generic Collective/Stick that's one thing but this is all subjective to the final product. Look forward to watching the progress, I'd spend the money I mentioned (just have to save up for it lol).


I've got a bad feeling about this.....
#2979466 - 03/19/10 09:52 PM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: HitchHikingFlatlander]  
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This is great info guys thanks.

Will try and create it as best I can and the more feedback/ideas people can put out there the better.

If it were a full joystick rather than just a grip, would people prefer a desk height/mounted one or a floor standing version with the correct approx shaft length? Mind you if it works well, the possibility exists to create both a grip and a full stick as well as a desk and floor mounted version.

But getting a little ahead of myself here! LOL

#2979587 - 03/20/10 04:20 AM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: Rich_Price]  
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AD Offline
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Originally Posted By: Rich_Price
This is great info guys thanks.
If it were a full joystick rather than just a grip, would people prefer a desk height/mounted one or a floor standing version with the correct approx shaft length?


A floor standing version with the long shaft would be the most popular, there really isn't an affordable off-the-shelf cyclic out there. Most people that want a cyclic have to modify their flight stick and that's usually a hit-or-miss affair and only for the technically minded. The shaft wouldn't even need to be an accurate length, just the length that works best for flight simulators.

Looking forward to this and good luck!

Cheers

Last edited by AD; 03/20/10 04:24 AM.

Judge, jury and executioner of Tricubic's art department.

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#2979732 - 03/20/10 02:51 PM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: HitchHikingFlatlander]  
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GlynD Offline
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Ah but Hitch at that price, do you not get both the stick and the throttle? Which makes the price of the stick alone approx around the $250 mark. That was was my chain of thought anyhow smile

Cheers

#2980143 - 03/21/10 02:16 PM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: GlynD]  
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Rich_Price Offline
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Hi Guys,

Just 3D Designing the internal workings of the stick. Bit more market research required!!

Option 1 - Floppy Stick

Would people prefer a floppy stick - so when you let go it doesnt spring back to centre or hold position it just falls it which ever direction possible. Realistic for non-stabilised helis.

Option 2 - Self Centreing

When you let go it returns to centre. No helis do this as far as I know.

Option 3 - Force Trim Stlye

Where ever you let go of the stick it stays in that position, but not having to press a button to move it again as in RW. Stablised helis have this function.

Thanks again for the help!

Rich

#2980198 - 03/21/10 03:34 PM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: Rich_Price]  
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arneh Offline
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I think the most important function, if you're making a helicopter controller, would be if you could model a proper force trim. That is, when you hold the force trim button, there is no centering force, and when you release it, then the centre will be whereever the stick is at the time the button is released. If you can make that then you have something really unique and very useful for helicopters!

Would also be interesting to have a proper cyclic controller. I.e. with long movement, so that it's easy to make fine adjustments. And the Apache one with the two grips looks interesting, and I assume useful when you have that many controls.

#2980245 - 03/21/10 05:18 PM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: arneh]  
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Flexman Offline
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If money was no object

Floor standing: Option 3, failing that option 1 (could option 3 be a kit add-on, you'd need some kind of ram for that, and small reliable ones wouldn't be exactly cheap).

Desk mounted: I think Option 3. Budget model option 2.

A conversion kit for a Saitek X52 might be popular. Just a thought.


Richard - You Have Control
Tricubic Studios Ltd. (dev blog)
#2980275 - 03/21/10 06:18 PM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: Flexman]  
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Rich_Price Offline
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There is no actual centering force in a helicopter cyclic. All the force trim does is maintain the controls in a set position for the aircraft to maintain a set attitude that you or the autopilot puts it in. Pressing the trim release just releases the attitude hold to allow you to adjust the attitude of the aircraft. A cyclic control has no centre point. So to recreate force trim you would need to have actuators on the control to move system if the aicraft is displaced by an outside force such as a gust of wind etc. So the closest I can get with making it affordable is Option 3.

Hope that makes sense.

#2980301 - 03/21/10 07:04 PM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: Rich_Price]  
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arneh Offline
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Originally Posted By: Rich_Price
There is no actual centering force in a helicopter cyclic.


Well, this is what the flight manual says about trimming.

Originally Posted By: Operator's manual for helicopter, attack, AH-64A Apache

Either crewmember can trim the cyclic and pedal con-
trols. A lateral, longitudinal, and directional trim feel
magnetic brake and spring assembly is incorporated
into each control system. Setting the pilot FORCE
TRIM REL switch to the on position will engage the
magnetic brakes in the longitudinal, lateral, and direc-
tional flight controls. The spring assemblies will hold
the cyclic stick and directional pedals in trim. Move-
ment of the cyclic or directional controls, by either the
pilot or CPG, with FORCE TRIM REL switch on, will
cause the spring assemblies to compress and provide
feel to the controls. When control pressure is released,
the controls will return to their trimmed position.
Re-
trimming is accomplished by a TRIM pushbutton on
the CPG cyclic stick or by a FORCE TRIM REL switch
on the pilot cyclic stick grip. Pressing the button or
pressing up on the switch releases the magnetic brake
and allows the springs to travel to the new control posi-
tion. Additionally, this action also allows the SAS ac-
tuators to recenter, if necessary. Releasing the button
or switch will then allow the magnetic brake to engage
and hold the springs at the new position. The pilot may
press the FORCE TRIM REL switch to the full down
position to disable trim feel entirely.


(emphasise mine)

#2980320 - 03/21/10 07:45 PM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: arneh]  
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Rich_Price Offline
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Yeah sorry, wording it that way. It creates a false centre for the aircraft to return to once displaced wihout the trim release being pressed. I always try to teach that it creates a datum for the aircraft to return to. Saying that the system has a centre made things a little confusing. But yes you're right it that respect the system creates a centre. As regarding putting working version into a stick will make it expensive. It has been done I think in a system from Oz. Will look into it and see what I can come up with. But option 3 and floor standing is certainly doable.

#2981328 - 03/23/10 05:25 AM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: Rich_Price]  
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DudleyAz Offline
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I'll weigh in on this, as I am working on a plan for a one-of conversion of a TM Cougar to a collective. I still plan on using the cougar stick as the cyclic, but am going to extend and angle the shaft a bit to fit my cockpit.

I would love to see a replacement grip option for the cougar. I would think this would allow you to produce the cyclic first, just grip and buttons, making it plug and play with existing controller/software. Seems to be a lot less to support/warranty later. Doing the same for the collective stands to reason as well.

As a replacement stick/throttle, I would pay up to $100/$150 if they were high quality and maintained all of the programming functionality of the Cougar.

If I were to seek an outright replacement of the whole thing, I would want them completely programmable, plug and play, floor mountable, with option 3 force trim on the cyclic. You know.. the whole sha-bang. I would expect to pay $300-$400 for it though.

And now you know what was rattling around in my brain bucket!
Dud


They say "If you didn't fail, how would you learn?"... I learn a LOT!
http://cnadeau.webs.com/index.htm
#2981368 - 03/23/10 08:32 AM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: DudleyAz]  
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Rich_Price Offline
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Hi Dud,

Thanks for the reply. The only problem with making just the grip to replace grips on other joysticks is that chances are you may not have enough buttons on the original joystick to be able to wire in all the buttons and switches on the WAH-64 one and vice versa - you may have too many and loose functionality. The grip I am making will have 3 push-buttons. 2 momentary toggle switches with 2 poistions each and 2 4-way HAT controls.

For me to be able to make it compatible with a number of different joysticks I would have to buy those joysticks, check what buttons they have and how the grip connects to the joystick base. Or just try and make it compatible with a couple of the most popular sticks would be the best idea. Or as Flexman suggested, a conversion kit for certain sticks. Reasearch into different sticks required!

Will see how they come out first and then play around with different ideas. First unit will be a grip for my Virtual Blade Flight Control seat, will see how it works on that!

Have started the collective aswell now - pics to follow shortly!

Cheers

Rich

#2981379 - 03/23/10 09:19 AM Re: WAH-64D Apache Flight Controls Project [Re: Rich_Price]  
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Flexman Offline
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Originally Posted By: Rich_Price

*snip*
Have started the collective aswell now - pics to follow shortly!


notworthy

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