RC Simulations has been working on their consoles for quite some time and they have just started to deliver their most recent product.
Flight school, real pilots and serious simmers are always looking for great solutions which are hard to find in such a niche market. Nonetheless some companies, such as RC Simulations, are working hard to provide good solutions.
I was lucky to check out a prototype for this particular console at Cosford last year. Unfortunately, it was just that: a prototype. Not finished and wasn't even plugged anywhere. There were some issues and me and Peter Holder talked a bit about it and the challenges they were having with the dampers.
But it was quite an interesting product and I had to try it, of course. Peter was thrilled to show it to me and guide me through the console.
Fortunately, the team has finally solved them and they are ready to start delivery on the Solo ACE Consoles for helicopter flight training.
Here's the official word on the product:
The Solo-ACE Basic helicopter set has been designed to be durable as well as pleasing and practical to use in a Virtual Realty and also in a public environment where it may receive more robust usage than might be expected in a home environment alone.
The base is made in sturdy GRP (glass fibre). It is double skinned with a non-slip textured top surface and raised forward section where the pedals fit. This base is available in a choice of colours and can be supplied in a wider version for D-Box motion actuators.
The seat is moulded in GRP and based on a real helicopter seat. Great effort has been made to make this as comfortable as possible and the seat is adjustable fore and aft for positioning.
This is made in stainless steel. The stick is not self-centering(this can be an option if required) and sports four gas dampers, I.e. the stick stays where you put it but moves smoothly. The stick has two geared hall sensors for longevity (non-contact magnetic alternative to potentiometers).
The joystick handle has a trigger and two self-centering switches on the top. The cyclic plugs into a 12 bit joystick interface. This give a resolution of 4096 points across each axis. This single interface board also supports the collective, twist throttle and pedals.
The collective is fitted to the left-hand side of the seat and moves forward and backward when adjusting the seat position. The collective, when raised and lowered, operates over the range that you would expect in a typical helicopter. There is also a push button switch on the end of the twist throttle, to operate the governor.
The collective position is held in place by a gas damper. The twist throttle operates over a typical range. This has a smooth action but does not feel loose when twisted. The throttle has a hall sensor for long-life.
The pedals are built to be as sturdy as they can be. The construction is stainless steel. The pedals are adjustable fore and aft and with the adjustable seat caters for a wide range of leg lengths. Ball bearings have been used wherever possible to ensure smooth operation.
For more information (and pricing) please visit the RC Simulations website.