Here’s my first attempt to film a complete short flight between airports for a demo of the hardware, and it hasn’t gone without some errors and weird maneuvers ofc lol (because 3rd take lol!), please excuse that =)
In the first part of the video, I show hardware up close, and then fly from 4S2 Ken Jenstedt to 35S Wasco state in XPlane 11 using KLICKITAT VOR for navigation, mainly to show the new radio panel of VRMaxII pedestal! =) You can also see how fun it is to fly with real VFR charts in PDF using Avitab plugin, rather than with a built-in map! Puts some extra workload on you during long (boring) straight flight legs =)
With a moving map, you only look out of the window because you’re bored. Without it, you have to constantly look for scenery highlights to check your position! I’d say try it, and you won’t regret!
Somehow so far I haven’t talked about pedestals yet except for a brief introduction in a recent video, so let’s look at the latest updates =)
At the moment, there are two pedestal devices available: the simple pedestal, and the VRMax II one. These devices are actually very similar to each other, one being the more advanced version of another:
One of these, in my opinion, is a must-have option for Simchair collective. Why? It allows you to use your left hand for operating switches, knobs, and other stuff in a helicopter, thus eliminating the need for letting go of your cyclic. When I first tried the simple pedestal, it felt like a major improvement to the flying experience.
I’ve been gathering feedback from the community for a while, and there were 2 popular opinions:
1 knob for everything is cool – you can’t cover all of them anyway
having more knobs is better – on some helicopters, there are knobs that are placed in a way that looking at those would still be distracting
I, personally, liked the VRMax head and wanted to make something that will take its pros while dealing with its issues. So the VRMax II pedestal was born – which uses the straightforward and compact design of a simple pedestal while also adding the comfort of having 4 separate knobs for frequently used functions – and has a really nice rotary switch to map these knobs to 8 joystick button sets (of 10 buttons each – 2 per encoder + 2 green push buttons). An important thing is, it’s designed to be mounted onto the base of the lever, and that means, you can use it with a motion platform without worrying about its weight =)
Initially, I thought using a rotary switch might be confusing, but only until I mounted the device to the collective and tried selecting modes with it. The switch turns 3 clicks to the left and 4 clicks to the right, the shape of its knob can precisely tell you what position the switch is at now.
For the simple pedestal, its assembly manual, software, and model files are available, for the VRMax II one, radio panel firmware is in development at the moment. It’s model files, however, are already available in simchair4_models repo on GitHub.