Spitfire Sim kit Update Nov 2020

It’s been some time since my last post on the subject, so here are a few updates.

a) Chassis operating unit

SH Chassis control unit with “DOWN” showing temporarily in the status window

Someone kindly pointed out that the status window on my Chassis Unit was not working as it should compared to the real aircraft, so after some head scratching and trials I managed to modify the internals to get it to work correctly. The “proper” sequence is now for wheels up : Push lever down and left to clear gate, move lever upwards, as it moves up the status indicator goes from IDLE to UP temporarily, when lever up, push right and down into the gate – status indicator shows IDLE. The opposite happens for extending the undercarriage, except that on it’s way down the status indicator will temporarily show DOWN.

Although obvious to some, the statuts indicator on the chassis unit does not show or confirm that the u/c is either UP or DOWN, the instrument panel indicator does this. The status indicator shows what is happening to the u/c mechanism which does two things, one operate the gear locking system via a chain link system and two cycle the gear via a hydraulic system.

To finish the look of the part I have recently added the two bulges on the outer casing.

b) Control Column for MkIX

My last few customers have benefitted from the chain guard cover fitted as basic and a few internal design modifications to help with component integration, wiring and assembly. Previous customers can obtain this add-on for free by request.

One of the main modifications on the column was to try and replicate its movement as in the real aircraft. At rest the column is tilted rearwards by 11° from the perpendicular. At full nose down, forward pitch the column is perpendicular to the datum longeron and at full aft, nose up pitch the column is 24,3° aft from perpendicular. This effectively means that there is less pitch down movement than pitch up and I had to figure a way of managing this while keeping the column at 11° when at rest. I solved this by making unequal cut out slots in the spring loaded strut that holds the column at the correct angle and which increases resistance as one approaches the limits. This spring loaded strut replicates (a bit) the elevator control rod and is much more simple in appearance and function than some compensation systems that are available.

While on the subject of competing products, I should add that the firing button on our SH spade grip has cannon or mg or both, plus a safety catch which is both mechanical and electronic, so that the sim knows when it is on or off.

c) Two step rudder pedals

SH two step Spitfire pedal with offset for Saitek base

While this was not my priority, some customers wanted real life looking pedals, so I took the option of re-designing pedals down to the exact number and dimension of tread rungs, that can be adapted to fit commercially available rudder pedal bases. Having made up a pair for a customer with a Saitek Pro pedal base, I finally got round to making up a pair for my own cockpit set up. To obtain the correct spacing between the pedals I had to make offset adapters for the Saitek base, as the Spitfire pedal axes are a few inches wider than the Saitek pedal supports. I was quite surprised about the difference this made to pedal control in DCS and I had to revise my curve settings in the axis tune panel.

I have now made up sets for two types of pedal base and can certainly make up adapters for most commercially available rudder pedal bases – providing the user supplies me with the necessary dimensions.

d) 5c/543 Switches

From some oblique Supermarine drawings of a switch support panel, I tried to derive proper switch dimensions. Recently I had occasion to obtain a real switch and found that my initial dimensions were not really perfect, so I am in the process of re-designing the switch. The initial set that I fitted to my cockpit a few months ago have started to function erratically, so I need to also review the internals to make the function reliable.

SH 5C/543 switches (initial batch)

These switches are standard Air Ministry parts fitted to many period military aircraft. In the Spitfire MkIX they are used for the three switches below the elevator trim wheel, for the electric fuel pump, pitot heat and radiator flap control, plus the gunsight master and IFF channel selectors.

Once I am happy with the re-design and function I will offer sets for sale to simpit builders via my website : http://www.spitfirehistories.com

e) Next items on the parts list

Design work continues on the Wobble Pump and the Ki-Gass primer pump. For the first item the issue is trying to make it look more realistic and better to assemble, for the second it’s more the integration of the electronic components to make both the screw rotation and push-pull functions operate in DCS – some more brain teasing required here !

Last but not least is trying to figure out how to get standard on/off switches to work as toggle in DCS, rather than as separate ON and OFF which eats up available pcb game controller slots. The solution is either via Arduino programming or by playing with DCS .lua files. I am not expert on either so thanks to lockdown I have some time to read up and experiment.

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