• Builder of Month - May 2010

    Welcome to Builder of The Month award for May 2010, this month we are delighted to present the award to Martijn Heeroma (flatlandpilot) Martijn has a very interested build, and this month we're looking at the airbus. We have been watching the progress on this one for a while and couldn't wait to know more about what Martijn was up to and what was next for his build. Many of you will be familiar with the throttle quadrant he is currently building for his flight simulator. Catch more from Geremy's Interview.

    Martijn says: My interest of simulated flying started with Google earth, being a paraglider I'm always keen on knowing what to expect and what to hope for when flying in the mountains due holidays. Looking for take-off places, nice ridges and off course a suitable landing place when possible next to restaurant or bar. It became all part of the pre-flight-fun, the pre holliday-dream of the flights that came.

    Then the virus jumped over to simpitting. Looking back now it seem so logical, you guys showed me what "submersion-level" was and what you can achieve with a few tools and some sheets of wood, trying to close the gap between the feel of flying and simulating it. Flying, being in 3D, moving like a bird and go where the birds go, it has always been a dream of me, and this brings me closer to it, closer everytime.

    Starting with my simpit was a slow proces. The first few months were difficult. Not sure knowing what I wanted it took months before finishing my moving base. For building the shell / enclosure I used floorplates gluing them together with PU-glue and fixing them with screws. After sanding I covered the inside
    with 4 mm. mdf board.

    1. Many have heard about your homamde TQ, this seems a very interesting project. What stage are you currently at with regard to the TQ. I read previously you were hoping to get some backlighting?

    Yes, the first coverplate I milled to deep and in the making a new one now. The paint is dry now so one of these day's I'll update on that. About the backlighting, I tried to bend 3 acryl strips with help of the kitchen-oven heated them up to 120-140 degrC and let them cool down on a pipe, that worked better than I ever thought. After some testing about the distances betweem the leds to avoid "light-dots" in the lettering plate
    gave me the idea of using 1 led each cm. To connect it to the sim I used an old joystick before now
    it's wired onto the analog inputs of the OC Expansion card.

    2. Looking at the sim as a whole how far have you progresssed from your initial idea and passion to where the sim is now?

    The strange thing is that when you get more into it, the horizon starts moving. I feel after just starting the MIP, there is an overhead panel waiting.

    3. What are you embarking on next?

    When I'm satisfied with the MIP I want to make my first steps with "moving" the sim
    about a year ago I started with a tilting base, at the forum I read somewhere that a tilt angle of 22 degr. would be nice, so I took that as a starting point and started building. It was a real puzzle where to place the chair and hinged joints to keep everything free from moving. Trying to move it with a 1.7 Kw motor gear-worked but now I'm thinking doing it with a hydolic cilinder and pump, that solves all the mechanical problems, and to keep the coast down and avoiding pricy regulating valves I want to use a pump and motor for each cilinder.

    This site made me think that's possible: http://buggies.builtforfun.co.uk/Sim/index.html

    4. Has there been any major problems which has put the project on hold or had to go back to the drawing board for?

    In the shell I did something stupid with measuring with plates for the roof, one day later I saw that it was impossible to join the plates without a gap in the roof of the shell. I waited for a few days and took the jig-saw and started over. That cost one week. Doing something wrong is sometime really frustating but in most of the times it brings a solution really fast. I find it really difficult finding balance between working and studying, like it was in school in the early days.

    5. Was there anyone who inspired you to build a flight simulator, and how did you find out about such a barmy bunch of people building flight simulators!

    Yes, Mycockpit was and is my reference, looking for build plans and examples. I just found you with Google at the right time.

    6. Is the aircraft based on one particular type or make of aircraft?

    I try to go A320 and want to make it possible to fly like an real airbus does. As a VFR flyer it's really "new" for me to fly on instruments. That's the reason I wanted to start with flying "the bus" later on I hope to go to the lighte raircraft and gliders. Soaring a glider above the alps is the ultimate dream for me. But I think I have to wait a little more for better simsoftware and better skills in flying too

    7. How does flgiht simulator flying compare with your extensive real life flying experiences?

    Flying a plane feels totally different as a paraglider, but not everything is different, like going to stallpoint,
    or approaging for landing for example which are really comparable and interresting to experiment with.
    It gave me a better knowledge about flying to slow. With flying a plane there's more planning ahead,
    calculating youre changes and doing it with help from the tower. As a paraglider you are alone in the sky or with you're friends. For us it all about going up, finding that small piece of air giving you a free ride up into the sky. In the Netherlands I fly with PaHo, most of the (flyable) weekends we winch with a car-motor which lifts us to 300-400 m. Then we release and have a free ride for about 5 minutes. Only by finding thermals its possible to extend that flight. In the vacations we often go to the alps or futher away (Marokko, India) looking for nice (soar) ridges and having a good time in the sky.

    What I really hope is that thermals and hill warming air will become more accurate
    in he simulation software, flying a (para)glider would become more and more interresting.

    8. What were the main reasons why you left flying behind to start a flight simulator project from your own home? - Many mention the cost as an obvious factor but of course there is the convienience also.

    My first "para-simulator" was a simple frame:

    Sitting in it with my eyes closed, feeling the movements I recognize from real flying it gave me a lot of satisfaction, It was then I started thinking about motors on the wires and beamers "everywhere"

    No it wasn't the costs, my initial coasts where 200 euro's on a few sheets of wood and glue, it's the feeling of being "enclosed" that was on my mind quickly when if you want to make the first steps of feeling submerged in the real thing.

    9. How long have you been building for to date and have you accomplished everything you hoped so far?

    I've been building for one year now and have acomplished more than I hoped for so far. My TQ for example, looking for something ready in the shop was a no-option, the sizes didn't fit me as did the price. Price is often something what brings me down - often the feeling of an "unreachable-goal" with simpitting that has not had to be case all the times, searching for simple and affordable solutions is what our hobby is all about.

    Thank you for an excellent interview Martijn, it's great to hear peoples' stories and it gives us all the motivation to carry on our mission. I'll lookforward to the future progress the sim will make, and i would like to take this opportunity for your time in preparation for this interview and i wish you all the success in the future of the simbuild.

    Best Regards