An “Industry First” for AuthentiKit

Today Big Radials released their P-40B Tomahawk for Microsoft Flight Simulator. This is a very exciting day for AuthentiKit because their download also comes with replica flight controls created directly from their CAD files for a really authentic peripherals option when you are flying their feisty looking warbird.

The first control available is an elevator and rudder trim wheel set, soon to be followed by a throttle quadrant and coming later on will be a replica flight stick. These controls use the same Universal Hub as we created for the Spitfire MkIX controls which is a great cost saving as the hub contains the expensive part of the system.

A Milestone for AuthentiKit

Today we release an upgrade to the Spitfire MkIX Add On Kit B which now includes a rudder trim wheel as well as an elevator trim wheel. So now this kit comprises.

  • Throttle quadrant
  • Elevator trim wheel
  • Rudder trim wheel

What makes this launch so special though is that the rudder trim wheel was not created by me, but by Ian Colman a member of our Discord community. I released a beta version of the AuthentiKit SDK to a few people to try it out and Ian used the SDK to create this AuthentiKit compatible flight control. It plugs into the Universal Hub just like any other AuthentiKit control and in fact uses a lot of the same parts as the elevator trim wheel.

A particularly interesting innovation that Ian has introduced is recessed lettering which is easily filled with white silicon to easily create these distinctive decals. See the assembly video for how this is done. I need to make a few changes to the SDK before I release it more widely after which I hope to see many many more AuthentiKit compatible flight controls.

Spitfire MkIX Throttle Quadrant Released

The throttle quadrant project was finally concluded on 5th March 2021, 85 years to the day since Supermarine Spitfire prototype K5054 first took to the skies. Unfortunately I could not quite complete the YouTube video post-processing and upload until the 6th March but I feel duty was still done.

This throttle quadrant is the third product in the AuthentiKit range of freeware hardware flight controls and comes on the heels of the elevator trim wheel and spade grip flight stick. So now we are using 3 of the 10 inputs to the AuthentiKit Universal Hub. Landing gear will be next. Here are the key features of the throttle quadrant.

  • Super sensitive, frictionless and precise hall sensors on throttle lever, mixture and airscrew
  • Authentic scale replica
  • Bomb release button
  • Comes paired with a fully working scale replica of the elevator trim wheel
  • Self build kit – Allow about an hour for assembly
  • Quick release plate and socket. Instantly swap this throttle for a P51, P40B, Fokker P41D or whatever you fancy flying next (these quadrants are on the roadmap for 2021)
  • 3D print the parts or ask someone on our Discord forum for help
  • See download page for all hardware components, assembly instructions and printing advice
  • Kit available from our friends
  • Step by step assembly guide on YouTube

Excited to be working with Big Radials on the P40B

OzWookiee got in touch recently. He’s behind The Goose that has been giving everyone a lot of fun in MSFS. He recently launched Big Radials and announced they’re coming out with a P40B for Microsoft very soon. It didn’t take us long to decide that we’d work together and create some AuthentiKit flight controls for this feisty looking warbird! Big Radials are sharing designs from the aircraft development which makes the design of the flight controls much easier. I’ll post some work in progress designs very shortly.

Spitfire MkIXc for Microsoft Flight Simulator

In case you missed it Flying Iron Simulations just announced that their Spitfire MkIXc for Microsoft Flight Simulator is now in its final beta testing stage with public release due very soon. Looking at my notes I see it is just over 2 years (29th Jan 2019) when I first approached Alex Kassabian at Flying Iron Simulations and told him of my plans to 3D print Spitfire parts. He’s been a great source of support and technical advice ever since and I wish the guys at Flying Iron Simulations every success with this launch. I’ve been involved in the beta testing myself and I have found it an absolute joy to fly – especially with my AuthentiKit Spitfire flight stick 😉 No seriously, the fluidity of a proper flight stick compared to a short throw HOTAS joystick makes for a completely different experience.

Apologies to Heritage Flight Simulation

I’ve had rather a shock this week. It has transpired that some of the reference materials I used to model the shape of the spade grip handle, lever and upper angle bracket of the Spitfire MkIX flight stick were the intellectual property of Heritage Flight Simulation. These guys have invested a huge amount of time meticulously detailing every inch of a Spitfire MkIX and their highly detailed plans and other products are available from their website.

I had a very amicable phone call with Roel Stausebach, the managing director of heritage flight simulation, and explained that the reference images were obtained in good faith from a 3rd party who was known to Roel. He was very understanding but we were both in agreement that the designs in my download that used his references should be taken down ASAP. From my own experience running a design company prior to AuthentiKit I am well aware of the importance of intellectual property, even in this digital age of sharing, so I’m somewhat embarassed to have made this naive error.

I would like to thank Roel for his goodwill and allowing time for me to make changes, so as not to leave supporters of AuthentiKit in the lurch. I’ve had a very busy week going back to my Fusion 360 sketches and redrawing from my own Spitfire photographs and other references I had purchased. A bit of creative licence was needed too where the references weren’t very clear. I think you’ll still like the result – the photo is of my new fire button.

As of now the download available on this site contains reworked references which do not draw from Heritage Flight Simulation’s work. As you’ll see on my download page I haven’t quite finished a couple of objects but they’ll be added in the next couple of days .

We’ve also agreed that I owe Roel a beer which I hope to make good on when I can get out to Wexford in Ireland and check out their very impressive MkIX simulator. Having built a G-Seat myself I’m particularly interested in that feature of their simulator.

Updated 07 Feb 2021 – The remaining objects have been reworked and the current version 2.5 now contains all downloads.

Version 2 Launched

I’m very pleased to announce that Version 2 of the Spitfire MkIX flight stick is now available. If you watched my videos you’ll see that the first one had both fire button wires joined within the body of the stick so that either one would produce the same result. This was a technical issue as I didn’t have a spare wire in the lead connecting the stick to the hub. After doing tests though, despite the advice technical advice of the maker of the circuit board I found it was quite safe to have the roll axis share a ground wire with another axis. This gave me the spare I needed and then I just needed to modify the button engineering to allow it depress in the centre and activate both the machine guns and cannons at the same time. I hope you enjoy it!

AuthentiKit launches today

Today we released the first AuthentiKit product, the Spitfire MkIX Starter Kit A. What better than the iconic Spitfire to launch this endeavour?

The goal is ambitious – nothing less than to engage the skilled and generous freeware community to develop and share flight controls for all the aircraft we simmers love to fly. We have a freeware movement for aircraft models so why not hardware too – as long as its super easy to assemble and just plugs in and works without needing an electronics engineering degree!.

There are some highly skilled aircraft designers out there but until now it has been far too difficult for most of them to also take on the complications of the electronics and hardware engineering. That is where I hope to bridge the gap with a set of ready made components that can be dropped into a design without soldering or any other engineering challenges. All the designer needs to do is create the case and shape the levers, wheels or knobs then place my components as needed. I realise this will take a little work to communicate and show how this can be done, hence my plan to kickstart the journey with a set of controls I have designed myself.

This picture was taken at Boultbee Flight Academy at Goodwood England where I took my prototype many months ago to see how it compared to the real thing.