phoenix flight sim rc heli

I love to fly in simulators, especially helicopters. But, there is just not an affordable collective control that I have found, so I decided to make one for myself! I am going to build a joystick using an Arduino Micro, with a bunch of buttons for assignable controls and a high-quality encoder for the collective axis:

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18 Responses to “phoenix flight sim rc heli”

  • TurboPWR:

    Using an Arduino isn't even worth the hassle for a project like this, just use a Leo Bodnar board, it will end up being cheaper in the long run.

  • Daniel Fajardo:

    If you dont have the 3D printer, how much do you guys thinks would be reasonable price to pay to get them printed?

  • Marc Hamilton:

    hi there how can i get in touch with you please

  • GypsySoul:

    In Flight Simulator FSX at least, the collective function can be simply the normal throttle input from a joystick vertical axis – any normal joystick can be used, and it seems to me this is the same basic function you created here. You added a number of buttons that can be pushed w/o having to remove your hand from the collective – that's a valuable addition to a simple joystick functionality.
    I'm impressed by all the design and fabrication you presented, plus the digital circuitry and programming needed. But really, it seems a case of overkill for just the collective lever.
    Any decent helicopter control set needs foot pedals. That should be your project. It's mainly a mechanical problem to keep it smoothly linear over a wide enough dynamic range for the simulator, and using only short range of leg motion. Additionally it might be programmed to have variable sensitivity so that the signal varies more rapidly the harder the pedal is pressed.
    I made my own pedals years ago using one analog potentiometer, some springs, a few hunks of wood and a switch, activated by toe press, for the brakes when landing fixed wing. It worked to allow the correct method of sideslip for crosswind landings in fixed wing simulations. At that time most controls were analog, so the pedals and the two analog joysticks were connected to the PC game port. When PC's went to USB, I just inserted an inexpensive parallel to USB convertor box. You can do better since you know all about digital controls and mechanical design.

  • holm76:

    Amazing. I'm was looking for this exact project to build a collective to be used in Elite Dangerous (space sim). I'd would need to add a throttle to the collective also. What components would you recommend for a throttle control? It could either be a roller or some kind of a slide potentiometer. I'm imagining all the funky buttons I would add the make it easy to lower/raise landing gear/cargo scoop, go to super cruise, manage power conductor. This project is amazing. But first I need a 3D printer now.

  • IndyHelis:

    you need to sell this as a kit

  • Reg Watson:

    It would be great for those of us who don't have a clue what you are doing to have people who do produce these finished at a reasonable cost for those of us who want a collective but can't afford the exhorbitatve prices companies charge for retail versions.


    0:33 Can't fool me that's audio jungle watermark, couldn't even buy it…

  • Al Heeley:

    im very impressed 🙂

  • Michael Tyers:

    I'm in the process of designing/building a helicopter collective too.
    I've decided to use Hall Sensors for the collective instead of an encoder, and using Atmel 328P with V-USB's USB implementation.

  • Ryan:

    It's cool having a Matt Damon teach us how to make a helicopter collective.

  • Kyle Garrett:

    I don't mean to be abrasive, but, I feel like this could've been done better for the level of effort. Do you know about how the total cost of the project was if you didn't have any of the components (tools aside of course)? I ask because I share your interest and I would like to see how what I would do would compare in cost.

  • Ben T:

    As an engineer, I love this project. As a helicopter pilot, the flying between wires and the approach made me very uncomfortable!

  • Fabien A:

    Hel(l)o. Thank you for this very interesting content. I can see you use a (relatively expensive) encoder that gives you 128 PPR. What's the point, since you could have used a dirt cheap potentiometer on an analog input? There has to be something I don't know, since I'm not in electronics at all. The fact is, I ordered a teensy LC and a few potentiometers to do roughly the same thing (flight controls). To me, the encoder seems rather pointless if you're not going to use it for more than one revolution, whereas a 10 bit reading on a potentiometer could give you a far better resolution (and some room to filter the reading if needed). I don't mean to criticise anything, because I don't have the knowledge to do so in this field, but perhaps someone could explain me. I must be missing something, here.
    For the mechanical side, which is more my thing, congrats! This is a nice design. I might add some counterweight myself, if I had to use it. This way, the friction plates would have almost nothing to do, appart from giving you the resisting effort you want (no need to deal with the weight, thus you reduce the friction needed and end up with a better feeling, theoretically, and no difference between the push and the pull efforts). Maybe I'd try to implement some kind of adjustable neutral position, but that would become a bit more complicated 😉
    But in the end, I'm just typing, and you DID the thing.

  • Ascher Lafayette:

    You built that for arma?

  • Buster Scruggs:

    Get some built , I’ll be glad to buy one ??

  • Francisco Caballero Garcia:

    good morning how are you, I hope well, my name is Francisco and I am from Gran Canaria, Spain, first of all thank you for putting this magnificent project in everyone's hands since it is not easy to achieve something like this .. I have been watching the video and I have seen that you have made the STL files available to everyone, but what I cannot find is the electronics, the connection diagram of the arduino and the MCP 23017i GPIO with its components. Where could I get the electronic connection scheme? And my other question is, do you have plans to improve the project?

    Thank you.

  • Emílio:

    Great project and job. Do you sell only the mechanical kit for me to assemble? Thanks for share. Regards from Brazil.

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