The result of bored stiff engineers asking “How big a jet engine can you strap to your ass?”  





Review the Swift blog below.

August 13, 2012

New Zip File Up:  Seems I hit the maximum allowable model size for the software that compiles the GMax file into a Flight Sim aircraft file.  Also some of the vertices are still collapsing on the very small parts in the virtual cockpit (another bug in the "MakeModel" software).  There is an alternate method but I can't seem to get it to work so far.  So if you guys can accept some flaws for now, I've put a new zip file together with all the new paints and models.  Yes there is plenty of clean up still to do.  I've also included about 250 AI aircraft flight plans so you will see various Swift aircraft on the ramps and in the air (mostly in the Toronto Canada area),   Plus I also added an airport to the Kerguelen Islands (west of Australia)- where there is no actual airport anywhere on the islands.  This  is an interesting place to fly around but too far even from Australia to actually fly to.  Please contact me if you see any problems.
If you want to see this aircraft in different colors, you now can use the same paint kit I have been using.  These are PSP files with layers and masks.  Completed paints then need to be saved as BMP files and then reformatted into mipmaps using DXTBmp which is a graphic program available on many Flight Sim sites.


March 28, 2011

I have not been working on any of these aircraft much lately, but I finally got around to adjusted the shape of the canopy.  Ok, I have done some repaints.
You can see the changes on the new screen captures on the main page.
 The original canopy design was a direct copy of the BD-5J windscreen. In order to place the needed instruments and radios on the instrument panel, its area had to be increased. The only way to go is up, raising the height of the glare shield and obstructing the forward view. That caused the entire forward part of the canopy and in turn, the outside world to be out of the line of sight of the pilot. Also, in the case of a real aircraft, the BD5 could get away with Plexiglas, but a real life Swift would have to have multi layered glass to withstand the force of pressurization and the high speed flight.   All that extra glass would be a large weight and structural penalty.
When I designed the Valkyret (based on the Swift's nose section), I resigned the canopy taking into account these points, tightening it up to leave the canopy frame just out of sight of the pilot, sculpting nice rounded lines more in keeping with the rest of the aircraft, then raising the forward part of the dash to the new canopy edge, which actually provides more room for avionics and other equipment. In light of the canopy changes on the Valkyret, the original Swift canopy didn't make much sense anymore and I have been thinking of changing it for a while.
I've also made progress animating secondary controls and a number of the switches.  Arranging those switches and controls in an order that makes sense for logical and economical checklist flow procedures took a lot of head scratching and I am still working on improvements.  Once I get all this done, I'll release a new ZIP.  In the meanwhile, if you really want the new version, just email me.


Dec 28, 2009

I have finally got the texture mapping working better.  The result is a completely remapped aircraft.  I've also fixed up some scale problems while I was at it.  I've made a bigger texture sheet that includes higher resolution images so that almost everything is on one sheet, with only the chrome and carbon remaining on independent mini sheets.  There are still a few items to be completed before I make the new version available.  I've also made a few new paint schemes using the new texture mapping, including recreating the white paint job from scratch.  You can get a preview on the home page as well as checking out the new video.

Sorry, I still have not made any progress on the switches issue.

I also started to write a flight manual.  It will include info on reduced thrust take-off and cruise.  A few of the people who downloaded this aircraft complained that this bird has too much thrust making it too fast, and squirrelly on take-off... OK>>>  Sure that will happen if you push the "balls to the wall",  but this is not a boat, and real aircraft engines are not actually driven to full power on take-off!  
Real light-aircraft manuals specify a take-off power setting, such as 2700RPM and 28" of manifold pressure for example - in the case of piston engines with a constant speed propellers.  In the jets, we use either "Rated" or "Reduced Thrust take-offs".  Either way, it's well short of the stops for the leavers.
A reduced thrust take-off only uses enough trust to attain V1 and Rotation speed, while also providing sufficient runway length to safely stop the aircraft on the runway remaining after making a Rejected Take-off decision at any time up to V1.  The longer the runway, the less thrust required for the take-off.  The actual thrust setting is determined through a complex calculation based on runway length, runway slope, density altitude, winds, loaded aircraft weight, and also taking into account any non-functional equipment such as anti-lock braking for example.  Needless to say, I will not be providing such charts for this aircraft.  I can say that limiting the N1 to 70% in this aircraft will provide a take-off similar to other light jets (since the wing loading is similar).  If it looks like you are burning up too much runway, well... punch it (the trust leave), and you will jump into the air like a Titan Rocket.
Similar lily for cruise, even fighter aircraft do not run the afterburners all the time.  Mostly they cruise at sub-sonic speeds.  The airliners and business jets cruise in the range of Mach .7 to maybe .83 or so.  Rolling back the thrust leave in the Swift to maintain Mach .8 requires an N1 barely above idle and results in fuel burns depending on altitude as low as 130 lb per hour thereby greatly extending the aircrafts range.  I know it's not as much fun to fly this aircraft sanely, but it can be done.  Try it, you'll see.

July 4, 2009

No big deal changes this  time.  I have been pulling my hair out - again - trying to make sense of the instrument programming documentation.  It is not happening for me.

However, I did add a switch from the stock FS switches, one that I missed on the last update.  This one is for the GPS/Nav tracking function of the auto pilot.  Flip the switch to NAV and the auto pilot will track the VOR or ILS, then flip it the other way to track the GPS - good for those Mach 1.8 trips at FL400 with unlimited fuel set in the OPTIONS menu. 


Jan 09, 2009

And the good news is... I finally got the virtual cockpit figured out.  I had a 16 letter file name for the instrument panel Planar.  It could only be a maximum of 15 letters (knew it had to be something like that)!  It took half a year of digging thought tutorials, documents, and newsgroups to find that little bit of information.  It took one evening to arrange the instruments into the virtual cockpit after that one small change.

Another big change is a redesign of the main landing gear, adding more height and width.  One of the problems with the original gear was that, as the nose was raised during the landing flair (in order to clear the nose wheel), the aircraft would start to climb again (because this aircraft is so overpowered).  Pushing the nose down lead to wheel barrelling, taking the aircraft right off the end of the runway while never getting a change to get the brakes or reverse thrust into the act.  Yes, I kept crashing!!  So if I (with over 15,000 hours on real aircraft including jet airliners) can't land this aircraft, how can the average flight sim pilot pull it off.  The new mains put the aircraft into a completely different stance while static on the ground.  In flight, the gear dangles below the nose gear, meaning the flair may be much less nose up, getting the mains to touch earlier allowing the brakes and reverse thrust to be applied sooner.  If the speed over the fence is correct, it will now land in a reasonable distance, (still hard to tell what that is in the simulation).

I've also finished more of the texture mapping so the aircraft is looking more complete.  And yes, more tweaks to the air file, resulting in better high altitude performance.


Oct 10, 2008

 As you may have read below, the files got corrupted.  Lucky for me, I had backups of the build all along but to grab all those separate files and put the aircraft together again was a huge job.  Can't believe how massive a project this little aircraft has become.  I am still having problems with the instruments not showing up in the virtual cockpit.  Anyone know where I could get some help?  I also put together a new computer to help with the developement of this project.  I did manage to get a left and right side of the fuselage to work, as well as adding texture maps to the pilot.  She looks much better now.


July 24,2008

"No, I can't leave that flight dynamics file alone".  So what did I do?  Increased the flap and slats range.  Now full flap is at 52 degrees.  Yes - landing is easier.
The good news... finally have textures on the fuselage.  The bad news, that texture is mirroring while I actually applied separate textures to the left and the right sides.  I can't figure out why it is showing the left side texture on both sides???$%^&???  There are a few more parts textured as well, like all the chrome anti-icing surfaces, but again, one (the right wing leading edge) is not cooperating.
The wheels have also been redone.  For some reason (again I don't know why) the hubs were visible through the tires.  The fix was to start from scratch.  New wheels!  I also finally got them to rotate (took long enough eh), and switch between "still" and "blurred" (now if someone could tell me why my turbine section of the engine does not spin).  Also finally got the nose wheel stirring to work.
So after all that, more bad news.  I saved two copies of the last GMax file of the complete aircraft, and would you beleive both files are corrupted!  The good new to counter this... I have saved separate parts all along, so I am now merging all those bits.
The Virtual cockpit is also well under way and included in this last version of the aircraft, but... I still can't figure out why the instruments are not showing up and no one on any of the news groups has been able to help me out.
So the saga continues...

 June 17, 2008

Finally have the new flap system and control surfaces all animated.  Added a new fancy red smoke system off both wingtips.  And more work on the flight dynamics (like what else is new)!  Better takeoff performance by moving the main gear forward. Also decreased the engine intake drag resulting in a speed increase from Mach 1.68 to 1.78 at sea level, as high as 1.81 at altitude and over 2.3 in a vertical dive from FL500.

April 1, 2008

Didn't do much modeling, but I've been working on the flight dynamics file.  It turns out I've misinterpreted Microsoft's explanation of a data field for loading the tail surface area.  After getting that changed, there is a marked improvement in takeoff run, low altitude handling, and the ability to really pull back on the stick and pull some G's.  At Mach 1.7, it takes so long to actually see a heading change while in a normal angle of back.  Now, you just crank it over to 90 degrees and pull 10 G's full back on the stick.  The screen blacks out, but you can still see the instruments - so just giver!

March 24, 2008

Major reworking of the flight dynamics file and the model.  It's still not complete but flyable all the same.  Missing animation include the Flaps, Spoilers, Reverse Thrust, and Ailerons so don't get excited when you see they do not work.  I also still have to start the virtual cockpit, and custom instruments.

March 13, 2008

Ok… that’s why they build prototypes!

The HD – 1 just would not stabilize at high speed below 10,000 ft ASL.  Once I got a decent pilots yoke, I found that the horizontal stab would develop Mach flutter when the aircraft approached Mach 1.55 or so. The aircraft would lose control, and crash unless one got the speed back fast enough to regain control.  In the real world, the tail would have left the aircraft in such conditions.

The great thing about Flight Sim is that one can develop a new “air file”, and test the aircraft without having to model a new 3D representation.  I kept trying different sweep angles and wingspans, finding that a 45-degree sweep and a shorter wingspan greatly improved the handling.

While investigating other air files to see what various developers have done, I have found that quite a few effectively “cheated” so their air file looks nothing like that actual aircraft.   I actually found a few sonic aircraft where the air file had no sweep at all, and all surfaces were along the longitudinal axis of the aircraft.  That just will not work in real life.  In this case, my first 3D model looks different enough from the current air file that I am  not satisfied to use the model.  My new air file looks like the new 3D model with the exception of the placement of the tail which makes up for the fact that there is no Mach trim available with in Flight Sim.

Ok… Back to the drawing board.  Actually to those earlier saved files.  A bit of cutting and pasting of 3D bits and I’m now developing “Mark II” as the Brits would say.  If you check out the screen capture, you will see the original placement of the NAV lights.  From those, it’s easy to see how much more sweep angle there is, how much less wingspan, and also the increased sweep of the Horizontal Stab.   The wing area has been kept the same, so the chord at the wing root is wider, the leading edge is moved forward, and the fuselage lengthened a corresponding amount.

Ok… So it’s a lot more work while I thought I was coming toward the completion of this project.  I also had some scaling problems and this takes care of that.  For my money, I think the new configuration looks F@#$%^&*kin’ HOT.  Now, on to importing the wing root fairings, cockpit, pilot, landing gear, making new spoilers, re-animating everything, etc, etc.


Dec 9, 2007

No pictures this time, but I have done a lot of small items that take more time to do.  The spoiler wells, and landing gears wells are now separate parts and are not modeled while the spoilers or gear are covering their wells, therefore causing less drag on frame rates.  I've also refined the 3D pilot so her skin does not look so blocky.  And I've also been playing with Afterburner effects, and have an early version of a flame here.


Oct 16, 2007

Working on some of the details, a temporary indigo-black paint job along with silver leading edges representing anti-icing panels.  I've also compressed the files required to fly this aircraft into a zip file.

Oct 3,2007

Finally some real progress.  Been working on the flight dynamics and I've finally got an aircraft that flies the way it should.  Just did a flight at sea level at Mach 1.68 and at FL400 (40,000ft) indicating Mach 1.72.  WOW!  Also got a set of lights to work.


Sept 20,2007

Ok, I've got the model reduced in size so it looks correct within Flight Sim.  But I am not getting anywhere on the missing parts, texture, and lighting.

  The Flight dynamics are also still not right.  HELP!!!  The good news is that I have a flyable instrument panel.  It needs to be cleaned up a bit and some of the instruments need to have the scales adjusted but it allows me to fly the aircraft. :)  I also have a girl in the pilots seat.  She took a while to get the dimensions correct - "sort of".  Still need to do her hands, improve her face, and make her head turn and arms move along with movements of the controls.


Aug 28, 2007

Ok... Here is another project... as if I don't have enough already.  I got going with this a while ago and now it is like a puzzle that keeps bugging me to get together.  

It all started with the BD-5J Microsoft Flight Sim virtual aircraft model.  This is the virtual copy of the vary real, and very tiny aircraft designed by Jim BeeDee back in the 70's.  It is only just over four feet tall to the top of the rudder, yet flies well over three hundred MPH!

The BD-5J went fast, but I wanted faster.  I added more thrust to the model within Flight Sim, (yes, you can do that).  The BD-5J is a tiny aircraft and a perfect size for ripping around low level in the game (I did not want to load some kind of military fighter).  But; going faster creates other problems.  I encountered Mach tuck and control problems at higher Mach numbers.  Then I learned that I would not be able to modify a virtual aircraft model designed by someone else, "build your own" is what I was told.  OK!  I studied the tutorials and the news groups, and all the info I could find and the HD-1 Swift is the end result so far, see the design below.

While putting my ideas together, I spent a bit of time with Paint Shop Pro, did some cutting and pasting, and came up with this initial design from the dream factory.  It needed to have swept back wings to enable high Mach or even transonic flight.  Swept wings and winglets are a part of that equation.  One problem of the BD-5J as modified with more thrust, is the high thrust line.  It needed almost full up elevator to keep the nose from being driven down by the jet exhaust.  Lowering the thrust line would help solve that issue.  Jamming an engine as big as possible inside that small fuselage diameter also meant there would need to be a fuselage stretch.  OK, that makes it more streamline.  I kept the wings long for a high aspect ratio despite the envisioned speed because... because... I'd like it to go to space???  And just to have some fun, double slotted fowler flaps with leading edge slats, spoilerons, ground spoilers, tail mounted speed brakes, and trailing link landing gears with dual wheels on all three legs.  Click the image to the right.  These three images are a screen capture from GMax - the 3D software I am modeling it in.  All the moving parts are in darker red while the white and lighter red are an initial texture.

The model is yet not complete, and I have a list of things to do below.  Most of these are things I can't figure out or have not found tutorials for.  If anyone knows of someone who has built flight sim aircraft who could help, please have them contact me at hd@dickert.ca or 905 315-9779.

This image in flight is the model with a template aircraft air file, just to test the moving parts.  I am now working on a set of flight dynamics to make it respond the way I envision.


So the list...

  • Get the dynamics figured out so it actually flies!!!
  • Reset the scale of the model so it appears within flight sim at the correct size.  No luck finding help on this on yet.
  • Make some of the aircraft parts two sided so they do not disappear.  The 3D modelers know what I am talking about with this one.
  • Figure out how to put a proper texture on the model (the paint job).
  • Model a pilot, and design her texture.
  • Model wheels for use at high speeds (I've got the still wheels on the model).
  • Make LOD models to include in the MDL file.  (Flight sim substitutes models with lower levels of detail as the aircraft gets further away.  This helps to unload the computers processor and video card).
  • Model a virtual cockpit (this is a big one).