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Dakota Norway visits MPS

Last week Dakota Norway has visited the MPS factory. Alongside DDA pilot Tom van Hoorn they have trained on the DC-3 simulator. They have mentioned several times that the DC-3 simulator has exceeded every expectation and that they will definately be back for more training. Of course they are very welcome.

A lot of training is already performed on the DC-3 simulator. This means addtional training and items you just cannot train on the aircraft itself. Not necessarely all this training has to be performed on an approved device. The simulator is ready for certification which is expected in the next few months. 

Mikey McBryan flies the DC3 simulator

Mikey McBryan is Buffalo Airways general manager and is a Reality TV Personality from Northern Canada. He is mostly known for his Television show Ice Pilots NWT. Buffalo Airways runs a fleet of legendary aircraft including a DC-3. Mikey visited MPS together with the Dutch Dakota Associations to fly the Dakota simulator. Together with his girlfriend Stella he spend most of his afternoon at the MPS production facility near Utrecht, the Netherlands. Mikey was impressed with the fidelity and flying behaviour of the Dakota simulator. He enjoyed multiple stalls and barrel rolls, but Stella got a bit nauseous. Mikey has written about it on his popular facebook page.

 Mikey McBryan and Stella

Mikey with the MPS crew

 

MPS DC-3 in the news

Vliegen in Nederland has published an item about the first DC-3 simulator training. 

CAT Magazine has published an item about our DC-3 simulator in their latest issue.

Business News Radio (BNR) has extensively covered the safety aspects and the technology behind the development of the DC-3 simulator. 

Piloot en Vliegtuig is a Dutch Monthly magazin, covering aviation news. In their September 2015 issue they cover MPS' DC-3 simulator story extensively.

Het kan in Groenekan

Klassiker der Lufthfahrt (aviation classics) is a well established German magazin and website covering developments related to classic airplanes. In its august issue the magazin covered the inauguration of the DC-3 and its value in training for its German readers.

Klassiker der Luftfahrt

 

Inauguration DC-3

On the 16th of July the DC-3 simulator was inaugurated by Anne Cor Groeneveld, founder of the Dutch Dakota Association, and carries the name "Prince Bernhard".

 

 

RTV-Utrecht @ MPS

Thursday the 16th of July, a big day for the DC-3 simulator!
Before the inauguration a crew of RTV-Utrecht made a news item about the DC-3 and its second life as a simulator.

RTV-Utrecht interview

Interview with Dick Verburg, founder and president of MPS, on the DC-3 project of MPS by the regional TV station de Bilt.

Oog op de Bilt

From Wreckage to Flight Simulator

March 19, 2015

Over the past couple of months, a considerable amount of time has been spent on the construction of the world’s first Dakota DC-3 fixed base flight simulator. At this moment, all the primary flight controls are powered through a control loading system to provide realistic control forces. All gauges are working and an in-house developed flight model has been implemented and is currently being tested. There is still work to be done on several secondary systems, such as the gear lever, flap, safety latch and the diamond stitched upholstery. The following is an impression of the work that has been carried out so far.

When the cockpit arrived, it soon became clear that it was in a very bad state. Windows were broken, the fuselage had holes in it, flight controls were stuck and the structure was rotten in several places. The cockpit was completely stripped after which it underwent an extensive overhaul that included cleaning, sand blasting, grinding and was given a complete interior and exterior paint job.

Since the flight simulator is fixed base, the decision was made to design a frame with a permanent angle of 5 degrees to resemble the nose-up attitude of the aircraft when it is on the ground.

The Important Role of MPS Electronics

March 10, 2015

MPS Electronics GmbH is located in Dresden Germany and is responsible for designing, producing and installing the electronic systems and panels in the MPS simulators. Steffen Herberg is the Managing Director of MPS Electronics. He had this to say about the important role his organization played in the realization of the DC-3 project: ” The DC-3 simulator was a very exciting project for us. We had to develop and build almost everything based on pictures and measurements we got from the real plane. Normally we make complex simulator electronics and panels for our A320 and B737 products.

As you can imagine the DC-3 was quite different: in a DC-3 there are not so many switches, lights and analogue signals to control and therefore we developed a special electronic system called “MPS link” based on modern TCP/IP technology. Like this, we could establish communication with every cockpit component. All the legacy gauges for the engines, flaps, fuel and voltage were a real challenge. We obtained a few real units which we had to refurbish and adapt to our electronics. All the round engine instruments are completely redesigned based on our “MPS link” electronics. The same applies to all the panels. We were able to use some industrial switches and lamps but a few are self-made.  We worked in close collaboration with a local company called “PTZ” to make all those one of a kind prototypes. We had to make CAD drawings, develop electronic CAD, program micro controllers and much more. Everybody from MPS electronics was very excited about this project and it was a lot of fun for us to build this simulator and give the “Old Lady” a second life.”

Mechanical design

March 8, 2015

The next step was to make a mechanical design for connecting the primary flight controls to the servo motors. Four channels are used: aileron (CPT/ FO), elevator and rudder. Underneath the cockpit, all the original mechanical parts are being used. Aft of the cockpit, the cables are connected to several sprockets and cable wheels, bridging almost 80 years of technology.

DC-3 Simulator Almost Ready

March 2, 2015

After many months of development, design work, restoration and handicraft, the DC-3 cockpit is almost ready. All the instruments have been added and connected. The cockpit has been completely renovated. It’s really amazing to compare the result to the wreckage we found over a year ago. It is now as good as new!

No longer a wreckage

March 1, 2015

The cockpit interior has been reconstructed and is based on the Dakota with callsign PH-PBA, which is owned by the DDA. Technical drawings of the instrument panel and overhead were not available which is why, various measurements had to be taken in the aircraft.

The next step was to make a mechanical design for connecting the primary flight controls to servo motors. Four channels are used: aileron (CPT/ FO), elevator and rudder. Underneath the cockpit, all the original mechanical parts are being used. Aft of the cockpit, the cables are connected to several sprockets and cable wheels, bridging almost 80 years of technology.

Visit Of The King’s Commissioner

February 19, 2015

On November 26th 2014 MPS hosted a delegation of politicians in their Dutch factory. The King’s commissioner for the province of Utrecht, Mr. van Beek, and the mayor of de Bilt, Mr. Gerritsen, together with aldermen and politicians from the province visited MPS in Groenekan. After a presentation and tour of the factory, members of the delegation flew in MPS simulators and were shown the progress that has been made on the DC-3 simulator. Using existing simulators illustrated what a powerful tool the DC3 simulator will become for flight training.

King’s Commissioner inspects progress on the DC-3 simulator

MPS supports the Broken Dreams Story

December 26, 2013

Suzanne van Leendert decided to make a documentary about the history of a specific Dakota. This particular DC-3, with registration F-BAIF, was produced in 1944 in Oklahoma City.  She brought the history to life by interviewing people whose paths had crossed with this Dakota. She interviewed ‘Rosie the Riveters’, stewardesses, mechanics, pilots and owners who all had their stories to tell about F-BAIF.

Dick Verburg With Remnants of F-BAIF
After serving for almost 70 years, F-BAIF was in a pretty bad shape. During transportation it was severely damaged. The plane was cut into pieces on September 16, 2013. MPS acquired the cockpit of this DC-3. The cockpit was separated from the fuselage and transported to the MPS factory in Groenekan. The plan is to build the world’s first DC-3 simulator to train future Dakota pilots. Dick Verburg, founder of MPS, was interviewed by Suzanne as one of the people who helps to keep the dream of the Dakota alive. Suzanne van Leendert interviewed Dick to learn more about his plans to build the simulator. Apart from the one hour documentary “Broken Dreams”, Suzanne wrote, together with Barry McCabe, a book about her findings. The book with the same title can be ordered here. MPS plans are described in detail in the epilogue of this book.

Dick Verburg and Suzanne van Leendert With F-BAIF Cockpit

Finding DC-3 Cockpit

September 19, 2013

It is not easy to find a suitable DC-3 cockpit which can be used for the project. The Dakota Hunter offered to help: in 2010 a DC-3 was transported to Valkenburg in the Netherlands. It was to be used as a prop in the Dutch musical “Soldier of Orange”. However, the plane crashed while crossing a viaduct and reached its destination severely damaged.

Damaged DC-3 at Valkenburg ©Suzanne van Leendert

For 3 years the DC-3 lay in a field and was slowly corroding away.For many years now Hans Wiesman has been hunting Dakotas all over the world. He is always looking for parts that can be used by his company Avionart. This company offers a unique collection of vintage aviation art, aircraft furniture and interior decoration objects. He decided to buy the remains of the DC-3 and dismantle the plane. The plane was obviously in a very bad shape after being in the open air for many years after the fatal transportation accident. A lot of the fuselage parts were badly corroded or shattered. The plane was obviously beyond restoration, but by splitting the plane up in smaller parts we can keep the memory and soul of the aircraft alive.

MPS decides to build the first DC-3 simulator

February 19, 2013

MPS started with a DC-3 project in 2014 for a number of reasons. It would be a great challenge and good experience for its engineers to build a simulator from a classic airplane. It would require its software engineers to build a software model based on limited reference data. It would require its mechanical engineers to restore old components and make mechanical parts interface with digital systems and MPS’ avionics engineers would have to build all the instruments and electronic circuits to work with the software program.

DC-3 F-BAIF ©Ted Wolfgang Rampey, Jan Visser, Maam-Sim

MPS DC-3 simulator will be the first and only simulator of its kind. Since hundreds of DC-3’s are still flying today it will give many pilots the opportunity to carry out a large part of their training in a simulator. Lastly it would help the Dutch Dakota Association (DDA) in promoting the use of classic airplanes. Dick Verburg, founder of MPS, is an ambassador of the DDA and has been the driving force behind getting this project off the ground.