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BFF Control Loader System

For some other CL system related images see the Gallery

Some Customer Installations


Air Tractor Training Simulator (Alberta, Canada)


Western Air Spray Training SimulatorAt the back end of 2014 I supplied a 3-axis pre-assembled control loader drive to Western Air Spray in Canada. It was installed in their new Air Tractor simulator this year and saw initial service at a trade show this spring (2015).


The system uses double stage chain reductions for its transmission which work well but are reported by the builder to be fairly maintenance intensive.


More details of the build are provided on a dedicated web page here....


Cessna 182RG Project (France)


BFF DIY Flight Yoke

Yoke mechanism with card enclosure


BFF DIY Flight Yoke

Motor driver cards and power supply in enclosure...

Here's a recent customer's implementation of the DIY FFB Flight Yoke in a Cessna 182RG simulator in France. The yoke mechanism is located behind the instrument panelling and the BLDRV-12/24 motor driver cards are installed in the electrical enclosure next to it.


Benjamin has done a great job on both the mechanical and electrical build with a few subtle modifications for belt tightening and structure stiffening. He hopes soon to add an update on the system on his web site here... (site in French)






Heavy Jet Builds


The BFF control loader drive and software isn't only suitable for use in the DIY FFB Flight Yoke design shown here. It can also be built into other designs of flight controls. This includes twin flight column setups typically seen in heavy jet cockpits. Several customers have taken this approach and implemented force feel in their heavy jet cockpits (including in sims used for flight training).


The force output of the system is effectively only limited by the design of the mechanical transmission which connects the drive motors to the controls (although good quality design and components are required so as not to compromise the good force feel).


Below are a few examples....


Czech DC-9 Project


This Douglas DC-9 cockpit restoration project is a work in progress in the Czech Republic. The team intend eventually to add control loading to all three control axes and at present the elevator force feedback is up and running and integrated with the original cockpit control mechanisms.


For more information see the Photos and Videos sections of the project's web site.


The CL drive on the elevator uses a motor / planetary gear head with crank arm to apply the force feedback to the flight column. This is proving effective in transmitting the loading without backlash into the control mechanisms. The design target peak force in the elevator axis is 20 kgf (44lbf) which is a fairly hefty load to grapple with....


Here are a couple of videos from the team showing first the elevator control loading in action, and then some views of the under floor mechanisms.




The drive gear box aluminium crank arm can just be seen at the back in this video....




Thanks to Pavel and Petr for allowing linking to their movie clips...

SWESIM 737 Simulator

SWESIM now have a 2 axis BFF CL system fully operational on their 737-800 simulator in Sweden (web site in Swedish).

Theirs is a very interesting build also. They have taken a different route to that described below for the AERSIM project to the design of the mechanical transmissions which connect the CL system brushless drive motors to the flight controls. They have used a drive motor with directly fitted planetary gear head and crank arm for the elevator drive, and an interesting cable wire and pulley drive to their aileron axis.

The gear head option provides a mechanically simpler method than the belt pulley reduction units used by Romek (see below) and is an attractive solution to consider so long as a good quality gear head is used.

Here are a couple of YouTube videos showing their system during build and commissioning...

This first video shows the flight control mechanical assembly before installation - you can clearly view the motors and transmission mechanisms - an interesting build!

This second clip shows the system installed and during setup and commissioning. 

SWESIM reports that the system is now fully operational and getting "very positive" feedback from real B737 pilots who have tested the sim.

Many thanks to Erik at SWESIM for allowing me to link to their site and videos.



AERSIM 747 Simulator

Aersim 747 Simulator


Romek Delimata's Aersim 747 Simulator - fitted with the BFF Flight Control Loading system.

AERSIM 747 Simulator


The BFF flight control loading system has recently been installed by Romek Delimata on his Boeing 747 simulator near Dublin.


Romek has designed his own drive mechanisms to interface the brushless drive motors to his existing elevator, aileron and rudder controls. A single brushless motor is used to drive each axis of the dual-control set up.


The CL system consists of 3 BLDRV-12/24 cards driving 3 brushless motors all instructed by the BFF CL Software. The 747 sim runs FSX.


In addition to the normal variable force feel and force trim effects to the simulator the CL system also introduces believable vibration effects into all the controls. Some of this vibration also transmits into the airframe. The effect is to bring the controls alive with variable vibration levels which reflect the level of engine thrust or runway speeds.


Romek has also suggested adding spoiler buffeting, other vibration effects such as landing gear air buffeting would be worth considering.


Customer Comment: "The BFF force feedback system is the biggest single improvement I've added to the simulator in the 12 years I've been working on it, having proper FFB provides a quantum leap in realism and makes it far easier and more intuitive for professional pilots to fly, the FFB provides all sorts of subtle yet very powerful cues that really connect you with the forces acting on the aircraft, in my opinion it's better then a motion system - I can't recommend the BFF FFB system highly enough - well done Ian on a ground breaking product."


Here are a few photos showing some of the drive setup - thanks to Romek for allowing me to use these. The image below shows the elevator and aileron mechanisms which are located under the floor of the sim.


BFF Control Loader System

Both the elevator and rudder controls are driven by a crank arm / connecting rod arrangement. The connecting rod connects a short crank arm on a 2 stage belt reduction unit to a longer crank arm added to the existing elevator pivot mechanism. A similar efficient back-driveable reduction could be achieved using a planetary gearhead mounted on the motor.

FFB Drive Crank Mechanism details

The aileron control axis is driven by roller chain to which the aileron axis brushless motor is interfaced.

You can see some of the aileron roller chain in the image left - the chain loops up each flight column to the control wheels. The whole of the aileron drive mechanism is mounted on the pivoted elevator assembly.

Unfortunately the rudder pedal drive mechanism is snugly fitted under the panel area and can't be seen all that clearly in photos. However it utilises an identical 2 stage belt reduction unit and crank arm to drive the existing dual pedal mechanism to produce the force feedback.






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