There’s been a fair bit of news in the hardware area of the flight simulator industry recently and I’ve been very behind on keeping tabs on things. Today I do a round-up from two companies pushing forward with some new products, offering sales, and looking to the future. I am of course talking about VKB-Sim and VIRPIL. Let’s have a look!
VIRPIL sales and competition winners
VIRPIL has had a busy year with the launch of two new throttles, new accessories, and a contest to help determine the designs for some new control panels. They also have a sale on right now.
From 17th December 6pm GMT until 25th December 11:59pm GMT, VIRPIL is having a 10% off sale on all available items. That means that if it’s in stock, 10% off is available. Have a look at the announcement here.
Meanwhile, the winners of the control panel contest for jet, piston, helicopter and spacecraft have all been announced. The results will inform final control panel design(s) that VIRPIL will be producing next year. In the announcement, VIRPILreported:
We look forward to developing our lineup of control panel devices and while we do not promise to 100% accurately reflect the winning design of each category, the community competition has been instrumental in letting us know what everyone wants to see! Stay tuned for more news on this project!VIPRIL.com
Helicopter fans apparently made the biggest community contribution because VIRPIL reported that the helicopter panel received the biggest number of votes earning the designer a community choice award. Nice!
VKB-Sim comes back swinging with F-14 grip, new mounting solution, throttle in future?
I haven’t had much to say about VKB-Sim recently because most of what we were hearing from them seemed to be a “status quo” but we’ve seen some movement from the company recently with new product announcements, more items in stock on their store, and I am genuinely excited by some of their latest announcements.
First up, the F-14 Combat Grip is moving it’s way towards a full release in partnership with Heatblur and using detailed 3D scans made by the Heatblur team when modeling the DCS: F-14 module. Those interested can join a wait list which VKB-Sim will use to gauge interest in the stick with release expected in 2020. More information is available on the announcement here as well as at the North American store.
VKB-Sim has also been busy with some other developments including a twist adapter for the MCG and MCG Pro finally becoming available and an all new mounting solution they are calling UCM Stronghold.
UCM Stronghold is meant to be a basis for several different mounting configurations including the ability to mount or adapt for keyboards, tablets and other accessories.
They have their cadet, Ace “C” and Space Ace variants of the configuration that they have mocked up and appear to be intending to offer to customers soon. So soon that they have released videos describing how to do a setup for your home cockpit or flight sim rig.
Finally, VKB have taken the wraps off of their new Gunfighter III base. Featuring redesigned spring and cams, new tougher materials, and an effort to make as much of the stick digital as possible reducing the number of contact points and improving potential reliability issues in the future.
The move to digital also apparently means that their black box product can now know if you have a left and right handed grip which should ease configuration.
The Gunfighter III is apparently already shipping so new product packages on their store will now include the Mark III variant instead. VKB-Sim have also said that the Mark I is upgradable to Mark III configuration.
TECS throttle finally coming?
VKB-Sim’s TECS throttle announcement was one of the most popular posts on Stormbirds in the last couple of years. Everyone, myself included, were very excited by the possibilities of a VKB-Sim developed throttle. Unfortunately, development has been exceedingly slow though there now may be some light at the end of the tunnel finally.
In a reply to a query about the throttle on r/HOTAS, the VKB-Sim rep replied with the following:
Throttle is coming. It all depends on how long you are prepared to wait. As you know, our policy is no deadlines: the product is released when we all agree it is _good_ and worth our badge, not when it is good time to release it, or because some other companies are preparing similar goods.
But I believe it is safe to say now we are months away, not years.VKB-Sim on r/HOTAS
Stay tuned for more on that!