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CA$ 21,882 pledged of CA$ 25,000 goal
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By Doc Holloway
CA$ 21,882 pledged of CA$ 25,000 goal
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About

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If you are like many people looking to the skies, envying the birds, and dream of soaring through the clouds have I got something for you. 

I remember running down hills as a boy with my hands stretched out and leaping into the air, wishing I could fly. I took up paragliding and have experienced what the birds do and it is even better than I imagined. A near fatal crash brought me to my senses.

More people dream of flying than ever before, but for many this dream never goes beyond this stage. The cost of obtaining a pilot’s license is very high and once you have it, the expense of owning or renting a flying machine is only for the wealthy.

This, as well as family and business responsibilities have kept many of us grounded, staring, and the clouds in frustration.

The most practical solution for many has been flying on the computer; affordable, safe and not time restrictive, but not totally real.  Numerous companies have tried to market powered flight simulators, but none have been affordable or reliable. Other companies have tried to narrow the gap with simulator cockpits.

  • CH Pro marketed a desk, priced at over $500, which has mounts for the joystick and other controls.
  • Hot Seat, a fancy chair with a sound system and control mounting brackets that sells for just under $2000 if you do not add too many options.
  • First Class Simulations produced a chair similar to the Hot Seat got rave reviews because it is affordable at just under a thousand dollars.

These products include no controls, screens, or computer, but most of all “NO MOVEMENT!”

At $1999.99 with the stick controls,(rudder pedals are optional) the Cloud-Flyer cockpit gives more realism and value than any product on the market.

For more than ten years, I have been building motion flight simulators, based on my patented System, which balances the cockpit in level flight; pressure on the control stick upsets the equilibrium, tilting the cockpit into the appropriate attitude. Sensors under the seat capture the direction and degree of movement and send it to a PC loaded with simulation software.

How Realistic is it

The best way I have to guage that is that experienced pilots catch on right away, simulator pilots struggle a little at first and beginners take about 10 minutes to catch on.The better the pilot, the better it works for them. The reason my system is special is a real airplane it doesn’t go exactly where you point it like an arcade game, but requires you lead in and out of a maneuver or oscillation will result. Without correction it can bring down a Piper cub or a 747. For the powered simulators, oscillation is difficult to create and ignored. The Cloud-Flyer does it automatically, producing more realistic action than the most exotic simulators, with the following advantages:

  • doesn’t take a lot of space, it fits in a closet,
  • doesn’t require a main frame computer, it will run off a notebook
  • doesn’t require a team of techies to keep it running
  • doesn’t cost millions of dollars

 Bob Smith, an ex-army helicopter instructor compared it to the blue canoe and bump and grind simulator said it was the best he had ever used. A little long but great evaluation of the DreamFlyer

Many of the prototypes worked great, like the Dream Flyer that made it into production, others not so great. Hear is what the press has to say.

Production Dreamflyer
Production Dreamflyer

 After retiring from the Dream Flyer project, I developed several different designs trying to correct it's problems. In 2011, I built six Cloud-Flyers feeling I had accomplished what I wanted. Unfortunately,while they worked perfectly they were too expensive to build and ship. Back to the drawing board and the Phoenix, which turned out flawed, but it did provide a simpler trim and a smaller, better Cloud-Flyer. 

Cloud Flyer prototype
Cloud Flyer prototype
Phoenix prototype
Phoenix prototype

 This new Cloud Flyer 2 design is a breakthrough, compact, less expensive, and better performing than my previous simulators.

Cloud Flyer 2 prototype
Cloud Flyer 2 prototype
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International Manufacturing

Because of the interest shown and the participation of Saitek, several people have inquired about licensing the design for production in other countries. I am presently negotiating for partnerships in Europe, USA and Australia. I'm very confident that these negotiations will be finalized before the Kickstarter campaign ends. This will result in much lower shipping cost and far better service than I could hope to provide from Canada.

Who can use it?

 Pilots, when you haven’t flown for a while, you forget where some of the gauges and switches are positioned. Spend a couple of hours on the Cloud-Flyer to re-familiarize yourself with the instrument layout and your flying field. Brushing up on flight procedures in a Cloud-Flyer requires no discipline… forcing yourself to get off it eventually, - well that is another matter.” 

If you are a gamer and like regular or combat simulators, you'll love the Cloud-Flyer, it works great with all of them, unfortunately you'll have to fly it like a real airplane, not an arcade game.

Air forces and airlines realize that a small amount of movement fools the inner ear into believing that flight is really happening and use motion simulators extensively for training.

New pilots and students will be able to refine their feel of the controls and gain confidence for a more reasonable cost. Flight instructors, who have experienced the Cloud-Flyer claim it is the most realistic simulator they have used.

Controller

One of the biggest challenges of this project has been the controller. Mad Catz has come to my rescue with the new Saitek X55 Rhino. It is as close to perfect as I could imagine and they are sending me sample to see how it can be modified for the project. This may delay the delivery of product, but it will make for a superior controller.

Extra Monitors

As this project came together several people suggested... no demanded that it work with three monitors.

 The Cloud-Flyer uses the weight of the pilot for trim. The mechanism will let you balance in excess of fifty extra pounds on the front. That means that unless you weigh under a hundred pounds soaking wet and mount three heavy monitors you will be able to balance with just the trim.

The kit will convert the Cloud-Flyer to a 26' or 24"center with two 24" side monitors. 

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What you get

  • Powder coated cockpit,adjustable for extra tall or short pilot with trim
  • Customized Saitek X 55 controller for pitch and roll
  • Single monitor mount (monitor not included)

Options

  • Three monitor mount (monitors not included)
  • Rudder pedals

Where am I now?

The design has been finalized in CAD, prototypes constructed and well tested. All the parts have been scrutinized to be certain they function as required and we are ready for production. 

Penticton Fabrication, who have done a terrific job on my prototypes over the years have agreed to build the framework. They work to my exact specifications, constructing a superior product. The first five production units are under construction.

  www.cloud-flyer.com

Why Kickstarter?

That brings me to the present, I could pump out hand-built one-off Cloud-Flyers, but to start production I need money for parts, tooling, molds, jigs etc.

If you have read this far, chances are, you are as excited and want one. With your help, I can produce a high quality unit at a very reasonable cost.

Shipping 

I am getting lots of inquiries from Europe and Australia and the biggest concern is shipping, and rightly so. One of my objectives with the Cloud-Flyer 2 was flat packing. Except for the chair this was obtained. It uses a standard office chair 6 x 10.25 bolt pattern so I can reduce the package size to half by letting you find your own chair. I'll also credit $100 to shipping. The longest, widest part is 30 x 27 so I should be able to package under 5 cu ft.

Milestones

  • June 2013 Prototype Cloud-Flyer built, tested and refined for two years.
  • March 2014 Negotiation to have custom  controllers built will be concluded.
  • February 2014 Fabrication shop has been given the go ahead to build the first production Cloud-Flyers
  • June 2014  Orders should be shipping.

Risks and challenges

Some of the parts suppliers, like the seat and joystick, still have to be finalized. This is not a problem as I have used off the shelf parts for years and can do the same, but it may cause a short delay of delivery.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 1 or more About $0.77

    All contributions for helping this project will be gratefully accepted and I will keep you informed on this and other project, but most of all you will receive my undying gratitude. I will also send you an ebook copy of a twisted history, aviation adventure which I published. I wasn't a best seller, but I think it would make a great movie and I'm sure you will enjoy it. In appreciation of all contributors you will be locked in at the $1799 price if you decide to purchase a Cloud Flyer in the next year.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 25 or more About $19

    Coming up with rewards that would be appreciated is a challenge. I thought of t-shirts and remembered my rag bag in the shop and decided that I would not contribute to yours, then I remembered some pewter key chains I had made for my store.

    I decided that pilot wings would be perfect and they could be offered as a key chain or a pin... PERFECT!

    shipping will depend on location

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    Pledge CA$ 150 or more About $116

    A kit to convert the Cloud Flyer to three monitors. It will be shipped with your Cloud Flyer

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    Pledge CA$ 799 or more About $616

    if you are creative, capable, on a tight budget and want a "Cloud Flyer" now, I will send you the mechanical parts to finish yourself. This is not going to too difficult using an X 52 or something with a separate throttle. No electronics, not powder-coated, no seat, but all the complex parts and instruction you will need to custom finish it. You will save money at the expense of your knuckles, but no one will have a simulator like it.

    shipping will be dependent on your location

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 1,699 or more About $1,310

    Early Birds that commit to helping me get into production. I will send you the wings and one of the first "Cloud Flyers", powder-coated in your favorite color with pewter number plate proclaiming it made especially for you with a serial number 0002 - 0025. Commit quickly to get a lower number and this introductory price.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 1,799 or more About $1,387

    Kickstarters who missed the early birds will still get a great deal because you are helping me go into full production. These will later coming off the production line and not have my fingerprints on them. They will be shipped in the order they are ordered. The colors will be limited to whatever early birds like most, probably black, red and blue.

    shipping will be dependent on location

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 5,000 or more About $3,855

    Cloud Flyer number one is going to be special. I'm going to include the rudder pedals, a super nice chair, a 26" monitor and the kit for three monitors. The purchaser will have the choice of colors and a serial number plaque announcing it was made specifically for him or her and it is the first... "Number One"

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Funding period

- (30 days)