The VSKYLABS Aeroprakt A22-LS Project for X-Plane by laminar research has reached final preparations for version v1.0. The aircraft is now being prepared for its first flight in *your* hands, including the required manuals, documentations and other accessories such as "The Hand"...an easy to use *on-the-go* 3D checklist companion (Work-In-Progress screen shot is attached to this post). Release of version v1.0 is expected by the end of April 2021, if all goes as planned.
Project announcement: The VSKYLABS Test-Pilot: TT-3 Project!
Time has come (actually already came, about a year ago), and the VSKYLABS C-47 Project has reached its designated *split* milestone, where a completely new variant project is being developed in parallel to the *initial* C-47 Project.
A lot was considered before deciding on which variant it would evolve to, and the options were quite wide in scale. The somewhat obvious route was to develop a modern DC-3 variant along with a modern cockpit and avionics configuration. Since any development of a C-47/DC-3 aircraft is of a years-scale effort, once being committed to a development route, it quite shuts-off any other DC-3 variant development for about a year or two...so deciding which variant would be the *next* is quite crucial.
During early 2020, it was decided. The new VSKYLABS DC-3 variant is going to be based on the Conroy Tri-Turbo-Three DC-3 conversion.
From VSKYLABS perspective, this project is a natural choice. The unique aircraft, which is powered by three PT6-45 engines is within the core of the VSKYLABS experimental, 'Test-Pilot' projects series concept. There are so many flight dynamics, performance and operational aspects to explore with the Tri-Turbo-Three, and it "won" all other options...by far.
A little background regrading the Conroy Tri-Turbo-Three (TT-3) conversion:
Designed and built by John M. Conroy, a fascinating aircraft designer who also built the "Super-Guppy aircraft" that carried the 3rd stage of the Saturn V rocket, during the Apollo space program. The Conroy TT-3 was a DC-3, powered by three PT6A turboprop engines, with the #3 engine mounted on the nose. It was first flown in November 1977, and two aircraft were built. The TT-3 was designed specifically for long-range flights (up to ~2300 nautical miles) and it was capable of operating from unprepared snow "runways". It was able to cruise at about 200 knots. Its main missions were flying in the North Pole region, into Antarctica, and it was used also for maritime patrol and rescue missions.
The project is introducing a highly defined simulation of the 3 x PT6A-45 turbo prop powered TT-3. In the case of the real TT-3, actual data and documentations are quite rare, and VSKYLABS had to step in to fill in some missing gaps regarding its on-board systems. Although the VSKYLABS project may have several differences from the real TT-3, the design and development approach is being made with great care and deep understanding of the DC-3 aircraft, as well with a great respect to honor John M.Conroy and all other men and women that were involved in the TT-3 development and operations. Cockpit configuration and avionics are modern.
The project has reached advanced stages, and it is aimed to exceed v1.0 milestone later this year (2021).
Important Development Note
Although being a completely *NEW* aircraft and project, by concept, the VSKYLABS TT-3 project was designed to share similar design architectures with the VSKYLABS C-47 FLP. This is allowing to continue and develop the C-47 FLP Project side by side with the development of the VSKYLABS TT-3 Project, where each project is evolving from any relevant progress that is made with the other project. The VSKYLABS C-47 FLP development continues without any pauses, and the project will continue to evolve following its development road map. There are several major update releases that are planned for the C-47 later this year, with the main focus on visuals, 3D modeling and appearance and FMOD sound package.