Honeycomb Aeronautical Yoke – Why is it delayed?

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A post popped up on my Facebook timeline earlier today, it was from Honeycomb Aeronautical about their Yoke. Remember that?

It dawned on me that we haven’t heard very much about the company and the work they’ve been doing for some time, so here we go, an update on what’s been going on.

The first time I became aware of Honeycomb’s work was at CES 2017, they were showing off their Yoke system on stand at the Las Vegas event. The community went mental when they heard about the project; it was announced that the product would be ready for the first quarter of 2018, that came and went with little explanation as to what happened.

Turns out there were delays in production, and so, as we progress further into the third quarter of 2018, what’s going on at HoneyComb Aeronautical?

The company has been fairly active on their Facebook page, so at least it hasn’t been complete silence from their side. According to a Facebook post in March, “last minute design changes delayed production.”

April 2018

In April this year, it was revealed in another Facebook post that due to a significant number of requests, the button layout would be changed on the Yoke. A spokesperson for the company said: “Those changes are switching the 8-way hat switch to the left handle and rotate the right 2 x 2-way rocker switch to operate horizontally (CAD image below).”

A CAD image of the changes the development team made to the Alpha Flight Controls. The placement of the switches was a result of customer demand.

In the same post, the company said that it would take up to 4 weeks for the factory to get back to them regarding the changes. They also said that “switching from prototype to production is taking a lot longer than expected.”

June 2017

By June, the company posted another update, this time focusing on the changes they’d made to the design to ensure that they could keep the attractive $199 MSRP of the unit. To do this, Honeycomb’s factory partner “have also successfully tested fiber reinforced polymer instead of aluminum for the mechanical housing which further reduces cost as well.”

The company said: “We’re basically trying to make a $1000 yoke for less than $200 and it’s proven difficult but not impossible. Together with a reduced margin for retail, and lowered profit goals we’re able to maintain a $199 price point.”

The two different mechanism housings for the Alpha Yoke. Aluminum on the left, fiber reinforced polymer on the right.

July 2018

In July this year, another update on the company’s Facebook page appeared. This time it was from Honeycomb Aeronautical’s CEO, Nicki Repenning he said: “Testing and confirming that the changes didn’t affect performance have taken way longer than expected, but it has been completed. We have performed tests over the last month to ensure that the cost-cutting exercise didn’t change feel, durability or realism in any measurable way.”

He continued: “Preproduction samples will be available to test at Aerosofts booth at GamesCom in Germany in August. Even though they aren’t mass production units, we’ll let the public abuse them to their fullest extend to measure any fatigue at extreme exposure. Then we’ll tool and go into mass production. Pilot production will be done in December with an initial production of 200 units.”

August 2018

The latest post from the company came last week, they said: “So the pre-production unit arrived a few days ago and we’re currently doing testing of all functions. So far everything works perfectly with only a few minor adjustments. Once we’re done with the testing we will post a video, giving you a tour of the product.”

The pre-production units for the Honeycomb Aeronautical Alpha Flight Controls

The rear of the pre-production unit for the Alpha Flight Controls

So when is it coming?

It looks like in conclusion the mass production version that you, and I will be able to buy will be coming in 2019. This is because the pilot production run of 200 units is set to begin in December. So instead of their initial goal of Q1 2018, it looks like it could be Q1 2019 before we see the Alpha Flight Controls hitting shops.
For more information about the unit, click here

 

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Hi, I'm the Managing Editor for PCFlight, If you'd like to contact me you can do so via my email: thomas@pcflight.net I hope you enjoy your visit to our website and if there's anything you think we can do better please don't hesitate to get in contact!

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