Sharing, ranting, showing-off :)

Why the Turbolet?

Apr 11, 2021

While I’m working on one of the most boring parts of the plane - the electric system - I’m trying to break the long silence with a bit more relatable, personal story:

Why I chose to build the Turbolet

I could start this story “When I was a kid, I wanted to be a pilot…“ but let’s be honest - whoever reads this story probably wanted to be a pilot as well - or better… is a pilot! :)

But rather than starting with the line above, I start with an old friend from Germany in the ’90s. The year is 1994, Hungary, only a few years after the change of regime - the “democratic transformation”. It’s still really hard to get anything from “the west”. The 13 years old me has a father who sometimes travels to Austria, Germany, sometimes the UK for work. He likes to connect with people and tells about his son, who just started playing with MSFS4.0 and learning ADF and VOR navigation. Someone sees this as an opportunity to give a young boy what he couldn’t even imagine: MSFS 5.1 and charts. Tons of charts. Not just from the MSFS manual, but real low-enroute Jeppesen charts!

This learning experience, a world where you can learn so many things, so many things evolving - gave me a clear path to what to do with my life: tried all flying/plane related activity from sightseeing to hang-gliding.

This is why I chose avionics as a profession - where I first saw the Antonov An-2 and fell in love with her. Later on, in school, we worked on many planes but never got close to the Turbolet - so I thought. Only a few years later when we were at a small local airport, having a party with friends realised

I was here before! When I was a little kid! With my father and his pilot friends and family!

Seeing that Turbolet again just brought back all these memories. From that point, I was always on the lookout for the Turbolets at Ferihegy Airport at my internship. Saw them fly to Dakar to support the Dakar-Paris rally participants. Saw them fly regularly when they calibrated the ILS at LHBP…

Sadly I had to say goodbye to avionics as a profession - MALEV, the national airline, reported bankruptcy, just before we finished school. Since I always did what I liked and always wanted to have a job that I love to do, I turned to my second love: programming.

That’s how I started developing first for MSFS - only for myself, just laying around. Then at some point, I realised if I want to make professional-looking planes, I have to learn 3D Studio. That was a big “no-no-no-no-no…“ from me :) A bit later I ran into X-Plane (v7) and fell in love with the Plane-Maker. The software was horrible from a user’s perspective. It was written by a developer, for developers, of course, it was horrible :) But as a developer, I loved it! Started to play around and when X-Plane 8 got released I decided: I will build a plane for this simulator!

I wanted a simple-ish plane - with a twist: flywheel starter! I started learning C/C++ only to make the flywheel starter work in X-Plane. Then came the rest of the engine parameters, how it heats up, how it cools down, how it pushes out a cloud of white smoke when starting… Then I had to learn Blender - it was just a relief after the 3D studio… :) Not long after, with the help of a lot of people, released the Annushka.

Right after that started to think, what should be the next plane. I was browsing Wikipedia, reading stories of the An-2, read that L-410 is kinda the descendant of the Annushka. Started to dig articles, researching if there’s enough material to make this plane… then ran into an article about the crashed HA-LAR. The plane I saw many times at LHBP doesn’t exist anymore. I did not see the accident in the news back in the day and reading that felt like a slap from a harvester…

That was when I decided: I will make this plane fly “again”.


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