Flight Simulation Project
Generic Cockpit
History

History

My first real made project was based on the design of Peter Akers and Michael Barnes (ABC Mk1). It is a generic cockpit in jet fighter style.

But until then several attempts are made.

On this page you will see the progress of my flight simulator cockpit with some tips and hints with the newest entry on top. 

The first part of the history (until 1999) is reconstructed about older notes.

 

2017 The current configuration with two PCs is replaced by a new powerful computer handling everything.
Together with this upgrade, also Prepar3D rev. 4 is added.
Now one computer handles up to 7 screens and has still enough power to run 30FPS.
2016 - 2018 A generic heli cockpit is constructed for the modular system.
Based on sticks and pedals from microhelis.de in the shape of the controls used in an EC-120.
2014 A generic airline panel is added to the modular system. The GoFlight panels are connected directly to the visual computer. the panels of the cockpit are connected to the second computer running separated panels, which are connected via SimConnect to the visual computer.
A next step will be to use GoFlight Instrument Tool move also the GoFlight panels to the second computer and connect it via SimConnect (the original Goflight Drivers are not supporting SimConnect).
2012 A panel solely with Saitek Pro flight panel elements is built.
With so much Saitek panel elements the role of the computers are changed.
Master is now the visual computer running the simulator and the outside view.
On the slave computer all saitek panels are connected and running with SimConnect
Due to this configuration only FSX and Prepar3D can be used. The configuration for X-Plane and FlightGear is not updated anymore.
December 2010 Dual seat cockpit is finished (except painting and center console) and the first flights with friends are done.
To speed up the external visual, the hardware configuration is changed to two computers.
One Computer runs the simulation, get all gear connected and is also the master.
The second computer runs only the simulation in external view. The computer are connected using WidevieW.
January 2010 Test of a new flightpanel. the panel is based on saitek panels and two touch monitors. The monitors display G1000 panels.
Also the hardware is changed to a more powerful computer.
December 2007, 
January 2008
Updating outside view from three 19" CRT to three DLP projectors. Great view, but current computer configuration is too slow for such a large resolution.
30. June 2007 After buying a Matrox TrippleHead2Go box and some troubles with my grafic card. Tests are made with a three monitor solution for the outside view. The fourth monitor is connected to a USB-VGA adapter. the whole configuration works well. Outside view ha a resolution of 2400x600, the instruments are displayed at 1024x768 pixels.
December 2004
January 2005
Beamer installed and two screen configuration added.
November 2004 GoFlight modules and a second monitor installed.
January 2004 The simulator moves to a new location inside the house. It got its own room!
28. December 2002 During the use of the simulator I noticed a problem together with the new floor. The simulator is moving around specially the rudder pedals. So I decoded to put everything on a 180x70 (cm) sheet of plywood 9mm thick. I fixed it up with 15x15 mm wood pieces clued on the base plate. With this fixation the mobility of the sim is not restricted.
7. September 2002 My simulator is now build up at a new location (I have moved to a new house). Now its with two screens (instruments and outside view).
18. June 2002 After several flights I have now finished the programming of the joysticks and Masterpilot units. At this point I will stop further development of this cockpit and enjoy many more flights.

But some plans are in my mind for a new cockpit for 2 persons based on a business aircraft like the Learjet. First of all I have to move to a bigger location and then we see further.

1. May 2002 The cockpit is build up again. At this stage I will stop further building of this cockpit and try to use it often for practice. But there are new ideas of building another cockpit (2 seats, fully enclosed and hopefully motion based).
30. March 2002 The weather is not the best, but good enough to paint the cockpit.
5. March 2002 The Masterpilot panels and Saitek X-45 are programmed and ready to use. The next few weeks I enjoy some flights until it gets warmer and I can paint the cockpit.
31. January 2002 Keyboard holder is placed in front of the cockpit. Pictures will follow. Parts of the Masterpilot Keys and the joystick buttons have been programmed.
9. December 2001 The Masterpilots, Joystick and Throttle are fixed on their places. Next I have to build a keyboard holder and look for a suitable foam for the seat.
22. November 2001 Today, I installed FS2002 on my AMD 450MHz computer and I must say WOW! The graphic is just incredible and this with a good performance (between 10 and 15 fps).
19. November 2001 My new Saitek X-45 Joystick & Throttle just arrived today. So the next few days I will spend with installing this devices and checking the position on my ABC Mk1.
10. November 2001 My HOTAS don't work with my new computers and so I am still waiting for my new ones. Due to this the whole project is put on ice.
11. October 2001 Now for more than two weeks I try to figure out the best places for the joystick, throttle & Co. During this time I noticed, that the gear doesn't work correctly. So next I have to look for a new joystick and throttle.
22. September 2001 This was the great moment and 3.5 hour of sawing. Picture says more than thousand words. Click here.
20. September 2001 Publish my pages on Web-Ring.
15. September 2001 Because of other projects running at work and on my second hobby RC-Modeling. I am not as fast as I want to build my pit. Today I have plot the pieces on the plywood, which will be cut out in the next few days (or weeks).
11. September 2001 I've started to build the ABC Mk1 Cockpit by buying the needed sheets of plywood.
March - April 2001 I've organized several old computers to build the pit. The speed of the machines allow only to run FS98 in a quite good manner (Frame rate about 12 to 17). My goal is to run independent computers for the pit not using my desktop computers. Next I want to organize some monitors or LCDs for displaying the panel. As outside view I take my DLP-projector.
14. January 2001 Unfortunately I don't have the time to start my cockpit project. In the mean time I arranged my computers on the desk to build multi monitor environment.
January - August 2000 Restart of the Flight Simulator project.
With starting to print the plans for the simulator, I saw that the simulator is to big for the room I wanted to use, so I had to redesign to fit
(a) into the room
(b) going through the door
After looking for new ideas on the web I found ABC Mk1 a design of Peter Akers and Michael Barnes. This one is portable and so go easily through the doors and can also be transported with a smaller car. So I decided to use this design to start my project.

On the software side I found FreeFD of Don Lafontaine which will be use for the panels.
I hope to start the project physically in the next 2 month.

29. April 1999 First drawing about a cockpit is finished. 
1993 - 1999 Many thoughts about a cockpit but got some problem about the dimensions, because I wanted to build a generic cockpit. Several other questions were open like; 
 - Should I build a one seated or two seated cockpit?
 - Should the cockpit look more like an civil or military aircraft?
I found many ideas and hints during my flights in the endless space of the world wide web and also became useful hints and tips by joining the Simpits group and MicroWings.
17. September 1993 During a visit at Disney World, Orlando the feeling of a motion platform could be enjoyed. After this ride it was clear, if I build a simulation cockpit it must have a motion platform.
1976 - 1993 The ideas about a flight simulation cockpit grow and grow during this time in my mind.
1976 On this date I've had the first contact with a flight simulator. It was during shopping in our mall, were a little exhibition about private pilots showed a simulator for small aircrafts. I was one of the lucky winner and could do my first take off and landing (with a little help of an instructor). After this short 10 minute flight I had wet hands, but it was WOWWWW!!!!!!!! This was the trigger of the idea about a flight simulator.
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Copyright © 1999 - 2019 Thomas Hoeltschi, Last modified: 08-Oct-2018