Where do you Start?
Simquip.com presents an interesting tutorial which aims to resolves the primary conflict in the minds of most new home cockpit builder, "Where do I start", believe us this can be an important and tough decision. Some tips and guidance from Simquip.
If you havent already done so, start by reading the previous article on the 'Airbus or Boeing' to help you decide the aircraft you should choose, but if you have taken that decision, then let us take the next steps.
You should start your project by first establishing a scope of your project. By that we mean try and visualise how far you want your project to go in terms of fidelity.
Forget about budget, because it is bound to the scope of your project and you would have to be one of the worlds greatest financial gurus to know how much your personal project will cost over the years.
Even industrial giants such as Boeing have little understanding as to how much some of their projects cost. There is a story which may be a myth or untrue on cost of constructing a B747. Boeing had no idea what a B747 wing costs to build until about 7 years ago when finite analysis of construction costs proved that it was costing Boeing roughly $5M USD to build a single wing. The moral of this story is you wouldnt want to snap off one of those suckers in a hurry.
Once you announce your project or intentions to your partner (if you have one), the inevitable question of "how much is it going to cost" will arise. Probably the best and honest answer one could give is "Im not quite sure yet, but it wont be that much".
We once heard a saying that relates to non-pro sim construction. It goes,"aim too high, never fly". I dont know who coined the phrase, but it is the absolute truth. It means that if you plan something too elaborate and complex, you will spend the rest of your days constructing rather than flying. Remember "simulation should be stimulation". Be reasonable about your simulator project.
Think of your simulator as an evolutionary process.Start off basic and as your simulator evolves more and more into a complex machine, you can then start the slow upgrade process. To start off with you really dont need anything from this site except for some free advice. You can be certain of several things;
- Your simulator will never be finished, as there will always be something to change or improve upon.
- A simulator budget is about as definite as "how long is a piece of string".
- Flying is a time consuming process and will often interfere with your family life.
- Sim constructors usually dont have suntans or watch much tv.
Start off with the basics of a simulator. The basics are;
- A visual cueing device. (a monitor, projection screen)
- An instrument or navigation array (instrument panel)
- A control input device (joystick, control yoke etc.)
Item 1 will be pretty obvious as you need to see the outside world and know where you are going. Unlike other subjects, size doesn't always matter in this situation. You will be amazed how quickly one becomes accustomed to looking into and through a 17" monitor. Suddenly, that is your world and its limitless boundaries.
item 2 is pretty easy to put together. A panel of ply or MDF will serve as a great instrument panel. If you cut out openings for a monitor and set up the display from your software to show only the PFD (primary flight displays), then you will have most of what you need to do some basic flying.
item 3 could be a joystick or a control wheel commonly available from leading retail outlets. Depending on what type of aircraft simulator you have chosen to build., it can be mounted on or near the MIP (Main Instrument Panel). As time goes on and your simulator increases in sophistication, you can add more and more devices to the MIP. Dont forget to paint in its correct aircraft panel colour as this will add greatly to the appeal of your basic setup.
Remember:All simulation relies unwaveringly on 3 key words;"suspension of disbelief". If your basic simulator can make somebody believe that they are somewhere else or in another timezone and place, then you have true simulation. This may be despite the fact that they are clutching a radio-shack joystick or looking into a cheap chinese monitor. In a way its like hypnosis If a person refuses to allow themselves to be fooled by any kind of simulation then not even $15,000,000 worth of simulator is going to let them have fun.
Contributed by: SIMQUIP