• Builder Of The Month November 2005

    MyCockpit Featured Builder
    Brian Williamson Airbus A320

    IFSBI: Where is your sim located, town, country, wife's spare bedroom?

    Brian: Gold Coast in Queensland AUSTRALIA, and being built in our new home that I decided needed a 4-car garage. !!!! ERR...hangar.

    IFSBI: What made you choose this airframe?

    Brian: The Airbus A320 basically is the simplest aircraft to build, mainly because it is a flying computer, and I guess that is how we all started in this hobby.computers.


    IFSBI: When did you start the project?

    Brian: I think it was about 5 or 6 years ago when I first became interested in the idea, mainly because I had already built a Formula 1 race plane for air shows doing aerobatics (fully certified) and I thought that in retirement I should build something a little easier to sit in and have a quiet ale now and again with some fellow pilots that I have flown with over the years. But as far as the cockpit itself, I only started on that in April this year. I have basically been gathering ideas as well as bits and pieces (every time I go shopping I look at something and wonder if that would fit as a lever or knob on an Airbus), and planning it all for the last 5 or 6 years, then we built and moved into a new house, so when that all settled down I started in earnest. In February of this year I decide to go. First job was to re-build the CNC, which was not accurate enough. That took about 2 months, so since then I have been busy getting the main airframe to its present stage. This has been a big benefit in that software and hardware have all improved over recent times, so planning ahead and doing the aircraft parts first, is the way to go.

    IFSBI: What parts are you using for panels, homemade, real aircraft parts?

    Brian: All the parts are made here on the spot. My first aim was to build a CNC machine. (when I started I did not know, or had even heard of a CNC). This is probably the most important part of the project, because you need to be able to build to fit your own situation. You do not need to be within all the dimensions of the real thing, as nobody is going to measure your cockpit and tell you that you are 2mm. long on the MCDU or whatever. The cost saving will also be significant. The light panels are all acrylic and cut and engraved on the CNC. The MIP is made from good old MDF, as are all the accessories, with use of pine for support where necessary.The wiring is another very important part. Some of us (especially those of us involved with ham radio) know the importance of not having a rat's nest of wires. So I design and etch and solder my own printed circuit boards and all wiring is connected via multi-pin plugs and sockets as used on computers. One of the most important things is to buy all the electric tools you can get your hands on (they are so cheap these days). Electric routers saw bench, belt sanders, etc. and a good spray gun and always use automotive acrylic lacquer on your panels and do not use full gloss.

    IFSBI: Any special problems that you might have had?

    Brian: The only problem will now be in front of me and that is programming epic...

    IFSBI: Does your family support you in this project?

    Brian: All very keen supporters, especially when you need someone to hold this or that while you screw it in place.

    IFSBI: The outside shell, what is it made of?

    Brian: The shell is all fiberglass, made in Darwin by the military museum and is actually not an Airbus but (I hate to say this) a 737. I have welded a frame and put that on castor wheels so that it can easily be moved.

    IFSBI: Did you make the tray table?

    Brian: This was the most important part. Where can you put your glass without it?? I had not seen anyone build this so decided why not. As it turned out it was fairly easy, and again all made from MDF, and used ordinary draw sliders from the local hardware store. The advent of 17-inch LCD monitors made the installing of these a lot easier.

    IFSBI: Did you make the pedals?

    Brian: The pedals I decided to weld up using an old not used (I hate that sort of exercise!) pair of steppers, plus the working components from a set of Pro Pedals. Then cover these with a look alike center pedestal made from MDF.

    IFSBI: Do you have a web site?

    Brian: No

    IFSBI: Do you have any other Hobbies or interest?

    Brian: I have been a ham for nearly 30 years, (does not seem that long!!) Used to run Big beams on HF and on 6M, but at the moment since I moved to this new location I have only got a Butternut Vertical on all the HF bands. (No activity there anymore!!) Now of course computers and Sims have taken over. Maybe the FT100 will fit in the overhead...mmmm.

    I also am into music, play trumpet and trombone, mostly trad jazz and use a lot of midi and BIAB. Also used to own a P51 Mustang (that was fun to fly) also was a member of the Confederate Air Force, been to Harlingen, TX. Amazing !!!!

    Cheers and 73..........

    Brian Williamson VK4DDC