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Thread: Cockpit Update

  1. #1
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    Cockpit Update

    I've been asked by a lot of people recently for an update on my home cockpit project. Well, I'm giving it to you. For those of you who haven't been with very long, I'll give you my little history:

    Around August 2008, I decided to make a very simple home-cockpit sort of thing in my basement, because I thought it would be fun and that it would enhance my flying experience. This little idea of a generic cockpit soon grew to be quite large, and I began planning a full scale A320 cockpit in my basement. I was thinking something enclosed, with 100% functional panels, real or almost-real A320 seats, a giant projection screen, and all those wonderful things. Well, before I even started building it, I decided to do a 'price check'. So I added up all the expenses that I would be facing, and ended up with a grand total of $50,000. Now I'm well-off, but I am not able to spend that much money on a hobby of mine. So for a while, I just decided to drop the whole thing. I figured that I just couldn't build a home cockpit.

    Well, about a month ago things came back to life again when I started to scale down the project. The two obvious things were removing the F/O's side and making it an 'open' cockpit, not enclosed. The frame for enclosing it, plus the interior lining, safety supports, air conditioning, painting, and all that would cost $15,000+ unless I made it myself. I didn't trust my building skills enough, however, to take this road. So now just by removing the 'frame', I was down to $35,000 or so. That's still way out of my budget. So I, like I said, cut the F/O side. Really, who was going to fly in it anyway? Just the cost of putting dummy panels on the F/O side would be a lot more then I was willing to pay, because a lot of things can't be made in to dummies. I couldn't buy a dummy SSC, chair, set of pedals, or a lot of that stuff. Just to give you an idea, the SSC system I'm planning is going to cost about $500 alone after I modify things and put a cover on it. That's a lot to pay for something you wont use.

    So I'm down to a captains side, open cockpit. I'm down to about $25,000, but I still can't afford that. I can't afford anywhere *near* that. I'd have to keep chopping down. So I started cutting out things that couldn't be modeled in FS, or things that wouldn't actually do anything noticeable in FS. For example air conditioning. Do I really need to spend a heap of money on panels to keep virtual passengers comfortable? Then came circuit beakers. They were going to be dummies anyway, but it'd still be $750 for the dummies themselves. So I continued to cut out things. I replaced the $3000 glareshield with the Just Flight autopilot and one of their rotary panels. I replaced the $350 landing gear lever and $4600 throttle quadrant with trim functions with a Go Flight Landing Lever panel and Saitek Throttle Quadrant, which I'm going to modify myself for added realism. I then removed all pre-assembled 'frame' bits from the plan. I can't trust myself putting a roof over my head that I made myself, but I can certainly trust myself to build a good pedestal from wood and paint it rather than buy an $800 pedestal box frame.

    I continued to remove things that I didn't think were worth the 'extra mile'. Why buy a $1200 SSC when you could slightly modify an Attack 3 joystick to look and serve like one? Why buy a super-expensive overhead panel just because it 'looks' exactly like the real A320 overhead, when you can put together your own from switches and push-buttons?

    So, now we're down to prices I can actually afford, and a goal that is realistic for me. Here's a list of what I'm currently planning on putting in my cockpit. If you are reading this after March 11th you will see some images of my plans for the pedestal and such above.

    I'm planning currently to buy:
    1 Cockpit-Sonic A320 Radio Management Panel
    1 Cockpit-Sonic A320 Audio Control Panel
    1 Cockpit-Sonic A320 ECAM
    1 A320 ATC/TCAS panel, Cockpit-Sonic
    1 A320 Engine Master Panel, Cockpit-Sonic
    1 Landing Gear Module, Go-Flight
    1 Attack 3 Joystick (purchased) with modifications (currently working on that) to appearance
    1 set Saitek Rudder Pedals (also purchased) with modifications (working on that as well) to the foot-rest parts for more realistic appearances
    1 Basic Autopilot Module, Go-Flight
    1 Saitek Throttle (purchased) with modifications to the levers for more realistic appearance
    1 Dell Projector, To Be Decided on which
    1 Projector Screen, small size (only needed for Captain side, but I prefer a projector over TH2G)
    2 LCD Monitors, smallest available size
    1 LCD Touchscreen, smallest available size
    NOTE: The Overhead is not included yet, because I have NO current plans made for it. I'm going to have one, but it's going to be my last stage, as it will be the hardest part.

    In addition to that is a lot of wood.

    So that's my update on my current home-cockpit phase. I know that a lot of you are wanting pictures, but for now all I can offer you are the plans. I'll have them uploaded by March 11th. And now that I'm on the right track, I hope to be able to show you some photographs of real progress in the near future.

    Blue Skies,

  2. #2
    150+ Forum Groupie Tony Hill's Avatar
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    Well done mate,

    You certainly started with realistic expectations and many people go the other way (myself included..TWICE) and start with a small budget which blows out massively.

    Looking forward to following your progress.



    In memory of Flt Lt Tony Hill who, on 5 December 1941, at the request of Doctor R V Jones, successfully photographed a small "Würzburg radar" at Bruneval on the French coast. This from a height of only 200 ft, at high speed, under fire and from a camera mounted obliquely behind the cockpit.

  3. #3
    500+ This must be a daytime job's Avatar
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    where's the photo's

    would be great to see what you have done already.
    cheers ... ian
    Mr. Ian. P. Sissons is hereby recognised as an Honorary Flight Sim Captain following his passing in February 2016. This is in recognition for his commitment to Flight Simulation. Featured Builder August 2008
    FS9/PROSIM737/CPFLIGHT/Lots of BU0836X's and a Beer Fridge

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