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  1. #1
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    Neil Hewitt's Avatar
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    New member from the UK

    Hi all.

    My name is Neil Hewitt and I am a flight simulation addict. There, I said it.

    I've been playing with flight sims since the days of Aviator on the BBC Micro (those of you outside the UK and/or under the age of 35 will probably have no clue what either of those are, but trust me, while better than Artwick's FS1 it was not much to look at graphically). I once wrote a very (very!) rough and ready wireframe-only sim game in FaST Basic + assembler on the Atari ST. I remember getting Flight Simulator for the ST back in the pre-MS days, when it still came with sectional charts in the box. I've played pretty much every popular GA / heavy jet sim on the PC to death, including most versions of PC MSFS and X-Plane. I had a major soft spot for Flight Unlimited II back in the day as it was the first sim where I actually learned to fly approaches and departures properly.

    Up until recently, the furthest I'd gone towards cockpit building was buying a decent joystick. But then I spent some time playing FS9 on a multi-monitor system and I was intruiged by the possibilities for greater immersion. I bought a CH yoke, pedals and TQ and while I loved the realism boost I abruptly realised that it wasn't enough. That was when I knew I'd have to build some sort of cockpit.

    My project, which I'm blogging about at http://milehighgeek.wordpress.com (shameless self-promotion, sorry), is my first attempt at this cockpit malarkey. In its first phase - which is as far as it'll get as long as I'm in my current house - it's going to be a simple console / pedestal combo with a large 46" LCD screen as a primary display. I'm not aiming to replicate any particular aircraft model or even type. My inspiration was mostly light jets, particular Diamond's D-Jet, but I'm going very generic in both looks and equipment, which makes life easy for me in a number of ways. The console will be a full-glass effort with a few touch-screens thrown in. I'm going for a 21st-century feel, I guess I'd say.

    I'm a long way behind those of you who have their own metalworking shops and can turn out masterpieces that look like they came off the shop floor at Everett Field - I'm absolutely in awe of you guys, trust me - but I can do DIY-er standard work in wood and MDF, and that's where I'm focusing. What I have found is that it's taken much, much longer than I'd imagined it would. Some of that is down to lack of my own time to work on it - I mostly do just a few hours at the weekend in the winter months - but also because getting good results takes time. I've been working on the project for about 10 months now, but am still some way from a flyable sim. That's OK, though - I like having something to look forward to!

    Anyway, I thought I'd come and join some like-minded fellows. I already recognise a few of the people who inspired me in the first place hanging around - Ken Brand and his frankly awesome TQ-building skills for one - and I hope to gain a lot from being here. I'm in London in the UK and my time zone may restrict me to the tail-end of some conversations, but I see a few fellow brits here so it's all good...

    See you all around

    NH

  2. #2
    500+ This must be a daytime job ian@737ng.co.uk's Avatar
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    Re: New member from the UK

    hello neil.....
    i just read your thread and it was just like being home
    building a cockpit, good for you chap. come and see me sometime
    welcome to MC.org .... regards from wales .... 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.

    www.mycockpit.org Featured Builder August 2008 www.737ng.co.uk
    FS9/PROSIM737/CPFLIGHT/Lots of BU0836X's and a Beer Fridge

  3. #3
    Executive Assistant Geremy Britton's Avatar
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    Re: New member from the UK

    Hi Neil, well theres been many from the UK joining us in recent weeks, and you don't need to worry about being alone - many of the members here are UK based including myself!
    I'm afraid i am both of those criteria, under 35 and yep you got it.. what's aviator? LOL

    As you mention it, i wonder if Matt (CEO) will add us in a forum for the old flight sim's back in the day. Might prove to be interesting to see all the different aspects and setups people had right from the early days of flight simulation let alone cockpit building. hmm..

    Also is it the Airbus A320 you're building? The blog seems to suggest so.

    I'll look forward to seeing you around, feel free to transfer any pics you upload to your blog to mycockpit in the gallery or into a post by using the 'add image' button in the post.

    All the best,
    Geremy Britton
    Executive Assistant, MyCockpit Inc
    Head of GLB Flight Products
    www.geremy.co.uk

  4. #4
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    steveeverson's Avatar
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    Re: New member from the UK

    Hi Neil,
    Nice to have you on board.!/Welcome to the madhouse.. Enjoyed your yoke extending blog.
    Our place not too far away and you're always welcome to visit if you're in the area.
    cheers
    Steve
    Last edited by steveeverson; 01-19-2010 at 02:47 PM. Reason: correcting my rubbish spelling..
    another bedroom boeing.....

  5. #5
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    Neil Hewitt's Avatar
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    Re: New member from the UK

    Thanks for the kind words, all.

    Ian - great to see you posting here. Your sim is the canonical ultimate 737 pit! I'm thorougly jealous. I spent weeks reading through your stuff before I got started on mine. Great stuff there, and proof of just what can be achieved by the determined builder. I'll be using a fair few of your electronics tips soon as I get towards the panel-building phase of the project.

    I'm afraid i am both of those criteria, under 35 and yep you got it.. what's aviator? LOL
    Geremy - Aviator was an early flight sim game for the BBC B, an 80's microcomputer that was used in many schools in the UK before PCs became standard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/bbc_micro). Graphically it was not much to write home about but it the flight model was supposedly very realistic for the time - it was a Spitfire, IIRC - and critically, you got to use the BBC analog (pot-driven) joysticks; most micro joysticks in those days were like the Atari console sticks - moving the stick closed a simple switch, no sense of pressure or amount of input applied. It was very responsive and fun to play.

    Also is it the Airbus A320 you're building? The blog seems to suggest so
    No, I'm building something entirely bespoke with elements of different aircraft and types. A kind of light-jet / airliner hybrid - smaller, multi-screen glass console and MIP, touch screens, Airbus-inspired TQ and pedestal (but rather thinner and more lightweight). It's the answer to the question 'what would a hypothetical 4-small-engined business jet of the near future possibly look and feel like?'. Apart from the glareshield, with which I am rather unhappy and increasingly inclined to start again.

    I was inspired a lot by the Diamond D-Jet (don't have an image I have rights to upload, but you can see it here: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2671/...5d7b85_o_d.jpg) and the Boeing 787 and Airbus 380 in different ways (though I prefer the look of the A320-style throttle quadrant with the latched-gate reverser to the dual-lever style).

    There will be fewer knobs and switches (though there will still be many) and more 'soft' interfaces. For instance, in Phase 1 I won't have an overhead as there will be no enclosure, so I will write a 'soft' panel that will run on a touch-screen, as if that was how the hypothetical aircraft I'm thinking of was designed to be used. I am a software developer by day so the coding is not a major problem once I get used to working against FSUIPC.

    In reality I will use it to fly everything from GA to heavy jets. I'm planning on adding a degree of configurability and modularity to some parts - the TQ in particular - so it can be reconfigured for different uses. I'm not sure how much of my ambition will be practical in reality, of course

    Steve - thanks. I vacillated for ages between trying to extend the CH yoke or build from scratch using the CH electronics. The solution I have suits for now but we'll see how it holds up in real use. The good thing is that there'll be room to swap out for something else easily enough if I need to. But physically extending it is one thing - the wiring is going to be a whole other nightmare. The soldering iron's coming out at the weekend...

    I need to go away and learn the quoting and replying etiquette on this board. Be back afterwards

    NH

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