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    Published on 01-01-2007 03:59 PM

    MyCockpit Featured Builder
    Hans Krohn Boeing 737

    IFSBI: What parts are you using for your panels? Are they purchased, made yourself, or real aircraft parts?

    Hans: Everything in my cockpit (with the exception of the MDF frame and fiberglass shell) is made by me. In the beginning, I used some real aircraft instruments, but only for decoration. But since they took up valuable space and added no functionality, I soon removed them.

    My panels are made from 3mm transparent acrylic glass. I make my designs with Corel Draw and have the acrylic cut with a laser cutter at a local workshop. This gives me complete freedom to design how and what I want or need. The panel surface is printed with a laser printer on self adhesive, translucent polycarbonat film. Simple to make, durable, and the end result is quite nice to look at. Some of my panels have been in use for 7 or 8 years and they still look fine.

    Over the last couple of years I have seen the emergence of companies that offer highly realistic ready-to-use panels. It's a good thing they exist, because not everyone is able or willing to build everything from scratch. But in my case, this is what attracts me most about cockpit building: the creative process of designing and making my own parts...

    IFSBI: Where there any special problems that you came across while building the cockpit?

    Hans: Yes. More or less one million... Seriously now - a number of problems I encountered come to my mind:

    I found it very difficult to learn the programming language required for my input/output solution (EPIC). I had no programming knowledge whatsoever, so the beginning was very hard.

    Another problem, or maybe more of a general observation about cockpit building: Every item I build for this cockpit - no matter if it's a small switch or a servo driven auto throttle - is a prototype, built for the first time. That means there is usually no previous experience to rely on. So things can go wrong, and often they do. Remaining patient at these moments is essential for the long term success of a cockpit project. To find that patience is sometimes not easy.

    IFSBI: Would you care to first give us a brief introduction about Hans Krohn?

    Hans: I am 47 years old, married, no kids. I was born and raised in Germany, where I lived until I was 25. After that my job took me around the world, to Latin America, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. For the last 2 years I live in Belgrade, Serbia. By profession, I'm a banker.

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

    Hans: I live in a house in a residential area in Belgrade.The sim is crammed into my work room (usually referred to as the simulator room). That room is 3 by 4 meters - not as big as I would like, but that's the space I've got. In my experience, a separate room is a must for cockpit builders. Our hobby means months or years of building panels and components; the permanent chaos this process creates can easily become a source for conflicts with the rest of the family...

    IFSBI: What made you choose this airframe?

    Hans: At that time, Thrustmaster was selling an MDF kit of a F-16 cockpit. I bought that as a starting point for my project - for three reasons: 1. A fighter cockpit looks cool, 2. It was available and 3. At that time, I did not want to recreate any type specific plane's cockpit. I just wanted something that looked and felt like a plane. The first panels I built into that cockpit did not reassemble anything in the real world of aviation. But I did have my switches for gears and flaps, and knobs to turn on my radio heads - a giant leap beyond the monitor/keyboard setup I had started with.

    IFSBI: When did you first start your project?

    Hans: I became interested in cockpit building in the mid nineties. At that time I had just moved to Kazakhstan. Strict regulations there, and the language barrier brought my piloting career (gliders, ultra lights and single engine planes) to an abrupt end; as a compensation, I started to use MSFS - at that time version 4 or 5 - more regularly. But soon I found that the constant use of the keyboard did not help to "suspend the disbelief" that good flight simulation is all about. So I started to think about a panel with some switches for gear, flaps etc., mounted on my desk right below the monitor. That idea slowly evolved into a plan to build a full sized cockpit.

    IFSBI: Does your family support you in this project?

    Hans: Yes and No. Yes, because my wife understands that cockpit building is my hobby, and she accepts that I spend large amounts of time building all these obscure things. Her attitude towards my hobby is certainly helped by the fact that she is a doctor and thus spends herself large amounts of time over patients files and medical literature. So, let's call this a friendly co existence...

    No, because like all serious cockpit builders, I love to talk about my work - repetitively and in intricate detail. I must admit that I observed on too many occasions how my wife's eyes (or the eyes of other family members, for that matter) glaze over when I start to describe the thrilling details my latest building endeavors. I have, of course learnt my lesson over the years. Nowadays, there is little talk at home about my cockpit - but thanks to Skype I am now in touch with other builders everywhere in the world, and these new friends are never bored of my stories...

    IFSBI: Do you have a web site where you post your project?

    Hans: Yes. It is online for 3 years now. As my cockpit changes, so does the web site. It has plenty of photos and a section with building tips. I have always liked to share my experience with fellow builders. I admit there also is some vanity involved: It was a nice feeling to see average daily page hits on my site reaching the 1,000 mark! The link is: http://www.hanskrohn.com

    IFSBI: Are there any other Hobbies or interest that you are also involved in?

    Hans: Yes. I play Tennis, as often as possible. I also like to ride motorbikes

    IFSBI: Is there anything, during the build, you can recommend to prepare our readers for when building a project?

    Hans: First of all, to realize the magnitude of such a project. It can not and will not be finished in a couple of months. Usually, the building of a full cockpit takes years. The enthusiasm of the first moment will not be enough to see the project through. The keys to success ...
    Published on 08-01-2006 02:59 PM

    MyCockpit Featured Builder
    Steve Becker Boeing 777

    IFSBI: Would you care to first give us a brief introduction about Steve Becker?

    Steve: I'm 45 years old, and have a wife and 3 boys; two of my sons are in college and one is finishing his last year in high school. I live in Southern California, USA. My daytime job is running Technical and Customer Training for a large US-based medical device company. My three passions, flying, computers and training, seem to come together nicely in the hobby (or obsession) of flight simulation.

    I started in Flight Simulation with SubLogic Flight Simulator on an Apple IIe, and have been hooked ever since. I remember how cool a few blue dots were, and how "realistic" it felt to taxi around Meigs Field at night. Since those early days, I've purchased every edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator
    Published on 05-01-2006 02:59 PM

    MyCockpit Featured Builder
    Darren Sugden Airbus A320

    IFSBI: Would you care to first give us a brief introduction about Darren Sugden?

    Darren: I am 38 years of age and live in Hull which is a large city on the east coast of England. I live with my partner, Michelle, and have no children (enables more funds for the cockpit). I am a teacher of business studies in a large comprehensive school (ages 11-16). Before that I was a lecturer in Economics at Lincoln University for 10 years.

    Funnily enough I cannot remember exactly ...
    Published on 04-01-2006 03:59 PM

    MyCockpit Featured Builder
    Kevin Saker Boeing 767

    IFSBI: Would you care to first give us a brief introduction about Kevin Saker?

    Kevin: I first became interested in flight simulators way back when the very first computers started to appear.

    I decided at that time to build an F4 cockpit using a simple home made interface which used 50 small solenoids to press keys on the Commodore 64 I was using at that time. it was crude, but it worked very well in that you had to power up the sim before the solenoids would work.

    In those days I would spend many hours working on the cockpit indoors, often when the sun was shining outside, and my wife would say how strange she thought this hobby was, in that I was probably the only person that would want to build ...
    Published on 02-01-2006 03:59 PM

    MyCockpit Featured Builder
    Gwyn Perrett Boeing 737

    IFSBI: Would you care to first give us a brief introduction about Gwyn Perrett?

    Gwyn: My interest in aircraft started about the age of 5, 40 years ago when my uncle introduced me to his control line models. I started building plastc kit planes, moving on though my teens to various control line and radio controlled models. I started simming using FS4 and was hooked immediately, upgrading with each new release. In 1999 I was inspired to commence flight training at YPJT, which happens to be Australia's busiest ...
    Published on 01-01-2006 03:59 PM

    MyCockpit Featured Builder
    Ian Cameron Boeing 767

    IFSBI: Would you care to first give us a brief introduction about Ian Cameron?

    Ian: I am 59 years "young", retired, and married with two adult son's who no longer live at home. I live 14 km from Hobart, which is the capital city of Tasmania the island state of Australia just South of the mainland. Without going into detail my working life included electrical engineering, airline flying and computing making the simulator an obvious retirement project for me. I have used and enjoyed most pc simulators since ...
    Published on 12-01-2005 03:59 PM

    MyCockpit Feature Builder
    Ray Sotkiewicz Boeing 777

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

    Ray: Right now she resides in Seattle, WA, down in the basement in the "Sim Room". This is the one room in the house where I can completely be myself, be as messy as I need to be and just have fun. From the beginning I intended the sim to be somewhat portable. This portability concept presented some unique ...

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