Friday, 31 August 2012

Summary of progress in August 2012

I was fortunate enough to be able to take August off this year, but a fair amount of this time was spent away on holiday. Still, I managed to get a lot of research done and cleared the clutter out of the attic ready to begin construction.

I'll try to add a picture of the attic.

I also bought a Leo Bodnar BU0836X interface card and some switches, and built a test panel to control lighting. This worked great and the feeling of actually throwing a switch rather than clicking a button is fantastic. I'll add a section to the site on how I did this.


I'll add more detail later:

Windows 7 64-bit
FSX Gold (Deluxe and Acceleration)
Scenery Add-ons (lots)
FS Panel Studio


This is what I'm running:

i7 2600K (stock), 4Gb RAM, 2Tb HDD
GTX 680
x3 Samsung 22" Monitors (for external view)
x1 Samsung 20" Monitor (main instrument display)
x1 Sharp 17" (spare at the moment, possibly secondary/co-pilot instrument display)
Real world Garmin GPS295 connected via FSUIPC
Saitek Flight Yoke
x2 Saitek throttle quadrants
Saitek rudder pedals
Leo Bodnar BU0836X interface card

The plan

I like to fly a variety of aircraft in FSX so I need a generic cockpit. I primarily use piston engines (single and multi) but I want to be able to fly jets as a secondary consideration.

So the cockpit needs to accommodate easy switching between single and twin engine (I'll have to fudge it for 4 engine types - I rarely use them), and should be able to cope with both steam (gauges) and glass (digital displays) cockpits.

It also needs a co-pilot position as Hugo is taking an interest and it's fun to fly together.

What the hell are you doing?

My real world flying lapsed 9 years ago after my son was born. It's something I may pick up again, but this summer Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX) has been filling the gap. I wanted to make the flight experience as immersive and realistic as possible, so I decided to have a crack at building a simple home cockpit in the attic.

I'm a software developer and I've been building and tinkering with computers for many years, so constructing my own panels and integrating hardware with FSX holds a lot of appeal for me.

I've learned a lot in quite a short time, and the learning curve is only getting steeper. There's a wealth of information out there on building a simpit or home cockpit, so I thought I'd add my experiences to the mix in case it helps anyone else along the way.