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Cockpit for School Project

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Hi everyone,I'm new to this forum, but I think it is the right place for my question.I am entering my junior year of high school next year, and I am thinking ahead to my senior year. There is an elective course called WISE. It stands for something, but all I know is it is something to the effect of "Individual Senior Experience." A friend of mine and I would like to look for approval to build a cockpit for this project. It is an entire year, and projects in the past are things like learning to play an instrument, directing a play, writing a piece of music, etc. I think our idea would be interesting and fun.I am looking to this forum for the logistics on this type of thing. We want to be able to have a nice-looking, fairly professional cockpit, but we do not want to have to rob a bank to afford it. That is the nice thing about this course - you are not graded on the quality of what you produce as much as the process you went through when completing your project.We've done some research, and would like to build a 757/767 cockpit. We're wondering how we can carry this out in the time we have (one school year and possibly the summer before) and how much money we can expect to spend. Remember, we can definitely cut some corners here and there.We are both experienced in several different areas of computing, and I am in the process of obtaining my private pilot's certificate. So we have the knowledge needed to build a cockpit, but we just need a little guidance at this point.Thanks in advance,Blaine Ilerbiler@comcast.net

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Guest MikePowell

Blain,You have a wide range of possibilities. You can quickly knock together an enclosure with a monitor or two displaying off-the-shelf Microsoft Flightsim, or you can aim for ultimate realism, duplicating the functionalty of all systems. Costs might range from almost nothing if you borrow and use recycled stuff, up through tens of thousands of dollars. A very good first step is to clearly define your objectives. What degree of realism are you seeking? What systems will function? How will you structure/schedule your available resources (time and money) to achieve those objectives? Given that this is an academic project, quite likely some of your objectives should relate to new skills learned and demonstrated.I suspect this is not the type of feedback you came seeking. However, if I place myself in the role of faculty advisor reviewing such a proposal I find myself asking if the project is adequately defined to be accomplished, and if pursuing it is of educational value to the student. Mikewww.mikesflightdeck.comInfo for simpit builders.EDIT:ps. On re-reading, I think I come across a stuffy and negative. Not my intent! I think this has the potential to be a fantastic project. I do, however, think it must be planned and presented properly.

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Guest LeoL

If you haven't already start here:http://www.mikesflightdeck.comLots of great info on getting started and what's involved.Hehe, sorry Mike, couldn't help myself. Had to beat you to the punch at least once! ;)Cheers-Leo

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Guest LeoL

Aaaw maan...I don't believe this! You beat me to it!!! :-lol

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Guest MikePowell

Yep! Got you side tracked with those selsyn references and slipped in while you weren't looking. :-walksmile Mikewww.mikesflightdeck.com

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Guest AirPanther

Hi Blaine, I started my simulator in High School and made a lot of progress. Matter of fact, I did all the "complicated" stuff throughout the span of my senior year. Please, allow me to speak TOTALLY honestly from my experiences... This is a VERY time consuming project. You can choose to work on it 1 hour a day for 5 years, or 5 hours a day for 1 year. I chose the latter and it's worked out pretty well (even 5 years later :D). I spent many hours each night working on my project, even just for my simple first prototype. However, You are in a MUCH better situation than I was. You've got companies like AGT, CSI, Hagstrom, FDS, FlightLink, GoFlight and countless others to provide parts for you. You don't have to make everything from scratch. That is VERY significant. CSI was the ONLY company around when I started and they were just developing basic hardware . Even Project Magenta (Glass Cockpit as it was known back then) was just being released. I'm sorry for the history lesson, but maybe my past experiences will have some impact on your decision. If it is a passion of yours, I say by all means GO FOR IT!Best wishes,Robert PratherThe 777 Projecthttp://www.777Project.cjb.net

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Guest Salbado

Hello Blaine...Great project, but as Robert Prather said, it is very time consuming. On the ohter hand, Mike points out that you first have to define the realism that you are seeking. I was seeking a relatively high degree of realism and am now in my second year. I have spent some serious time in developing many individual components and could not imagine doing this and attempting to achieve high academic grades at the same time. Knowing how much time my own son spends on school, I would be very cautious in taking on a high fidelity project (not to mention the cost). As an alternative, you may want to consider submitting detailed and comprehensive overall presentation of the planning and research that would go into this project complete with diagrams, electrical and computer diagramming, woodworking drawings, layouts etc. That alone could take a year. Then once the planning is done you could get on with the real building at your own pace.Good luck.

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Guest

Hey Guys,Thanks for the responses. Each and every response and suggestion is greatly appreciated. I do realize that this would be a time consuming project, but it is something that I enjoy doing very much. It is definitely something that I will have to consider a little more before I actually start a project like this.As for defining what we would like to accomplish - we want our cockpit to be very realistic. Obviously we are not concerned with the finer details of the simulator, but we want it to be very real. We have the resources to do so, and I think we also are motivated enough to do it. My friend and I are both excellent students and know how to manage our time. I don't think that would be such a problem considering also that we would have a class period every day devoted to working on this.At this point, we are not concerned with the money involved. We realize that it will be an expensive undertaking. But we will both be doing web development and will have a nice amount of money to work with. In addition, we both have older computers and parts with which we could run the simulator itself. So, we have a lot of the basics taken care of.

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Guest SlimDady

well you can always start with the basics and work your way up. Perhaps gather all the computers you will need. Put together all the monitors, pc's, network, and software that will power your system. Give it a test run. Once thats done build up from there. Start making/buying parts. Throttles, yokes, rudders. Instruments.

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Guest seev_39

Hi Blaine (and friend),A lot depends on what you guys have in terms of a workshop and "good hands". Dad's garage might be good enough, provided there are basic tools there for wood and metal work (or maybe the school's workshop - if it has one).If I may suggest, why don't you go on a Cessna 172 cockpit instead of the "heavy" one. It will also serve you well in your PPL activities. In case you chose that a/c you can built the following components;1. Rudder and toe brake pedals.2. Yoke3. about 3-5 working levers, such as throttle, mix, flaps and brake.4. 10-15 working push buttons and switches (just imagine having a red rocker switch for BAT and ALT and a car key to start engine)5. A simple wooden frame with pilot seat.You will need, beside the PC - which I assume you have - a Hagstrom card (the KE72 is OK for you) to operate all levers and switches, some cheap electronic parts, such as potentiometers, resistors, LED's, wires, etc. and of course plywood, sheet metal, bolts, nuts, paint, etc. I believe all that will not make your dad sell your home. Beside the PC and FS2002 you can expect something around $300 to $400.Oh, I forgot one thing, do you have a decent video card. If not count for an additional $200+Hours to be invested, that's a big question, for planing, design, etc. consider 100 plus hours. For real work, about 300 hours. But I maybe wrong with my estimation.The final result will be great, Just imagine your teachers and friends watch you going through the check list, starting the engine (wwooomm...), taxi to the runway, take-off, make a round and land again. Hope you don't crash her. All this without touching your keyboard and mouse even once. You are guaranteed for an "A".Have funSeev

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Guest

Hey...That idea actually sounds wonderful. It would be much easier and in many cases more fun as well. However, we were obviously thinking of something a little bigger. My question (one of several) to you would be...how would your idea be adapted to suit a larger airframe such as a Beech 1900 or something of similar size (perhaps something like a Cessna 402)?Also...how would we go about displaying the instruments? We want this to be fairly realistic, not just monitors displaying the panel (minus various levers and such).We are also thinking of making this an in-depth study of the role of ATC and ATC interaction with a pilot. We already know a lot on the matter, but it would be interesting to lay it all out on paper and get some credit for this hobby of ours!Thanks for the ideas...they're all great suggestions!Blaine

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Guest MikePowell

Blaine,You can build some realistic looking analog style instruments using RC servos, stepping motors and/or air core movements, or convert defunct real instruments to simulator use. Take a look at my web site under "instruments". Alternatively you can display the instruments on a monitor with an overall that has instrument sized cutouts in strategic locations. This can look quite good.Mikewww.mikesflightdeck.comInfo for simpit builders.

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Guest seev_39

Hi Blaine,Sorry for coming in so late. I am on the other side of the globe.Mike is right, you can either built 1-3 instruments (you don't have to make the whole panel) with servos. You can buy them as kits and assemble them or go the other way by a second monitor for the instruments with a plywood cover and cut-outs around the guages. Both will cost you some additional $$$.As for ATC. The default FS2002 displays a menu of communication options by numbers and you chose the right one. All the rest is done automaticaly, including comm dialing and sound. If you wish to change this you can do two things;1. Get into dialing frequancies with hardware like GoFlight modules. They are easy to install, connected with USB plugs, look great but a basic 3 module set (GF-45, GF-P8 and GF-T8) will cost you about $400. Go to their site and have a look.2. The other option is to join Vatsim and do your on-line ATC with other simmers. This has a long learning curve and you are not guaranteed to have a session at the "moment of truth" when you want to show you project. I would recomend the first option, GoFlight, if you have the cash. It is much easier and give a "real look" touch to the cockpit.As for a twin engine a/c, no big change here. Only another potentiometer for the second engine throttle and a another mix lever and prop lever (those last two can be operated with a push button switch and not with a potentiometer - no one will see the differance, because you will have a lever to operate the button). Have fun and feel free to ask more if you need.Seev

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