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Robert McDonald

As Real As It Gets- A REAL 737 Cockpit Sim!

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Yours truly at the controls- EVERYTHING works!  Note the FlightDeck Solutions 737 FMC's (dual), every item you see other than the FMCs is the real McCoy taken from actual Boeing airplanes- the seats were $4000!  Working Radio Stack, driven by Project Magenta and other custom software, ATC by PilotEdge, the greatest experience of my life in terms of entertainment!  A dream come true!

 

Thanks and gratitude to James Price for sharing his 18-year project!  His pride and joy!

 

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It does NOT get any better than this- unless my bucket list #1 item is granted, and I get a break from American Airlines in a REAL WORLD plane (not likely!).  This plane's nose came from a Lufthansa.  My nose came from my Italian grandfather!

 

Everything you see is from the Boeing 737(s)- the real YOKES (both sides), REAL rudder pedals, Real Tiller (actually WORKS), Throttle Quadrant, Radio Stack, IRS panel, overhead, MCP, ND, etc, etc.  The amazing thing is EVERYTHING works within the sim, the trim wheels spin and make the real noise heard in the RW plane, you can control trim from the yoke...

 

It was a HOLY SMOKE moment, no doubt!  Loved every moment, and the guy who built this is a retired RW ATC controller, and former private plane owner.

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Yeah, not too many people I wouldn't hurt to get a ride in that sim :) Jealous!

 

You aren't kidding about a lot of the avionics being real, too. I was helping him troubleshoot some audio a while back and he was referring actual hardware from Boeing...neat stuff.

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Looks absolutley brilliant :D

 

Someone needs to figure out how to get that thing on Vatsim, and checkout WorldFlight.

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That would be a great thing to have. Endless fun. Was in a real 737 Simulator once and it was just a blast!

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The generous soul who built this let me fly it from KSFO to KLGA (Long Beach, CA).  We flew on PiloteEdge and had gate-to-gate ATC the entire flight.  It was a mind-blowing experience of a lifetime.  I got home and started throwing rocks at my sim...

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I got home and started throwing rocks at my sim...

 

Now that is something you don't want to do.

 

That's a bit like coming home form the strip club and beating your wife. :lol:  :ph34r:

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Now that is something you don't want to do.

 

That's a bit like coming home form the strip club and beating your wife. :lol:  :ph34r:

 

Now that's funny, I don't care WHO you are!  :p0504:

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Thanks for sharing Robert! Looked like great fun. Next on your list, try a real motion sim. I've had the chance to a couple of times, and guess what. I ended up teasing them about the poor graphics :P  FSX looked so much better!

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I'm glad you enjoyed the flying Scott ;-) Thank you for the kind words.

 

The PilotEdge experience is superb, my hat is off to all the folks making that service so fantastic. After nearly 29 years as an ATCS I can honestly say that PilotEdge is 'as real as it gets'. Trained controllers, real world procedures, and a great human interaction have made my sim flying a zillon times more challenging and interesting. I hope more folks discover the value that PilotEdge provides.

 

One correction to your post if I may, the avionics suite is Sim-Avionics. Another very worthwhle package IMO. Coupled with X-Plane 10.25b1 using XPUIPC makes my sim come to life!

 

Don't throw rocks at your setup. Collect the rocks, dig out the gold chunks, and move forward in your quest for a better cockpit! And always remember to fly the airplane, despite what the 'automation' is doing!

 

James

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737SimGuy, on 22 Oct 2013 - 2:53 PM, said:

 

I'm glad you enjoyed the flying Scott ;-) Thank you for the kind words.

 

The PilotEdge experience is superb, my hat is off to all the folks making that service so fantastic. After nearly 29 years as an ATCS I can honestly say that PilotEdge is 'as real as it gets'. Trained controllers, real world procedures, and a great human interaction have made my sim flying a zillon times more challenging and interesting. I hope more folks discover the value that PilotEdge provides.

 

One correction to your post if I may, the avionics suite is Sim-Avionics. Another very worthwhle package IMO. Coupled with X-Plane 10.25b1 using XPUIPC makes my sim come to life!

 

Don't throw rocks at your setup. Collect the rocks, dig out the gold chunks, and move forward in your quest for a better cockpit! And always remember to fly the airplane, despite what the 'automation' is doing!

 

James

 

Truer words never have been spoken! Fly the airplane! VERY important! Do not put too much faith in the FMC- and pay attention to the published charts! The FMC doesn't always conform to what the charts dictate - and you'll catch howdy from ATC if you diverge from the published procedures!

 

I am in total agreement about PilotEdge- for guys like James and myself- it's a 'deal-maker' in terms of the ultimate immersion. I fully recognize that some folks are 'shy' about learning to use ATC (I myself was extremely awkward when I began - and got yelled at by Vatsim a LOT). On the other hand, I find the people at PilotEdge seem to have above-average patience, especially with newer pilots - as long as you're paying attention (and not trying to do a lot of non-flight stuff at the same time).

 

I tried their free 14-day trial for like 3 days, and then I gave my credit card and signed for 1 year, it was THAT different from Vatsim. You can fly all over Southern California, which again, is not for everyone. On the other side of that coin is the fact that they are staffed up for 15 hours x 363 days a year, 7 days a week- and you NEVER have the disturbing sudden 'closing' of ATC ops in the middle of your flight during their regular business hours. Blocks-to-Blocks coverage and you'll be plenty busy switching frequencies during your flight.

 

Of course if you have a sim platform like my buddy James built, you would insist on 'real world' ATC if you could get it. We are fortunate that PilotEdge is in operation. I remember life before I signed up for PE service. It was just not the same. Using VATSPY, I frequently found the entire USA devoid of ATC control. That is not reality, and it's plenty dull flying on Unicom, let me share with you. Not to mention the intrepid odd pilot who hops online and fails to announce his presence much less his intentions. BUZZ KILL when the guy flies right through your airplane!

 

Sending sincere thanks to James! Great guy and solid pilot! I learned a lot from him in the hours he shared with me.

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Wowsa batman!  That is cool.  The outside, is that a projector image?  XPlane 10.25b1  and you are using the free x737 too?  

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Wowsa batman!  That is cool.  The outside, is that a projector image?  XPlane 10.25b1  and you are using the free x737 too?  

 

I will let James comment on the inner workings... it is mind-blowing.  Yes, he has three overhead projectors doing the visuals.  When we pushed back from the gate, I swear to heaven, it was as if we really were in the cockpit and pushing back!  I don't think I'll ever forget that moment - how it felt.  Plus, he has all the various sounds and tactile reactions like when the engines spool, when the APU goes on or off - I mean if this were a ride at Disneyland, they would OWN ME.

 

Hey, GREAT IDEA!  See the new Tomorrowland exhibit photo below:

 

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Dear Santa Claus,

 

Please see attached photo (above).  I carefully measured my parent's bedroom, after I kick them out and remove their furniture, I believe this item will fit in nicely!  I am sending you flying directions from PFPX software so you can fly direct from the North Pole to my place.  I'm willing to do the assembly myself, if you include really GOOD directions!  I'm really looking forward to this coming Christmas!

 

Signed,

Your New Best Friend For Life

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Wowsa batman!  That is cool.  The outside, is that a projector image?  XPlane 10.25b1  and you are using the free x737 too?  

 

Yes,

 

XP10.25b1,

x737 4.8.2 (without plugin),

Sim-Avionics suite via XPUIPC,

FlightDeck Solutions CDU's, 

3 projectors using Fly Elise NG "MultiView" plugin from a single computer,

TripleHead2Go,

PilotEdge online ATC,

EPIC hardware interface,

SimPhonics sound,

Custom instructor station and 737 logic (written by Matt Ford and I).

The rest is Boeing.

 

James

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Yes,

 

XP10.25b1,

x737 4.8.2 (without plugin),

Sim-Avionics suite via XPUIPC,

FlightDeck Solutions CDU's, 

3 projectors using Fly Elise NG "MultiView" plugin from a single computer,

TripleHead2Go,

PilotEdge online ATC,

EPIC hardware interface,

SimPhonics sound,

Custom instructor station and 737 logic (written by Matt Ford and I).

The rest is Boeing.

 

James

 

The way that James' sim operates is beyond superlatives like "stunning", "amazing", "breathtaking" or even "astounding".  My jaw dropped open the moment I laid eyes on it, and "WOW" was about all I could gurgle over and over.  If there is a Heaven, and I'm pretty confident there is, I hope I can swap out my harp for a simulator on the level that James has built!  He sat at his instructor station when I wasn't looking and triggered an APU fire.  Now THAT got my attention!

 

If I had something like James' sim at my house - I would have to quit work entirely, I simply couldn't stand not to be flying it!

 

:im Not Worthy:  <-- me, after seeing James' pride and joy.  I kept marveling that someone OBTAINED all of these items,  installed them, wired them up, and then got them all to play together nicely with 5 computers!  The words "Genius" and "Wizard" seem appropriate here.  Speaking as a guy who got to fly it - it was a real game-changing moment!  Put simply:  My sim?  Little League.  James' sim? MLB.

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I guess the time for kidding around is pretty much over!  Let's get serious!  While the above sim is a helicopter, you can do your favorite Boeing airplane as well!  The Sim Avionics setup pictured earlier in this thread is a joint venture with FlightDeck Solutions, and not full motion.  You can have something like that for a base price starting at around $150,000 USD, fully assembled.  Shipping and setup extra.  Of course, if you want full-motion, you'll be in the millions for cost.  We won't count the electricity bill.  I'll be back in 10 minutes, gotta go buy some Lottery tickets!

 

Here is a Boeing full-motion sim:

 

 

 

And yet another way to build a great flying experience in a smaller space

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I think over the next few years it is going to be easier to build one of these things.

I am about 10 years from retirement and I would love to get into building a full 737 cockpit then.

I might fly for few more years but unlike many glider pilots I doubt I will continue beyond 60.

Personally I would try to build the Flight deck on a platform with either hydraulic or Pneumatic actuator

I would go with off the shelf modules; Overhead panel, TQ Pedestal, MCP etc. All USB stuff form one of the well known makers. I might try to get real seats depending on the cost otherwise just get scraped car seats for a junk yard. It would be a great project. It used to be that the Home Flight Deck build was a rare thing indeed. But a lot more enthusiast are doing it now so it will get easier because there is money to be made. There are some amazingly realistic 737TQ's out there.

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I think over the next few years it is going to be easier to build one of these things.

I am about 10 years from retirement and I would love to get into building a full 737 cockpit then.

I might fly for few more years but unlike many glider pilots I doubt I will continue beyond 60.

Personally I would try to build the Flight deck on a platform with either hydraulic or Pneumatic actuator

I would go with off the shelf modules; Overhead panel, TQ Pedestal, MCP etc. All USB stuff form one of the well known makers. I might try to get real seats depending on the cost otherwise just get scraped car seats for a junk yard. It would be a great project. It used to be that the Home Flight Deck build was a rare thing indeed. But a lot more enthusiast are doing it now so it will get easier because there is money to be made. There are some amazingly realistic 737TQ's out there.

 

I have to say I'm pretty impressed by Peter Cos, the CEO of FlightDeck Solutions.  A nice guy who started out as a sim enthusiast, then made a business out of it.  Mr. Cos has BOEING as a client, and has had them for seven consecutive years (according to an email Mr. Cos sent me).  That speaks volumes about his quality and support.

 

I think he offers everything from a $15000 "JetMax 737" to a $150k full on sim (but not full motion).  Cool stuff, but complicated.  The JetMax stuff is sent out as a KIT, which would require some assembly.  PCs required to run his stuff range from 1 or 2 for JetMax up to 8 or more for the Big Dog setup.

 

A good goal!  His stuff is built to real world scale AFAIK, so it's not cut down like some of the other makers.  Also, he offers brackets for those who want to integrate stuff they already own (example Yokes).

 

For my money, the JetMax looks 'do-able'.  I can't picture spending 6 figures on a home sim unit, unless I was going to attempt to charge money to fly it.  To me, operating a sim as a business could be a lot of headaches.  The inevitable collision between customer egos and their actual flight skill set (or lack thereof) just for starters.  Even with 542 hours all in 737 and 777 sims, I needed a first officer to help me manage the flow on my first flight in the killer sim that started this thread.

 

Hope you pursue your goal!  

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I think he offers everything from a $15000 "JetMax 737"

 

Well I just spent $4000 on my current setup and that is not including software of flight controllers so $15000 sounds very do-able to me. But I won't be doing this for a good 10 years from now. Have the money but don't have the time!

 

But right now I expect to do it and the tech 10 years from now will likely be spectacular! :lol:

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Yes, there is little doubt that 10 years from now, we should likely see a marked improvement in both the hardware and even the software.  Hopefully, XPlane 20 will be out by then.

 

Interestingly, the upper end sim guys (like Peter Cos of FlightDeck Solutions) are pretty convincing in the argument that NETWORKING multiple PCs is the way to go.  1 PC to handle the glass cockpit, another for the overall sim, and so on.

 

By the time you're ready to really go at it, it should be quite a bit simpler, and maybe even less hassle to assemble!

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As for me, I can only dream  :P .  I agree on using multiple computers though, some day I will start thinking about it.

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I just took another look at the JETMAX website and their HQ is just up the street from me :-)

I'll give them a call and get to know them. I love Toronto!

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Hi Rob,

 

Jetmax is 3500, excluding the MCP, EFIS, throttle.

 

Here is my current setup. I have a pedestal on the way. Working on visuals before the MIP.

 

The other vendor to check out is flyengravity and cp flight. They have good quality stuff.

 

I'm just beginning my build so can't compare to the OP...any words of advice? :)

 

Posted Image

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any words of advice? :)

 

My advise to you is start taking a lot more pictures because we all want to know what's going on here! :lol:

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All I can say is wow- what a great time to be a flight sim enthusiast!


Hi Rob,

Jetmax is 3500, excluding the MCP, EFIS, throttle.

Here is my current setup. I have a pedestal on the way. Working on visuals before the MIP.

The other vendor to check out is flyengravity and cp flight. They have good quality stuff.

I'm just beginning my build so can't compare to the OP...any words of advice? :)

busyra7e.jpg

 

Very nice setup!  Where did you get the yoke?  (Who makes it)?  I think I recognize the FDS Throttle Quadrant!  Love your stuff!  Do the trim wheels move during flight or are they just 'decorative'?  Who makes the rudder pedals?  Are you trying to sell a PFC yoke?


I just took another look at the JETMAX website and their HQ is just up the street from me :-)

I'll give them a call and get to know them. I love Toronto!

 

LUCKY!


Looking good, there, Robert!

 

Thank you, man!  I am still feeling it, and wishing I was back on board!

 

My advise to you is start taking a lot more pictures because we all want to know what's going on here! :lol:

 

+1

 

 

As for me, I can only dream  :P .  I agree on using multiple computers though, some day I will start thinking about it.

 

The difference between doing and dreaming is taking that first step - and drawing your plans out on paper!  From there on, it's put one foot in front of the other!

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