Avsim review by Ray Marshall
Volair Sim Large Display Stand
The Large Display Stand allows you to mount three large TVs - up to 46″ in diagonal and vary the angle of the side monitors for a totally customized set-up. Below is a flight sim setup using three 40″ TVs.
This could be an especially timely upgrade with constantly dropping prices of large screen TVs and monitors. For instance, a 40 inch widescreen TV can be purchased at local brick and mortar shops for less than $200 or ordered online with many sites offering no sales tax and most with free shipping.
Designed to be compatible with the existing Volair Sim Flight Chassis with or without their Avionics Panel or for use with a totally different flight sim or racing setup or no flight sim at all – just a stand-alone display for gaming.
You can read the Avsim review of the original Volair Sim Chassis here. (https://www.avsim.com/home/reviews/hardware/volair-sim-flight-chassis-r1499/) The Avsim review of the Avionics Panel is here. http://www.volovirtuale.com/forum/threads/review-avionics-panel-by-volair.37278/
In addition to vertical adjustment, you can adjust the side units from 0 degrees to the full 90 degree position. With the sides set to 80 - 90 degrees you will feel like you are inside a dedicated or enclosed level 4 flight simulator (except you will have a better flight sim). Flight sims views have never looked so good as when you have this wrap-around 4k view using large high definition TVs or monitors.
The Volair Large Display Stand comes with the necessary VESA mount adapters for 3 super large and heavier 40 – 46 inch TVs including all the screws, bolts and nuts.
I found very few choices of 46” televisions out there. Only a few manufacturers offer the 45” or 46” size, but there are a ton of 40 and 43” models available from most manufacturers and suppliers and you will be surprised how affordable they are.
You can find several choices at Amazon, Newegg, Walmart, Best Buy, etc. most with no tax and free shipping depending on your address. An internet search will return several pages for your viewing. Here are just the first 5 returns for the 43” TV and 27” monitor.
Can I use the new curved monitors or TVs with this unit? Yes, absolutely you can use a curved monitor for the main or straight ahead position and then match the side TV/monitor bezels with the articulating arm adjustments. Note: some of the curved models do not comply with the VESA mounting standards, so check this closely. I doubt you can achieve a continuous radius angle with 3 curved monitors though. Be aware that most curved monitors may be extra wide with unique aspect ratios so you may have trouble matching the height with standard monitors if you choose to mix curved and standard monitors. For instance, the Dell 34” ultrawide monitor has a 21:9 aspect ratio, whereas most widescreen monitors has a 16:9 aspect ratio.
This is the hallmark of Volair Sim products. When talking with Bart Waclawik, the owner of Volair Sim, he says he is amazed at the different setups and configurations that users come up with so his designs are intended to be adaptable. I must agree. When my priorities change and I switch from flying the J-3 Cub to a Beech Baron 58 or the Learjet 45XR I tend to change my sim setup to suit me, just me. It may be just the throttle quadrant, the Trim wheel, Flight Stick or Yoke, but I do make changes. There are usually enough mounting holes to accommodate just about any configuration.
My next interest is going to be flying helicopters. IPACS has announced their long awaited first helicopter for Aerofly FS2 is being readied for delivery very soon. My uninformed guess is the announcement will come at the Aero-Expo 2018 in Germany, April 18 – 21.
Yep, sure enough, one of the flight sim whirlybird users has already added a collective and a center mounted flight stick to his Volair Sim Chassis (see photo). You can read the Avsim review of the center stick assembly here - (https://www.avsim.com/home/reviews/hardware/volair-sim-gets-new-center-stick-attachment-r2066/).
The collective is unique to the helicopter and not usually found in the typical flight sim setup. The throttle is usually configured to work backwards and used as a makeshift collective (this changes the pitch of all the main rotor blades at the same time). This is nothing close to the actions of a real collective, but it does work in a pinch for a flight sim.
Back to the triple monitor stand. There are almost no limits on what you can do with this assembly. I think the design is very innovative and as flexible as one could make it. The double-jointed side arms are something special and work smoothly to place the side monitors or large TVs exactly where you choose.
I personally like to have my 3 monitors spread out a bit because I use them most of the time as 3 separate monitors. When I fly the sim, I do tend to move them closer together as Bart had intended when he finalized the design. Of course, I am using smaller monitors than the large TVs that you see in most of the screenshots/photos.
My primary use of this pc setup is to research and write reviews but, I still like to fly the sim at least a few hours each day. Most times I use my center monitor, a Dell U2711, as my cockpit and my left side monitor for Safe Taxi, flight charts, flight plan progress, approach plates, etc. and my right monitor for checklists, and anything else that I might want to have handy when flying. This is what works best for me.
Most of you will most likely want something more in line with the flight sim spread across the 3 monitors to look like a single wide screen view. Fortunately, all my flight sims can be easily spread across the 3 monitors if I so choose. (5720 x 1200).
Obviously, I need to spend some time tweaking the colors and tints to match on my monitors. This is not nearly as noticeable to me when seated at my pc as these photos indicate. The angle and light probably amplifies the discrepancy.
Graphics Card Specs
This brings me to the graphics card discussion. When discussing the Triple Large Monitor Stand with Bart, I asked what are some of the comments from the audience at the Flight Sim Conferences and Shows. He said that he is constantly amazed at the number of folks that still ask about the ancient Matrox TripleHead2Go adapter. He states that most of those folks do not know that a modern high end graphics card is designed to drive triple monitors. He uses an i7 pc with a GTX 1070 card and three 40 inch TV displays for his demos.
Volair Sim has some detailed documentation on the use and connection of triple monitors for those that are considering moving from a single monitor to the triple monitor world. You can read it in two parts here. https://volairsim.blog/2017/12/05/flight-sims-and-multiple-monitors/
I also use an nVidia GTX 1070 with an i7 pc and it is straining to keep up with the times. This will easily drive the 3 monitors at their native resolution (1920 x 1200) but when the flight sim is loaded up with heavy weather, add on airports, custom HD scenery, etc. I can see some strain. The obvious best choice today, for me, is the nVidia gtx 1080 Ti but it is still a bit expensive just to trade up the for the graphics card. I usually buy a new PC every couple of years to get the faster cpu, more ports and faster memory. This one is about 2 years old now.
During Christmas, 3 months ago, I sprang for the Oculus VR headset rig. I reconfigured my Volair Sim Chassis with a single monitor for VR flying. I networked these two pcs so I could share my ever changing scenery files between flying VR in the Volair Chassis and the Triple Monitors on my work pc. My sim of choice is delivered by Steam so as long as I am flying on either PC all is well.
The current price for an nVidia gtx1070 Ti graphics card is around $700, the gtx1080 Ti with 11GB onboard memory is close to $1,200.
The reason I am spending the time discussing the graphics cards is that you will need one to drive the 3 monitors or TVs that you may be considering. Most folks that buy these type cards also opt for an i7 cpu computer.
This Triple Large Display Stand is a lot heavier than I expected. Weighing in at a full 70 pounds, it is most definitely a heavy-weight assembly. Speaking of assembly, it comes in a huge box with all sides, top and bottom, having a one-inch thick piece of high density foam and then each piece wrapped in bubble wrap. I guess you could say it comes as a five-piece erector set.
The Center Brace, Left and Right vertical legs, Left and Right swing arm, and the two feet. Then you have 3 monitor/TV mounting brackets that mount to the back of the TV or monitor and a bag of hardware and twist knobs and 9 pages of assembly instructions (online here) with enough pictures to make it easy to see how it comes together. For those that will use the really large TVs, there are expansion brackets for the 400mm VESA mounts along with all the nuts and bolts needed.
You assemble the major pieces with all the nuts loose, and when you have it level and straight and in final position you tighten all the nuts and bolts. The TVs or monitors fit onto the Stand and will sit or hang there while you slide the mounting bracket left or right for positioning. Once you have them close to the correct position, one last small bracket is added with a twist knob to lock them in place. Minute or final adjustments are a cinch. – loosen the one knob, slide, retighten.
The leg extensions on the floor can be turned in or out, or one in and one out, one used or none used. This all depends on the size and weight of your TVs of choice and whether the Stand is free standing or against a wall, like my setup. I am not using either of the rear floor extensions and have both of the front extension turned inwards to avoid any tripping hazards. My 3 monitors are probably as light a load as could be expected.
You do not need any of the Volair Sim units to use this Triple Large Display Stand. For instance, I can visualize those folks with a clear area that prefer the new VR flight sims, like Aerofly FS2 with the Magic Hands, and wanting to use a triple monitors to have this setup and use the free area in front for swinging their arms while wearing the VR headset. When not flying with the VR headset, they could use the 3 Large Displays to fly their sim or any game of choice. This might be the best of both worlds.
Using just the supplied monitor/TV mount or with the additional large monitor/TV mount adapters installed any of the VESA compliant monitors/TV can be used. Here is the table from the assembly manual.
Those of us that have the Volair Sim Flight Chassis we will simply loosen and slide up the monitor stand and place this new Triple Large Display Stand in front of the Flight Sim Chassis at whatever distance is comfortable. If you have the Volair Avionics Panel on a desk, then simply place the Triple Large Display Stand behind the Avionics Panel and you have a big, new wraparound (adjustable) world to view.
As with all the existing Volair Flight Sim products, this is made of powder coated steel, but with a much heavier gauge and more of it. Just like the Ford Model A it only comes in black. As expected, every piece has perfect fit and finish and all the needed assembly hardware is included. You will need an assistant when doing your final assembly or moving it from room to room. Even the smaller pieces are heavy.
Don’t forget to tighten all the nuts and bolts once you have your final location and settled on your TV/monitor spacing. You will certainly appreciate the thought that went into the design with the articulating side arms.
Live Demos and Trade Shows
Volair Sims usually has a prominent location with a fully equipped ready to fly demo unit at many of the major flight sim annual conferences. When I asked if they had any trouble with the airlines when transporting 3 large TVs, a race car seat and 150 pounds or so of heavy steel the answer somehow was not surprising. Bart is a commercially rated instrument pilot with his own A36 Bonanza so it is just a matter of removing the rear 4 seats, securely strapping it in, and keeping an eye on the CG. Now this is the way to travel to and from a trade show with demo equipment.
Last minute or final adjustments
There are numerous adjustments varying from coarse to fine plus the overall balance and plumb of the entire unit. I suggest using a couple of small bubble levels to make sure the main unit is level and plumb prior to any adjustments to the individual TVs or monitors. Once you have a plumb and level base unit, then you need to make sure the center brace is also level fore and aft, followed by checking each of the side arms checking fore and aft - loosen and tighten as necessary. The last or final adjustments will probably be the four VESA pattern screws and the over the arm hanger with the one locking turn knob. With proper attention to the details you will have a perfectly level and plumb assembly with TVs or monitors that butt up against each other with absolute precision.
This is the latest introduction in the evolution of the Volair Sim product line. The Volair Flight Chassis was designed for a single 50 inch monitor or up to three 32 inch widescreen monitors which were considered top-end back in 2012. Nowadays with most folks buying 60, 65, and even 85 inch 4k televisions for their home entertainment units and 27 and 32 inch monitors being the norm for flight sims, the Triple Large Display Stand was a natural introduction. Of course, the continuous price drops for large televisions is a timely bonus.
Using my simple math, and selecting the 43 inch TV as an example, you can buy 3 very nice 4k televisions and this Triple Large Display Stand, including standard delivery charges for less than $1,300. (3 x $250 + 425 + 100 = $1,275). For a little more, you can opt for the larger 45 or 46 inch or for a little less go for the 40 inch or smaller. These are not sale prices, just what a google search returns today. Remember to go for the small bezel models and your choice of brand, but do look at the 4k models to future-proof your purchase.
If you choose to stick with computer monitors and not televisions, you can reduce the price by $300 or more. Standard brands for the 27 in model are running from $110 - $170 each, with a curved 27 in monitor for $180. 4k models are slightly higher.
The 32 in monitors are about the same price as the 40 and 43 inch televisions, but the 34 inch curved ultra-widescreen monitor is available from several manufacturers but is still a bit pricy. Be sure to check the mounting holes and look for VESA compliance.
I don’t see how you could go wrong with this setup. It just seems like a natural evolution for enjoyment of the flight sim. Very Highly Recommended.
You can purchase your own Triple Large Display Stand directly from Volair Sim at www.volairsim.com or buy at www.amazon.com. A short overview video is available at https://youtu.be/6akKDTG9zHk.
Edited by Chuck_Jodry-VJPL