additional flightdeck lights

During my last flights I got asked by an Instagram follower why my flightdeck is so dark when flying in daylight (in the Simulator).

I really never gave a thought on this. But as I started thinking about the question I also had (couple of minutes later) an idea how to solve it.

You have to know that my flightdeck is located in the basement of our house. Therefore its darker, as only one window is installed in the room (it was intended to be dark, as it was planned during house planning and building that the flightdeck will be there).

But to overcome the issue during day flights I have started to install a dim able LED strip on the captains window, below the MIP and on the first officer window. It is regulated via a dimmer manually to match the current scenery daylight.

To get this done some work needed to be done to make sure that the light will not blend in the face. So I attached some painted wooden bars on the MIP structure.

Light Test on Captains side

The LED strips need to be cut and re-soldered to have one strip run throught the whole flightdeck.

To the honest, it look quite good 🙂

Here are 3 comparison pictures.

Lights off
~50% light
full light

 

10 years of Cockpit Building

Today,10 years ago, I finished the work on the first LED lights.

From there – the Overhead in small.

Overhead mockup in small

via this:

Homecockpit v1 from 2010 to 2013

to here – a full size fixed simulator.

Homecockpit v2 – started 2014. Picture from October 2018

During the 10 years of building I learnt a lot, especially that behind of those are always computers and software which can and will always have issues. Broken CPU coolers, crashed HDDs, performance issues with the application, network issues, etc.

But, if all is working as it should be, it all makes huge fun to run such a simulator. In the last 3 years I was more focused on getting things “as real as it gets”. So I invested a lot of my time to record, cut and edit cabin announcements to make them sound good in my setup.

A lot of thanks goes to my father, without him and his knowledge of building and forming wood, it would not be possible. Danke Papa 🙂

I created a short video which takes us through 10 years of cockpit building.

Enjoy!

Tiller Maintenance – again

A couple months ago I had to change the potentiometer of the tiller, because is was defect. After a couple of flights I noticed that the steering drags to the left and does not center. So the first impression was that the potentiometer or the input card has an issue. But after some hours of trying to fix it, it got clear that it is a full mechanical issue.

I removed the Tiller handle and during that process the locker mechanism got destroyed… So I had to replace it with a 4mm screw (left).

And on the other side the locking mechanism was not strong enough to hold on to the potentiometer shaft. I removed the screw, drilled a hole in the shaft and reattached the screw, which is now holding the shaft tight.

After some stationary tests I have reassembled it. Now it works perfect and is finally fixed.

ProSim Display Configuration

During the years of using ProSim I always had running the Prosim Displays with 2 instances. One for the Captains PFD and ND and a second one for the First Officers PFD and ND.

After some chat with a ProSim Developer (Alex) who is responsible for the D2D integration and much more, he pointed out to me that it is better that each display is running its independent instance. Therefore the PFD will not slow down if the ND shows too much data and struggles.

So I took the time to reconfigure my setup, at least for the PFD and ND on both sides. Each display is now running a own ProSimDiplay.exe instance.

And indeed it feels smoother.

Wet Compass upgrade

During the last year’s I have used this wet Compass solution.

Now I found the post of René on the Prosim forum explaining how he is interfacing his own built wet Compass. Quite simple to be honest. Take an Arduino board (eg. this one on Amazon) and his own built compass, it’s nearly plug and play.

The Arduino board is converted to a mobiflight board with the firmware modification. Required software can be found here.

I have mounted the wet compass in its position and as there are also LEDs included I connected them to the responsible switch. Quite nice product.

Thanks René. Get with him in touch trough the Prosim Forum to get an price with shipping to your country.

Shipping was absolutely fine and René is very fast in responding and providing the asked information. I can recommend this product if you are looking for a wet Compass solution.

GSX menue on lower EICAS

A long time I have searched how to move the gsx menue away from the curved projection screen for convenience. Now I found a solution hinted in the Prosim forum. A simple lua script from Pete Dowson is the solution. This lua script generates all kind of stuff on another machine via WideFS. You can select between Weather updates, all text, all menus etc. So I tried it and this is the result.

Via the FMC and ProsimUtils you can control the GSX menue and now the menue is displayed as an overlay on the lower EICAS.

The only drawback is the you have to start WideFS on this machine as the last software to allow the overlay. This needed some adoption of my startup routine on this machine. But finally the captain and the first officer can see and interact with the menue. Sadly it’s not touchable, as my lower EICAS is a touchscreen.

Intercom System Setup

A lot thoughts for a lot of cockpit builders is going into the Intercom System. There are some very good and very real easy to use replicas available. Seems the best out there is the one from Ruscool.

Most of the time I am flying alone in my flightdeck, therefore I don’t need those more expensive solutions. I tested and figured the following solution for me. It’s working, its simple and its cheap – although its not 100 percent real.

First I have to explain my setup a little. I have one PC running vpilot and handles the communication to the VATSIM ATC. On this machine there are 2 headsets connected. Each one has a separate USB Soundcard, where the 2 3.5mm connections are connected. In the windows system config the configuration is made that the loopback device from the captains mic is the first officer headset and vice versa. So everytime the captain speaks the first officer will hear him. Not perfect, but it’s working. If you want stop transmitting to the intercom, you can disable the mic input via a switch on the Plantronics GameCom 388 Headset. Sounds simple? It is 🙂 As I sayed not perfect, but its working and sounds quite real.

Configuration of Captains Mic
Configuration of First Officer Mic

Hardware issue on PFD machine

After a 2 month brake I started all the PCs for a system check and update sequence today. After half an hour the PFD pc went dark. I rebooted the machine and as soon as the windows logo appears it shuts down again. I thought of an HDD first, but it happened on different times. My next guess was one of the USB connected devices. So I unplugged all 8 devices and rebooted, same effect. I took the HDD drive out and installed it on a same spare machine, there all was working. So I decided to switch the machines. During unplugging the graphic card I noticed that the CPU cooler was not fully in place.

So this was my issue as well. The machine overheated and shut down itself. After inspecting the cooler I noticed that the clips on the cooler were broken and therefore the cooler was not tight on the CPU anymore.

Destroyed cooler clips

I continued with the replacement of the graphic card and USB PCI card and started the machine. All was working again.

So I ordered on eBay some spare parts for the cooler clips to have a backup PC ready again in a few weeks.

VACC Austria Realops event. Rotation LOWW-EDDM-LOWW

On June 9th the Realops Event took place in Vienna. Therefore you could book Real Time slots from this day schedule from the Vienna airport. Outbound and Inbound. The event was hosted for the 10th anniversary of VACC Austria. Happy Birthday, again!
I flew a rotation for austrian virtual from LOWW to EDDM as OS117L and back to Vienna as OS118C