Flight Simulator

One of my long term projects is to build a home cockpit. Initially, it was to build a cockpit for a Piaggio Avanti, and my first module, a throttle unit, was intended to reflect this. The following pictures show the first incarnation of the throttle (one axis only with a potentiometer sellotaped to a crossbeam), some buttons, and the same throttle unit with a second axis (for the props/spoilers). The controls for the throttle and these basic buttons were connected using the OpenCockpits USBaxis module (essentially creates a USB joystick interface).

Throttle v1 Buttons v1Throttle v2

As you can see from the pictures above, the unit was cumbersome and badly built. I had connected up four axes for the throttles, but the wood axle and linkages were not efficient enough. I decided to start again, and build a smaller unit using more metal and some remote-control model linkages. This was more successful and I was able to include two throttles, a joint prop/spoiler lever, and a flap lever. I also bought an off-cut of perspex and started to make my first few panels.

Throttle v2

It wasn’t long after this that I bought the Master Card from OpenCockpits, but I had a very slow time building my other panels because I couldn’t get this card to work on my PC. Eventually, I bought the USB extender and a new MC and started to build an FMC. Whilst researching the panels it became obvious that I was going to have difficulty with the Avanti, not least because of the number of analog gauges needed. I had also been using vasFMC as my navigation and with their latest version 2 software had introduced a very sophisticated and free Flight Management Computer which was built mainly for the A320. So, I decided to change the project and go for this or an A330, both very similar in terms of the cockpit design.

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