The first experience.
Since a very long time computers are used for Flight Simulation. I started with Microsoft FS (still without a number) in 1980 on a Tandy TRS-80. Afterwards I flew several versions of FS on PC’s. At the moment I am using Prepar3D (in fact the successor of FSX).
In the first version only a keyboard was used. Later a simple joystick was added. Eventually I bought a force feedback joystick from Microsoft. I cannot use this joystick anymore because the necessary interface is no longer present on PC’s. The latest joystick I bought was a Logitech (extreme) with a USB interface.
Flying became sparse due to lack of time and the use of a joystick. It is only satisfying when flying a helicopter. I often had taken a look at flight yokes and pedals from Saitek, but because I was flying so little I didn’t want to spend the money on it.
The turn around point.
On november 21, 2009 I made a ‘flight’ in a Boeing 737-800 flight simulator on the Seppe airfield, together with my neighbour Bert Janse. This made me want to fly at home again. I started looking on internet to decide which hardware was available. I decided to go for the Saitek controllers.
The time was right for this decision. I had my birthday within a couple of weeks so this would be a nice gift. I ordered the yoke, throttle quadrant and rudder pedals. Bert also wanted this set, so I ordered two sets so the package and posting costs could be divided between the two of us.
Finally a yoke.
After my birthday I looked at the best way to place this equipment. I don’t want a fixed soution because I still want to use my computer for other purposes. I decided to make a fly board. On this board I placed the yoke and throttle quadrant and. I could place this board in my wall cupboard and after attaching the USB cable I could fly.
After several flights I altered both the fly board and the wall cupboard to get everything on a pleasant heigth to fly. Because the fly board was quite big it was also quite heavy. The next step was thinking about a smaller and lighter fly board and the way it can be fixed to my wall cupboard. It must also be possible to place it somewhere else when I wasn’t flying.
The new fly board.
After thinking over all the options I started building the new fly board and placing the hardware on it. I fixed three braces of bent aluminimum to my wall cupboard on equal distances. At the back of my new fly board I placed two hooks. If I want to fly I hang the fly board on the left and middle braces, I connect the USB cables and I can fly. When not in use I can hang the board on the middle and right braces. If een that place must be used, I can lay the fly board away on a table. Because this new fly board is much smaller, it is also mucht lighter and easier to handle.
For my next birthday I had another idea for a gift, flying lessons in a Boeing 737-80 flight simulator. There is a company (ProSim4U) reasonably close in the proximity and I decided to take the basic course with this company. During the first lessons I was impressed by the way they presented the theory and the way the lessons in the actual flight simulator were given., so I applied for the second course also.
During this second course I was teamed up with Ed Koorevaar who became my flying mate. We decided to both go for the third course also, and to fly in each others simpit. Ed is building his own Boeing 737-800 cockpit and is he has a pretty extensive setup.
Flying at ProSim4U was such a good experience (three projectors for the outside view) that I wanted something like that at home too. There is no room for multiple projectors, but multiple screens might do the trick. I started out with two screen, but the disadvantage is that Microsoft places a number of screens dead center. This means that this message is displayed ovr the borders between the screens which doesn’t improve the readability.
After quite some thought I decided to go for three 22″ monitors for the outside view and a fourth for the instruments. Two additional monitors will be hooked up to a 2nd (very old) PC. On these screens I can show the flight plan an a flight monitoring program.
This however is not possible with the current videocards. So I decided on a Matrox Triple Head 2 Go Digital Edition for the three screens for the outside view. In the old PC I placed a PCI videocard for the other two monitors.
From this point on the developments with this hobby will be placed under ‘News’.