Captain and FO Ipeco Seats for sale!

All right everyone. Another good deal for someone in Germany.

I’m selling my Captain and F/O Ipeco seats that are located in Stuttgart, Germany. They are out of an MD, not a 737, and I had to build a base for them to sit level. They are mounted on revolution Simproducts J-rails and will be sold complete as a set. I won’t part out the J-Rails, sorry. Since the seats are modified MD seats, these J-Rails are needed for them to function correctly.

I am selling them as a pair with the Revolution Simproducts J-rails for $2750 and they will need to be picked up in Stuttgart, Germany.

They are full working order. The fabric is worn in spots, and the cushions are also but that is normal for end of service life seats. These were purchased from APHS back in 2011.

I don’t have the time to put into shipping them, sorry.

Prosimparts Radio Sets for sale

I’m cleaning house and have several Prosimparts pedestal panels for sale.

There are enough parts here for two complete working Standard series Radio Sets + ATC.

I’m selling them each for 200 EUR (1 x COM, 1 x NAV, 1 x ADF, 1 x ATC) or you can buy everything you see here for 350 EUR (plus shipping).

They are not interfaced, but everything is included to connect them to your card of choice. These are great little units and I’d be using them if I hadn’t bought a CPFlight Pedestal.

Working on the visuals

Today I fired up the external visuals. First time in a long time. It gave me a chance to fine tune it a bit as I had bumped the projectors a bit during the rebuild.

Here’s the before shots:

Ended up laying out the grid again. I think I’ll leave it in place for now. Took a bit of time to get all the tape measured and in place. Effective though.

Not bad for three short throw 1024×768 projectors and Nthusim.

Here’s the end product:

Map and Chart lights

I’ve given up trying to source actual map and chart lights. Just wasn’t worth the money vs. realism effect. I settled on these 12V LEDs for the map lights and the RV rotating ball lights for the chart lights. They are both wired through a four dimmer board to the controls on the sidewall. The chart lights can be adjusted.

Handhold Brackets and mounting

As I’ve noted, the shell and liners were not a direct fit and modifications were necessary. One of the things that didn’t fit well were the handholds.

The handholds were bought from Conrads and they look great. I fashioned mounting brackets from standard L-brackets I bought at OBI (German hardware store). Once bent with a vice and hammer, then painted they worked great providing the proper offset to fit in the liner handhold grooves.

Very happy with the way these turned out!

I’ve since painted the mounting screws!

They look perfect folded away and support my weight to adjust the seat

Installing the Forward and Aft Overhead

Hello again! Just catching up on some progress.

As you can see in the pics, the forward and overhead are mounted. It is hard to believe that is done. Getting the aft in has been the longest project on my sim in general. I still haven’t installed a third ACP in there as I plan to build a custom ACP that will function as my sound mixer/amp (another project).

The forward overhead is the completed version 2 from Opencockpits and runs on SIOC. It is a rock solid overhead and with the included script runs without any issues on Prosim.

The aft overhead is the Simworld kit. I have replaced the flaps panel and IRS panel with the new Opencockpits BKI panels and everything is connected to an Opencockpits Aft Overhead card which is connected to two mastercards. Everything connects to the USB expansion card used in the forward overhead

Forward overhead in place. Relay cards and interfaces visible. You can also see the projectors through the hole in the roof which I’ve left open for access. You can see my initial installation of the chart lights. Those would be moved later (see last pic)

Both the forward and aft overheads mounted. The gap between them was unavoidable. I think it is due to the Forward overhead being thicker than the original model and the shell not being true to size. You can also see some of the mods I had to make to the liners to fit them.

If you look at the eyebrow molding you can see the chart lights I mounted. These were rotating ball lights normally used in an RV which I removed from their original housing and installed in the molding. They rotate and illuminate the chart clipboards on the windowshields

All in all, coming together nicely. You can also see my addition of chart lights.

Now you can see how I solved the problem of the gap. PVC is nice to work with. Thanks Gwyn! You can also clearly see the panel blank I cut from PVC and painted to fill the ACP mounting location on the aft overhead

The trials and tribulations of build 2.0

Time to get everyone up to speed on why it has taken almost six months to get the sim put back together.

I will caveat this post by saying that unless specifically mentioned none of my comments are meant to reflect negatively on any of the hardware providers but are meant to highlight the difficulties presented due to decisions I made picking certain paths in the building process.

My first MIP and was faced with the original FDS signature MIP panels that I sourced from eBay years ago and made out of MDF. All in all, a very nice MIP. I replaced it as I had to move to Europe and knew the MDF would not survive the trip. Lesson learned: If you have a job that may require moving, MDF is not the best material to use. It is good for one or two disassembly’s but eventually the fasteners strip out and the corners get bashed in.

I built my second MIP out of two 4 x 8 foot sheets of steel I brought back from a deployment and square steel tubing. I built it in the US in preparation for my move to Germany as I had materials readily available, and a suitable workshop. I purchased a sheet metal brake, a welder, and many air tools for working metal. I also purchased a powder-coating kit. During the process I learned how to use all those tools and will admit that the MIP came out very well. It was built like a tank and would not only survive the move to Germany (and back if need be) but could probably survive a real crash test. However, while almost perfect it still had issues. I didn’t leave enough space to mount a couple of the gauges, my clocks didn’t fit right, and I never did get the glare shield finished to my satisfaction. I also had the pending move back to the US looming over me, and with a significantly larger build by now, the prospect that I would be well over weight on my shipping allowance.

Armed with the fit problems of my current MIP and a desire to cut back on the weight I began the hunt for a new MIP. After getting a first-hand look at most of the vendors during FSWeekend, and having seen plenty of the FDS MIPs it was down to price. At the end of the day, the best bang for the buck was still for me to order from FDS and have it shipped to Germany. While several European vendors came close, by the time I factored in shipping and VAT they were well above the total price from FDS for the same items (I was also able to realize a significant savings by purchasing the liners at the same time and shipping them together). FDS also worked with me on shipping, ensuring that it went to Stuttgart instead of Frankfurt which made it much easier for me to get through the customs process (I don’t pay customs fees).

Now I will highlight the issues I dealt with in the hopes to save someone else the problems.

-First, it became apparent that I would need new monitors with my FDS MIP. Everything I had read told me that FDS MIP requires 19” widescreen monitors and the monitors I had were not widescreen. I searched out and bought two matching 19” widescreen monitors on eBay. When they arrived they didn’t fit. I finally went back to FDS and asked for some specific models and learned that the best monitor is actually an 18.5” Widescreen (also called a 19” widescreen). eBay came through again. Incidentally, if anyone wants two 19” widescreen monitors in great condition, let me know. I can ship to the US, and Europe.

-The next challenge for me were the chronos. I’ve been using two of Joe Lavery’s chronos and they have been great. However I received two chronos from Opencockpits for Christmas and since they interface with the sim, I decided I would use them. I was disappointed to learn that the chronos did not fit in the FDS MIP! As I do not have a real chrono to measure I can’t say whether this is a problem with the FDS MIP or the OC Chrono but I was pretty pissed off. As Joe’s chronos fit the FDS MIP, I am leaning towards the Opencockpits Chronos not being to scale (more on this later). Still… OC doesn’t misrepresent their products and their documentation is readily available that details the sizes. I should have done a better job researching. Others beware though. I solved the problem by drawing up replacement backing plates and ordering them from Schaeffer AG (Frontpanel Express in Europe). A couple of coats of paint and you can’t tell the difference.

-The next issue to strike…. The AFDS modules. I had two FDS AFDS modules in my old MIP. They are version 1.0 though and the mounting holes did not line up with MIP 2.0 holes. Once again, my failure to research the difference cost me. I was able to fashion a mounting plate with PVC and that did the trick (more on this in a later post on interfacing).

-Size variation strikes again. I have two Opencockpits CDU’s that I built a while ago. They have VGA screens and I have recently added backlighting. They work great and have no plans to replace them. Then I tried to mount them in the CDU bay… it seems that they are slightly larger than the space allotted in the CDU bay. I know people that have dropped real CDUs into the FDS CDU bay so I am going with this being an issue with Opencockpits and that they may be dealing imperial to metric conversion issues. At the end of the day not an unrecoverable error but still pretty disappointing. I will now have to 3D print an adapter that sits on the FDS rails and elevates the mounting surface to the level of the edge of the CDU bay. The CDUs will fit nicely above the lip.

-One last size variation that hit me on the MIP. Annunciator mounting holes. Real korry annunciators will not fit in the FDS MIP without some cutting/filing. Not a huge issue, but still something that needs to be done if you want to use real korry annunciator lights. This did affect my decision to buy my annunciators from simparts though. Luckily on this part, I only bought one before finding that out.

-I was impressed by the FDS MIP design. By itself it fits into a small box when disassembled. When assembled, it seems very flimsy. Care has to be taken that you don’t warp or bend it. The true genius in design is apparent when you add in the CDU bay. This locks the whole structure together and turns the MIP from a wobbly collection of steel panels to a rock-solid center-piece for your sim. I Definitely over-engineered the MIPs I built. I highly recommend that those buying the FDS MIP avoid skimping on price and just buy the MIP/CDU/glare package. The glare shield/top is a work of art. Clearly the best package and most realistic glare shield available.

So to summarize. I originally began my 737 sim with the intention of building everything myself. The further into it I got, the more impatient I became with the time it was taking for me to build parts on my own. That resulted in my buying parts as I went (real panels, MIP panels, Pedestal panels, overheads, CDU’s, interfaces etc.) which resulted in my having a ton of mismatched parts and pieces on hand. None of these parts really fit together and I ended up buying new panels and interfaces which added to the pile of parts I had on hand (and spent money on). Throughout the process, I justified each step as a small savings which really wasn’t realized as I was still buying other parts. Bottom line:


You will save thousands in the long run, and you will be flying right out of the box. Buy in bulk modules as you have money. This is the order I recommend:

1. MCP, EFIS and CDU – use a general yoke and computer monitors for visuals. Invest in a in the MCP, EFIS and CDU (all you need is one). This is all you need to learn to fly and use all the systems.

2. Forward Overhead – As you’ve been learning how to fly while saving the money, you are now ready to add the rest of the systems. You still don’t need an actual MIP or CDU bay. Pay attention here. If you find you are NOT willing to pay the money for an overhead, you have just saved thousands as you have proven you don’t really have the will to invest in a type specific aircraft.

3. MIP and CDU bay – If you have bought your overhead and still want to move forward now you can start saving for the MIP and CDU bay. It is at this time that you will also be thinking about liners. If you choose to buy liners, I recommend you stick with the same company for MIP and liners.

4. Now that you have an enclosed cockpit, all the rest of the stuff is ready for purchase. By this time you have no qualms throwing down a couple hundred at a time to “finish” up.

Good luck!

FDS Liners arrive

Those that saw me at FSWeekend 2014 will remember that I was very impressed with FlybyCockpit’s new products. In particular, Vitor’s liners were exceptional. Knowing Vitor for many years, he made me a fantastic offer but we both agreed there was no way of knowing if his liners would fit my shell so I waved off.

Still, the bug had bitten me and I was on the hunt for liners. If you’ve patiently followed my build you probably remember I bought my shell from a builder in South Africa. After showing pictures it was very similar to the FDS shell, so I made the assumption that the measurements would be similar so the FDS liners would be ideal.

Armed with the will to buy and the understanding that I was taking a huge leap, not really knowing they would fit, I ordered the liners from Peter Cos at FDS and they were promptly delivered along with my MIP. This would be the beginning of a love/hate relationship with the liners that would last two weeks.

To begin, I quickly determined that my shell was about two inches shorter in height than the FDS shell the liners were made for. I was able to solve this problem by inserting 2 x 4’s under the lower lip of the shell all the way around.

I also determined that the shell was also about three inches shorter front to back. This was a more serious issue and was the result of all the time. It meant that I would need to actually trim the liners which is an irreversible commitment. It also meant that I would need to measure many times before cutting.

Through the course of installing the liners I ended up having to trim them for length, which came out much better than I thought.

I had to modify each of the panels to fit but the end result was much better than I thought. Still some tweaking to do as I put everything back in the shell but I am very happy with the result.

I’ve cut out the openings for the oxy panels, and I bought some DIN dash pockets for automobile dashes as side liner pockets and painted them. I also mounted my OC tiller.

The clipboards are two clipboards I bought from Officemax three years ago for this purpose. I cut them down to size and left them clear so I can put things under the plastic for reference.

I ended up fashioning brackets out of left over aluminum strips I had in order to mount the roof panels. I’ll mount those once I run the speaker wires.

Still working on this, so stay tuned!

New MIP arrives

I did it! I finally put up, and bought the MIP 2.0 DSTD Bundle from Flightdeck Solutions.

I have been trying to convince myself for years that I wanted it but just couldn’t get myself to commit. Peter Cos has been patient with me over the years of my back and forth and I am happy to say I was able to finally pass him some well-deserved business.

I want to take the opportunity to thank FDS for a great buying experience. The whole staff was friendly and treated me like I was the only customer. My goal was to receive the MIP as my Christmas present to myself and to my delight, FDS expedited the shipping to ensure it hit my local airport in time for me to pick it up from Customs the day before Christmas! Steve and Peter also took the time over the Christmas Holidays to answer my questions on assembly. Thanks again, guys!

The MIP came boxed up with all the pieces well wrapped in bubble wrap. Opening the box it was evident I had a lot of assembly ahead of me. Once Steve provided the assembly instructions via email, I was able to identify each piece, and all the fasteners were individually bagged and clearly marked.

Here are a couple of shots of the bubble wrapped parts.

The FDS MIP bundle also include the CDU bay.

Test fit of the CDU bay with the TQ. Looks good!

Starting to come together

More to follow as I start to wire it up. Stay tuned.