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Custom builds - shedding the burden of conformity

Started by navymustang, November 18, 2020, 07:14:38 PM

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For years I followed the tribe and built traditional aircraft cockpits with the last being a full scale 737-800. But this time I thought why do I need to always be worrying about what OEM panel to use, what flight model will drive it, where can I buy this MFD display, etc. All to match a specification that everyone was trying their best to adhere to.
So early this year I began my last build - a custom attack maritime (Navy) helicopter that was my own design (based upon the Navy SH-2 SeaSprite but only loosely based).
What I thought would be of great interest to folks is the custom MFD or EDAM that I have built that is part of a three-monitor main panel that is used primarily for engine data but also a weather radar presentation.

The three main monitors are from Ruscool Electronics and are the 15" LCD bezel displays. The buttons are standard joystick keypresses.
The display gauges, clock and button art were designed and implemented using Air Manager. I wrote custom code in Lua to manage the display.
The weather radar is the "new" MILVIZ (Rex) weather radar for P3D v5 with the bezel removed. The radar is controlled via LVars through FSUIPC custom button presses. The Air Manager "panel" has a transparent hole in it that the radar display peeks through from a lower display layer.

Still lots to do to get all the displays designed. But what fun it is using your imagination and designing what we believe is the perfect aircraft (rotorcraft).

This is a full-scale cockpit with fully functional dual controls.
My 737-800 full-scale cockpit is complete and been put in storage (for sale). Now onto my full-size helicopter project. An AOPA member and LifeTime member of National Association of Flight Instructors. Please note that I am a self-employed professional cockpit builder that provides consulting to defense contractors and civilian schools and airlines.


November 19, 2020, 05:08:34 AM #1 Last Edit: November 19, 2020, 05:09:42 AM by jackpilot
I approve your approach 100%.
As builders we have total freedom to design what works best for us. Easier, cheaper and enjoyable.
Old timers here know that I never liked the clunker TQ of the 737 and I built my own all metal version years ago. Still on board years later.



November 19, 2020, 08:12:43 AM #2 Last Edit: November 19, 2020, 08:16:45 AM by FredK
I agree....Nothing wrong with making design improvements!

My first attempt many years ago was a single seat (pilot side) 737 "half cockpit".  I used two large CRT screens for my PFD/ND and instrument displays.  Interestingly that design more resembles the current 737MAX display scheme of things! So I was actually ahead of the Boeing curve on that one!

When I moved on to building my full-scale 737NG cockpit I mostly followed the dimensional layout of the real one, but I cheated on adding an inch or so of ceiling height and 4 inches of width simply to facilitate getting in and out of the seats.

Nice job on the Navy helicopter project!

Fred K
Boeing 737NG-800, Prepar3D v4.5, Sim-Avionics 1.964, SimSync multi-channel (curved screen), Optoma 1080GTDarbee projectors (3), Fly Elise warping, FSGRW weather, FDS OH panels and CDUs, SimParts MIP, FDS SysBoards (OH), CPFlight MCPPro and pedestal panels, FI Gauges, PFC controls, converted motorized TQ (SIOC), Weber seats

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