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Will Depart in...



Concerning Trend...or Not?

Started by FredK, January 19, 2021, 03:47:23 PM

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January 19, 2021, 03:47:23 PM Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 03:55:55 PM by FredK
I have been contemplating this post for some time now...

I have been involved with this hobby for a bit short of two decades now....started with Project Magenta when it was in its infancy stage coupled with a single seat generic jet setup. Then twelve years ago embarked on a full scale 737NG  replica cockpit featuring a home-crafted shell. It has taken me that long to recently finish it...a real accomplishment I think since more builders than not never seem to get to the finish line.

Over that period I have seen cockpit builders come and go.  Many have stayed the course. Companies servicing cockpit builders have also come and gone. Some companies like FDS that originated with hobbyists have morphed more towards commercial endeavors.

The point of this thread though is that I sense there is a waning interest in cockpit building. For example, it seems to me there is less activity and participation in this forum which unquestionably is the flight sim bellwether of all things cockpit.

It is certainly a lot easier to build a cockpit today than it was years ago given all the fancy hardware that is available...but it is also much more expensive.  Perhaps that is a factor.  Or perhaps people simply do not have the time available given the complexities of life nowadays.  Or perhaps people are more attracted to the "game" side of flight simming ala MSFS2020. Or perhaps building a cockpit is just too much of a challenge given the "instant gratification" scheme of things nowadays.

So please tell me that I am very wrong on this notion.

Let the comments roll....

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


Hey Fred,

I agree with you 100%, but this is just another down trend period for the hobby that has happened before. It's a cycle that occurs based on many outside factors in people's lives from time to time. It can be current events, financial expenditures, or even as simple as the allure of being a pilot is not there so much because the skies are empty(ier).

Knowingly, when we do get new members, I try to push for the "Newbie" factor; by helping them more, answer the same questions because too them it's the first time they asked it, offer to email or call them if they need help, and let them visit my sim to get more involved.

However, with less new people joining there is not much for me too do in that area. So, I generally post about things that may or may not relate to the hobby. I just wish others would do the same a little more, because they might post something unrelating to the sim world, yet it could be something that leads back to it.

For example, discussing 3D printers and how to use them leads to printing sim parts. Or, if someone is really good at programming an Arduino why not make a very basic step by step post or video on how to do it; maybe, do a whole series.

The only person currently doing something like that is Mickey's Flight Deck. His methodology is great, as he keeps it simple and IMHO never assumes ones abilities, he just explains things and keeps it positive.

Lastly, like in the past, things will pick back up, we just gotta give it time. Albeit, that doesn't mean members should post less; instead, you should post more. Talk about whatever...there is a "Jokes" forum here, along with many other forums of interest....

| FSX | FDS-MIP OVRHD SYS CARDS FC1| PM | PMDG 737-700 | UTX | GEX | UT7 | ASE | REX2 | AES | TSR | IS | TOPCAT | AvilaSoft EFB | OC CARDS & OVRHD GAUGES| SIMKITS | SW 3D Lights | FS2CREW2010 | FSXPassengers | Flight1 AE | MATROX TH2GO-D | NTHUSIM | 3-Mits EW230Ust Proj |


I don't this this is necessarily to do with cockpit building but more with the changing technology preference with online communities. People just aren't posting here as much as they are in other communities. I see almost daily posts in a Facebook group, and a lot of the discussions that used to take place in the forums here are now happening on the Cockpitbuilders Discord server.
I personally do not like this trend as useful information gets lost in the noise of other discussions, where as forums or blogs' allow  discussion to remain on a topic, and searching for information is easier.
Also a lot of discussion is happening in the voice channel where if you weren't there....no information for you. It's great for quickly working through a problem with someone, but no real sharing of information happens with the community at large.

For me this seems to be a trend of the internet in general, or maybe it's just Google forcing us to go to YouTube to watch adds rather than showing forums or blogs in search results.
It used to be you searched for information online and you'd find a forum discussion, blogs or company websites that you could read through and find information you were looking for. Now all you seem to find is a YouTube video that's 20 minutes long and you listen to the host talk about their channel for 10 minutes before even starting to discuss the topic at hand and then the 5 second nugget of information you need is hidden somewhere at 18:45 in. I used to be able to search and find a connection or diagram for my car in about 5 minutes, now I can spend an hour trying to find similar information.

Chief Pilot
Worldflight Team USA

Nat Crea

Things have definitely (worse or better?) changed since I ordered my first MIP from FDS...16 years ago!
There was almost no "plug&Play"...hand soldering and wiring every damn switch and annunciator, building CDU's out of old PSOne handsets...LOL.
It was hard, but you LEARNT a lot of basic electronics, engineering, computing YOURSELF.
Now every second post on Facebook forums is "I WANT this diagram, I WANT this information, I WANT I WANT I WANT..."
The new kids on the block are just lazy and need instant gratification.
Because of my humble visual business, I don't post a lot here anymore or other forums, I don't think its respectful appropriate. My pet hate is businesses "spruiking" for business on Forums and Facebook...
I'm currently rebuilding my 737 from the ground up, but again, I don't post much for fear of being "stoned and hung"  ;D




I think one of the biggest problems is that there still is no "best solution" that everyone wants to use. Everything is bespoke and complex, or closed source, and no-one wants to post the details.

I don't want to build a cockpit, but I do enjoy designing and building things. I have a long-term project to build a control system using simple interface chips, simple communications, and simple hardware.

So far I have built a wet compass, a circuit breaker, a couple of switch panels, 60mm gauges, Collins radio panels, and I am currently working on a Collins FMC for Challenger 300 and a KT-76C.

In general, what bothers me most is the lack of accurate dimensions. And the lack of interest in accurate dimensions. But, that's independent of actually building something and making it work.

Anyway, because the 'controller' space is so fragmented, there is not one solution that is getting traction and getting support, and therefore becoming widespread and popular.

Fundamentally, it is extremely easy to link a switch to a simulator function, or attach an instrument or LED to a simulator output.  Once I have finished enough elements I can demonstrate them working and show how I did it. I don't care if it takes a while, but I'm pretty sure it's going to work well.

The other aspect is itself quite a conundrum. We have so many versatile and inexpensive tools such as 3D printers, desktop CNC, and laser cutters, that physically making stuff should be easy. Even if you don't own something like this they are so cheap and ubiquitous that you ought to know someone who has one. Coupled with cheap electronic modules that are easy to acquire it surprises me that there is not a huge explosion in this hobby.

I think the biggest problem is that cockpit builders just want to fly. I don't have a problem with that, it's just an observation, but it leads to building something as quickly as possible without necessarily learning anything, or taking the time to describe it for others to learn from.

I think the solution is to talk more about these things, in detail, and post useful and complete information (with accurate dimensions and their source, of course). I'm doing it as much as I can, and I plan to do more.

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