Why quit when you're so far ahead

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Posts: 290
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2003 1:48 pm
Location: Colorado Springs, CO. USA

Why quit when you're so far ahead

Post by DeMuth-Olsen »

Hi Simpals,
I haven't posted an update on my sim for a while as a result of my move, but things are starting to move forward again. I just bought a metal 737 cockpit frame and a professional set of dual jet-style rudder pedals from Project Magenta, and let me tell you, I must be insane to spend that much cash!!! But, I strongly believe that I made a decision a long time ago to finish this project as realistically as possible.


I thought I would give some advice to those who have started their own flightdeck project or those maybe contimplating the idea of doing it. Before I begin, I'd like to dedicated this post to those who were not able to fulfill their dreams of building a flightdeck of their own.

I see alot of builders come and go on this forum. And what concerns me is the fact that some come into this hobby without doing any research, and what I mean by that is sitting down and figuring out a solid plan. Everyone has dreams and goals in life, and if you say you don't, then you're either lying to yourself or need some therapy. :wink:

Before getting yourself involved in a demanding and complex hobby such as this, seek your objectives first and then figure out how to achieve them! First, you need to determine your obstacles and be prepared to deal with them. Here is what I came up with:


1) Finances: How much would it cost to build a full scale sim. What is a rough dollar figure that I need to be prepared to spend?
HINT: $18,000+

2) Time: How devoted do I need to be? How much time will it take to complete the project? (Family men) Will my wife and kids understand and support the project?
HINT: 500 hours+

3) Will to learn: No one can say they knew how to build a sim from scratch. We all belong to a network of people who share a common interest; we must have patience and alot of attention to learn from others. We must accept that we can't replicate a 25-million dollar sim without a collective of knowledge such as the FDS forum.
HINT: Ability to comprehend required!

4) Sacrifice: At times, you need to be prepared to prioritize what you really want. Yes, there are nice cars out there; yes, that big screen TV looks nice; yes, a trip to a vacation island would be wonderful; but, some people need to come to the realization that you can't do and or have everything at the same time. For those rich folks, IT MUST BE NICE!!!
HINT: Steps 1 - 3 apply!!!

If you cannot support all 4 of these obstacles then don't proceed! There are several cheaper solutions to choose from, so I am not saying you won't be able to have a flightdeck of your own, but be realistic to yourself.

SUBSTITUTES: FDS sells "Flightcenters" at a very reasonable price. What I like about them is that they are smaller than a full scale flightdeck and are thousands less than building a full flightdeck.In addition, you can add to them without the complexity, unlike a full scale flightdeck.
If you can't afford a flightcenter, then another solution would be to use a multi-monitor setup without the FDS panels and hardware. I built another flightdeck that was built this way which consisted of a CH Pro Yoke, thrustmaster rudder pedals and two large size monitors. I use this setup to fly the LDS-767 product and it works very efficiently. On the main (#1) monitor, I have the MIP displayed, and I dragged the FMC and pedestal bay over to the second monitor. I'm sure you could add a couple more monitors if needed, but hopefully you get the gist of it.

The moral of this book I wrote is to help others better plan their flightdeck projects. Yes, as a full scale builder myself, it is worth all the hard work and all the money and time I spent on it, but I was able to do it. Not all of us have options like these. However, as a safe rule, if you find yourself getting into situations that become overwhelming, just use the acronym - K.I.S.S, and you'll do just fine. By the way, for those who don't know what "K.I.S.S." means, "Keep it simple stupid". That is not an insult, I use that saying for myself at times! :roll:
Best regards,
Chad C. DeMuth-Olsen
737NG Cockpit Builder/Pilot

Jon Boe
Posts: 397
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 5:46 pm
Location: Centennial, Colorado USA

Post by Jon Boe »

Well Chad,

Interesting post. The only thing I would add is the following:

The cost of the simulator is directly proportional to the amount of effort you are willing to invest.

Shells, yokes, rudders, projectors, et al, can be constructed by individuals with the willingness to learn, a bit of research, and a lot of hard work. From my experience, the above are the major cost hitters. PM software, even with Enrico's latest prices is not a significarnt factor, nor are the panels/electronics interface cards, hardware from FDS.

I am never ceased to be amazed at the detail of design that some of the builders bring to the table, with considerably better results than my sorry Boeing 747 at a much lower cost.

Now, if I can just figure out how to construct a collimated display for my 747 that doesn't weigh 800 pounds and cost a quarter of a million dollars!



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