Arrow technology update

My medium-term plan for the Arrow is to get it online on VATSIM.  To do this I need to add a few IO items:
– Transponder Mode Switch (STDBY and ‘C’).
– Transponder IDENT button.
– Radio Push-To-Talk
– Working Headset interface.

First part to arrive was this awesome headset interface from Flight Sounds which acts as a separate sound device, and connects to my aviation headsets, or to my helmet/mask setups.  It works  so well that I am pretty sure I’ll be buying them for the Skyhawk and 737 projects!

Since the IO requirements for the Arrow don’t warrant the use of one of the Leo Bodnar boards, I bought a cheap joystick controller off Aliexpress.

This is a simple enough board, with 12 digital inputs, which all share a single ground, making them capable of operating with rotary switches.

It also has 2 sets of “joystick” inputs, for use with microswitch style joysticks, but show in windows as axes which move to full travel when clicked.  Could be useful….

 

Deliveries!

Some more nice old bits for the 737 arrived today.  Some cockpit liner sections from a 737-200, and some more panels for the pedestal!


This will fill in the gap at the front, just missing one part which *may* turn up yet.  Also got the “Bat Wing” which houses the compass.


Audio panels, Cargo fire and ACARS Printer!  This will help fill out the pedestal!

I *think* there are only 3 or 4 dummy panels in the pedestal now….

 

21 Squadron ATC Reunion

What a fabulous weekend!  Catching up with people I haven’t seen for close to 30 years!


Paul Walker (CO During my time at the Squadron), Mike Waugh, Pam Nelson, Roger Nelson and myself

A formal dining-in, an informal breakfast and an open day at the Squadron helped bring back many *many* memories!

After the reunion I met Nick and headed to Ohakea for a quick look through the fence.


An old friend, the gate guardian Vampire at Ohakea.

 

Nick’s sim visit

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of working on, and flying Nick’s Sim.


Captain Nick at the controls of the 737-800

The simulator is built around Saitek/Logitech modules, in a really nice enclosure.

New Seat Design

I spent a bit of time playing with the 737 seat design this evening.  Primarily I was trying to make the design stronger, by creating a solid “backbone” as the primary structure of the seat.  I also moved up to 18mm MDF for the main parts, and 12mm for the seat back and Seat Pan parts.

The new design is much cleaner and simpler, which hopefully means it’ll be cheaper to make!

After getting to this point I’ve decided to add a solid base to the seat, which will allow for fitting castors to it..

Today is Old School IFR day

Today I re-located the Arrow and Skyhawk to Christchurch, from Ohakea.

First up I took off in the Arrow in pretty awful weather, and headed South flying old fashioned IFR, via Ferry, Cape Campbell, Kaikoura, Woodend, then visual from the New Brighton Pier, around the city and in to Wigram for a touch and go, circuit and landing.


The awesome South Wairarapa coast.  From Robin Corn’s Wellington scenery


Turning short finals for a touch and go, runway 03 Grass, Wigram

Then later this evening, after having fun (well, hung-over fun!) flying IFR in the Arrow, I decided to do the same in the Skyhawk.

The weather at Ohakea had improved dramatically, but from Wellington South it deteriorated rapidly!  This time the route was via Paraparaumu, Wellington, Kaikoura, Eyrwell, Burnham, then ILS02 into Christchurch,  Challenging crosswind approach and landing, ending up with the stick all the way to the left on the roll out to stop it toppling over!


Magnificent weather at Ohakea in the morning… this was just about the time I was taxiing out in the Arrow!

Cruising along at FL310, M0.85 and such a strong crosswind from the right (North West) the flightpath vector marker is right off the left side of the HUD!

Old School… like I said.  Good old enroute chart for the trip down the East coast


And finally, the big Nor-West crosswind on approach!

All in all a pretty great days flying.  I had no reason to bring the Sims South today… and who knows where they might head next!

New Playground for the Arrow

Calvin sent me a video of a landing on a mountain strip in Puerto Rico which looked like a lot of fun!  So… after a quick (well, quick-ish) visit to www.freewarescenery.com I downloaded about 500Mb’s of scenery for the island ready to install and start exploring!

Gottfried Razek, of Blue Sky Scenery did an FS2004 photoreal for the entire island, so I should have a great VFR exploration!

And finally;  BluePrint Simulations do a Free San Juan scenery!

 

Worth the wait

After more than 15 years the Skyhawk finally has ejection seat cushion covers! I built the seat back in 2001/2002, and it has been used in 3 different sims, yet it has never had cushion covers!  Today, in a weird twist, while I worked on jobs around home my darling wife Jenny sewed the two covers out of some O/D fabric I bought at Army and Outdoors a while ago. Looks pretty sharp, just need to paint the seat pack, and add some stencils.

A week of small projects

Over the past week or so I’ve completed a pile of small projects, things that have been sitting around for a while….

  • I finally got the insulation into the ceiling above the desk in the loft, making for a *hopefully* better working environment…
  • The 737/Saitek Throttle Quadrant is now mounted on it’s 45º offset mount, making it a bit more 737-ish
  • The stairs have all their “risers” in place, and a trim panel along the edge.  Just needs a couple of gaps filled before winter…
  • The loft has gained a 20″ Monitor as a cloned display from the laptop (for MotoGP watching, or Control Tower views…)
  • After *another* throw-out the 737 panel has now moved closer to being ready to bolt together in the loft.

All-in-all, lots of little things, but things are nicely ticking along 🙂   Not much to show graphically, but still good to see.