737 Maritime Patrol?

Low pass of HMNZS Canterbury departing the Chathams

HMNZS Canterbury, and the 737 were both in the Chathams.   Tonight Canterbury departed, heading for Tokelau, so I did a wee flypast, masquerading as an Orion 😉

It must be 737 Saturday

Today was a quiet day spent at work, on call….  so I got plenty of design and development work done on the 737!

First I drew up the Air Speed Indicator bezel, and 3d printed the parts, then after a little finishing and painting I machined the “glass” for it out of 2 pieces of 6mm polycarb,

While the bezel was printing I started to pin-out the NAV radio, and with the help of the support guys at Gables I have the first of the connections made, power is on, “Active” and “Auto” lights are working properly… next step is backlighting control and finally (and this is the bit I’ll need help with) getting the 2×5 data out to a controller so that I can read the set frequency!

Lots of wires, post-it notes and “beeps” from the multimeter 😉

And to wrap up the day… compiling all my drawings together!

And now with added bezel

First, very rough, bezel test….  Looks pretty good, needs more details and provision for clear acrylic to simulate the gauge glass.

From this test it has become quite clear that I will need to de-case the monitor to get it fitting closer to the front of the panel.  This may also mean I willbe able to have at least a partly working clock!

Also in this pic is the first test run of my new CDU!  The screen is very dim, and there is significant image distortion on one side…. but, it was still a bargain, and most definitely usable!

In a not completely unrelated mission tonight I fired up one of the touchscreens I scored from the ATR sim tear-down and tested it with my ‘Skyhawk Instructor Station’ software.  Apart from needing to be re-sized for a smaller screen it worked really nicely!  It has been my plan to re-write the IOS for the Skyhawk anyway, but now I plan on making it work with the 737 as well (with suitable changes to aircraft graphics, fuel quantities etc)

737 Avionics Test Run

A quick run of the avionics software running with the screen in place.  Looks pretty good!  Now I need to design some bezels for the gauges and some smoked filters for the EADI/EHSI displays.

Also in this pic, for the first time;  My new, second hand, Engravity CDU.  I picked this up from a fellow simmer for not much (which is about where my budget is at) because it has a dead screen….  The screen actually works but is very dim… I’m hoping I’ll be able to repair it and have a nice working CDU 🙂

Big night for the 737

Over the past couple of evenings I have been trimming the back of the MIP panels on the 737 to fit the 20″ monitor in place.  Tonight, with the final panel completed I test-fit the screen with it all assembled.

20″ Screen test fit into the ‘modified’ panel structure.

The fit is perfect for the primary flight instruments, with no compromise on size.  Looks good with the panel “filled in”, now I can’t wait to get some software running on it!

The eagle-eyed will have noticed that the RH panel has changed…. I swapped out the United panel for one from ‘Magnus’, Nigel’s project.  The change of panel was to allow for the screen to fit easier without having to remove all the switches from the original, but there are a couple of un-planned advantages of the new panel;  There is provision for a 4th “Aux” Fuel tank gauge, which means I can have more range, and there is a NORM/TRUE Heading switch, essential for polar operations.

The second piece of good news was the arrival of a TV for the visuals.  An older, 50″/720p LCD which will be fine for the sim!

TV test run… nice image quality, despite the low resolution

737 Home again!

After many, many miles and some months away, the 737 arrived home yesterday.

Turning finals to 29 in a good Canterbury Nor’ Wester

The plan was to have all 3 sims online, the Arrow on the ground at NZCH, and the Skyhawk would intercept the 737 and trail it down to Christchurch…   Well the plan *sortof* worked…. I was late getting the Skyhawk airborne, and so had a tough time catching up, and only joined briefly before the 737 started it’s approach.  Not quite the roaring success I was hoping for, but it is nice to have all my sims “home” again.  Even HMNZS Canterbury is in NZ!

Shutdown at NZCH


Big weekend on the 737

Lots done this weekend.

Rudder pedal “canoe” completed, with a sub-floor built for the foot/heel plates to attach to and the whole lot painted.

Then, with it all looking nice, I started stripping out the panels to allow for mounting of the 20″ LCD for the displays.  Apart from a little bit of metalwork to trim down the structure of the 3 panel components, I will have to make low-profile replica’s of 4 annunciators, and 3 switches which will be in the way of the screen.

The 20″ 4:3 screen is an almost perfect fit, and will allow me to run all the main gauges, and possibly some of the standby’s.  In an interesting twist, the screen I am using started life in the main panel of one the NG sims built at work!

Next step is to borrow an angle grinder, and complete the surgery on the structure, then make a suitable mount for the screen….  once that’s done I think I will have to get the gauges running and see how it all looks!

Wheels down and locked….

Dragging the 737 panel module in and out of the garage to work on it has gotten a little old already, and as more bits get added it is only going to get harder…  So, a quick visit to Mitre10 for some castors I now have a simple dolly to move the sim around 🙂

Change of direction for the 737

Ok… I know I said before that I had the plan sorted for the 737 avionics etc etc…. well… the plan has changed somewhat this week, due to a few fortuitous events;

My real Sperry SP177 MCP from a 737-200
CPFlight’s replica SP300 MCP, which is correct for my 737-500

I *may* have done a deal to trade my real Sperry SP177 MCP, which is not correct for a -500, and would be a bear to integrate, for a CPFlight MCP737EL, which is a replica of the SP300, which *is* correct for my -500!
Next…. I may have secured a second hand, and in need of repair CDU for cheap.   This is the older version of the ones we use at work, and are notorious for breaking their USB and/or power connectors.  Hopefully I can pick it up cheap and repair it without too much hassle.

And then….  while searching for a PC to use as a basic terminal server ( I’m playing around with Thin Clients… but that’s a whole different discussion!) I discovered a PC which I liberated from a sim upgrade we did some time ago, and it contained a fully working, fully, legally licensed copy of Project Magenta!  So… I can now use PM glass cockpit, MCP and CDU software, running in 767 EADI mode (which looks identical to the 737 classic layout).   This is a massive step forward, and means I’ll be able to fly way more realistically, while still keeping to my end goal in terms of what I want to be able to do in the sim.

Now the PC requirements have changed;  I’ll have the main FS box rendering the out-the-window view, and running the engine displays (PM doesn’t do 737 classic engines), and the recently discovered “Glass Cockpit” box running PM, plus interfacing to the MCP and CDU.

This week has been exciting, and the project is now leaping ahead!

Passenger view anyone?

One of the ideas I’ve had knocking around in the back of my mind has been at least one “passenger window” in the 737 sim……  I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it…. but after some messing tonight I got it working, in principal at least!

Not a terribly exciting photo, but it shows the “737 FS” PC flying along happily, and the passenger window view (looking out the left side) happily synced together 🙂
Now my mind is running away with me at 100mph thinking up all the possible applications for this……    Garmin 500 GPS for the Arrow?  Airborne Radar for the 737?  The mind boggles!