737 Deliveries

A couple of cool deliveries today, both for the 737. First, I bought the captain’s side wall structure from N615SW, a 737-300 which was cut up at work, which will be used to form the side structure of my sim. I had always planned on making the sim modular, and was going to have to measure and construct a frame for the side wall, but when the opportunity to buy a real section came up I jumped at it.

The side wall will be mounted on a plywood or MDF base, with the linings attached, and a structure at the base to replicate the cable tray on the floor (which I also have the cover panel for)

The other delivery was from Aliexpress; the 10.1″ screen for my engine display.

The display was nicely packaged, and was very quickly and easily connected up for a test run. An old laptop provided the graphics, and it looks awesome. The display driver board is USB powered, and came with a USB cable, so very easy to power from the host PC. I hope to get the display installed into the panel tomorrow night for a test flight!

737 Engine Display

After a bit of measuring, researching and pondering I have ordered an LCD panel for the Engine Displays. The range of sizes, aspect ratios and resolutions available is truely staggering, but I managed to find a screen which *should* be a near-perfect fit, a 10.1″, 1280×800 should do the trick…. watch this space!

I have been messing around with various versions of, and setting for Project Magenta’s EICAS display, and found an *old* version which will do just what I want…

This which is a compact 737NG upper-DU display, with a suitable bezel over the front, will work nicely as a substitute for a classic engine display.

Entebbe to Goma

Having a pilot seat in the sim is pretty cool… and a whole lot more ‘user friendly’. Tonight I flew one of the REFORGE flights down to Goma in the DRC.

I also took the opportunity to update the avionics software in the sim, which all worked perfectly.

The weather in Africa is challenging, with cloud and bad visibility appearing to be the standard.

Occasionally though, there were clear patches and the views were pretty spectacular!

After a low visibility RNAV arrival in to Goma I shut down for the night.

This ‘gap’ is the next to be filled. I have the software working for the engine displays, now I need to source an LCD panel which will fit the gap. I am only driving the left side display, the the right being a dummy. Once I have the dimensions sorted I’ll start rummaging around in my stash for a suitable monitor, or failing that it’ll be off to my favourite ‘Sim Supply’ store; AliExpress 😉

Operation Reforge:2019

Over the weekend I spent a little bit of time getting the pilot seat for the 737 working, and set it up in the sim to try out. To ‘properly’ test it, of course, meant a test flight… So in the spirit of remembering the RNZAF’s participation in the UN Rwanda relief mission I flew the 737 from Nairobi to Entebbe, where the airlift HQ for the operation was based.

Sitting at the gate in Nairobi

The weather was pretty good leaving Nairobi, but crossing Lake Victoria the weather deteriorated, with heavy cloud and reduced visibility at Entebbe airport.

In the descent over Lake Victoria.

About 40 Nautical Miles out of Entebbe, and well into our descent was the last time we saw the ground until we were passing 300ft on approach, so poor was the visibility!

About to capture the ILS

From the initial approach fix, all the way to 300ft was a world of grey. After touchdown it was a fairly long taxi to the cargo ramp, and the end of a successful test flight. The flight went well, but the seat didn’t. I will need to lift the seat an additional 30-40mm to make it the perfect height for me… that’s the next job, then I’ll probably need another test flight, but that’s for another day.

It’s been a while

I have not spent much time on any of my sims of late, the classic ‘real life has gotten in the way’ line applies here. The 737 in particular hasn’t been flown in ages, last time I started it the Cockpit displays computer wouldn’t start. Last night I decided it was time to get it running and go for a quick flight.

The startup fault was quickly tracked down and resolved then the sim started up happily.

All back up and running

A quick night flight around the Manawatu and a successful landing certainly helped blow the cobwebs away. I am looking forward to getting the seat finished and installed so I can do some more flying.

More TQ Parts arrive

I am getting close to the point where I will have to stop procrastinating and actually build my TQ…
More parts arrived today from AliExpress, my favorite online shop, consisting of Buck-Boost modules, pulleys, drive belts and some nice big bearings.

My TQ ‘concept’ is to make an automated quadrant without using complex software like ProSim to handle the automation. I have a plan, mostly in my head but some of it is now on paper, which will allow me to drive my autothrottles using off-the-shelf components, and some clever programming. I still need to design the clutches for the A/T drives, and a simple way of attaching pots to each axis, but I think I’m on the right track.

With this latest arrival I am getting dangerously close to the point where I am going to have to start assembling this thing. I have loads of good ‘seconds’ from work which I will be re-engineering to fit with my new design, then all that is left to source is the drive motors… I hope.

737 Parts with Historic Significance

At work we recently started to convert our first simulator, our own ‘Ground Zero’, into a display piece. A positive (for me) spin-off from this is that many parts not required for the display project have made their way into my 737 project.
The two ‘prize’ items from the haul were the pilots seat, built by Russell from an old 737 passenger seat, and the Rudder Pedals, which I made in my former life and sent South for Russell to install in his sim.

The Seat has had a bit of an upgrade, gaining seat cushions, armrest covers and headrest from real 737 seats. Next it will get a height increase to bring it up to my preferred seat height, and a repaint in Boeing grey..

Looks good in it’s new ‘clothes’


The rudder pedals will have a big re-condition, with new linkages, and of course a paint. It will be a nice feeling to have the pedals I built all those years ago, in my own sim!

I also scored one of the yoke heads, which again I helped make back in 2001 or so, I’m not going to use the yoke in my sim but I plan on making a display piece out of it…

New IO Interface Component

I have been using up recycled interconnect boards from the skip at work, but as that source is quickly running out I thought I should find an available substitute.
I like the idea of using CAT5 cable and connectors for running between my components and IO boards, so I looked for an RJ45 connector which would suit my needs. A quick search on Aliexpress.com came up with these:

I do quite enjoy getting small parcels of goodness from Aliexpress!

For around $3 each, these things allow me to wire 7 IO lines, plus a common to each cable, which in turn runs to my centralised IO.

My first use of these will be on the 737 MIP, when I wire up the remaining buttons, then the long-awaited EFIS Panel, where I hope to design the connector into the panel, as an integral part, allowing for easy removal for maintenance.

Click here to check out this product on Aliexpress