have always been an Aviation enthusiast, gaining my Private Pilots
Licence in 1991 and then going on for Night, Instrument and
Multi-Engine Ratings. Now in 2005, I am training to fly Microlight
Aircraft with John BRADBURY at Cheshire
Microlights, which I am absolutely loving.....It's so
different from Fixed Wing.
In 2004 I bought my Pegasus Q462 G-MVTK which as of the time of
writing (June 2005) I haven't managed to fly solo yet, I just can't
seem to find the time !!
Having logged over 700 hrs as P1, I was looking for a new challenge
which presented itself via the VATSIM Online PILOT / ATC
Network. Great fun having live 'Real Time' ATC based on
Real World Airports, Routes and Proceedures in the comfort of your own
Den. Not only fun, but it keeps you upto speed on Instrument
Flight, especially when you have to execute a 'Missed Approach' or you
are told to 'Hold as Published'.
So, over a couple of years I have been flying from home as well as for
real. During this time, I had sort of got to know
the PMDG B737 very well and had built up a great collection of ADD-ON
Gadgets to save using the mouse in 'on-line' flight. But
still there was no getting away from using it in some instances.
It's usually when you're under pressure on the approach to ATLANTA,
LONDON HEATHROW or BUDAPEST with 10 other aircraft and you hit the
wrong 'Hot Spot' which makes the problem even worse.
That's when the notion started to form in my head. Why don't I
build a cockpit that I can control from Buttons, Switches and Rotary
Encoders. The IDEA was born :o)
Going back to the VATSIM Network, just by chance I flew into Budapest
one day and was amazed by this efficient and professional controller
(Peter SELMECI) who brought me down to Runway 31R at LHBP.
Over the coming year I became a constant visitor to Budapest and
eventually I have struck up great friendships with the guys at VACCHUN.
They are such a professional and disciplined team
and a pleasure to fly with whether you are an arrival or a
Between ourselves a trip was planned and in March 2005, I found
myself in BUDAPEST as a guest of the VACCHUN Team.
What a great bunch of guys ! Nothing was too much
trouble and as one of the highlights of my trip, they organised
a visit to Andras
KOZMA's amazing BOEING B737NG Cockpit. It
was awesome, so real and a joy to use. I feel quite
honoured that ANDRAS was kind enough to let me loose with his
Andras was extremely obliging and proved to be
the inspiration I needed to go ahead with my project. I
left his home knowing that I just had to have one of my
own. Incidentally ANDRAS KOZMA is the author of
several best selling Scenery Packages and a very accomplished
musician who is recognised as one of the leading figures in his
So there I was faced with all
types of challenges and decisions that needed to be made. What
software, what hardware, what will my wife say :o). So I
sat down and thought about everything for a while and decided
that the first stage was to see what we could do with the
existing PMDG737 program before spending too much money on a
cockpit display system.
I Just love the PMDG 737, but there is only so much that you can
get out of it. With some forethought and a little ingenuity,
I now have 5 displays in my cockpit including the EICAS, standby
instruments and Boeing Flaps Gauge. There is an operational MCP
which works fine in conjunction with PMDG's FMC and all
necessary systems being operated by switches of various kinds
and push buttons.
All the radio's are faithfully simulated using Flight Illusion
and CPFlight units and we have a working audio panel. The
setup is using 4 computers in conjunction with Wideview. The aircraft and PFD/ND's are
supplied from Computer 1 while the second machine gives me the
EICAS & Standby Instruments using FSXpand. Two more
PC's are setup using Wideview for the Front Left and Left views
on one PC and Front Right & Right views on the other. A
fifth PC has been added to run Active Sky for
weather generation and Squawkbox3 for online ATC controlled
flight on the VATSIM Network.
PMDG do not give you access to control of the overhead with the
exception of mouse clicks, so I will design and build my own
system for this panel to enhance the realism. Join
me on this journey of discovery as I build my project and please
feel free to comment or enquire, because I enjoy the
encouragement that only other people can give.
for your Interest
P.Sissons, OSWESTRY, England