February, 2016

It has been three years since my last overall status update on the simpit.  There have been a bunch of individual projects completed that have been incorporated since the last update.  These include two major projects (the complete rewiring of the pit and a new version of my 'Cougar Collective', and a bunch of minor changes including some pedal management changes, screen adjustments, and even some seat work.  Overall, the pit is easier to maintain and is ready for one of the next big additions... Virtual Reality Goggles!  You'll have to stay tuned for what happens when those show up... 

Mission Ready

So here it is in flight with DCS A-10.  You'll notice the lower screen with the two MFD's mounted over it.  I relocated the MFD's from the middle edges to the upper corners to give me better use of the touch screen real estate.  This of course led to a complete overhaul of the Helios touchscreen layout for all of my sims, but overall I think it is working out better.  I have the flight gauges up on the touchscreen for this shot, but honestly, I hardly ever use them as with the Track IR I can easily read the in game gauges on the main screen.  This is normally showing either a mission map or the radio panel.

You'll also note the bundle of wires coming from the pit to the grey box on the right.  That is the result of the rewire project.

Fixed Wing Flight

You can see the modification I made to the pedal assembly.  The yellow/grey handle allows you to slide the pedals forward/back and to lock them in place.  Total travel is about 16".  That is important as I am 6'4" and my wife is 5'2", and she likes to fly once in a while also.  Keeping the boss happy is very important to my ability to continue with this obsession... I mean hobby.

Also new from 2013 is the stand alone box on the brow above the touchscreen.  That houses some new physical buttons that I like better than the touchscreen versions.  They are for game time increase/decrease, normal game time, pause, Track IR re-center, and a comms on/off toggle.  The comms button would override any other soft controls or push to talk buttons.  I found this important while racing especially as a conversation between the boss and I went out over the race's general Teamspeak channel... oops.

Rotary Flight

This shows the throttle stowed and the collective up for use.  In the photo above you can see the collective stowed below the throttle housing.  It's just a matter of rotating the whole throttle tray to the left, and pulling the collective up from the stowed position.  There is a USB toggle switch I built that turns off the throttle and turns on the collective.  Having fewer axis generating devices active makes managing some of the sims much easier.

Rotary Flight 2

Another view of the collective.  I built it with the offset so that I had more room to work with the guts stored under the housing at the bottom of the picture.  If you look at the collective project pics, you'll spot the black/white tension adjustment handle to give you a reference as to how it all sits in there.

I wish that I had pushed the handle just a bit closer to the seat... maybe by an inch.  I was afraid of the seat hitting the collective so I fudged it out just a bit.  Still very functional and comfortable, but that inch would have probably made it even nicer... just never satisfied!

You can also see the cluster of blue Cat-5 cables plugging into the bottom of the throttle housing.  These are for an engine managment panel on that housing behind the throttle.  Still working on a good way to shroud those cables.

Race Mode

Here is the temporary car dash installed.  I replaced an old Saitek PCDash2 with a couple of X-keys sticks I picked up.  I didn't really like how this worked, so I am already working on a replacement.  It should show up as a new project within a month or so.

I was going to replace the wheel with something sexier, but my CFO said it was either a new wheel OR the VR stuff.  VR won, so the G25 stays... for now.  :)

Roger, Out

Just a parting shot of the pit.  

Happy Simming!