I was very surprised to have found a real 737 throttle quadrant at more or less the same time I was debating which throttle to use in my simulator. Negotiations have been successful and I've been told my new TQ has just arrived in Florida (from Arizona) where the TQ will be refurbished by Northern Flight Simulations.
The TQ belonged to a scraped South West Boeing 737-300 series aircraft.
Attached to the TQ is a two-tier avionics bay. I was going to replicate a 737NG bay from MDF wood, so the addition of the bay is a added bonus.
The bay still has workable DZUS rails so adding avionics is just a matter of drop and screw! Although the NG has a three-tier bay, I was never intending to add all the instrumentation that a NG would have. I cannot see the benefit in duplicating avionic modules which will never be used.
Therefore, the two-tier bay will work very well for me. As I've mentioned in the static section of this blog (tabs) everything with a simulator is about compromise, and the level and detail and realism that you want. For me, a real avionics bay (even if not a NG bay) is a bigger plus than a wooden bay full of fake instrumentation.
The TQ will be completely dismantled, cleaned and serviced. Parts that are not required for simulation will be removed. The lower section of the TQ and bay will be cut off as this section of the quadrant is not necessary.
The unit will then be retrofitted with appropriate SYS hardware which is to be mounted in the avionics bay out of sight, but easily serviced by removing a few avionics modules. USB cabling will be routed along the inside bottom of the TQ to come out at the front of the throttles. This will allow easier connection to a computer. FD to Phodgets will be used to configure the Throttle to flight simulator.
The unit will be a non motorized unit, however, with the use a a DC motor (run from electrical power) the trim wheels will spin and manual trim will be able to be changed.
Finally, a new coat of paint will be applied along with repaired or replaced labels. A trim stab will also be attached to the unit.
One of best things in my opinion with using a genuine throttle is the realsism involved. But another positive aspect is the fact that the chance of breaking a real throttle quadrant is next to impossibel!
I've seen a few TQ's now and it shocks me the condtion they are in - I wonder what pilots do in the flight deck. Often the throttles are scratched, stained and even chipped by continuous use.
The images here are the throttle straight from the aircraft. Over time I'll be attaching devlopment photographs as the throttle is converted.
I've just received an e-mail from Florida stating the TQ has landed safely and in good order. Next will be the transition from a scraped throttle quadrant to a working TQ. Time line for this is around 3-4 weeks. If everything works out as anticipated, and freight is not delayed, I am expecting delivery to Australia sometime in early October. Everything is green for go! :)
After returning from a work trip to east Africa, I have been told that the throttle quadrant has been refurbished and wired to connect to flight simulator. All that is now required is for the throttle case and radio box to be repainted in Boeing colours.
Rather than repaint the actual throttle levers and knobs in white to replicate the colour scheme used by a 737NG throttle, I have opted to leave the colours as they are. The levers and knobs of the TQ were in exceptionally good condition after cleaning, and it seems a shame and almost criminal to repaint them.
Therefore, although the MIP is a simulation of a 737NG, the throttle quadrant will remain as a genuine 737-300 quadrant. In many respects, simulation is about compromise, and to destroy an historical 300 series TQ to replicate a NG TQ doesn't seem the right thing to do.
Not long now... I spoke with my friend in Florida this morning and he informed me the TQ is finished and there is only a little more work to do wiring the Fire Suppression Panel. Then it will be freighted to Australia either by United Airlines or Qantas for I hope a late October delivery.
The throttle quadrant is a very important component of a flight simulator. As such, I'll be writing a more detailed post and an evaluation of the TQ once I've taken delivery and flight tested. This will be a separate post. But, in the interim here are a few images sent to me showing the TQ being refurbished.
You will immediately notice the massive internal cogs that control the internal mechanism; it makes a Swiss watch mechanism dim by comparison.
Art stated that the quadrant was initially in far better condition than other quadrants he has worked on. I was fortunate that the throttle and avionic box had been removed from the scrapped aircraft relatively carefully.
I especially like the overall look of the TQ; the ivory coloured handles are clearly quite distinctive and I am very glad I didn't opt to repaint the throttle and throttle handles white to simulate a 737NG quadrant.
The avionics box (pedestal) has yet to be propagated with flight instruments which I will do after delivery.
The Fire Suppression Panel has been installed and correctly wired for operation as has the genuine Boeing back lights.
Delivery in a few weeks if all goes to plan.
The throttle quadrant is finished and is finally in the air winging its way from the US to Australia. After a stint in Australian Customs, it will then be send across Bass Straight and onwards to Hobart - its new home. The next phase will then be the addition of avionic modules to the pedestal and connection and configuration to flight simulator.