I use the Mode Control Panel (MCP) and Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) produced by CP Flight. These units have been the mainstay in the flight simulation community for several years and for the most part they are robust, reliable, and more or less look similar to the OEM units.
Recently, other companies have begun to manufacture MCP and EFIS units to replicate the real aircraft part as closely as possible in both appearance and functionality.
LEFT: SimWorld MCP retrofitted into a Flight Deck Solutions (FDS) MIP. Initial impressions exceed expectations, especially when comparing the appearance of the MCP to the OEM item.
SimWorld, located in Poland is a relatively new company that is making great leaps forward designing and manufacturing reproduction B737 panels and other parts. One of SimWorld's premier items is their 'plug and play' MCP and EFIS.
I am currently in possession of a SimWorld MCP and two EFIS units. These units have been retrofitted into a Flight Deck Solutions (FDS) MIP and flight testing has begun. In due course a detailed review will be published. I also will be, at the same time, reviewing the CANBUS system that SimWorld use to connect their various panels to the computer and Flight Simulator.
To test and evaluate the unit will take some time as the protocols I use are very thorough. In the next few months (depending upon time) I should have enough data to enable a detailed review to be written. The review will address at the minimum the following:
- Manufacturing technique (materials, painting, lazer cutting, etc);
- Accuracy and scale to the OEM MCP/EFIS
- Robustness and longevity;
- Functionality to OEM unit;
- Quality assurance;
- SimWorld pre-sales and after-sales support;
- Reliability and consistency in operation; and,
- An overview of the CANBUS system.
Note that I have no affiliation with SimWorld, or any other manufacturer. This review will be a balanced opinion based on my use and the use and opinion of other users of the MCP and EFIS unit.
EFIS - Electronic Flight Instrument System.
MCP - Mode Control Panel.
MIP - Main Instrument Panel.
OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer (aka real aircraft parts).
There have been a few problems that needed to be sorted out on the MCP that was sent to me for evaluation. After considerable testing by myself and SimWorld, it was determined the problem stemmed from a number of unreliable potentiometers. These potentiometers were part of a bad batch delivered by the supplier. Filip at SimWorld decided the best option was to manufacture a new MCP and this has only just been received via UPS.
Interestingly, the replacement MCP has a number of improvements over the old-style model which includes the use of Swiss-made commercial-grade potentiometers.
Over the next few weeks I will flight test the new-style MCP and document the results in a separate post.