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Mission Statement 

The purpose of FLAPS-2-APPROACH is two-fold:  To document the construction of a Boeing 737 flight simulator, and to act as a platform to share aviation-related articles pertaining to the Boeing 737; thereby, providing a source of inspiration and reference to like-minded individuals.

I am not a professional journalist.  Writing for a cross section of readers from differing cultures and languages with varying degrees of technical ability, can at times be challenging. I hope there are not too many spelling and grammatical mistakes.

 

Note:   I have NO affiliation with ANY manufacturer or reseller.  All reviews and content are 'frank and fearless' - I tell it as I see it.  Do not complain if you do not like what you read.

I use the words 'modules & panels' and 'CDU & FMC' interchangeably.  The definition of the acronym 'OEM' is Original Equipment Manufacturer (aka real aicraft part).

 

All funds are used to offset the cost of server and website hosting (Thank You...)

No advertising on this website - EVER!

 

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If you see any errors or omissions, please contact me to correct the information. 

Journal Archive (Newest First)
Thursday
Sep292011

Boeing Style 737 Clock

Whilst waiting for the Main Instrument Panel (MIP) to arrive from Flight Deck Solutions (there has been a construction delay), I came across this Original Equipment Manufacture (OEM) 737 style clock for auction on e-bay.  The clock has been removed from an American Fed Ex aircraft and has been serviced to new condition.  The price I paid was very reasonable and my thoughts were it would make a very nice addition to the MIP to replace the stencilled clock or reproduction clock.

I'd like to try and get the clock working with the simulator, however, I have been led to believe this is quite difficult.  Therefore, I may just contend with the fact that it's a nice looking 737 style clock that adds to the aesthetics of the MIP on the First Officer side.

OEM aircraft parts are generally inexpensive and often less than the price of reproduction items, and while conversion of an OEM part  can be difficult for the technologically challenged, it isn't impossible.

If you are seeking realism, then genuine aircraft instruments and parts provide a more tangible feeling to what is in effect a reproduction flight deck.

The 737-800 NG Clock

This clock is not what most 737-800 NG airframes have installed.  The NG has a digital clock with a back lit screen.  This style of clock is more readily observed in a classic airframe.  This said, it is not unforeseeable that this style of clock be installed into an older NG airframe as a replacement item. 

I intend to fit this clock to the First Officer side of the MIP.  The Captain side will have a standard style NG clock fitted.

Tuesday
Sep132011

Boeing 737 Fire Suppression Panel - Arrived

All excitement here!

A short time ago I received an e-mail from a friend, who had earlier discovered a 737 Fire Suppression Panel (FSP) in a tear down yard.  A bit of negotiation concerning the purchase price and it's now mine.  

The FSP I am told came from a B737-300 series aircraft.

The attached photographs are what the unit currently looks like; a little bashed about with damaged labels and chipped paint.  But, overall the FSP is in good condition.  Once it's cleaned up and refurbished it will look almost like new. and, as I've said in earlier posts, there is nothing better than a real aircraft part!

A decision is yet to be made whether the unit will be converted for full functionality or left as is with only back lighting connected.

Certainly, a full functioning FSP would add benefits when simulating single engine operation and /or an engine fire or overheating situation. Activation of the problem can be instigated through the instructor console.  In other words, a fire will need to be artificially generated in an instructor station, then the appropriate fire handle can be pulled to extinguish the fire and stop the engine. 

I'll post some further "before and after" pictures once the unit arrives.  The photographs here are shots of the panel before being refurbished.

The FSP is not an item you use regularly, if in fact at all.  However, inclusion of the FSP is mandatory if you are striving to attain a certain degree of authenticity and realism in your flight simulator.

Tuesday
Aug302011

Boeing Style 737 Toggle Condoms

Occasionally you come across a product which is a good idea, such as these small plastic push on toggles (flight condoms) that can be used to replicate the same styyle toggle used on a Beoing 737 aircarft.

Although many high end companies already replicate these Boeing style toggle switches in their ICS overhead panels, there are many flight deck builders who either manufacturer their own panels or use other generic style toggles for various simulation purposes.

For instance, I’m not intending to replicate an overhead panel until near completion of my simulation build project.  As such, I’m using a number of standard GoFlight GF T8 switch panels/modules to mimic certain overhead functions.  These little push ons can change the appearance of a GoFlight module from just a boring little toggle to something that actually “almost” looks like a Boeing toggle switch.

GLB Flight Products produce two similar toggle cap lines.  One is the white toggle cap that pushes over an existing toggle.  The other is a complete sleeve replacement of your current assembly  with a new toggle sleeve and cap.  The new sleeve slides over a small diameter toggle switch and with a dab of super glue will stay there forever.

The toggles are not inexpensive, but there a nice aesthetic touch to add to a simulation. 

The toggle “condoms” can be purchased from  GLB Flight Products.  I believe a similar product can also be found at Open Cockpit

 

Please note I have no affiliation with any company.  This journal entry is for information only.  Images are copyright to respective company.

Friday
Aug192011

Which MIP - Half or Full

Several companies produce 737NG Main Instrument Panels (MIP) and each company offers different design options.  Basically, you have the following main options - some with and without instrument integration.

  • Full MIP with low panels & CDU (Double Seat Training Device (DSTD)
  • Full MIP (desktop version) without lower panels & CDU
  • Half MIP with low panels & CDU (Single Seat Training Device (SSTD)
  • Half MIP (desktop version) without lower panels & CDU

Which to purchase will depend on what level of realism you are intending to replicate, your budget, your time and ability to fabricate lower sections (CDU bay, etc) and most importantly your available floor space.  Floor space is often a forgotten phase of your research.  Saying it will fit and “she’ll be right mate” often doesn’t cut the mustard.

My old generic flight sim was set up very neatly within a small alcove of a room I call the “utility room or yellow room”.  The room’s gets its name from the colour of the walls and its use – as a place to pack bags for trips, sort gear out and so forth. 

Initially, I decided that a half MIP with lower panels and CDU would be ideal for my purpose; the new sim would fit perfectly into the alcove area and replace my existing sim.  Granted a half MIP is only a one- seater and wouldn’t be as realistic replication of a two-seater aircraft, but the space savings are considerable – sometimes you need to compromise.  Fly Engravity make an ideal half MIP which you can add to as space and budget dictate.  However, the half MIP doesn’t come with full ICS (instrument integration) meaning you must wire it up yourself; for me, a somewhat daunting task both skill and time wise (I'm happy to play electronics expert, but would prefer to start small and work my way up to a larger project such as wiring a full MIP)

LEFT: A half MIP (SSTD) set up exceptionally well.  Just because you don't have a DSTD doesn't mean you cannot have realism (photo courtesy FDS copyright).

Flight Deck Solutions produces a half MIP with full ICS, lower panel and CDU.  But, at the time of writing this MIP is only a very special order.  Therefore, if I was to have full ICS, I had to “bite the bullet” and purchase a full MIP with lower panels and CDU opting to construct a dedicated room beneath the house to set up my new simulator.  In the long-run I know I'll be pleased with choice!

Please be aware that the companies mentioned are but two of several companies that manufacture MIPS. 

Saturday
Aug132011

Genuine B-737 Throttle Quadrant - Purchased!

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.

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.