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Welcome

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)

Entries in Flight Simulator (58)

Friday
Jan202012

Video - Weber Pilot Seat Adjustment Capabilities

A short video clip to follow up on the installation of two B737 Weber pilot seats (Captain and First Officer) that have been installed into the simulator. The seats were retrieved from a South West B737 that was destined for the wrecking yard. This video demonstrates the range of movements that the seats are capable of.  Double click video to vuew full screen.

To read addtional information on the seats, see these other Journal entries.

Weber Pilot Seat Adjustments from Anaspides Photography on Vimeo.

 

Tuesday
Dec062011

DZUS Fasteners

When I became interested in constructing a simulator, I heard knowledgeable people stating DZUS this or that - I had no idea what these individuals were referring to, let along how to pronounce the word.

LEFT:  A selection of OEM B737 DZUS fasteners beside a DZUS rail.

Dzus (pronounced Zooss) is a proprietary name for a type of quarter-turn fastener often used to secure skin panels on aircraft.

It was invented and patented by a native Ukrainian William Dzus (Volodymyr Dzhus) in the early 1930s. Quarter-turn fasteners are used to secure panels in equipment, airplanes, motorcycles, and racing cars that must be removed often and/or quickly.  These fasteners are notable in that they are of an "over-centred" design, requiring positive sustained torque to unfasten. Thus, any minor disturbance to the fastener will correct itself rather than proceed to further loosening as it would in threaded fasteners.

Real DZUS Fasteners

Finding individual real DZUS fasteners can be difficult as they are mostly attached to avionics panels, and the vendor wants to keep them with the panel.  If you search long enough, eventually you will find an aviation scrap yard that has them available as separate units.  I recently saw several selling on e-bay quite cheaply.  I have a small collection of grey, black and bare metal coloured fasteners in varying condtion, obtained from a scrapped Boeing B737 (I bought them in a 30 piece lot).  The fasteners are needed to lock down any avionics panels (real or FS) to the DZUS rails of the OEM center pedestal.   

Reproduction DZUS Fasteners

If you’re using a OEM centre pedestal with a DZUS rail, then FS avionics such as those produced by CP Flight or SISMO will not be able to secure to the rail easily.  You will need to enlarge the circular hole along the edge of the module to allow the real DZUS fasteners to fit easily and correctly.  Be very careful that you don’t damage the edge of the module when you enlarge the circular hole.  I used a titanium drill bit and carefully secured the FS module in a vice on a workshop bench (wrapped carefully to avoid the vice jaws damaging the module)

If you have replicated the center pedestal from MDF or wood and want to use something more realistic than “boring” screws to attach your modules, you can purchase after market 'look alike’ DZUS screws.  Basically these are wood screws with DZUS style heads on them.  Good quality aluminium DZUS screws can be purchased from GLB Flight Products.  I’ve used these on my earlier generic flight deck and they work very well and look just like the real ones…

Acronyms

OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer (real aircraft part)

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.