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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...)

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Journal Archive (Newest First)

Entries in Flight Simulator (58)

Tuesday
Nov132012

Sheepskin Seat Cover added to Weber Captain-side Seat

Sometime ago I acquired a pair of Weber pilot seats which came with the correct Boeing diamond-pattern, grey honeycomb seat covers.  However, one of the seat covers was slightly damaged.  The lower cover was also a tad on the small side and kept popping off the rear section of the lower cushion when you sat on it.  Not a major problem, but it was slowly becoming irritating having to repeatedly attach the cover back on the cushion.

The small size was probably caused by the previous owner washing the seat cover;  Boeing covers are renowned to shrink substantially when washed in hot water!  To rectify these minor problems, I decided to have the captain’s side upgraded to a sheepskin seat cover.

A friend of mine has access to high quality Boeing-style sheepskins and being a wizard at sewing, agreed to retrofit the cover for me.

It should be noted that sheepskin covers are not attached to the seat like you would do on an automobile.  Rather, the sheepskin is sewn directly onto the existing fabric of the original seat cover.  Colour varies somewhat depending upon the manufacturer awarded the Boeing contract, but in general they are grey to tan in colour.

I think you will agree, that the final outcome looks, and certainly feels, much better than the original damaged and too small seat cover.

Sunday
Oct282012

Converting Genuine B737 Audio Control Panels (ACPs)

I have looked at several commercially made Audio Control Panels that are available for connection to flight simulator – I did not like any of them.  They all seemed to lack a certain degree of authenticity, whether it was the LED back-lighting rather than bulbs, poorly designed and moulded switches, or out of alignment cheap-looking plastic buttons.  The only ACP units that interested me where those produced by Flight Deck Solutions, however, the price for two units was greater than purchasing two genuine second-hand ACP units.  Click images to view larger.

What is an ACP

ACP stands for Audio Control Panel and the B737 has three units; one in the aft overhead and two (captain & first officer) in the center pedestal.   Each panel controls an independent crew station audio system and allows the crew member to select the desired radios, navigation aids, interphones, and PA systems for monitoring and transmission. Receiver switches select the systems to be monitored.  Any combination of systems may be selected. Receiver switches also control the volume for the headset and speaker at the related crew stations. Audio from each ACP is monitored using a headset/headphones or the related pilot’s speaker.

Simply, the ACP is a glorified sound mixer.

Finding second-hand ACP units from a B737-800NG is next to impossible, so the next best thing are units removed classic series 737s.  The units I am using were manufactured by Gables Engineering in 2004 and have been removed from a B737-500.  It is unlikely that ACP units from an earlier series aircraft would be used in the NG, as the NG ACP unit design is different.  But, for a home-made simulator the use of older ACP units fulfils the same roll and is a very good stop-gap until a OEM NG panel can be procured.

When you begin to search for ACP units, you will discover there are a large number of different designs available.  The design can be correlated to the era of the unit.  Earlier units used sliders and turn dials while later models utilised push buttons.   Many of the slider-style units were used in B727s.  I have some pictures of various units in the ACP photo gallery.

Conversion of ACP Unit to Flight Simulator - Several Methods

It is difficult to document exactly how a conversion is done.  There are many variables to consider and genuine parts and flight simulator set-ups can be different.  By far the most challenging task is determining which wire from the 55 pin plug controls which ACP function.

Removing Unwanted Wiring

You can either start afresh and after removing the outer aluminium casing, strip most of the wiring from the unit, along with discarding unwanted solenoids, relays and the large circular 55 pin plug at the rear of the unit; or keep the wiring and 55 pin plug and attempt to determine which wire goes where and and connects with what function. 

LEFT:  ACP unit with outer shell removed.  Most of this will be removed with the exception of the switches.  The wiring can be removed and replaced or unravelled and used directly. 

When finished removing much of the unwanted interior you will be left an almost empty container and some hardware and electrical circuits (buttons and switches).  Most of the switches are triple push switches and you must be careful to not damage the internal mechanism of these switches.

Which Wire Goes Where and Connections

There are two ways to convert the unit:  The first is to use existing wiring and determine which wire goes to what button/switch to reflect whatever functionality; this can be a time-consuming, challenging and frustrating task.  Once the wire to a function has been found, you must identify the wire with a flat tab or other physical marking device.  Each wire is then directed to an interface card.

The second method is a little easier.  Remove all the wires are rewire the unit.  This way there is no double-guessing that you have the correct wire.

If you have opted for the slightly easier second method of removing all the wiring from the unit and starting afresh, you can now recycle the same wire and solder the wires to the appropriate switches.  Recycling in motion :)

Determining Functionality

One method to determine functionality is to use a digital multi meter.  Set the meter to either continuity or resistance, select a wire connected to a switch and place the probe at the open end of the wire.  Identifying the correct wire/switch will cause the meter to either emit an audible beep or display a resistance on the display.  This is the wire that connects this function.

Once the wires have been identified and connected to the correct hardware switches within the ACP unit, they are then connected to an interface card.  I have used a Leo Bodnar BU0836X card which has available a large number of inputs and outputs. 

The Leo Bodnar card provides the interface between the ACP units and flight simulator.

To keep the wiring tidy, bundle the wires into a wiring lumen terminating in a solid plug / connector.  In my case I've used a standard style 18 pin computer connector. 

It is important to use a plug, rather direct the wires directly to the interface card, as you may wish to remove the ACP units at some stage.  A plug allows easy removal and connection.

Wiring Harness, Rail and Backlighting

A wiring harness was constructed to facilitate easier connection of the wires from the ACP units to the interface card. The harness and Leo Bodnar card is attached to a thick piece of acrylic plastic which in turn was mounted to a piece of wood that fits snugly within the center pedestal.

LEFT:  Leo Bodnar card and two wire rails connected to acyclic board.  The vertically mounted wire rail provides a strong support from which to solder the wires.  The two computer plugs connect to the rear of each ACP unit.  The other small blue coloured card is an FDS power connection card used to daisy chain 5 Volt  power to the FDS modules I am using.

Wire Rail

Each ACP unit has a dedicated 'wire rail' attached to an acrylic plastic base.  The purpose of this rail is to provide an interface between the ACP units and the Leo Bodnar card.  Whilst this interface is not absolutely necessary, it does allow for identification of the wires (numbering system seen in photograph above).  Furthermore, it also provides a stable and solid base to secure wires between the interface card and each of the ACP units.

It should be noted that the rail also acts as a Y-junction to filter the outputs from two ACP units into one, which connects to the interface card and flight simulator.

The wires from the rail are then soldered to a standard style computer plug which connects to its male  equivalent mounted to the rear of each ACP unit. In essence we have three parts to the system:

  1. A re-wired ACP unit with wires terminating in a plug on the rear of the unit. 
  2. A wire rail which sits between the two ACP units and the interface card (Y-junction).
  3. An interface card that  connect with the wire rail and then to flight simulator via a USB cable.

Backlighting

The wires which carry power to illuminate the back lighting are wired directly from the light plates located in each ACP unit to a small electrical terminal block mounted to the rear of the unit.  The power wire is then directed to the panel light switch, located on the center pedestal. 

LEFT:  Soft amber glow of ACP unit back lighting at night.  The light plates of genuine units always use globes rather than LED lights.  Power is 5 Volts DC and the amperage draw is around 1 AMP.  Click to enlarge image.

The panel light switch, located on the center pedestal,  controls back-lighting to the throttle quadrant, center pedestal and to the trip indicators on the yokes.  The reason for breaking this power wire with a two-wire terminal block is to allow removal of the ACP unit if necessary.  If you wanted to, you could use a pencil style audio push-in style plug.

A single USB cable from the Leo Bodnar card connects the ACP units to the main FS computer.

Synchronised Units - Limiting FSX Factor

In a real aircraft each ACP unit is separate to each other and can be configured independently, however, flight simulator (FSX) falls short in this area and uses only one ACP unit to mimic button presses across all units. As such, it was pointless to wire each unit separately and independent of each other.  Therefore, both ACP units mimic each other in functionality and output. 

For example, the ADF1 button can be pressed on the captain-side ACP unit to turn ADF1 on.  If you then press the same button on the flight officer side unit, ADF1 will be turned off.  This is another reason why a wire rail, mentioned above, was used; to act as a Y-junction.

NOTE (January 2015):  ProSim737 now allows configuration of all buttons on the Captain and First Officer ACP units.  ProSim737 now allows independent selection of an ACP unit (up to three) removing the earlier FSX-imposed limiting factor.  Both units have been re-wired to take this into account.

Control - Captain or First Officer

Some enthusiasts wire units so that the Captain side is always the main controlling unit.  In my set-up, the wires from each ACP unit are fixed to the 'wire rail' and then to the Leo Bodnar card.  This allows you to be able to choice either side as the controlling unit.  The downfall being that whatever side is not in control must have the correct buttons pre-selected for correct operation.

LEFT:  Converted ACP unit showing replacement wiring and 18 pin computer style plug.  The circular hole in the rear below the plug is where the 55 pin plug was removed.

Ingenious Design

One very interesting aspect of the ACP units is how Gables Manufacturing has designed the buttons to illuminate light when activated.  I initially thought that each button would have a separate bulb; however, this is incorrect.  The light which illuminates a button when engaged, comes directly from a number of strategically positioned bulbs.  An ingenious design incorporates a small reflector dish similar to an old style camera flash unit, to stop light reaching the button when it is in the unengaged position.  Engaging the button moves the dish into alignment which reflects back light into the button’s clear acrylic interior.  

Although an ingenious design, you must be very careful if handling a button to ensure that the reflector, which is positioned between the base of the button and light plate, does not 'bounce' away to be lost.

Configuring Functionality

Configuring ACP functionality, once the wiring is correctly connected, is straightforward and can either be done directly through the control panel in FSX, through FSUPIC or directly from within ProSim737.

The pencil-style and square-type buttons of each ACP unit allow quite a bit of functionality to be programmed when using FSUPIC.  Not every ACP feature, used in a real aircraft is replicated in flight simulator; therefore, those buttons not used for essential audio functions can be used for other customised functions.  

The most important functions (in my opinion) to have working are the indents for: VHF, NAV 1/2, ADF 1/2, MRKS (markers) and DME.  COM 1/2 transmit buttons can also be configured easily in FSUPIC to use  when flying on VATSIM or IVAO.

I have not configured the audio (volume) on the pencil-style buttons; however, it may be possible to configure these at some later stage using a separate sound card.  I believe the potentiometers  range from 11.90 - 12.00 K Ohms.

Aesthetics

I think you will agree that the OEM ACP units, even if not NG style, look much better than replicated modules – even if they are not the latest NG style:  the genuine buttons and switches, the soft amber glow of real Boeing back-lighting, and the substantial build of the units generate a high level of immersion.

NG Style ACP Units

The units are not NG style, however, as New Generation parts come on-line, I will replace these units with the more modern style.  it iss just a matter of waiting for 600 and 700 series units to become available.

I've compiled a short video using Ken Burns effect.

B737-500 Audio Control Panel (ACP) Conversion on Vimeo.

POST SCRIPT - An Easier Method: Schematics to ACP Units and 55 Pin Outs

At the time of my conversion, I did not have available a schematic showing the pin outs for the ACP unit.  This meant any conversion had to be done from scratch (as documented above). 

I now am in  possession of the ACP schematic diagram, which includes a pin out diagram indicating what function each pin of the available 55 pins on the rear plug connects to. 

LEFT:  Diagram of the standard 55 pin plug found on Gables ACP units.  Without a schematic it's almost an impossible task to determine what pin does what.

If another conversion is required, the wiring will be a lot simpler as the wires will not need to be striped from the unit and re-done.  All that will be needed is to attach wires from the Leo Bodnar card directly to the 55 pin electrical plug already mounted on the rear of each ACP unit (I have been reliably informed, that thin 1mm copper pipes obtainable from modelling supplies fit perfectly), and connect the light plates to a 5 Volt DC power source. 

Minor Complications

At first, using the 55 pin plug appears to be an easy method of conversion, however, there is a minor set-back.  The COM radio cannot be connected; it is probable that on the real aircraft the MIC selectors are routed via onboard amplifiers rather than via the plug.  Therefore, if these functions are required, they will need to be converted by rewiring and connecting to a accessory plug of some type (as has been done documented in the first section of this post).

The ACP schematic and 55-pin diagram can be downloaded from the Flight Deck Building section of Training and Documents (above tabs).  Thank you Bjorn for sending these to me and allowing them to be published.

Do Not Reinvent The Wheel - Canon Plugs

It is important to always try and convert any OEM part using the Canon plugs and pin outs before rewiring any part.  Gables have already done an excellent job  wiring the panel internally, so why not utilise this wiring by using the existing Canon plug system.

This ACP panel is the only panel that has been converted this way in the simulator.  It was the first panel that was converted and at the time I did not understand the Canon plug concept in its entirety.  All other panels have been converted using the existing plug system avoiding rewiring the unit.

Saturday
Jul072012

Flight Path Vector (FPV) - Explanation and Use

I often get asked what the FPV button does on the EFIS unit.  Pressing the button doesn’t do anything grand or remotely obvious, unless you are observant and note that an oddly shaped circle with lines has instantly appeared on the Primary Flight Display (PFD).

LEFT:  FPV button located on the Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) unit on the Captain and First Officer side.  EFIS unit produced by CP Flight (Pro model).

What is the Flight Path Vector and What Does it Do - The Basics

The FPV is a small circular symbol which, when the FPV button on the EFIS is depressed, superimposes over the Attitude Indicator (AI) part of the Primary Flight Display (PFD). The circular symbol represents the aircraft's axis in relation to the vertical and lateral movement referenced to the Earth's surface.  If you were stationary on the ground, the circle would be on the horizon line and centered in the display.

The data received by the FPV is derived mostly from the Internal Reference System (IRS) of the aircraft; therefore, the Flight Path Vector provides an almost instantaneous display of flight path angle and drift information.

For example, if an aircraft took off in a 15 Knot crosswind the Flight Director (FD) bar would register the pitch of the aircraft while the circular FPV would be located above the horizon and to the right or left.  The lateral deviation of the FPV provides a visual indication of drift caused by the crosswind, while the vertical deviation shows the aircraft's attitude or pitch.

When the aircraft changes from climb phase to level flight, the FD bar is commensurate with the configuration of the aircraft (speed, weight, flap, etc.) and the FPV would be on the horizon line, indicating level flight.

Decending in approach phase on a 3 degree glidepath, the position of the FD and Horizon Heading Scale (aircraft symbol bar/pitch bar) is  dependent upon the speed, flap and gear extension, but the position of the FPV will stay at 3 degrees, unless the flight controls are used to alter the aircraft's pitch. 

The FPV will provide greater accuracy than the Horizon Heading Scale as it does not 'lag' behind real time as other instruments can do; therefore, it is sensible for flight crews to include this tool in their routine scan.

LEFT:  Flight Path Vector (FPV) in ProSim737 avionics suite.  The FPV symbol is in the blue part of the Altitude Indicator and reads roughly 2.5 - 3 degrees nose up.  The aircraft is in TO/GA command mode ascending at 1100 feet per minute to flaps up speed.  There is no crosswind so the symbol is does not show a deviation (drift) from center.

Boeing provides a caveat in their literature, stating that the FPV is not a primary flight instrument.  Therefore, information displayed by the FPV should be used to augment data from the primary instrumentation.

Flight Path Vector (FPV) Advantages

  • It allows you, at a glance, to assess the performance of the aircraft. If the FPV is in the blue part of the Primary Flight Display, you are definitely ascending. Vice-versa when you are 'in the brown'.
  • If you are unlucky enough to have a windshear encounter, the first instrument to warn you other than the  aural warning will be the FPV as it assumes an unusual position (drops away or rushes up). The other instruments (altitude, vertical speed and airspeed) have significant lag before they accurately show the true picture of what is occurring, but the FPV provides an almost immediate indication (live-time). 
  • It is an ideal tool to use during non-precision approaches as it provides the flight crew with additional situational awareness, especially during night operations.
  • The FPV is an ideal tool to gauge the accuracy with which the aircraft is flying a glideslope and can be used to cross check against other information.
  • The FPV is an ideal tool to monitor non-automation phases of the flight (manual flying) as the flight crew need only to keep the FPV on the horizon to maintain level flight.
  • The FPV registers the smallest trend almost immediately, while the flight director (FD) will only correct an issue after a deviation has occurred. 
  • The FPV can be used to provide additional information during crosswind landings. If you look at the FPV as part of your usual instrument scan, the FPV will provide visual display to whether you are correctly aligned with the centerline of the runway (the FPV will display the drift).

The last point requires expanding upon, as the FPV can be used to determine the correct rudder deviation to use when using the sideslip method for a crosswind approach and landing. A crosswind will push the FPV circle in the direction that the wind is blowing TO. Rudder inputs will cause the FPV symbol to move towards the the center of the Altitude Indicator.  Once the the FPV is centred in the Altitude Indicator, the aircraft is aligned correctly (no drift).

The Flight Path Vector is a small unobtrusive icon located on the PFD that pays large dividends when used correctly.  Not only can this device warn you of impeding problems but it can be used to facilitate greater flight accuracy in a number of conditions including approach, straight and level flight, and crosswind landings.

BELOW:  Schematic of the Flight Path Vector showing how it relates to aircraft axis, angle and drift.

Saturday
Jun302012

CP Flight ADF Radio Modules - Review

CP Flight in Italy is well known for its production of quality simulator parts, in particular their Main Control Panel (MCP) units that work out of the box – literally plug and fly.  This short review is for the ADF Radio modules that I have recently installed into the simulator center pedestal to replace the radios made by SISMO Solicones. Although this short review pertains to the ADF radios, all CP Flight modules are made similarly to the same quality and utilise the same methods of connection.

LEFT: Dual ADF radios, ATC/TCAS module (CP Flight), NAV 1/2 and M-Comm communication module (Flight Deck Solutions).  Note the use of genuine B737 DZUS fasteners.

ADF radios may appear “old school” with many virtual flyers more concerned in learning and understanding the more modern LNAV, VNAV and GPS navigation systems.  It’s important to realize that not all countries comply with the aviation regulations enforced within the United States (FAA).  Many developing nations still use VOR and ADF stations as the primarily means of approach.  Further, knowing how to use and having the appropriate equipment installed to be able to follow these “older style” navigation beacons is often good practice for redundancy and to cross check the results from primary navigation.  Using VOR and ADF navigation is also more challenging, interesting and enjoyable.

Construction and Appearance

The modules are constructed using the same technique that CP Flight uses to produce all their modules and panels.  Each upper panel is made from CNC machined acrylic which produces a very crisp finish and allows any letter cut-outs to be very well defined.  The electronics board, rather than being left “naked” like other manufacturers, is sealed within a lightly constructed metal case.  To allow the user to drop the module directly onto the pedestal rails, each module has overlapping wings that conform to the width of the rail.  To ensure long life, the ADF radio modules incorporate dual concentric rotary encoders with stainless stems rather than plastic stems.

Inspecting the pictures of the ADF radios. you will observe a thin line of light between each illuminated digit.  This is not visible in true life and is only an artifact of using a rather long shutter speed to take the photograph.

High Quality

The knobs and switches, which are custom machine injected, are true to life and are tactile in feel.  As you click through the frequencies the movement is stable and well defined.  There is no catching as the knobs are turned.  The push keys on the units are plastic moulded, backlit and work flawlessly; they do not stick in the down position when depressed, and click back into position when pressure is released.  The frequency displays are 7 segment digits and are very easy to read.  Digit colours are in amber yellow. 

The upper panel of the module is attached to the electronic circuitry within the lower section by a metal backing plate; this increases the strength of the unit and assists in the dissipation of heat.  The modules are a well presented piece of avionics that accurately replicates a real B737 ADF module 1:1 in size.

No System Boards and Daisy Chaining

The modules do not require control boards - they are completely stand-alone.  This minimises the wiring involved and the challenge of finding another location for yet another I/O card.  However, to operate the modules you will require either the CP Flight Main Control Panel (MCP) or the 737MIP board.  Both of these devices provide the power and ability for the modules to connect to and communicate with the main computer and FSX.

LEFT: A light metal case protects internal electronics and two 5 pin DIN plugs supply connection and power to and from the radio and to other CP Flight components.

CP Flight uses what has to be one of the simplest methods for module connection – daisy chaining.  Daisy chaining is when you have several modules linked by 5 pin DIN style connectors and one cable.  The cables connect in relay between whatever modules you are using and eventually link to either the CP Flight Main Control Panel (MCP) or 737MIP board for connection to the computer via a single USB cable.

Boeing Grey

All CP Flight B737 series modules and panels are professionally painted in "Boeing grey".  I’m not sure how many thin coats of paint are applied, but to date I have experienced no problems with regard to paint chipping or flaking.  Although this last comment may appear trivial, the quality of paint is important.  The modules will be used for many years and during the course of operation, you will be placing pens, clipboards, charts, coffee cups, etc on the center pedestal and the modules.  Further, as the units are flat, dust will accumulate requiring dusting and cleaning.  Low quality paint will scratch, fade and wear thin with time.

The observant will note that there is a difference in colour shade between the modules made by CP Flight and Flight Deck Solutions.  A purist may argue that this is not realistic, however, I disagree.  Through time, Boeing has used several shades of what has been coined "Boeing Grey" and it is not unrealistic to have modules sporting different shades of the baseline colour.  Different avionics manufacturers (in the real world) also use different colour shades of "Boeing grey". 

DZUS Complaint

If you are utilising real aircraft parts in your simulator, in particular a center pedestal, then any module that is DZUS complaint is advantageous as it allows for the module to be dropped directly onto the DZUS rails and secured by the DZUS fasteners.  Unfortunately CP Flight fails in this area as their modules are not DZUS complaint.  Each module has the appropriate holes drilled; however, they only fit replica DZUS fasteners (supplied).  The width of the hole is too small to install genuine DZUS fasteners; you will be required to drill the hole a little larger to accommodate the genuine B737 fastener.

Back-Lighting

The ADF modules are back-lit by several strategically placed LED lights.  This is commonplace within the industry with the exception of some high-end suppliers such as Flight Deck Solutions which use their own IBL back lighting systems utilising real aircraft bulbs.  I have no issue with the back lighting and the module is evenly lit, illuminating all cut out letters.

LEFT:  This picture illustrates the fit of the ATC module when dropped onto the rails of the center pedestal.  This is a genuine B737 center pedestal.  Note the use of genuine DZUS fasteners.  The module above is the Flight Deck Solutions NAV1 module.

CP Flight Module Set-up

The modules are stand-alone and do not requite software to be installed for operation – they are plug and fly; however, to connect the modules (via daisy chaining) to the computer via a single USB cable, either requires the CP Flight Main Control Panel (MCP) which acts as a power source amongst other things, or the dedicated 737MIP board.  Software is required for the operation of the MCP and 737MIP board and can be downloaded from the CP Flight website.  The software is easy to install and to configure. 

Downside – Ghosting of COM Port

I’ve already discussed the simplicity of daisy chaining and the benefits of not needing to use a multitude of wires and I/O cards; but, everything comes at a price and CP Flight’s “Achilles Heel”, is the method they have chosen to connect everything to the computer.

Modules are connected to and from each other and to the MCP or 737MIP board via daisy chaining.  The MCP or 737MIP board provides the power to run the module and allow information to travel between the computer and the module. The MCP or 737MIP board is then connected to the computer via a single USB cable.  To connect to the computer requires that a COM port is ghosted to replicate a serial port. 

Whilst this process is automatic, and occurs when power is applied to the MCP or 737MIP board, many users experience problems with the software ghosting the port.  Usually the ghosting issue is solved with appropriate drivers and once the connection is made once, rarely is this problem again experienced.

Reliability and Performance – Software and Modules

Software

No problems, other than the initial connection problems that “maybe” associated with the ghosting of the COM port.

Modules

There is no time lag when altering frequencies; the digits spin as fast as you can turn the dial.  Drop outs have never occurred.  The tone switch operates correctly and always listens for and connects with the correct marker morse tone.  It’s important to note that the tone switch does operate as designed and can be used to switch off the “somewhat annoying” morse tone which is heard, when in range of the ADF.

Support

Support from CP Flight is either directly via e-mail or by a dedicated forum.  The support provided by CP Flight is exemplary.  Paolo from CP Flight stands by the products he sells and every effort is made to ensure your modules work as advertised.  There is absolutely no problem dealing with this company as the owners are very trustworthy and deliver what they promise.

ABOVE LEFT:  The NDB icon that can be found on charts and approach plates that represents a Non Directional Beacon which ADF radios are used to tune to.

Quick List – Pros & Cons

PROS

  • Well designed & constructed
  • Realistic quality machine-injected switches & stainless rotaries (not plastic)
  • 1:1 to the real B737 series aircraft
  • Good attention to detail
  • Operational morse tone switch
  • Strategically positioned backlighting
  • Very easy to set-up and connect (daisy chaining)

CONS

  • Ghosting of COM port can be an issue when using MCP as connecting equipment (no experience with 737MUIP board)
  • Non DZUS compliant

Overall Opinion

I am very impressed with these modules.  They are solid, well constructed and operate flawlessly out of the box!  The quality of the modules is very high and it’s a pity that they are not made to be DZUS compliant.  They suit the high end enthusiast to professional market.  Navigate to the CP Flight website

My rating for the modules is 9/10

Please note that this review is my opinion only and is not endorsed.

Tuesday
Jun262012

Telex Airman 750 Headset - Adding To Realism With Real Parts

To numb some of the ambient sounds (dogs barking), I use a David Clark aviation headset (model H10 13-S) which is a left over from when I did my PPL (private pilots license).  This particular headset is a marvel of engineering and works exceptionally well for real world flying and simulator use.

Recently, I saw for sale in a wrecking yard, an “airliner style” Telex Airman 750 headset.  The price was $30.00 including freight from the USA to Australia.  To be honest, I wasn’t expecting too much – after all, what does one get for $30.00 these days!  I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the FEDEX sachet and an almost brand new headset, equipped with boom mike and tell-tail “aviation style” audio connectors and cable, fell onto the floor.  The foam ear pieces were still good condition, as was the small clip that attached the cable to your collar (to stop the cable from snagging).

After plugging in the headset to the Flight Sound X Adapter (click to see earlier review), I was even more surprised when the headset worked!  Sounds were crisp and easy to hear and the weight of the headset minimal.  The boom mike relayed my voice more than adequately across the network to VATSIM.

Using real aircraft parts adds to the realism of flight simulator; a headset being just one item.  I guess bargains still do exist.

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