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How-to Articles

Volair Sim, MSFS 2020, and PilotEdge

Volair Sim, MSFS 2020, and PilotEdge

Check-out our new video on using the Volair Sim cockpit along with the Avionics Panel using Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 with PilotEdge.

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Volair Sim Updates

Cockpit Backorder Shipping Update Dec. 23 – Inventory is IN!

Cockpit Backorder Shipping Update Dec. 23 – Inventory is IN!
We would like to take this opportunity to update you on the cockpit backorder.

First and foremost, we would like to thank you for your patience and understanding during this back order.

As of this morning (Dec. 23) – we have finally received our long-awaited components to complete the sim chassis inventory.  
We will start shipping the units right after Christmas and you will be getting tracking numbers as soon as we can get them out. 
 
 
 
Once again, we thank you for your patience. We understand that this news is frustrating and disappointing, but please know that we are doing everything we can to get the cockpits here as soon as possible. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.
Categories
Customer Examples

Triple Curved 32″ Monitors – Customer Example

Triple Curved 32″ Monitors – Customer Example
Ever wondered about mounting 3 curved monitors. See post from Bryan S. who writes, 
 
“I used (3) curved 32” Viewsonic HD monitors with thin bezel line.  In the back center monitor VESA mounting plate, I used (4) 22mm wall spacers to push the monitor forward a bit. Hardware kit bought from Amazon.  
 
With this, when the left and right monitors marry up to the center monitor, there is no Z distance depth discrepancy.  All 3 monitors mate up in perfect symmetrical alignment!  The 3 curved monitors then produce a complete 90” semi-circle.  
 
For all the USB connections, I bought (2) USB hubs. The 1st one goes directly under (hidden) the foot pedals plate area.  It connects the usb to my monitors, Keyboard, TrackIR, sound volume control. Then it runs and connects directly to another USB hub, hidden directly under the seat.  It connects my Thrustmaster HOTAS, and recharge for my headset. With this set up this way, I only have (1) usb wire that runs along the left side frame and is zip tied to the frame for concealment.  
 
The monitors have (3) 15’ HDMI cables that run over to the computer, so the computer is not on the floor and is out of the way.  I have a 15’ multi outlet surge protector that also runs over to the computer area.  
 
So in all, I have only 3 HDMI cables and 1 power cable running from the computer Cpu and wall area, over to the Volair seat.  I used some floor tracking cable management tubes to hide those along the floor.  Everything else is connected to usb hubs, and power strip hidden under the rudder pedals plate.  It’s quite nice.  I have Nvidia RTX 2070 and it supports the 3 monitors being seen as one large one using “surround span displays” feature they use.  The resolution turns out being a massive 7680 x 1440.
 
I can send photos of my cable management underneath layer on. Everything is still dry-hung right now until I get the seat adjusted to the optimal setting for me (still moving seat around to fit).
 
You CANT go any bigger than 3-32” curved with the model I purchased.  It’s at the very limit. This is the model: https://www.viewsonic.com/us/vx3268-2kpc-mhd.htm
Categories
Customer Examples

Cessna 172 with XPlane 11 Cockpit​

Cessna 172 with XPlane 11 Cockpit​

Rich S., one of our customers, just sent us an e-mail with his newly constructed cockpit based around the Volair Sim chassis and the Volair Sim Avionics Panel.

Rich writes, “I just completed the latest (but never last!) touches to my sim.  I started it in July with the Volair chassis and seat, avionics panel and triple monitor stand.  They’re awesome and form the basis for my system. I have the Logitech yoke, rudder pedals, radio, multi and switch panels.  The TPM (throttle, propeller and mixture) controls, as well as the compass and carb heat controls are from SimMax.It. 

I modified the lower right blank panel cover to provide a mount for the TPM and carb heat.  The flight instruments are displayed on a Neewer 11.6 in. touchscreen running Air Manager with a Knobster to control the rotary knobs, such as the heading bug.  I cut out the steel slats from the center of the avionics panel to fit the touchscreen in.  The lower left screen is an iPad running ForeFlight in simulator mode, which provides a moving map for situational awareness. 

The large monitors are 27 in. P2719H Dells.  The computer is a Dell 8960 desktop with an i9 9900 chip and NVIDIA 2080 graphics card.  I’m running X-Plane 11 with the Cessna 172SP Skyhawk, as it is the plane I have been flying as a private pilot (at least until COVID-19 hit!). 

I installed two Arduino Mega 2560 boards, one for the compass running MobiFlight, and the second using SimVim for the carb heat, primer and Avionics Master 2 switch, which is missing from the Logitech switch panel.  The display shows a flight over Philadelphia with the custom scenery I downloaded from X-Plane.org.  I’ve also been shooting ILS and GPS approaches with the X-Plane G530 GPS.”

 

We think that Rich’s build represent an excellent example of customer creativity and clever customization based on the foundation that is provided by the Volair Sim components. Well done!

Categories
How-to Articles

Improving Monitor View for Shorter Customers

Increasing View Over G1000 Panel

One of our customers, John, has installed the Garmin G1000 panel and wanted to improve the view over the panel.

Here is what John says,  “I have your flight sim cockpit – only problem I have is being too short!  The seat is too low overall for me (I have to sit on a pillow!) so I added a 22mm spacer under the seat.”

The 22mm spacer was not quite enough so John continued to experiment. 

John writes, “I modded the seat supports with 3″ aluminum spaces from McMaster-Carr (also kept the 22mm TV mount spacers just in case – didn’t want to have to disassemble the seat twice). Solid as a rock and much better for me than before the mod.”

Categories
How-to Articles

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 – Tips

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 – Tips

Many of you are contemplating migrating to MS2020. Here is a video of the current state of hardware compatibility that you may find helpful as you migrate the Volair Sim.

Categories
How-to Articles

Multiple Monitors – The DOs & DON’T when shopping for flight sim displays

Multiple Monitors – The DOs & DON’T when shopping for flight sim displays

We frequently receive e-mails asking us for tips with respect to monitor selection for the Volair Sim set-up. Below, we would like to summarize a few salient points for you to consider as you embark on the monitor shopping journey.

The first question that nearly everyone asks is, “Would I be better off with one large display (maybe curved) vs. three smaller ones?” Irrespective of the economics (one can often buy three smaller displays for less than one large, especially curved, display) the item to consider is the overall field of view. Put it plainly, with triple monitors, you will have a much wider horizontal field of view than with a single display (even ultra-wide one). This is especially important for VFR flying where, for example, you would be looking through your left window to judge the proper distance from runway end so you can begin your turn to base from downwind. With a single monitor, you would not have enough field of view to be able to see through the side-windows.

What about an ultra-wide or curved monitor?” We don’t recommend it because you will lose quite a bit of the vertical display which will limit the ability to view the cockpit instrumentation below. Note that, since the wide monitors are physically wider than standard 16×9 monitors, you may have size limitations when mounting it to the chassis. Lastly, they are expensive and we think money could be better spent elsewhere.

The next question is, “What is the best size of displays should I get?” As your significant other will eagerly tell you, larger is almost always better, but within reason. Within the standard Volair Sim chassis, we would not go below 27″ and we think three 27″-29″ 16×9 monitors is a good sweet-spot. If you want to go larger and prepared to get the independent large triple display stand, we think 40″-42″ are optimal; they will cover your entire field of peripheral vision and provide a stunningly immersive experience.

What about technical parameters? Resolution, refresh rates, pixel response time, viewing angles?

First, in the flight simulation world, things happen relatively slowly. Typically, your sim will run at 30-60 frames per second (fps). Therefore, having a 144Hz (144 fps) monitor is an overkill.

The 1ms pixel response time may be important in e-sports but does not matter much in flight sim since, even at 60fps (60Hz), any pixel would switch only at about 1/60Hz = 0.0167s = 16.7ms. Thus, a standard 5ms display will suffice.

The viewing angle is a bit of consideration since the left and right monitors will be mounted on an angle so you want a display with a good viewing angle. Therefore, an IPS (in-phase switching) displays are recommended as they offer very good viewing angles. Most regular computer and TVs are IPS, so we are OK here.

The display resolution should be at least HD (1920x1080p). Keep in-mind that the resolution stays the same as the size vary; 27″ HD monitor has the same 1920×1080 resolution as the 42″ HD TV. In other words, the pixels are farther apart on the large display than on a smaller one. That is why, going to an ultra-large display may not be a great idea in the flight sim application where you sit so close to the displays.

As to the HD vs 4k displays (1920×1080 vs 4096×2160), note that at time of this writing (Sept, 2020), running three displays in 4k is still a tough proposition given the state of graphics card (GTX 3080 JUST came out). Therefore, we recommend HD (1920×1080) displays, at least for now, until the graphics card horse-power can catch-up. This is especially taxing for triple displays where the pixel count grows by an order of magnitude as one transitions from HD to 4k.

To sum up, save your money – you will be better off investing the money into things that matter – controllers especially or maybe avionics.

Now, onto the DOs and DON’Ts of display shopping.

First, get a display with a VESA mount (some monitors do not have it so always check) and ensure that:

1. The back is flat (so that it will mount to the Volair Sim bracket easily).

2. The VESA mounting space has not been somehow blocked. Below is an example of what NOT to buy:

BAD IDEA! The HDMI and power ports will be completely obscured by the mounting VESA bracket. Also note raised ring which will make mounting difficult.

Here is an example of a good choice of a monitor with a flat back and easily-accessible HDMI and power ports:

GOOD IDEA! Flat back, connection ports are easily accessible.

Next, ensure that the display bezels are as thin as possible. This will create a seamless, uniform appearance. A bezel-less displays are especially attractive as you will be able to form a nearly-uniform display surface.

If shopping for large displays, where you will be essentially buying TVs, skip on the extra features (built-in apps, etc). You won’t be using any of this so why pay extra.

IMPORTANT: ALWAYS BUY 3 MONITORS FROM SAME SOURCE/LOT. This is important as often manufacturers switch between the panel substrates inside the displays. So, for examples, if you buy one display from BestBuy one month, then you wait a few months months and buy remaining two displays from elsewhere (because they are out of stock at BB), you may notice large color variant between the displays. That is because these monitors, even though the share same P/N, have different panel substrates which vary in color palette. Since the displays are adjacent, any color mismatch will be very noticeable.

For details on connecting the displays and configuring them, please see the following series of articles:

 

Flight Sims & Multiple Monitors – Part I

 

Flight Sims & Multiple Monitors – Part II

 

HAPPY FLIGHT SIMMING!

New Volair Sim Avionics Panel 2.0

New Volair Sim Avionics Panel 2.0

Volair Sim is pleased to announce immediate availability of the Volair Sim Avionics Panel V2.0. The updated version features the following changes:

Compatible with the following yokes:

Honeycomb Alpha Yoke

Yoko Yoke

Brunner Yoke

Logitech (Saitek) Yoke.

Volair Sim Avionics Panel V2 ships with trim pieces allowing to cover up yoke gaps depending on yoke used, 6 blanking plates allowing the user to cover-up the unused openings or to mount iPads, and 2 Flight Instrument Panel adapter panels allowing user to mount up-to 12 Logitech FIPs as shown below:

Using adapter plates (sold separately), the Volair Sim Avionics Panel will allow the user to mount the following GPS systems sold by RealSimGear:

GNS-530W

GTN-750

Honeycomb Alpha Yoke can be installed using the micro-suction mount included with the yoke:

The exterior dimensions and pricing will remain identical to the original version.

Download the assembly instructions here.

Categories
Customer Examples

Creative Use of Volair Sim Avionics Panel with Touch Displays

Creative Use of Volair Sim Avionics Panel with Touch Displays

Here is an example of creative adaptation of Volair Sim Avionics Panel by Sean, one of our customers. Sean used a 13.3″ TouchScreen monitor (right side on the panel) as an additional display while having enough room for one Logitech modules above. The center display on the panel is an iPad and to the left you see two Logitech modules.

Sean writes:

“I use that screen (connected as a fourth display) to fullscreen Pilot2ATC.  If I can figure out how to get a fifth display running on my machine, I’ll likely add another one on the left side and move the two control panels to the middle getting rid of the iPad that’s there.  The bezels holding the ipad on are ones I designed and printed on my 3D printer.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RV9FYVG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Love the sim chassis. It’s very comfortable.”

Categories
Customer Examples

Coping With The Pandemic-Induced Isolation

Coping With The Pandemic-Induced Isolation

A heartfelt review from Adam, one of our recent customers, that made us realize that Volair Sim can help people cope with the isolation caused by the pandemic and provide an escape from the bleak world situation.

Adam writes:

“I might have a setup that is a bit different than most. I have recently migrated to VR flight for training purposes which is the reason for the one display. There are aspects I do miss about the triple monitor setup.

It’s my simulation room, the cockpit and my VR goggles. Once I load everything up I am in another world. Without the volair cockpit experience it definitely wouldn’t be as realistic as I would want it to be. The reason I say all this is because I want you and the team, even the CEO to know not only does the volairsim setup enhance my experience for training purposes but its literally been medicine for me to have this setup and configuration in my life. I am beyond thankful that I chose your company when I was on the market to make an investment into my simulation experience. The entire cockpit is modular and I have lost count on how many times I have been able to reconfigure and test new ideas out on this. We have a very short life on this planet and I’m glad there is a team of people out there producing cockpits like these. It’s changed my life and i’m almost certain that I’m not the only one.

Just wanted you and your team to know that. Thanks for all you do!”