Mounting Honeycomb Bravo Throttle Quadrant
Josh has provided an update on his cockpit build. As you can see, Josh has relocated the keyboard to the left and mounted Honeycomb Bravo to the Avionics Table so that he can use both the Thrustmaster HOTAS and the traditional yoke/throttle configuration.
“I used 1” x 1” x 1/8” Aluminum Angle, 1” flat Aluminum for bracing on the backside,
M5 Bolts, nuts and spacers, and the factory screws on top of the Bravo.
(And a splash of black paint ^^)”
We thank Josh for providing the photos and write-up of this very clever installation.
Excellent Cable Management, iPad, and Avionics Panel – Customer Example
Josh, one of our customers sent us this photo of his set-up. Note excellent cable management and overall very clean implementation. Cable management can be accomplished via black zip-ties and self-adhesive mounting pads that allow you to route cables along the metal brackets. The iPad is running FltPlanGo which is an excellent and free EFB.
Volair Sim at Massey University – School of Aviation in New Zealand
Volair Sim cockpits have made it all the way to New Zealand!
Check out the photo of work in progress sent to us by Glenn Ross from School of Aviation at Massey University which is located in Palmerson North.
Honeycomb Alpha Yoke and Bravo Throttle Quadrant with Triple Curved 32″ Monitors
John, one of your customers writes,
“Thought you might like to see the latest updates to my volairsim cockpit. Photos attached.
After my grandson discovered a nice 3 -monitor configuration on your website, I (or should I say, he…) decided it was time to ditch the 43″ TV I was using – even though it worked well overall – and go for the 3 monitor configuration. I also purchased the 32″ curved ViewSonic monitors and they work very well. I won’t go into the installation since that was more than adequately covered by the other person. While side distortion is unavoidable, it’s something we can tolerate until such time, if ever, FS2020 supports multiple viewports.
I originally had my Bravo throttle quadrant mounted next to its sibling yoke but it never felt very comfortable there – always felt too high. I had some pre-cut 3/4″ aluminum angle that was almost the exact lengths I needed – when does that ever happen? I built a small platform under the right side and mounted the throttle about 6″ lower than it would otherwise sit. Feels much better now.”
Volair Sim Receives FAA Approval
Volair Sim is pleased to announce obtaining FAA Approval for our model ATD-100 BATD (Basic Aviation Training Device). We are approved for the following aircraft: PA-28 (Piper Archer), PA-28R (Piper Arrow), and BE36 (Beechcraft A36 Bonanza). The log-able items are as follows:
•§ 61.51(b)(3) – Logbook entries;
•§ 61.51(h) – Logging training time;
•§ 61.57(c) – Instrument experience;
•§ 61.65(i) – Instrument rating: not more than 10 hours;
•§ 61.109(k)(1) – Private Pilot Certificate aeronautical experience: up to 2.5 hours; and
•§ 141.41(b) – Approved for use under the part 141 appendices as follows:Appendix B – Up to 15% towards the total Private Pilot training time requirements; and
Appendix C – Up to 25% toward the total Instrument training time requirements.
Our launch customer, Pilot Training Northwest, had the following comments about our system:
“Our flight school is using an FAA-Certified Volair Sim, AD-100 BATD and we all are impressed with it. Our CFIIs and CFIs all use the system for training private student pilots, instrument candidates and commercial candidates. We also have instrument pilots who are using the system to maintain IFR currency or just to practice approaches and log simulated instrument time. This trainer has become a revenue stream for us because student pilots and pilots alike are extremely impressed with it and they can log the simulated instrument time. As a flight school owner/operator I too am impressed and highly recommend the Volair Sim AD-100 over any others on the market.
The system itself is far superior to other “simulators’ we have used in the past, including the PFC 12 Pro Panel. Most BATDs and AATDs have the look and feel of a table-top computer system and they lack the feeling of being in a real airplane. As such, the training experience is not as effective. The Volair Sim system, however, with an actual instrument panel, an adjustable aircraft seat and the wide-angle monitors all built around a solid, heavy-duty mounting system provide realism not found in any other BATD or AATD I know of.
The professional construction of the mounting system, the instrument panel and the adjustable aircraft seat is solid, providing a stable platform with the feel of being in a real airplane. The instrument panel alone is impressive with its realistic look and instrument layout. The flight controls are far more realistic than other systems we have used. The Volair Sim AD-100 flies much more like the real airplane than others on the market.
Since we started using the Volair Sim AD-100 our CFIIs have noticed more rapid progress among our instrument students, especially when connected to a simulated Air Traffic Control program where the instrument candidates not only fly a very realistic platform, but are emerged in the realism of working with ATC.“
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.
Triple Curved 32″ Monitors – Customer Example
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!
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.”
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.
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:
HAPPY FLIGHT SIMMING!
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:
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:
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.
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.
“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.
Love the sim chassis. It’s very comfortable.”
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.
“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!”
Volair Sim Racing Set-Up
Since many of our customer examples focus on flight sim configurations, it is nice to see that racing enthusiasts are also using the Volair Sim to increase their driving proficiency. Below is a review from David who has built a racing sim centered around the Volair Sim chassis. David’s review:
“This is an amazing simulator Rig and built really well that I use it for Sim Racing and some VR stuff mainly racing. After three years of using the Volair Sim I have had zero problems and am glad I chose this rig. Their may be better certainly less expensive, but it is an impressive piece of equipment. The first 2 years I owned this rig I helped me improve my driving skills 100%.
With an adjustable seat that reclines and moves forward and backward makes it real comfortable to race in. With a bad back that means I can make adjustments to my seating so I can race in longer races during a race.
Volair gives you enough accessories to do a lot with your gear. I took some of them and moved them around to hold my VR head set and gloves.
The triple screen monitor stand can wiggle a little when things get exciting but not much of a distraction and not too often. Volair fixed that after my purchase with a new stand alone monitor stand.
I have 3 27” Viewsonic high end monitors that are a little beefy. One thing to look for is the monitor you choose and where the cable hook ups are for the. The vesa mount can be in the way and a cable may not fit or plug in. I had 3 beautiful no border 28” Acer monitors I had to substitute for the Viewsonic Monitors. It may not be the case with the new stand alone stand.
I had no problem with assembly or parts missing or left over and only took one short evening to assemble.
I have read reviews that people complain about what to do with wires dangling all over. Use your imagination because there’s a lot out there to take care of that.
I could ramble all day but I get lost with reviews. You won’t be disappointed with this choice so If its in you price range the pick Volair you won’t regret it.”
Jean-Oliver said, “I wanted to take the time to thank you for having invented this wonderful product which for 2 years makes me experience beautiful moments of flight. I send you photos of my installations. I add a fourth screen that serves as a dashboard.”
This fourth screen installation is really creative. We had to know more about size, installation, usage, etc. and figured everyone else would like to know too. Jean-Oliver was kind enough to send us the details:
“I only install with screw the support of my screen to your table. I can change the angle of my screen with my support. The screen does not block the field of view, but you must adjust the mount of the 3 screens to its highest. The advantage of this fourth screen allows me to play other games that do not require 3 screens. This screen is closer to play other games. The fourth screen has 24 inch, but it is possible to install a 27 inch. The other 3 screens have 27 inches.”
The other interesting modification is the modification to the center mount in order to extend the reach of the Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog joystick:
Jean-Olivier writes, “You can see on another picture that I have the joystick holder flipped to install an extension for this one. Here is the link for extensions (good quality).”
Great job Jean-Olivier and we think your photos and instructions will help a lot of fellow flight simmers. Thank you!
Volair Sim Triple Display Stand Set-Up
Here is a quick note from Andrew who just finished assembling the Volair Sim chassis with our independent triple display stand. Andrew picked up the cockpit and the stand from our Indianapolis warehouse. He writes, “The warehouse staff was very friendly in helping and simply used a forklift to gently set it in the bed of my truck. The quality and thickness of all the parts surpasses my expectations and should last a very long time. Installation didn’t take long at all, the longest task was unwrapping all the bubble wrap from all the parts. Overall, I know that Volair Sim didn’t take any shortcuts when developing this. I am very happy with how everything turned out. I however do regret not buying the armrests while I was there.”
There were couple of areas of install Andrew commented on. We feel this may be beneficial for others to read.
Andrew states, ”You may be interested to hear how my setup went. When installing the seat, the instructions state to put the bolt in from the bottom and place the nut inside the rail of the seat. However the nut is too large to fit within the rail. I got by this by installing the bolt from the top down, and the nut on the bottom. My 43 inch TVs have a 200 by 300 bolt pattern on the back. Therefore the bracket is only being held on the tv by 2 bolts. Also the bolts included to mount the bracket on the tv were the wrong size and length. I went to the hardware store to buy some, but turns out that luckily my tv already included them. The two bolts holding the bracket on my TV do feel strong and I don’t think it is going anywhere.”
Note that it is completely acceptable to run the seat bolts from top vs bottom as the default fit is tight (helps to use channel pliers to push the nut into the seat slider). Also note that some TVs come with (a bit unusual) 200mmx300mm bolt pattern so you will only use 2 of the 4 holes to mount it as Andrew did. Given that the modern LCD TVs are pretty light (the VESA standard was developed when Plasma was still the dominant technology which weighted a ton), this should not be an issue from safety perspective. Lastly, while we include the TV mounting bolts that should fit most installations, be prepared that your displays may feature unique bolt length/size configuration.
Curved Monitors & Combat Configuration
We are getting an increasing number of inquiries about using curved monitors with Volair Sim. In short, they will work but if you are planning to use three of them, we recommend you get our Triple Display Stand as it will allow you to precisely align the three curved displays in order to form a uniform section of a cylinder.
One of our customers, Todd, has built a really nice set-up using single curved display and repurposed the side monitor arms as mounting locations for the VR sensors.
Todd writes, “I am using one mount already for my second monitor that supports two Cougar MFDs (picture below). Your simpit is an exceptional product!”
Volair Sim and Redbird Alloy Yoke
Some of you have inquired about using a Redbird alloy yoke with the Volair Sim cockpit. One of our customers, Steve, just completed a build where he installed this yoke on the Volair Sim chassis.
Steve writes, “I just wanted to forward a picture showing a Redbird Alloy yoke mounted on my Volair cockpit. The fit is fine and the table is large and sturdy enough to support the yoke (albeit with a bit of overhang). I did have to add some wood shims beneath the table to accommodate the yoke’s mounting clamps but other than that no modifications were needed. ”