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!
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. ”
Racing Setup With Articulating Monitor and Buttkicker
Every once and then, we get asked about using a single curved monitor with the chassis and also mounting a Buttkicker so we thought it would be helpful to share with you an example of a very versatile set-up built by Jeremy, one of our customers. Jeremy has made an interesting modification as he is using an articulating arm to bring a single screen closer to him and using the side arms as mounts for the left and right speakers. As you can see from the photos below, Jeremy switches between racing and flying so he made his set-up flexible to quickly convert a racing sim into flight and vice-versa.
Jeremy writes, “By the way, I’ve been meaning to send you some pictures of my setup. I don’t have multiple monitors but I do have a 34” 21:9 screen that I wanted to move closer to the chair for more immersion using an articulating arm. I also have 5.1 speakers, so I use the left and right monitor mounts for the left and right speakers. Other than drilling holes for the new mounts to fit, I have made no other modifications and the cockpit is very stable even with the monitor hanging forward. It does wobble a tiny bit, especially if you bump the monitor itself, but even with a force feedback wheel it barely moves (admittedly I have a low-end wheel).
To keep the pedals removable but stable I got some 3M hook fasteners at Lowe’s. They’re so strong I have to use an automotive trim removal tool to pry off the pedals! I use normal Velcro to swap out different joysticks depending on what I’m playing. I found a nice headset hanger online that attaches perfectly to the arm rest.
Really loving the cockpit after 3 years now.”