The Mini Flight Desk
The story behind an interesting home cockpit build.
During the last group flight my Dad (VFL0101 David) joined the flight having been off-line for a week - re-building his home cockpit to better fit the collection of hardware he has collected over the years.
I suggested that he might write up a few notes about it’s progression to share with you all - here’s what he sent!
It started for me at the beginning of FSX so I was quite late in becoming hooked. My first puchase was a Saitek / Madcatz Cyborg F.L.Y 5, I thought it was the bees knees as it had a built in throttle. It cost a fraction of my most recent joystick - a Virpil - but that’s another story.
Over the first year or so I had added quite a few addons - nearly all from Saitek - and I started thinking my office desk wasn’t anything like an aircraft cockpit. Perhaps I could make something more suitable? I didn’t want a copy of a Boeing 737 - I just wanted an ergonomic set up that would suit flight-simming in a GA or a heavy tube liner.
I downloaded Sketchup as I was well acquainted with it - I’ve used it for years in nearly all of my woodwork projects (another hobby) - and started constructing what was to be called my “Mini Flight Desk”.
Here in the first picture from Sketchup you can see most of the add ons bought by this date and incorporated in to the build design.
This next picture shows the build before anything was fitted:
The next photo shows the panels fitted and well used for a number of years and with evolution shows my favourite joystick in that era - a Saitek X65F the F standing for “Force” as this joystick does not actually move but measures the pressure applied from any direction and transfers the info to the sim.
The years roll by and a few - OK more than a few - extras are added. Four items from Go-Flight in the form of the GF-MCP Pro, an EFIS a switch panel GF-SECM and the GF—LGT Mk2.
There were more add ons added but the crunch time for a redesign was when I bought not the first but a second G1000 and the Audio button panel from RealSimGear, where I sighted them didn’t look that great as seen here:
So with mind in gear and running the free version of Sketchup I set to design a new panel to house all the flight sim panels together in a new home as seen here:
Work started with the removal of all the panels:
Then with a little pad saw I removed the centre of the old facia of the panel:
Then the remake started with cutting the plywood to size and drawing all the measurements from Sketchup on to it:
The next step of cutting out all the holes actually took me the best part of three days as I knew the cuts had to be exact, one millimetre either way was no good a cut outside the line would be seen so it was go slowly and make it perfect:
Next came covering it with vinyl and that showed my one and only mistake, it was the fact that I used plywood and not plastic coated MDF like Contiboard, vinyl will not stick to plywood. Anyway three coats of danish oil then two coats of car spray paint I bought years ago but never used fixed it and so I got the vinyl on and fitted some of the panels:
A bracket is added to fix the Go-Flight MCP Pro to the board and it’s put in place and just needed everything plugged in and fixing to the desk. The fixing can’t be seen but behind the bottom edge is a batten screwed to the desk and when the panel is positioned properly it will be screwed to the desk.
You can see the fixing screws in pic 14 but they will be covered with little patches on vinyl and won’t be seen. Everything is on and working job done. :)
If anybody is interested in catching up with David about the build, the instruments, how it all works, or how they might do something similar, we will start a thread in the #general channel over at Discord.
David can be reached within the airline as VFL0101 :)
Oh my word! A flight simmer's wet dream :)