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UPDATED Tuesday 23rd March 2010
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Quick Find: - The Idea

G_MVTK.JPG (92514 bytes)I have always been an Aviation enthusiast, gaining my Private Pilots Licence in 1991 and then going on for Night, Instrument and Multi-Engine Ratings. Now in 2005, I am training to fly Microlight Aircraft with John BRADBURY at Cheshire Microlights,  which I am absolutely loving.....It's so different from Fixed Wing.
In 2004 I bought my Pegasus Q462 G-MVTK which as of the time of writing (June 2005) I haven't managed to fly solo yet, I just can't seem to find the time !!
Having logged over 700 hrs as P1, I was looking for a new challenge which presented itself via the VATSIM Online PILOT / ATC Network.   Great fun having live 'Real Time' ATC based on Real World Airports, Routes and Proceedures in the comfort of your own Den.  Not only fun, but it keeps you upto speed on Instrument Flight, especially when you have to execute a 'Missed Approach' or you are told to 'Hold as Published'.
So, over a couple of years I have been flying from home as well as for real.    During this time, I had sort of got to know the PMDG B737 very well and had built up a great collection of ADD-ON Gadgets to save using the mouse in 'on-line' flight.   But still there was no getting away from using it in some instances.  It's usually when you're under pressure on the approach to ATLANTA, LONDON HEATHROW or BUDAPEST with 10 other aircraft and you hit the wrong 'Hot Spot' which makes the problem even worse.
That's when the notion started to form in my head.  Why don't I build a cockpit that I can control from Buttons, Switches and Rotary Encoders.
   The IDEA was born :o)
Going back to the VATSIM Network, just by chance I flew into Budapest one day and was amazed by this efficient and professional controller (Peter SELMECI) who brought me down to Runway 31R at LHBP.    Over the coming year I became a constant visitor to Budapest and eventually I have struck up great friendships with the guys at VACCHUN.   
They are such a professional and disciplined team and a pleasure to fly with whether you are an arrival or a departure.
Between ourselves a trip was planned and in March 2005, I found myself in BUDAPEST as a guest of the VACCHUN Team.   

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What a great bunch of guys !   Nothing was too much trouble and as one of the highlights of my trip, they organised a visit to Andras KOZMA's amazing BOEING  B737NG Cockpit.   It was awesome, so real and a joy to use.   I feel quite honoured that ANDRAS was kind enough to let me loose with his masterpiece.

FSXpand Eicas Instruments  Boeing 737ng cockpit - All My Own Work :o)  Baris Imer - Real Life 737ng pilot

  Captain KO in Command  Nathan Codrington & Tom Ashman 17/11/2011


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Andras was extremely obliging and proved to be the inspiration I needed to go ahead with my project.  I left his home knowing that I just had to have one of my own.   Incidentally ANDRAS KOZMA is the author of several best selling Scenery Packages and a very accomplished musician who is recognised as one of the leading figures in his field.

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So there I was faced with all types of challenges and decisions that needed to be made. What software, what hardware, what will my wife say :o).  So I sat down and thought about everything for a while and decided that the first stage was to see what we could do with the existing PMDG737 program before spending too much money on a cockpit display system.

I Just love the PMDG 737, but there is only so much that you can get out of it.  With some forethought and a little ingenuity, I now have 5 displays in my cockpit including the EICAS, standby instruments and Boeing Flaps Gauge. There is an operational MCP which works fine in conjunction with PMDG's FMC and all necessary systems being operated by switches of various kinds and push buttons.
All the radio's are faithfully simulated using Flight Illusion and CPFlight  units and we have a working audio panel.  The setup is using 4 computers in conjunction with Wideview. The aircraft and PFD/ND's are supplied from Computer 1 while the second machine gives me the EICAS & Standby Instruments using FSXpand.  Two more PC's are setup using Wideview for the Front Left and Left views on one PC and Front Right & Right views on the other. A fifth PC has been added to run  Active Sky for weather generation and Squawkbox3 for online ATC controlled flight on the VATSIM Network.
PMDG do not give you access to control of the overhead with the exception of mouse clicks, so I will design and build my own system for this panel to enhance the realism.   Join me on this journey of discovery as I build my project and please feel free to comment or enquire, because I enjoy the encouragement that only other people can give.

Thank you for your Interest

Ian P.Sissons, OSWESTRY, England