The A320 Cockpit is Moving Forward
On the day of the anniversary of the Miracle on the Hudson, I finalized the plans for my A320 cockpit and placed the order for all major cockpit components. I decided to go with the products offered by Vier Im Pott and chose their open trainer solution as space in the dedicated cockpit room is limited.
I also wanted to keep my current setup so that I can continue flying a variety of aircrafts. To make as much space as possible, I removed the closet doors and tucked in my existing desk cockpit halfway into the closet (yeah, go ahead with the closet jokes…). It will be tight for sure, but I almost see this as a benefit, simulating the cramped environment of real cockpits!
After quite a few iterations, here is the configuration I landed on.
The rendering is done in a nice freeware called Sweet Home 3D. I suppose I might not really be their target audience and had to improvise quite a bit on what “furniture” to use for representing the various cockpit elements. Still, all dimensions (in mm) are correct, so I believe I should be able to open the door fully.
For the visuals I don’t have enough room for a full curved screen projection system with 3 short-throw projectors. I realize that would be the best solution, but I am happy to go with a simpler implementation. Maybe one day this is something I’d like to look at, including all the challenges of wrapping and blending 3 images. So my current plan is to use 3 large TV screens, wrapped around the cockpit, to provide close to 180 degrees of field of view.
- Main Instrument Panel (MIP), with full FCU, EFIS, and all screens and indicators
- Central pedestal, with MCDUs, ECAM panel, motorized throttle quadrant, radios, transponder, weather radar, flaps, and spoilers controls
- Fully functional front overhead panel
- Captain and First Officer sidesticks and tillers
- Captain and First Officer rudder pedals, with direct link, including brake pedals synchronization
What’s next? I am looking at various options for the seats, need to design and construct supports for the 3 TVs, and have to build a wooden base on top of the existing tile floor so that I can solidly attach all the equipment.
On the software side, I am exploring various options to run the flight model and instruments in conjunction with Lockheed Martin Prepar3D. Finally, I will have to build new dedicated computers to run the complete A320 simulator and all auxiliary programs (weather, ACARS, navigation charts, etc.). The current high-end GPU shortage is not helping that part of the project!
Oh, yeah, I should also start learning how to fly this little plane. Interestingly enough I don’t have any Airbus in my current simulator fleet. Fortunately, I am confident the recently released A320 Cadet Training Program will get me type-certified in no time. Anyway, I can’t wait to push these throttles to the TOGA detent…