Nov-Dec

 

Welcome to the Bi-monthly  newsletter.

In this issue we take a look at building your own control panels.

The  newsletter will give you insight into the different types of flight simulation, technical articles, tips and reviews.

We will also look at the products, accessories, hardware, software and just about anything that makes the world of flight simulation more realistic and enjoyable.

The newsletter will also keep you abreast of what other enthusiast are doing in the community.

Your newsletter ....   We invite you to participate  and email any stories, interesting tips, events, announcements or any contributions you feel may be of  interest  to the flight simulation community. Please email any contributions to: newsletter@kwikpit.com

A Plug .........
The KwikPit Company was created and is ran by  a flight simulation enthusiast. Our goal is to introduce products that add to the enhancement  and fun of flight simulation without the complexity or high  costs.

We hope you enjoy our unique line of cockpit products. We have strived to keep prices low as compared to anything else on the market.

Check out our products at www.kwikpit.com  thank you for your patronage.

Regards,
The KwikPit Team,
Greg and Dawn

 

                                                                             
  
Taking Control With Switches

Hello flight simmers and welcome to another edition of the KwikPit newsletter. Signs that the  summer weather is finally leaving us are becoming more pronounced. As we approach the cooler weather and the winter season we can start thinking about more time with our flight simulators. What's great about flight simulation is that no matter what time of year is we can still fly our favorite aircraft. If you're a real world pilot you can stay proficient as those flying days or decreased.

Looking at the current crop flight simulation software we have seen a huge advance in graphics, it's sometimes very difficult to distinguish real world photos and screen shots from a simulator. Flight control peripherals have advanced to the point where the mouse and keyboard are no longer needed to control the aircraft. There are literally hundreds of commands available for aircraft in about any sim program today. A joystick, yoke, rudder pedals and throttle quadrant are a must to get the most from these sophisticated programs.

A yoke or joystick and rudder pedals adds a high level of realism when controlling the aircraft in the sim. These devices add a level of emersion and realism to the simulation that was not possible a couple of decades ago. But now with the vast amount of controls available through the simulation we need even more control and we can add another level of realism. We 're able to do this with switch panels. These panels have toggle switches, buttons, rocker switches and just about any other control that's in the real aircraft. Being able to adjust radio setting, turn lights on or off, raise or lower landing gear with the turn of a knob or the flip of a switch is simply fantastic.

In this issue we'll look at building some basic panels and adding switches  so you can have your own customized switch panels to mount on your HomeFlite or any cockpit project you're building or modifying.
 

                               
  
DIY Panels

Building a simple panel with various switches is not as difficult as it may seem. It doesn't have to be expensive either. We'll build a very basic panel here to give you and idea on how it's done and some ideas in designing your own panels.

Materials for making the panel can be just about anything that is rigid, plastic, metal, wood or hardboard. For this example we're using the cheapest material of all of these choices, hardboard.

Hardboard can be bought from the local Home Depot type store for around four to six dollars for a 2' x 4" sheet. You'll want as thin as possible.

This material is easy to cut with a handsaw, power saw or jig saw if you have one available.

The first thing is to determine what size panel and what controls are needed. In this case we'll be using a panel size that is interchangeable with the popular GoFlight modules. This gives you the ability to mix panels on your project. On the prototype HomeFlite cockpit this is the size panels we used. Here is a link for the panel measurements.

Panel Dimensions

In the photo you can see the panels after we cut them out. I made individual panels as well as one panel with the holes for all the switches I need. The switches will consist of toggles, push buttons and rocker switches. These are commonly used in aircraft to control lights, landing gear, and on/off  circuits.                                           

 


 

 

            

                                                       

The easiest way to make square cut outs is to drill smaller holes in side the outline and square them up with a Dremel tool or a flat wood file.

All types of inexpensive switches can be purchased on Ebay in bulk quantities  from 2 to 100+ depending on what you need. These do not need to be aircraft grade switches.

  

The switches shown here are full sized not the miniature type, the choice is yours. When using the miniature switches you'll want to use a thin material so the shafts will fit through the material so the locking nut can be attached.

The holes sizes for the standard toggle switches is 1/2" and for the buttons and round rocker switches it's 5/8". The size of the square depends on the size rocker switches you plan to use. The switches that fit the 5/8" holes can be configured any way you like.

Once you have the holes drilled it's just a matter of painting the panels the color of your choice and mounting the switches. Enamel gives a good hard finish.

 

          
 

 Lettering can be accomplished in a couple of ways that are inexpensive. One is with clear embossing tape that produces white letters the other is by dry transfer of letters. I'll attempt both methods and update the newsletter when the lettering is complete.

The dry transfer letters are ready made for aircraft panels by Spruce Specialty which is a company that deals in homebuilt aircraft. If your panels will be black the easiest is an embossing gun with black tape that produces white letters.

Wiring and Emulators

The switches panels are normally wired into USB emulators that provide the signals required to activate the commands in the flight sim. They eliminate the issue of continuous key presses and can be programmed. Another invaluable piece of software is FSUIPC which opens up  Microsoft Flight Simulator  to many commands that aren't possible with the keyboard alone. Links to suggestions and other ideas are below. Give it a try and happy flying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Zc7UED4VDI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Zc7UED4VDI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apNpeqihXKE

Emulator board

 

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