Cockpit: Ken (KFRG, USA)

Ken was much involved in flight simulation during the ’90s with FS 5.1 until the early 2000s; and then got back into flight simulation again (in a big way) after he retired at the end of 2011.

Besides the photos, Ken also attached a schematic layout, showing how he achieved a self-contained cockpit system that doesn’t need of a mouse or keyboard for any inflight functions.

Builder: Ken
Location: Huntington, New York, USA
ICAO: KFRG, Farmingdale Republic Airport

Project Notes:
I use FSX, fly mostly (95%) the Mooney Bravo.  FSX runs on a new Jetline Systems computer, Windows 10, i5 8600K 4.5 gHz Overclock, 16 GB RAM, with 8GB Nvidia GTX 1070.

Along with FSX I run AS 16 and VoxATC.

The last couple of years I have spent the winter flying the wonderful Orbx scenery on the west coast of the US.  I am a strong believer in not using the “Go to Airport” menu function in FSX, which means I “fly”across the US from coast to coast each year.

I’m now headed back east, and am currently at Jackson Hole in Wyoming. I usually fly 100 mile or so legs, and meander all over the place enjoying the scenery.  The Mooney is overkill for some of this, but it is fast, and can handle 13,000 foot mountains with ease.

I’ve been intrigued by the railroad simulator programs, but I wonder.  I’m really only interested in steam, and I don’t know if, or how well rail simulators do this.   Since I’m a little spoiled in having fired and operated steam locomotives, setting up a simulator that would capture the feel of it would be a real challenge.

Strangely, it’s a lot easier to get a realistic feel from an airplane simulator than from a steam engine.

Following is a schematic of my cockpit layout.

Most basic controls (CH Yoke, pedals, Parking Brake and fuel selector, DSP panel) work off of main computer.   All Saitek gear runs off a networked computer, using SPAD.neXt.   These components are, as configured for the Mooney profile:

  • 11 Saitek FIPs
    Standard “6 pack” with HSI
    Engine 1 & 2
    VOR 2
    Wet Compass
  • 1 Saitek BIP
  • 2 Saitek Radio Panels
    Com 1 & 2
    Nav 1 & 2, (Nav 2 also used to set ADF, and the DME setting is programmed to set “Course” and “Heading.”   I use this for large adjustments and use the (Fragile) knobs on the HSI FIP for fins adjustments).
  • 1 Saitek Multi Panel
  • 1 Saitek Switch Panel
    The default “Cowl Flap” switch is programmed for “Standby Vacuum”
    The default “Taxi Light” switch is programmed for “Recognition Lights”
  • 1 Saitek TPM (Throttle, Prop, Mixture unit)
    Switches on this unit are programmed for “Alt Air,” “Prop De-ice,” “NAV/GPS toggle,” and “Kneeboard” and other utility controls.
  • 1 FSX Dual unit, with 1 “Rugged” and one “Gulf Coast Avionics” aviation Headset.   Allows normal realistic intercom communication and passenger/copilot to hear ATC.
  • 1 Desktop Aviator Parking Brake controller
  • 1 Goflight annunciator. Supplements the BIP, indicates low power, start power, fuel off, etc.
  • 1 Derek Speare Switch Panel.   (I won this as a door prize at FlightSimCon 2016).
    I use this for simulator events, eg. changing “point of view” opening/closing doors, request fuel truck, pause, etc.
  • 1 Desktop Aviator Fuel Selector (very useful since low wing aircraft, per FAA rules, only feed off one tank at a time, so switching tanks is a constant chore).
  • 1 Homebuilt (from Cockpit PHD parts) audio panel.
    This controls whether Com 1 or Com 2 is active, allows selecting to listen to both comms at once, and also the sound for Nav 1, Nav 2, ADF Idents, and the ILS Marker sounds.   All the functionality of real world and some prebuilt add-ons, except the Ident for the DME (the buttons come in sets of five, and I’d need six).
  • 1 VRInsight Transponder unit with an added Ident Button through Cockpit PHD.   Using VoxATC need to be able to set the “Squawk” code and press “Ident” according to ATC instructions.   At first I was doing this with the Saitek Radio Panel (#2) and using Button “2” on the CH Yoke for “Ident”, but this proved awkward and unrealistic.
  • CH Yoke
    Button “1” = “Push to Talk” Other buttons control elevator and rudder trim, “Speed Brake” and “Cowl Flaps.”
  • Saitek Rudder Pedals.
  • Copilot side has the Saitek Yoke and CH Rudder pedals, and allows for dual control.

This system is completely self-contained, and does not need a mouse or keyboard for any inflight functions.

I have a Logitech wireless Keyboard with built-in mouse pad which is used to set up a flight, including starting and shutting down programs, creating flight plans, selecting weather options.   Once a flight has started there is absolutely no function for the keyboard, so it is put away.


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