Cockpit: Dean Carlton (YMER, Australia)

Dean Carlton in Australia has just sent me updated photos of his desk-based simulation setup from concept to completion, in which a number of techniques and methods I never thought of using before.

The photos posted below are only a few from 50 something images Dean sent over, including some very old Private Pilot’s License Course materials and copies of the early 80’s The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft magazine he collected.

To see them all, one could click on the Dropbox link Dean shares with us at the end of the post.   Via the link, one can even download the drawings of his Main Instrument Panel (MIP) in pdf, skp and step formats, if interested.

Builder: Dean Carlton
Location: Merimbula, Australia
ICAO: YMER, Merimbula Airport

Project Notes:
As a young man, I planned on joining the RAF as a pilot officer – a plan that was dashed during the selection process when they discovered I did not have 20/20 vision and told me I would have to join as ground crew….which I elected not to.

Later in life I had the opportunity to take an old Tiger Moth for a spin, reinvigorating my desire to fly!

Planning to emigrate from the UK to Australia within a year or two I decided that I would defer my flight training until I had settled in my new country. To tide me over until then I decided to build a small flight simulator.

The starting objective for my flight simulator was to provide an environment that went someway towards instrument familiarisation / scanning in the type of plane that I would likely to be training in.

From the list of obvious candidates I settled on the Cessna 172 as my target bird. The next choice was to decide on whether I wanted the uber-realism of
trying to replicate an exact model of C172 – or to go with an environment that would provide the flexibility of flying other aircraft more easily.

I went with the latter option. Looking at the available solutions, I quickly settled on Saitek to provide a balance between cost and flexibility. I saw the potential of the Saitek platform (and it’s limits of course) – and the wide community support I could draw upon.

I had previously decided upon just having a standard six-pack of flight instrument panels, but the more research I did, the more bits I kept adding.  The design took several months of anguishing to finalise, but in the end was worth it I think.  What I have ended up with allows me to fly multiple single and twin-engined planes – with the potential ability to flight a little heavy iron on the side.

I purchased the excellent blueprints for the SimSamurai CS-1 Stallion enclosed cockpit and based my Main Instrument Panel (MIP) design on the measurements that the cockpit design required.   Once I had a working layout for my MIP, I worked up a proper design in Sketchup and exported it for a local professional CNC engineering shop to cut out of aluminium metal for me.  I was able to save half the cost by drilling my own mounting holes for each Saitek panel!

Once I had the MIP in my hands, I sprayed it with several coats of suitable (metal containing) primer, followed by several layers of black paint. Then I was able to screw the instruments into place at last!

I had settled on the following equipment list:-

– 11x Flight Instrument Panels (FIPs)
– 2x Backlit Information Panels (BIPs)
– 2x Radio Panels
– 1x Multi Panel
– 1x Switch Panel
– 1x Throttle Prop Mixture (TPM) Panel
– 2x Throttle Quadrants
– 1x Cessna Pro Trim Wheel
– Cessna Pro Rudder Pedals
– Cessna Yoke
– iPad 2 on a flexible floor-standing mount (EFB, charts, checklists moving maps, GPS, FMC etc.)
– Track-IR

Software includes:

– Microsoft FSX
– FS Flying School
– Accufeel AL&S
– Accu-Sim C172 Trainer
– 3d Lights redux
– Clear Sky – FSX Flight Log
– Dauntless Aviation – SimPlates X Ultra
– SPAD – Saitek Panels Advanced Driver
– ORBX Australia / England / Scotland / Wales / Global
– Orbx – FTX: AU YPJT Perth Jandakot Airport
– Orbx – FTX: AU YMAV Avalon Airport
– Orbx – FTX: AU YMML Melbourne International v2
– Orbx – FTX: AU YMEN Essendon
– Orbx – FTX: AU YMMB Moorabbin Airport
– Orbx – FTX: EU EGSG Stapleford Airfield
– Orbx – FTX: EU EGKA Shoreham Airport
– Orbx – FTX: EU EGHR Chichester/Goodwood Airport

IPObjects Air – AirTrack 3.5
Remote Flight – Cockpit HD, Radio HD, Map HD
AvioWare – FSi C172
FSX Times Gauges – Full Collection

Shortly after assembling, I emigrated to Australia and went on a year long road-trip, so after a long boat journey, my simulator went into storage where it
remains whilst we look for a few hundred acres of land to build on….

To tide me over until then, I bought the Saitek X-55 Rhino H.O.T.A.S system. I also got interested in heavy iron and started looking at how I could expand my planned CS-1 Stallion enclosure to include equipment for flying tube-liners…..
Future additions might include a dedicated 737 FMC with overhead / aft panels and a few other 737 bits…..

The land we are in the process of buying is close to a lovely regional airport (Merimbula, ICAO:YMER), where I finally fulfil my dream and obtain my commercial pilots licence. Oh, and get my simulator out of storage and do some “proper” simming!


Here’s the dropbox link for all the photos and drawings.   Please note the attached photographs of the CS-1 cockpit enclosure are copyright of

2 thoughts on “Cockpit: Dean Carlton (YMER, Australia)

  1. Thanks Tom! If anyone wants to use the MIP plans, they should consider moving the TPM unit a little to the right, to give better clearance between the yoke and the Throttle – something I will probably get round to doing myself some time!


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