AELS - We love aircraft cockpits
Our customers are cockpit simulator companies which use our cockpits to build new simulators for airlines and training companies.
- Boeing 737-700 (2x)
- Boeing 773-800
- Airbus A330 (3x)
Are you looking for an aircraft cockpit?
Contact our expert:
I love to sell aircraft cockpits
By their very nature aircraft cockpits tend to have complex controls, instrumentation, and radios not present in other types of simulation. Recreating these present specific additional challenges to anyone building a cockpit. Aircraft components are often expensive to purchase, and access to real aircraft cockpits is likely to be restricted due to security concerns, especially in the wake of the 9/11 attacks or if the builder has chosen a current military aircraft.
A way to avoid a lot of the pitfalls is to not replicate a specific aircraft, simply a class of aircraft. Thus creating a generic GA, airliner, or military cockpit, which while it will not have every button or switch of the real aircraft, will have all the key elements for simulation. The other end of the scale is to build an exact 1:1 replica of the real cockpit, using real panels or even a complete cockpit from the chosen plane. All cockpit builds will be somewhere between these two concepts, and even highly accurate replica pits will often make some concessions, if only due to limitations of the simulation software driving them.
For replica pits the choice of aircraft will be key. With the growth of home cockpits there are a number of companies who sell complete kits for common aircraft. Thus details of current Airbus and Boeing aircraft panels are fairly easy to obtain. For older aircraft museums or aircraft scrap yards can be valuable sources of information. However while research will often locate a lot of information, sometimes it is a minor detail that is needed. For example, how wide the center pedestal is, or how large it should be. Where the information is not in the public domain, more subtle techniques have been developed to obtain the information. For example pixel counting from a digital photo of the aircraft. By counting the pixels in an item of known size, for example a standard cockpit instrument, a scale can be established. This can then be used to estimate the size of unknown elements in the panel. Accuracy will vary depending on the quality of the photo located, the angle the shot was taken from, etc. However this can give a good guideline on dimensions in situations where there may be no other source of information.
The level of functionality will also vary within the ‘pit’. Very realistic looking pits may have non functioning instruments, simply in place to complete the ‘feel’ of the cockpit. At the top end of realism would be individual real instruments, either modified from actual aircraft components or replicated. This approach provides the maximum immersion, but presents complexity with interface electronics and driver software needing to be fabricated. A compromise between the two is to display the instruments on a monitor and mount this behind the panel. The simulated instruments can then be seen through the cutouts which can give a realistic effect, especially if the aircraft uses ‘glass cockpit’ displays in real life.
Many pit builders go through the process of building a basic, low-spec compromise pit first, just to give them a dedicated environment to practice their hobby. The lessons learned in this process can be put to good use if they later decide to build a high-spec compromise or replica pit, which requires a great deal of time, effort, and passion to complete.