This page is where I will be documenting my endeavors to create and grow a wide-angle viewing experience for my cockpit simulator. It is almost like a quick biography of the build too!
It all started with two 23″ LG monitors side-by-side on a corner desk using an “everyday computing” Dell 8300 XPS PC. The MIP screens and CDU were popped out of the Virtual Cockpit (VC) to the right monitor so I could actually see them. The empty space on the right monitor was used for the ATC box.
I really got back into flight simulation here. I picked up a Saitek Pro Flight Yoke, Rudder Pedals, Throttle Quadrant, Switch Panel, and some Radio Panels. But, I quickly got annoyed at having to constantly pan view up to the overhead panel, so I picked up a 3-monitor mounting stand and added a third 23″ LG monitor in a triangular orientation.
Since my NVidia GTX760 video card had three separate GPUs, all monitors got their own DVI/HDMI connection to the PC. So, when I flew the PMDG 737 NGX, this was my layout:
Upper: 2D Panel of the Forward Overhead
Left: Main forward view including the Virtual Cockpit (VC)
Right: I used this screen for the PFD, ND, and side-by-side engine indications displays popped out of the VC. Also, I placed the ATC window here.
Lower Right: Using Virtual Avionic’s Virtual CDU software, I ran the PMDG’s CDU on an iPad 2 to free up more space on the right screen.
I moved into a new place with a dedicated room for the simulator. A powerful new Primary PC was built with a GTX970 video card. And, I found a different desk with more space, allowing me to use nVidia Surround to span three new 24″ ASUS thin-bezel LED monitors. I still used one of the 23″ LG monitors to display the overhead 2D panel. This is where I also began using my new TrackIR with EZDok Camera. TrackIR is really slick!
I loved the wide view, but it definitely gave me the feeling I was looking through the visor of a knight’s helmet. The lack of vertical awareness was very strange, but probably similar to looking out the squashed windows of the 737 itself.
I started the process of ordering my replica cockpit parts and knew this layout was not going to remain much longer. In the meantime, I began testing the ProSim737 Avionic Suite on another spare 23″ monitor running on my new dedicated Avionics PC. Here I am comparing the ProSim displays and panels to the PMDG for correct function. You can also see the ProSim737 Instructor Station running on the iPad.
Here, I finally broke away from PMDG’s 737 NGX for the final time and began flying on ProSim737 alone. I picked up a 19″ ASUS touchscreen monitor (seen in the lower left) to use as my ProSim737 Instructor Station, Aivlasoft EFB, and ProSim CDU interfaces. Every program worked quite well on the touchscreen!
The JetMax SKTQ, CPFlight Forward Overhead Panel, and CPFlight Complete Pedestal arrived. I could not reuse the monitor stand I had, so I mounted some adjustable metal shelving on the wall to set the monitors on. But after it was all built, I realized the triple 24″ screens were not going to look very good. They were just too far away now.
Once you sit in the pilot’s location, the 24″ was just not tall enough to fill the “window gap”. I never even set up the other two screens and got to building a template for seeing how big of a HDTV I needed to buy.
That is actually the side of the JetMax shipping box. I had sizes from 32 to 60 inches measured out. I messed with it a lot, going left, right, up, down, and adjusting my seat to get a good viewpoint. I then went out and picked up a 55″ Sharp HDTV with HDMI inputs and dot-for-dot gaming mode for about $600 and placed it on the metal shelving.
This is now the view from my captain’s seat. It is MUCH improved over any visuals I had to date. Just having a large viewing window really steps up the immersion. I do not currently have the room to add two more HDTVs on either side, but I can still pan the view to make it workable.
I bought an adjustable arm monitor mount and mounted to the left side of the JetMax. Upon this, I attached my 19″ touchscreen monitor. On this, I access the ProSim737 Instructor Station webpage, Aivlasoft’s EFB, Navigraph Charts, and manage my avionics PC.
This is also the first look at the new Simujabs Yoke, Simujabs Rudder Pedals, Agronn Clipboard, Ipeco 737 Pilot Seat, Flight Illusion Gauges, Custom FO Panel, and Custom Keypad all happily in place and working.
IN THE FUTURE
I would like to try three 55″ HDTVs in nVidia Surround mode, but I am space limited for now. Then, depending on the next room I move the sim to, perhaps I will even evaluate a multi-projection setup.