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#4356848 - 05/11/17 06:45 PM Universal Cockpit Project - 1  
Joined: Dec 2010
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Viper1970 Offline
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Viper1970  Offline
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Bavaria, near Munich
O.k as things stood at the moment I can go on with my project (wasn't really clear if I could stay in my flat, cause my hirer passed away), so I decided to make an own thread for it now.

I'm working on this project since about two years now. The first prototype was built in 1998, but then many things in my live changed and I hadn't the time to pursue my hobby further. My only joy those years was collecting used stuff at ebay and putting it in the storage for a later rebirth of the project.

Two years ago I started the rebirth of the project. As I never had the time to fly all those simulations I collected over the years, I want to catch it up now. That's where the problem started!

As many of the old simulation (eg. Janes Series) are Windows 9X only, I have to make the whole pit backwards compatible. Not an easy thing at all. I really spent nearly the whole first year for a possibility to get Windows ME (ME cause it has some features 98 doesn't have - eg. compatibility with more RAM out of the box etc.) running at a moderate machine. The first plan, to use only one PC for old and new sims, died very quickly biggrin . No chance to do so! Have really experimented weeks with virtual machines, nGlide and other tools or software, but you never get all running very stable. If one thing is running, the others wan't. You are also bound to less performant systems, cause modern mainboards lack the support of drivers for old W9X. On the other hand older systems have problems with Windows 7-10 drivers. For some simulations you are able to get patches like those Tackleberry made for USAF and IAF, but this is only limited to a very few.

After a while of testing, it was clear that my pit has to have two machines, one for the actually sims like Falcon BMS or DCS World and one for my still beloved old stuff. O.k. after fiddling arround a bit, I was able to get a relative performant machine for the old Windwows 9X. It has a dual core 3Ghz processor with 1GB RAM and an AGP Geforce 6800GT. It's also able to run a Voodoo II SLI system I still have. And, I think most of you didn't know, it's possible to run nGlide under Windows 9X. I have tested it and also informed the author about it, so he could add W9X to his OS compatibility list. He hasn't done it until now, don't know why?

Why use nGlide with a 9X machine and a Voodoo SLI? I only use the Voodoo system for stubbornly simulations, which didn't like nGlide or have graphical glitches with it. With a relatively fast 9X machine running 3DFX games with nGlide is absolutely fantastic! You have enough power to use all the benefits of nGlide, like much higher resolutions for the old games, but you hadn't to fiddle about compatibility problems with the rest! DirectX games are running too and have only a very few problems regarding the drivers you use. It's a bit of trial and error here to find the right ones (Janes USAF blue triangles at the wheels etc.)

If anyone is interested in getting old W9x stuff running again, here is what I used:

- ASRock AM2NF3-VSTA Mainboard ( an ASRock ALiveDual-eSATA2 is also possible, but only with an AGP-graphic-card - W9X doesn't really run with PCI express)

Don't believe those tales of the modded drivers for PCI-Express use! Nothing is running stable with old games!

- AMD Athlon II X2 250 3000Mhz (the board is also able to run a Phenom II X4, but W9X didn't like Quad Cores - many crashes and incompatibility)

W9X is really is faster with the dualcore! Have tried Single Core boards with Athlon XP 3200 MHz also. Don't know about Intel boards and processors, cause since the SLOTA K7 time I was always an AMD fan boy! They were even cheapper and less complex to get them running with unconventional stuff.

- 1GB of RAM (for W98 you have to run it with a fix, cause it wouldn't boot after setup with more than 768 or sometimes even 512 MB of Ram - there is also the possibility to fix it in the config.sys)

- Geforce AGP 6800GT (or anything before, like 5900 etc. - don't remember the exact drivers I used at the moment, it's a bit of experimenting)

Don't know about ATi cards, cause strange as I am biggrin , I always loved NVidia graphic cards in combination with AMD systems. Never was a problem those early days, I know thats's not always the right way to do it today screwy (But I still use an NVidia SLI with an AMD system --> unteachable wink )!

- A extra PCI-Soundcard, cause the 7.1 surround onboard chip lacks W9X drivers. No chance to get a single beeb out of it

This system is also used for most of those very few simulations, which run under XP but don't like Windows 7. Dualbooting is the solution here.

The second machine is a more modern one, but still far away from any todays high end system. Will upgrade it later if the rest of my homepit is running. There is a third machine in, only for the displaying of the instruments and the gauges for those few simulators you could do this with a software over LAN (Falcon BMS, FS9 & FSX, EECH Allmods).The top 2 MFD's and the main gauges are displayed with a 19'' TFT sitting behind the center panel. The third MFD's uses an extra 5,25'' TFT and is only useable in very very few sims. I'm still experimenting with it. The engine gauges at the right side are displayed at a 7'' TFT I made a frame to imitate analog instruments for.

I want to use my cockpit with any kind of aircraft and have a nearly "correct" HOTAS for most of them. No exact replicas, but as near as possible with the limited options I have. That was the main goal of my homecockpit. I always wanted to be able to use it for fighters, attack helos, or even airlines if I have the desire for doing so (the reason the "micro" overhead panel is there). Why making a homecockpit, investing many hundreds of hours in building it, just to use it with one single aircraft in one single simulation?!? That's what I asked myself and tried to find a solution for it. It's a not typical homecockpit and it's far, far away from a perfect state. My extremly low budget is the matter of fact here. Sometimes it's even not possible for me to buy the needed parts, so I have to find a way for building things by myself. There are parts in my pit some people throw in the trash. Every piece of any kind of things or materials I have my hands on, I ask myself: Could I use this for my cockpit in any case? What does it look like, is there something of near shape in an aircraft? If I use a piece of this and another piece of that I could built a ... That's the way I built my pit biggrin

A real challange was to get an electronic for my HOTAS-system running with the old and the new simulations. First I tried to use all the old Thrustmaster electronics from my sticks I had laying around. I got it running, but it was to complex for use. You had to boot to plain DOS for programming the HOTAS itself (all the grips only - sticks and throttles), then back to Windows for programming the switches in the throttle bases, which are individual and running with Pokeys cards (those cards also used for all the panels in the pit). This way it never would be possible to switch to another aircraft if the system is running. So I decided to redo all again and make it USB only. Long story and some of my experiments could be found here in the forum biggrin .

I really would like to have those old electronics running, cause of it's impressive functionality to configure different buttons with it (pinky button, I/O codes, toggle function programable pots etc.), but in regards to usability its not possible at all. Only way to get this with USB and changeable if the system is running, is the use of HOTAS Cougar electronics and as I use many changeable controls, one Cougar wouldn't be enough. A used Cougar with electronics which aren't broken costs about 200-350€. As I had to buy four Cougars for my project, only to canabalize them, it's out of discussion. This is far beyond my budget! The Warthog lacks the ability to run under W9X, isn't downloadable anymore and is even much more expensive.

O.k so I reworked my electronics completely to use Pokeys USB cards only. They are downloadable like the Cougar, could still run with W9X systems once they are programmed and have I the ability to change my HOTAS even if the system is running. I only have to switch the USB off, for changing the stick or throttle grip and switch on again after doing so. No recalibration most of the time needed. This was one of the main reasons I decided to resign my original plans. Drawback here is that I must use an external software to program my antenna pots etc. for use with old simulations which do not support analog axis for such functions. Haven't found a software yet, which could do what Thrustmaster was able to do back in 1995. Joystick gremlin was my favorite, but I'm still not able to run it. It always crashes. So I have to stay with my selfprogrammed Autohotkey files for now, which are far from perfect. That's the price I had to pay for converting to USB.

As I also want to use the pit with ARMA2 and 3 I have made a pull-out version of the old Saitek GM2 (only the pad without the mouse - the four way coolie of the mouse is integrated in the pad now - for the mouse I use my Logitech trackball at the right side) which is in the left side-wall. This way you could fly your helo or aircraft, land, jump out, pull it out of the wall and play as a soldier.

O.k, enough bla, bla! here are some pictures of this "Franken"-Cockpit. There is still a lot to do on it, only thing nearly finished is the 4 lever throttle at the moment. All other things still need sanding and painting. The pit is only coated at the moment. The workdesk which also acts as a small WSO cockpit is a step further, but also not finished.





Attached Files Cockpit-01.JPGCockpit-02.JPGCockpit-03.JPGCockpit-04.JPGCockpit-06.JPGCockpit-07.JPGCockpit-08.JPGCockpit-09.JPGCockpit-10.JPGHOTAS-01.JPGHOTAS-02.JPGHOTAS-03.JPGHOTAS-04.JPGWSO-RIO-01.JPGWSO-RIO-02.JPG

Main System: Ryzen 9 3900XT / RTX 3090 / 64Gb Ram / HP Reverb G2

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#4358257 - 05/19/17 03:24 PM Re: Universal Cockpit Project [Re: Viper1970]  
Joined: Jan 2004
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f15sim Offline
More projects than sense!
f15sim  Offline
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Graham, WA
Holy #%&*$#. That's impressive. smile

g.


Proud owner of 80-0007
http://www.f15sim.com - The only one of its kind.
http://geneb.simpits.org - the Me-109F/X Project
#4359150 - 05/24/17 07:45 AM Re: Universal Cockpit Project [Re: Viper1970]  
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Viper1970 Offline
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Viper1970  Offline
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Bavaria, near Munich
Hello F15sim,

thanks! But it's nothing compared to your project. You are they guy with the real F-15 front section, am I right? I had been many times on your webpage and was always fascinated about the detail and the technical perfection you built your pit.

What simulation would you like to use if the pit is ready? Sadly there isn't much out there if you are no F-16 or A-10 driver. SFP2 has the option to fly other birds like F-14 or F-15 but for such a perfect cockpit like yours it laks the degree of realism. Same goes for DCS FC3.

I hope that some day in future ( maybe in ten or twenty years biggrin ) a realistic F-14 (Leatherneck) and F-15 (evtl. Iris) module for DCS hit the shelves. I really like the F-16 or A-10 as well, but they aren't my absolute favorites. This have always been first the F-14 and second the F-15. Sadly I never was able to see a F-14 in real live. At our Airshows, we had in the past here in Germany, there never was any bird of the NAVY.

But I've seen the F-15 a few times and it's a very impressive aircraft if you stand directly in front of it. Most people didn't know the huge differences in size between the F-15 and the F-16 or F/A-18 till they see them in real life. I love those old "muscle"-fighter jets. They are like an old Dodge Charger, no Mickey Mouse stealth technics, just reliable working
avionics and a lot of power biggrin


Main System: Ryzen 9 3900XT / RTX 3090 / 64Gb Ram / HP Reverb G2

Second System: Ryzen 5 2600X / RTX 2060 / 32Gb Ram

Retro System: Athlon X2 3000Mhz / GeForce AGP 6800 GT / Diamond Monster 3D II 12MB SLI / 2GB Ram
#4359301 - 05/24/17 09:23 PM Re: Universal Cockpit Project [Re: Viper1970]  
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,216
f15sim Offline
More projects than sense!
f15sim  Offline
More projects than sense!
Member

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,216
Graham, WA
Hey all I have to do is follow the books - creating something from scratch like you did has a lot more creative effort in it, and you've done an excellent job!

The simulator, when done (cue hysterical laughter) will use different software for different "missions". If I want combat, I'll be using DCS. For puttering around the sky, I'll likely use FlightGear.

g.


Proud owner of 80-0007
http://www.f15sim.com - The only one of its kind.
http://geneb.simpits.org - the Me-109F/X Project
#4359321 - 05/24/17 11:16 PM Re: Universal Cockpit Project [Re: Viper1970]  
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453Raafspitty Offline
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453Raafspitty  Offline
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Australia,Sandstone Point
Flight sims have been around for decades so the ideas arent knew but the technollagy is..Genes been playing with things for a long time so knows his stuff..Needs pull his finger out so we can release the 109 again..Lovely work on your Simpit smile

#4359492 - 05/25/17 10:30 PM Re: Universal Cockpit Project [Re: Viper1970]  
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Viper1970 Offline
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Viper1970  Offline
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Bavaria, near Munich
Thanks again, but I must say that a lot of the building from scratch has to do something with my budget, too biggrin .

If I had the option to buy some things I really would like to have, I never had built them from scratch. I have searched for a way to built my dream of the past years with a relatively low budget. I had to make a virtue out of necessity, that's all.

The only thing that I ever wanted, was to be able to fly different aircraft or helicopters. It wasn't easy to decide, cause at first I want to built the pit as exact as it could be, according to my possibilities. After some weeks of planing it became clear, that I have to make great compromises if I would like to be able to fly different aircraft, or otherwise built a pit for only one type of aircraft.

I found myselve torn between those two options, but after a while I decided to go this universal way. My thought was that if you have the right HOTAS, cyclic, collective or yoke for an aircraft you get a feeling of really flying it. I took some plans of the cockpit layouts from the F-14, F-15, F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B and also the AH-64 and searched for conformities they have. Many things in the pit can be found in every bird, just with a different name. Even helicopters and planes share many functions in the pit or you could use them in a relatively similar way.

I decided to make the side consoles mostly like they are in the F-16, cause I wanted to fly with a side-stick, too. In this case you have to make all important functions controlable for your left hand, cause you couldn't change hands like pilots of center-stick controlled aircraft can do, to switch some buttons at the right side of the pit. This has made things a lot easier, cause for the F-16 many cockpit layouts exist. I have really stolen a lot here biggrin !

Then I had to choose the rest of the cockpit. I wanted to have a semi modern pit with three MFD's and some analog instruments, too. Two cockpits came to my shortlist. Number one was the F-15E Strike Eagle Pit and number two was the one of the F/A-18C Hornet. I thought the Hornet has the nicer pit, although I like the Strike Eagle much more, so I took the panel layout of the Hornet. No exact copy only the overall design.

After this came the big part to implement those functions which are really different in every aircraft or helicopter. Someone who will sit in my pit for the first time will be shocked to see the mags switches for old reciprocating engines sitting at my left gear panel between functions like ground jettison or the launchbar retraction. Those are the compromises I have to make to be universal.

It was soon clear that for big birds like a Boeing 747 the pit alone couldn't offer enough room for needed functions to ramp start such a plane. So the idea of the mini overhead panel was born. This has made it also possible to integrate some extra functions for helicopters like the Blackhawk or the Huey which have an overhead panel, too.

I have used some USB-keyboards or numpads in the cockpit and one Steelseries Fang in the overhead panel, which makes it easier to implement simple pushbuttons. They are all adjusted to fit the cockpit design. I have thrown out some of the keys and made some new covers for them to integrate switches or encoders. You could seperatly program each keyboard with its own keyboard emulation with the use of HID-macros, a real fantastic piece of software for pit builders.

The last stage was to built the different controls for all the aircraft. I had to make bases for a sidestick a centerstick and the yoke which are interchangeable. The centerstick and the yoke base share the same size in dimensions, so you could place each one at the center stick position in the pit. Same goes for the different throttles and the collective or the Airbus like sidestick. A four lever throttle can be placed at the sidestick position for big aircrafts. The centerstick base has a longer shaft and the mechanics go back to center, but they have no "center notch effect". More realistic and essential to fly helicopters. Same at the sidestick, but with much less travel. The selfmade ruders have also no fixed centerposition, only spring force without a clear middle position. Do not missunderstood, they go precise back to center but have no resistance to get out of center if you press them. It's a constant smooth force you could apply to all controls. The rudder control is made out of old TM elite pedals, which I modified and added a analog wheel brake function.

All of my twelve different grips I made could be mounted at the center- or the sidestick bases. For the throttles there is one F-16 version, which also has a nozzle control to fly the AV-8B (cause it's single engine like the F-16 too) and a second base which has changeable split-throttles for the F-14, F-15/A-10, and the F/A-18. For this base I have also made a V-22A Osprey like control. Hope that it will be possible in the near future to fly the Osprey more realistic in ARMA3 as it is at the moment, but ARMA makes real improvements in flight dynamics since the last updates and DLC's, so nothing is impossible.

The collective is made out of a canabalized SFS throttle of Suncom. The grip itself is counter clockwise rotationable to control the turbine rpm. You could pull the collective about 35 degree to control it.

All HOTAS have now, not at the pics cause they are a bit older, a Sony PSP like thumbstick to control the radar cursor. Only exception is the F-16 TQS which has a normal micro or thumbstick like used in gamepads. I use a joystick to mouse program to control the cursor.

The last thing, my WSO-place was born as someone at a forum has seen the pics and my "workplace" behind the cockpit. He makes a joke about why there isn't a HOTAS also at this desk for using it with the pit as a backseat. The new idea was born, but now it's enough. No new ideas, just making this damned thing ready for takeoff biggrin .


Main System: Ryzen 9 3900XT / RTX 3090 / 64Gb Ram / HP Reverb G2

Second System: Ryzen 5 2600X / RTX 2060 / 32Gb Ram

Retro System: Athlon X2 3000Mhz / GeForce AGP 6800 GT / Diamond Monster 3D II 12MB SLI / 2GB Ram
#4359498 - 05/25/17 11:06 PM Re: Universal Cockpit Project [Re: Viper1970]  
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Viper1970 Offline
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Oh I forgotten,

I have seen an interesting project, don't know if anyone here just made it and also used it. It's a head tracker using a gyro function with an included magneting compass to avoid drifting. It's called ED-Tracker.

Only parts you need are an Arduino ProMicro and a MPU-9150 (magnetic version) or the cheaper MPU-6050 (without the magnetic drift compensation). For all parts you have to pay about 20-30€.

It has the advantage that it isn't susceptible to the light conditions and doesn't use as much system performance as a selfmade head tracking with a webcam.

Google for it, it's really interesting!

Regards Viper


Main System: Ryzen 9 3900XT / RTX 3090 / 64Gb Ram / HP Reverb G2

Second System: Ryzen 5 2600X / RTX 2060 / 32Gb Ram

Retro System: Athlon X2 3000Mhz / GeForce AGP 6800 GT / Diamond Monster 3D II 12MB SLI / 2GB Ram
#4360348 - 05/30/17 10:41 PM Re: Universal Cockpit Project [Re: Viper1970]  
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Viper1970 Offline
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Viper1970  Offline
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Bavaria, near Munich
O.k,

lot of work done. The WSO-place is near finish. The split-throttle-base electronics are completed, all grips have their connections to the bases and the bases have all connectors, too. Next are the electronics of the F-16/AV-8B-throttle-base, the collective and all the throttle grips (using a matrix in all grips, cause I want to reduce the number of connection pins). After that all 12 flightstick-grips have to be done (also matrix).

My first tries to get the damned split-throttle-base programmed with the Pokeys software were very frustrating mycomputer , but now it's running. I hope that now, as I know how to do the whole thing, it isn't as complex anymore biggrin .

Will post next pictures here, if the first parts are completely finished. Maybe in three to four Falcon weeks wink .


Main System: Ryzen 9 3900XT / RTX 3090 / 64Gb Ram / HP Reverb G2

Second System: Ryzen 5 2600X / RTX 2060 / 32Gb Ram

Retro System: Athlon X2 3000Mhz / GeForce AGP 6800 GT / Diamond Monster 3D II 12MB SLI / 2GB Ram
#4365117 - 06/20/17 09:08 PM Re: Universal Cockpit Project [Re: Viper1970]  
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Viper1970 Offline
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Viper1970  Offline
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Bavaria, near Munich
O.k. it has been a while since my last post here.

Against what I decided first, I have now determined to make the 7-segment displays and some LCD's in the pit also working. Have blindfold bought some displays after some research on the web. Wasn't a good idea at all, cause getting inputs or displays (multi monitor) working with different simulators isn't a big deal, but making LCD- or LED-displays working is a complete other situation.

For Falcon BMS the best choice is to use the Pokeys56U & 57U, but for MSFS it is the Arduino Mega with Mobiflight. But there are nearly no projects for the MS Flight Simulators which use Pokeys for external displays (only the ProSim 737 & A320) and on the other hand there are no Arduino projects for Falcon BMS which use the Mega 2650 R3 which I still own. For Falcon I have tested F4ToPokeys and BMSCockpit 3.0.0 to get my CMDS and the DED running. Not easy at all, cause there are no manuals for those programs on the web.

Have tried to register at viperpits.org nearly ten times, but it seems to be an exclusive members club only (have also emailed them for VP Registration), cause I never get a confirmation-mail frown I know, I'm no "F-16 only" pit builder nope

At hornetpit.org I was registered the next day, but sadly there are only a few members and not much information about cockpit building at all. Seems viperpits.org is one of the few or even the only place to get information about military cockpit building, and which isn't related to the popular Prepar3D, FSX or XPlane alone. Hope they will answer my registration some day...

For now I try to get the MS simulators running with the Pokeys and the 7-segment displays in my left console, which are normally used for BMS. This is an advantage too, cause of missing interface-software for the Pokeys. It seems that external displays can only be controlled with Polabs cards if you use an ethernet version Pokeys56E and FSSymphony (which then isn't compatible with BMS) or an USB version 56U & 57U with the ProSim Modules of the 737 and A320 aircraft, which aren't the planes I want to fly in FSX. I know that I have to use different software for all the simulators to interface, but I want to use the same hardware for all and that's already a problem.

Hope I can get this running too, cause it's one of my last hurdles to make my project come true with all options I ever dreamed of.

P.S: Have found a cockpit system I ever dreamed of at my web research, but sadly it's not in my budget range. It's called PS Cockpit and the best project I ever have seen! It's compatible with MSFS, nearly all versions of Falcon, DCS incl. FC3 module and Strike Fighters Project 2 (not mentioned on the webpage, but you can see it if you download and run their software for testing what could be if... yep ). You could choose between the F-16, the A-10 and a F-104G cockpit layout. This is the hardware I have ever searched for, may be some day...

Last edited by Viper1970; 06/20/17 09:45 PM.

Main System: Ryzen 9 3900XT / RTX 3090 / 64Gb Ram / HP Reverb G2

Second System: Ryzen 5 2600X / RTX 2060 / 32Gb Ram

Retro System: Athlon X2 3000Mhz / GeForce AGP 6800 GT / Diamond Monster 3D II 12MB SLI / 2GB Ram
#4380151 - 09/18/17 07:55 PM Re: Universal Cockpit Project [Re: Viper1970]  
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Viper1970 Offline
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Viper1970  Offline
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Bavaria, near Munich
O.k. can someone tell me if its possible to combine two threads only to one?

Or if an admin of the board is reading this, is it possible to make Universal Cockpit Project 1 and Universal Cockpit Project 2 to one thread only?

There is really no need for two threads here! Was my fault sorry!


Main System: Ryzen 9 3900XT / RTX 3090 / 64Gb Ram / HP Reverb G2

Second System: Ryzen 5 2600X / RTX 2060 / 32Gb Ram

Retro System: Athlon X2 3000Mhz / GeForce AGP 6800 GT / Diamond Monster 3D II 12MB SLI / 2GB Ram
#4380247 - 09/19/17 02:55 PM Re: Universal Cockpit Project - 1 [Re: Viper1970]  
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TomVR Offline
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Which aircraft is this throttle design based on?

Attached Files mysterythrottle.PNG
#4382081 - 09/29/17 02:45 PM Re: Universal Cockpit Project - 1 [Re: Viper1970]  
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Viper1970 Offline
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Viper1970  Offline
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Bavaria, near Munich
It's loosely based on the V-22A Osprey. No exact copy here only the handling is similar.

Here is the original version made by Bugeye Technologies - https://www.bugeyetech.com/v-22-throttle-grip


They have the right HOTAS, but not for my budget biggrin .

I did always a look at this webpage to make my selfmade HOTAS parts, because they have good photos and some grips like the V-22 collective/throttle are hard to find at the web.


Main System: Ryzen 9 3900XT / RTX 3090 / 64Gb Ram / HP Reverb G2

Second System: Ryzen 5 2600X / RTX 2060 / 32Gb Ram

Retro System: Athlon X2 3000Mhz / GeForce AGP 6800 GT / Diamond Monster 3D II 12MB SLI / 2GB Ram

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