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Finishing the cabin

How I build my own cockpit ?


After the installation of the radio stack, together with the FS control panel, view panel and ATC panel, I was now able to control almost everything from within the cockpit without having to use any external keyboard. The need to reach out from the cockpit to a keyboard was gone. Just to start up the PC and FS and the cockpit management system I still need the external keyboard and mouse.
The rest of the inside work is also finished except for some minor details so there is no obstruction anymore to close of and finish the cabin. Besides the closed cabin would increase the sensation of movement when in flight, certainly with my new visual system. The more reason to speed tings up.

We started by making the necessary moulds from cardboard. One mould for the first part that connected with the window, a second for the side, that starts underneath the side window. At last a third mould to cover the roof. All these mould were only for the right side. For the left side I used the mirror image of these moulds because the left and right side are symmetrical. To make sure I tested it out first. You never now if there are any differences and when you start cutting the metal sheets and it doesn't fit you can throw every thing in the scrap bin and start over again. What a big waist of time and money and this we could spend better on some useful things. The moulds I made are from single sided thick cardboard. Because of the special curves and form it isn't that easy to make. But with some sticky tape and a two right hands we succeeded in making some accurate moulds. With this dune the most difficult part was behind use. It was now a question of bringing over the shape of the moulds on to the sheet metal and cut it out with shears for sheet metal.

cab1 cab7 cab8 cab9

The next thing to do is to drill some holes in to the side panel and fix them with screws. After that the front panel,we started of on the window side, then continued on the brace of the instrument panel, to finish underneath on the wooden bottom modules. The last panel to put up was the roof panel. To close the gape between the instrument panel and the window, inside the cockpit I made a triangle like piece of sheet metal and mounted it so the cabin was now completely sealed of. So in a couple of days we completed the cabin. The only thing to do was to paint the whole thing. I decided to paint the cockpit in the coloursheme of the Martin Air DC 3 of the DDA classic airline. It is very colourful and besides I have very good memory's when we flow with it to various destinations. The very last thing to do was to put in the window screens with windscreen wipers to intensifier the feeling of reality even more.

cab5 cab6
intereur1 intereur2

With all this done our Dakota seems to be finished. We lived up to this moment for over 5 years now. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction. Of course it isn't finished yet. There is still the radio stack without the 7 segments displays, the motor instruments, the fuel indicator, landing gear indicator, the marker beacon indicator and the complete set of instruction labels, etc..
There is still to much to mention what needs to be finish. But we set a big step in right direction towards the end goal. Before I finished up painting the whole thing I made a test flight to feel the effects of the closed cabin. I can only describe it with one word ' impressive'. Especially when you take a curve you really think the Dakota is moving and not the image. Add to that the sound within the closed cabin, it is 10 times more real due to the resonation and vibration of the sheet metal. It is a fantastic bird to fly in such an old Dak with its special engine music. I still need some time to fine tune this all and I sincerely hope on the collaboration of the pilots of the DDA, so they can give me some good advise on what to change.


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© Verley Jan 2007-2017 original text 2005 translation Jan Verley