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Centre- module | Pedals

How I build my own cockpit ?

Some time has passed, but I’m back with the sequel on my first article. 
I finished the construction of the two bottom-modules.  Between those two modules a centre-module has to be constructed; this centre model needs a handle to block the landing gear and a box which controls the fire-extinguishers of both engines.

The construction of the centre-module:

The centre-module has to be solidly constructed, because you always have to pass this place in order to reach the pilot’s seat or the co-pilot’s one.  This module consists of three parts.  First there is the bottom sheet; on it a frame of small beams is made (fig. 1), on which the two next parts of the module can be fixed.  In the left part the handle to block the landing gear has been provided.  This handle has been made of an old heating pipe around it are four rings of smooth reinforcing steel (thickness: 5 mm).  At the back of the handle a quarter opening has been made for the wire(s).  The right part exists of a flat sheet; it its middle it contains a box with a lid (fig. 2).  Later you have to provide in this box the necessary switchers and handles.  Because these can’t be operated with FS 98, they can easily be built in later.

midden1   midden2

As far as now everything is simple, comparatively speaking; what follows is a rather complicated fact, i.e. the pedals with the corresponding breaking system.  One could say why not use existing pedals available in every retail trade.  There’s the place where the pedals have to be constructed: it’s to small for the Thrustmaster’s pedals.  Moreover they do not retain an integrated breaking system and the angle of inclination of the pedals is too flat.  Pedals  of other brands are too inaccurate.  It wouldn’t even look and feel realistic enough.  The rudder moves easier when the plane stands still than when it flies.  Enough reasons to build the pedals oneself.


The construction of the pedals:

Once collected the necessary technical drawings I studied them and started constructing the footrests.  How big this footrests have to be is the ever returning question, because the drawings don’t give any information about this.  I made a comparative study with the pedals of the C119 – you can admire them in the Dakota hall at Melsbroek – and started making the necessary drawings.  I traced the different parts of the footrests on cardboard.  These serve as a mould which you copy on a metal sheet of 3 mm.   You then cut out the metal with a pair of snip, sharpen it and there you are: the basis of the footrests.  Because the footrest also serves as an operator for the braking system, it needs to hinge to the front and to the back.  In order to realize this, you’ve to make an axle through the footrest.  Therefore you drill a hole simultaneously through the two outsides.
Golden Tip: in order to have two perfect identical holes in the two sheets, weld them together before drilling.  You prevent them from shoving away and from not fitting when you assemble them. 

pedal1   pedal2   pedal3a

After bending the front plate (sheet) everything was welded painstakingly and the hinge was put at the bottom. 
In order to have the pedals of the pilot and the co-pilot working simultaneously the DC-3 had worked out a unique system.  They had the idea to have the two bars moved in each other direction (drawing 1).  This offers the possibility to realize a great  moving of the pedals in a small space.

I started constructing the hinges.  Then I looked for two tubes who fitted precisely over each other.  The thinnest tube serves as a connection between the left and the right half.  The bars of the footrests are fixed to the thicker one as are the hinges (at the same time).  The thicker tube is fitted with two bolts to the thinner one, so that they can be separated once you start the definite construction in the cockpit.  In the middle the upper and the lower tubes, linked together by means of two adjustable wired bars, are connected  to a (in its middle hinging) cross-lath by means of a kind of knee joint.

Looking at the pictures (fig. 6 – 8) you can have a better idea of the construction and the working of the pedals.

Pedal4a   pedal5   pedal6

The next step concerns the brake-system.  Still busy with the construction I’ll tell you more about this subject in my next article.  I hope it won’t be too technical and too complicated.  But it gives me a lot of satisfaction to be able to construct it with very simple means and without too much money.   Sufficient imagination and some exploring do not make it expensive.

A big word of thanks goes to my father for putting at my disposal the necessary technical material and for his excellent technical knowledge.  Thanks to him I am there where I am now.

If you are bitten by the same virus or if you wish some more explanation, you can always contact me by sending a e-mail


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© Verley Jan 2007-2017 original text from 2002 translation Joan Pacquets