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Hydraulic system | Flap lever | Gear leverl | Hydraulic pump

How I build my own cockpit ?

The hydraulic system:

The hydraulic system consists out of the flap, gear lever and the hydraulic emergency hand pump.  All of this is found on the right side of the cockpit door opening. These pre mentioned items are controllable on both sides of the cockpit.  The emergency pump does not function, it was made to give the cockpit more realism.  In FS98  the function to manually control the gear was not integrated, in FS9 (FS2004) however they have installed it. That is why I will try to use this function in the future. The gear and flap levers are almost identical when it comes to shape, only the color is different. The gear lever has a blocking mechanism installed. The colors for the gear and flap lever are respectively red and yellow.

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Gearlever:
The gear lever consists out of two parts the lever itself and the blocking mechanism witch is called latch lever and resides in the middle bottom module. Both are connected with a cable system. The purpose of this in the real DC3 is to block the landing gear before landing or right after takeoff. Besides that, it makes sure that you do not accidentally move the gear lever when you get in or out of the cockpit, witch could have disastrous consequences when your plane is on the ground and goes through its gear. In the DC3 manual they have spend a lot of attention on this subject, because you have to do a certain amount of handling in a specific order where it is not permitted to make any mistakes otherwise you might have serious problems. Off course there are emergency procedures in case something does go wrong. These procedures are there, in case something went wrong to safely retract or to disable the gears. So there is actually more then just pressing the G button on your keyboard.
Now how did we all make this ? We have started with a piece of steel heating tube at a length of 19cm on that we have welded a sort of steel U. In the U we have drilled two holes in order to connect them to the hydraulic valve.

The valve is the part that is fitted in the side part of the door. This is made with a steel tube with a diameter of 55cm it has four elbow pieces and four attachment points. The front side was closed down and in the middle we have drilled a hole, on the back side we attached a small tube so the axle of the lever would fit in. On the axle we have installed a small circle shaped plate with a notch, this notch is only to restrict the movement. On the front of the axle we have attached a oval piece with groove and on the back there is a hole. On this the lever will be installed later on. To make the blocking mechanism work we have installed on the circle shaped plate a half moon plate with in the middle a hole. In that hole there will be the blocking axle. This blocking axle is attached with a spring and cabling to the latch lever. So if you move the latch lever into the up position the gear lever will be ready for use.To make sure the lever stays in the same position we have attached a heavy duty spring on the backside of the axle that pushes against the housing of the valve and the axle. The attached photos will give you more of an idea what we have explained here.

lever1 lever2 lever3 lever4

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Flaplever:

The flap lever is build the same way as the gear lever accept that the lever has no blocking mechanism. All the rest is identical.  To make these two levers work electrically we have mounted several micro switches in the backside of the back panel. These switches will be operated with a flexible needle that is on the axle.
Well now that the hydraulic part of the cockpit is made and the operation of the flaps and gears are possible with the levers. This means there are now less commandos that I have to use on the keyboard. Eventually it is the purpose to completely ban the keyboard out of the cockpit.

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Hydraulic handpump:

The hand pump wasn't functional in the beginning, so we build it with the intention to make the cockpit more realistic. Like I mentioned earlier, it is now possible in FS9 (FS2000) to operate the pump with the key combination CTRL + G. I need to make sure now I still have a free input to connect it to my computer.  How is the pump made? First the lever or control is made out of heating pipe that is bend in a special way. The shape of the pipe  is necessary in order to move the lever up and down next to the first officer. On that lever we have attached a axle that fits in the middle of a closed pipe of 50mm. The lever is then attached to two braces  to make it look even more real I have connected a pressure hose that leaves in the back side panel of the cockpit. Last but not least I have welded a sturdy foot on the cylinder so I can screw it onto the floor panel, without having fear to rip it off the floor panels sooner or later.

Step by step we are coming closer to the completion of the cockpit. However, it is every time when a new version of FS comes on the market a marge adjustment. When I first started to build my cockpit there was only FS98 the control software then were completely diffent from the FS2000 and FS2002. That ment every time a new version got released I had to rewrite all the programs. As you can imagine that wasn't’t very easy to do since it wasn't’t one of my traits. Thanks to a few people of my club that have helped me to make all of this work.
The conversion from FS2000 en the newer FS2002 weren't’t that special since the control software was written the same way. Thanks to the unbelievable determination of Peter Downson with his program FSUIPC none of this would have been possible. Without it I think many wouldn't’t even think about starting to build a cockpit. Honestly it’s great to share a passion with someone.

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© Verley Jan 2007-2017 original text from 2002 translation Tim Vermorgen