Our June EAA863 chapter meeting was a lot of fun! We had pizza, laughs and learned about flight simulators. That’s right, anything to do with airplanes is fair to discuss at EAA863. EAA863 is a group of aviation enthusiasts promoting aviation through events and community outreach.
Member Jeff Wreyford, and private pilot, presented his 10+ year build on his home flight simulator. However, this is not any flight simulator with rudder pedals and a yoke. This is more! Way more! Jeff has built an entire Boeing 737 flight deck in his basement. Complete with new throttle quadrant with full motorization of the throttles and speed brake, Jeff routinely takes flights around the world.
Jeff shared that life’s journey had put a little turbulence on his flight journey. He began several years ago with his private pilot license and continued on and attempted to get his instrument rating. However, working full time and family demands slowed his progress. While Jeff admitted that he didn’t complete his instrument rating, the most important thing is that Jeff never lost sight of his dream. He knew in full high definition what he wanted – to fly a jet.
After the kids were grown and out of the house and off to college. Jeff set out about 10 years ago to build a 737 flight simulator. The 737 is Jeff’s favorite aircraft and it shows in his work on the simulator. Jeff did not build all of this from scratch. He enlisted the help of well-known flight simulator and actual certified flight training device manufacturer, Flight Deck Solutions (FDS).
Having a keen eye for detail, Jeff flew up and met the owners of FDS before committing to the purchase of the products. Jeff purchased the enthusiast line of products. The enthusiast line are products that mimic the real aircraft but are not certified for actual flight simulation time. Meaning, Jeff could not use his simulator as an officially certified flight training device.
Next, after having met the FDS team Jeff placed his order and the first piece to arrive was the main instrument panel (MIP). After the MIP, he continued on with the flooring and sides of the cockpit. Jeff continued adding pieces until he finished the cockpit shell and instrumentation, complete with seats. Additionally, Jeff has worked with others in the flight sim community and flies with live virtual ATC and files flight plans just like in the real airplane.
What’s next for Jeff? Jeff says that he is currently working on a heads-up display (HUD). Jeff recently bought a HUD, out of a real aircraft, on eBay and is writing software to make it work with flight sim. Additionally, Jeff says that he still has to work on wiring the overhead panel too and other little things. Jeff’s passion for his flight simulator is evident and there are sure to be little projects that flare up to keep him busy. For now, Jeff said he is actually enjoying flying the simulator and not working on it so much.