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Approximately 20 years have passed since I started to use flight simulation. I had a fleeting view of Flight Sim 2 on MAC around the late 70s, but at that time you needed good faith to appreciate this wide grid made of thin white lines lost on black background. From time to time an other white segment represented a runway !
I became serious with flight simulation in 1995 at the time of Microsoft Flight Simulator version 5. In fact, I should rather say, the brilliant Bruce Artwick's FS who afterwards sold his product to Microsoft. Bruce was a genius because, among many other things, he conceived an open product --NOTE to software developpers, he simulated a DLL like mechanism under DOS ! -- The freeware add-ons launched the success of FS before the Internet era. FS5 was the first release with textures and I gradually installed yoke and pedals around my desk. Bruce Artwick Organization was releasing photo-realistic sceneries of San Fransico and Washington. At that time I started to chat on the dedicated Compuserve forum in order to learn about scenery tools and flight tutorials.
In 1999, I decided to have a cellar digged under my house and this was the occasion to dedicate a room with no window to a cockpit (ideal situation to avoid unneeded visual references). I decided to build my cockpit steps by steps in such a way that I could fly quicly. I have no picture of this first cockpit which used approximately the same general layout than cockpit 2 as it appears on the picture. The weak point of this cockpit was the fact that I used only one computer with 3 graphic adapters (panel, front window and left window) and under W95, only one adapter was accelerated which drove to the situation of a unacceptably poor frame rate as soons as I was opening the left window by more than a square inch.
In 2002, I then dismounted completely the first cockpit to build a new one. On the first shot, taken into the mirror which stands at the rear of the room, you can see the basement of the platform made of steel girders on which the cockpit itself is situated. The video projector sends front image towards the mirror which reflect it to the translucent screen 9 feet x 6 feet just in front of the cockpit. On pictures, you can see the grey translucent screen (in background for above picture, on leftt for left picture). The captain side window is implemented with a flat 17 '' screen ans an other flat screen is embedded into the main panel made of plywood. Pedals, joystick and power throttles are all commercial items. The main computer (server) computes the flight parameters and displays the instrument panel (2D image). The video projector and the captain left screen have their client computer each to display a 3D image at full speed. The clients are connected to the server through a 100 Megabits local network. .
The software in use currently are FS2002 and WidevieW from Luciano Napolitano (release which was still a freeware). The A320 intrument panel is made by Eric Marciano (extremely good freware, cheers). The overhead panels are simulated with images at scale 1:1 taken from the nice Jerome Meriweather site and reworked with an image editor, due to the strong enlargement.

And now that I am retired, I am about to dismount the all thing to go for the next generation, using Peter Cos components (Flight Deck Solutions in Toronto). The final objective (to be reached in several steps) is to make it fully functional. I built this web in order to account for the progress of the work along this new step.
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