By General Aviation News Staff
Pilot Mall has introduced its table-top flight simulator instrument panel integrating Saitek ProFlite instruments, avionics and flight controls into a modular, add-as-you-go device for home and flight school.
Pilot Mall’s FLIGHT TRAINING COCKPIT – ADVANCED PANEL begins with a new 21-by-31-inch metal instrument panel with pop-out cut-outs, into which are inserted individual instruments, avionics and controls. Classic “Six-Pack” instruments, radio tuning and ILS/VOR/ADF displays, autopilot, annunciator panel and more can be added to yoke, throttles, trim and pedals as needed. Your panel can be customized from primary instrumentation to full IFR, simple fixed-gear single to complex aircraft or twin, company officials said.
“ADVANCED PANEL works extremely well with familiar MicroSoft Flight Sim software on the customer’s own PC,” said Pilot Mall president Neil Glazer. “Then all that’s needed are some USB hubs and your computer monitor to create a remarkably realistic flying experience — with visual — at a remarkably low price.”
The customizable system can begin with basic flight instruments and simple avionics for students just learning flight controls, instrument functions and radio tuning. Later, they can add components as they train on more equipment for instrument flying.
Aircraft owners can recreate their plane’s panel with the exact placement of instruments as in their own airplane. Moreover, 24 annunciator panel warning and status lights are customizable (among 50 advisories in red, orange or green) to match equipment being flown. An electrical panel includes nine toggle switches programmable to various aircraft systems.
For the computer flight sim enthusiast, ADVANCED PANEL recreates the true cockpit experience with a real, hands-on instrument panel rather than just the depiction of instrumentation on a computer monitor, Glazer noted.
Building blocks for the ADVANCED PANEL are 5×5-inch Saitek computer-driven instruments with 3.5-inch LED displays. Each can depict the standard presentation of many cockpit instruments including airspeed, altimeter, artificial horizon, directional gyro, HSI, turn-and-bank, VSI, ILS, VOR, ADF, engine gauge cluster and more. Displays can be changed among instrument presentations with the push of a button.
The cost of a maxed-out set-up — with yoke (and timer), pedals, Cessna/Mooney-style throttle-mixture-prop controls (or Piper-style throttle quadrant), retractable landing gear, instruments, avionics, autopilot and annunciator panel — is about $2,500. A twin throttle quadrant (multi-engine) arrangement and a separate, full-size trim wheel are optional.
The ADVANCED PANEL concept was a collaborative effort between Pilot Mall, Inc. and Michael Moore of Redfab, Inc., Coldwater, Ontario, Canada. The new instrument panel for the system is being introduced at SUN ’n FUN for $295 (later, $395.)
Cockpit components are installed using an Allen key, 5/16” wrench, Phillips screwdriver and supplied Hex cap screws and nuts. Alternatively, the ADVANCED PANEL can be ordered fully assembled by Pilot Mall to customer specifications. Set up of system software takes 10 minutes or less using drivers downloaded from the Internet. Instrumentation and devices are compatible with all major Windows flight sim titles. Tech support is available from both Pilot Mall and Saitek, company officials note.
The FLIGHT TRAINING COCKPIT – ADVANCED PANEL will be sold exclusively through PilotMall.com and Pilot Mall stores. Development of the Pilot Mall BASIC PANEL and configurations for “glass” cockpits is planned for the future. To serve the flight school market, paperwork will be filed next month for FAA certification as an approved training device, officials noted.
The new ADVANCED PANEL will be on display at SUN ’n FUN all week at the Pilot Mall Aviation Superstore on the SUN ’n FUN grounds behind Exhibit Hangar B.