• Interview With Manuel Velez / Opencockpits

    Tell us a little bit about yourself and the sorts of things you have done or enjoyed besides flight simulation?

    First of all, I appreciate the opportunity that FlightSim.Com offers me to let know something about myself and what do we do at Opencockpits.

    My name is Manuel Velez Campos, I was born in Huelva (Spain) and since my childhood I was a passionate about electronics, informatics and aviation.

    Presently and since more than 20 years I work as a Manager of Informatics at the Tax Agency in Huelva.

    My formation initially was in Informatics, but my inquietudes made me also to study electronics, which allowed me to work in hardware and software as a whole.

    In my scarce free time, I like aeromodelling. I own some big scale models of airplanes and helicopters as well. In summertime, my homeland being very warm, I rather prefer to practice boat sailing.

    Do you have any real world aviation experience, fly any planes, or own any aircraft?

    Although some time ago I planned to get my pilot's license, I very soon realized that I didn't have time enough to spare for this hobby, so I resigned myself to fly with my many pilot friends. So I have been able to fly ultralights, light planes and even helicopters, but not alone.

    When did you start at the company and what are your key rolls?

    Well, presently my role in the firm is becoming lesser, thanks to having surrounded myself gradually by many workmates. Initially I really did almost everything.

    Tell us about the company - who founded it, when, where, why and maybe a little history?

    Opencockpits S.L. is not a classic undertaking, as it really was born from the OPENCOCKPITS.COM web site. Originally in the beginning more than ten years ago, I designed the needed hardware to link the physical elements of a flight simulator with the program itself, Microsoft Flight Simulator at the moment, albeit lately we linked it to other platforms as X-Plane, Condor, Lock-on and many others. Even car simulators like R-Factor. I freely offered all these designs so people could build their own cockpits, for as long it were for their own, non-commercial use.

    Because of the complexity of some electronic boards, many users contacted me asking me to manufacture and build for them. Having not much time, I contacted a small manufacturer for this job, but they very soon did not see it as a good business, so they abandoned the job. It was then that I decided to hire an employee to do it, I looked for components wholesalers and I started selling thru a web site, kits as well as fully built up cards. Customers were glad to have an option to build by themselves or buy it all built up and checked.

    What is the company's mission and vision?

    All along time we have kept our philosophy of helping the cockpit builder. We keep the cards needed to build a flight deck as the initial idea was, but now after some time we have grown and we practically offer all kind of elements.

    How many people are employed and what are the key rolls?

    Presently some 12 people work at the firm, which are reinforced by some others in the rush periods. Due to the great quantity of elements needed, we are assisted by some other manufacturers that produce some parts that we lately couple together. Printed circuits, plastic parts, metallic parts or those complex parts that require much specialised tooling, are manufactured by third parties under our direction.

    Is all the hardware and software developed within the company and do you machine the hardware parts yourself and why?

    Our present tendency is to order outside the manufacture of such elements that demand a very special machinery and quality levels that we cannot offer, always trying to make the final assembly at our premises so we can apply the quality controls that allow a good final product.

    We have just inaugurated a whole automated assembling line for printed circuits in SMD as well as in TH. The present volume allows us to maintain this work frame and assembling our own printed circuits we get much better dynamics and working times than depending upon third parties.

    In what ways do you see development changing in the future?

    For us development is essential, because we do not only work for the great public. We also perform professional customized works for other firms that require something more specific.

    That's why we have empowered ourselves with a good laboratory and some machinery that enables us to build prototypes in a short time, what enables us to sensibly shorten the phase from development to production.

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