• Road Trip: FlightSimCon 2014

    On Sunday, June 8, 2014, I took a short road trip to attend the second day of Flight SimCon 2014. This is the second year of the event and the first at an exciting new location, the New England Air Museum at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut. I'd long been meaning to visit the museum anyway so this was a perfect excuse!

    The theme of this year's event was simpit building and the program included several speakers on this subject along with exhibitors showing actual simpits and related items. In case the term "simpit" is unclear, what is meant is some form of realistic home cockpit in which to do your flightsimming. It can be as simple as adding a few instruments or taken to an extreme like Project 727.

    Though not a huge convention, people had come from as far as Poland and all around the U.S. to attend and there was certainly enough to keep any active flightsimmer occupied for the full event. I managed to take in two of the seminars and visit some of the exhibitors so below is my report on what I saw.

    Seminar: Ayaz Kagzi - ATC Ops Manager KBDL

    With active participation by the groups IVAO and Boston Virtual ATC there was obviously a significant interest in air traffic control (ATC) among the convention audience. This interest was well satisfied by speaker Ayaz Kagzi who proved to be an excellent speaker. While based at Bradley now he has worked in a number of other positions, including trans-Atlantic control from New York and at Boston Logan airport.

    His scheduled one hour talk and question and answer session ran well past its time slot as he answered questions from the audience and told a variety of interesting stories from his career. This was especially worthwhile for several members of the audience who are planning careers as controllers but was equally interesting for all the rest of us.

    This proved to be a great session and well worth attending.


    Seminar: Gene Witherup - Simpit Building

    Gene Witherup, who is a long time member of FlightSim.Com as it turns out (gene172) was the speaker at the other seminar I attended. He has created a very nice general purpose simpit that well fits his needs as a flightsimmer. By "general purpose" I mean that he has not designed it to model any specific aircraft and so it can serve a variety of uses.

    With three screens for the outside view and a fourth for the avionics the display was quite impressive. A nice set of controls from Saitek and others allowed for realistic flight controls. It was all built into an attractive structure that included lighting, storage and more. This was surely inspirational for anyone considering a simpit project.

    Exhibitor: Javiator Flight Sim Instruments - Jay Young

    For anyone building a simpit the proper avionics are certainly a necessity. This company offers several instruments that greatly remind me of the Bendix King equipment I frequently see in light planes. These would be perfect for anyone outfitting a Piper or Cessna model.

    Exhibitor: IVAO US Division

    The name IVAO should be familiar to FlightSim.Com members as we quite often publish information about their activities. Tom Gilmore was there to represent the US Division of the group and I had a nice chat with him.

    What I didn't immediately realize was that not only did he have a large display showing flight activity, but he was also actively participating as a controller, manning Cleveland Center I believe, so every so often he would need to break off and issue an instruction to an aircraft. It was pretty neat to see this operation in action.

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