Saturday, December 13, 2008

Jumpy elevator problem

This part solves a problem...

...I hope so.... I always had the problem that the elevator was a bit jumpy. I had to move the stick quite a bit until something happened and then it happened too quick and too much. It felt like the elevator was sticking somehow.
After a bit of thinking, I found the problem; the potentiometer travel was too short. The interface I use makes 128 steps at full travel of a 10kOhm potentiometer. But I only use about 20 degree of a 300 degree pot and this is after the calibration eight to ten steps. No wonder that my elevator reacts jumpy.

I solved the problem like in the old days. A piece of fishing line runs around a wheel on the pot axis and if the wheel has the right diameter, the travel of 8cm makes 300 degrees of turn. I will see if it works when it is installed. The brown wheel by the way, is an original part from the Connie cockpit. It was used inside the throttle console to guide the steel cables of the trim wheels.

Today I noticed that it becomes difficult to work on the simulator since all the parts are installed. I have to crawl under the floor, bend myself around the seats... I think this is the way real aircraft technicians have to work. Not always an easy job.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Before and after....

One of the last missing parts in the cockpit, the overhead fuel dump and engine shutoff levers. This part comes from a different Connie, N-105CF which was the first Connie the SCFA wanted to restore and operate in Switzerland. Unfortunately it turned out that there was too much corrosion for an airworthy restoration.
The cover here is everything I got, the levers are missing and have to be made new.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Lights on!

Redlight district...

The panel illumination works now and almost all the panels I have are installed and I like the way it looks. I'm always fascinated of things that make light like LEDs or christmas tree lights and this is my most beautiful christmas tree ever. :-)

The outside of the cockpit has also changed a bit. I painted the front and rear wall in gray and I installed a nice looking rubber edge around it. That edge is primarily to cover the zone where sheetmetal and wood come together. I took this L-shaped rubber band and glued it to the edge and it looks very professional now.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

As clean as possible

Another cleaning job...

Yesterday I finished cleaning the VHF COM frequency selector and because I have two similar units (the other is VHF NAV) I thought this would be a good before-after picture. The unit was only cleaned, not painted or something.

These two units have an interesting story to tell. They come from a ex-KLM DC-7 which was used at the Geneva airport for firefighter training. It stood there many years, birds were nesting in the cockpit, people removed parts..... until 2006 when they got a "new" training airplane, a B-737.
Just before the DC-7 was scrapped, a team of airplane enthusiasts whose members I know, removed all the usable parts and the VHF boxes here were part of it. Since I needed some stuff to fill my Connie overhead panel, I got these DC-7 parts.
Besides the "KLM-7-...." marking on the cleaned panel there is no difference between these and the Connie panels. These airplanes were made at the same time and many parts are identical. Good for me.... :-)

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Some more parts....
The cockpit grows and grows, not in size of course but in the number of parts installed. The Goflight GF-46 panel fills now the hole in the glareshield panel. The GF-46 is a really nice invention, it connects to the USB bus and provides all radio functions I need. It can be programmed to set and display all the NAV, COM, ADF..... etc. frequencies.
I was surprised to hear the ATC speaking for the first time, suddently there was someone speaking from the speakers behind me. That did not work before I had the panel to det the right radio frequency.
The F/E panels are also complete now and even the desk lights are working... red and white to be switched by the original switch and also the dimmer is working.

Today I installed the original dome light and it is amazing how different light makes things look different. Until now I used a fluorescent hand lamp to illuminate the cockpit and it never looked very realistic in this cold light. But now with the incadescent bulb and the original lamp it looks much more like the real cockpit. And I have one switch more working :-)

On the third picture you can see the power distribution for the 5, 12 and 24V voltages. For nostalgic reasons I used the original screw terminals I removed from other places in the cockpit. When they are cleaned, they are as good as new and they make it look more professional.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I have the wipers!

In case of bad weather....

I have windshield wipers now! Well, I had them all the time but now they are in a useful condition and ready to be installed on my cockpit. I had some doubts if it is really possible to restore them because they have been looking like fragments of junk... But it turned out that they are made of stailnless steel and after removing the old paint the looked like new.
The wiper blades are from a car parts supplyer and needed only few modification to fit on the Connie arms.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sewing and stitching

Seats and pedals....
It looks like a real cockpit already since the seats have been installed. Last week I was very busy, I made the mechanical connection between the pilots and copilots pedals. After that the pedal mechanics needed a cover and the steering column needed some adjustments since one of the springs made a loud noise.
Both seats have now a nice looking new set of cushions and I'm looking forward to make the first test flight soon. :-)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Co-pilot can come

The second seat is finished..... Mechanic fixed, upholstery done, painted and tested. Only the arm rests still need a cover but that's a matter of half an hour. This was more or less the last big item for my cockpit, all remaining parts are smaller.
One of the biggest challanges were the seat rails. I only had two of them but I needed four... two per seat. And because I have no source to get some rails, I had to make them myself. It was a task of a whole day but finally I succeeded and after some additional adjustments they are working quite well.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

No time to sit down

Busy weekend....

Sometimes when I start working on something, I can't stop until it's finished. The upholstery for the two pilots seats is done :-) Next step will be to repaint the seats... yes, the pads are removable.
I always wondered why I have two different seats for my cockpit. After checking the "Lockheed Digest" (monthly technical updates) I bought some time ago, I found that one seat is the model 1948 and the other 1955. They look different but with the pads installed the difference will become less obvious.

Make yourself comfortable

Very important... seats!

A cockpit without seats is not usable, it is not possible to fly if you have nothing to seat on. I started now to make the seat pads. The upper side is made of gray teddybear fabric and the underside is made of black jeans fabric.
This is the very first "pillow" I ever made and also the first thing I sewed that has to look good. I already made a couple of bags but they were only made for practicle use and had not to look good :-) But I'm surprised how easy it was to make this pad, you only need to cut the fabric accurately and to pay attention to the roundings and corners.... and to keep the fabrics straight while sewing.

Ah, yes... and you will have to figure out how to thread the sewing machine. ;-)

PS: Spezieller Gruss und Dank an Nievergelt & Co, Zürich für die freundliche Beratung in sachen Schaumstoff...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A cockpit? A cockpit!

It looks like a real cockpit....

This is the actual state of my cockpit. The flight engineers desk is installed and the lower instrument panel too. Also the main junction box panels (left of the F/E desk) are all finished and installed.

I discovered that the steering columns have been too short and it was not possible to sit and to put the feet on the pedals because the steering wheel was in the way. This turned out to be a mayor problem because it did not help just to make the columns longer, the wheels would touch the glare shield.
The problem was that the columns in the real Connie are not just moving forth and back but forward/down and bachwards/up because the turning point is located under the pilots seats and not directly below the column vertical axis.

So I had to rebuild almost the entire steering unit. I made the columns a bit longer and added a different hinge to move the turning point backwards. I think this will solve the problem.... it must, because it was a lot of work to do.

The next step will be to re-install the unit and I hope it's good now.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Main Junction Box Nr.3 panel...

Todays work, the MJB No.3 panel is finished. 57 circuit breakers, one switch and 119 screws, everything cleaned and polished, taken apart and rebuilt. It was an easy work but it needed much time and patience...

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Bending wood

Two more parts...

Today I installed the instrument rack and the Master Junction Box sidepanel. The instrument rack is still hanging on some cords, it will be installed correctly later. First I have to cut away a bit of the wooden frame on the right side. That's because my cockpit is a bit narrower than the original, so I have to cheat a bit.... at the end all this will be covered and invisible. ;-)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

And again...

One part more in the cockpit....

It looks more and more like a Connie cockpit.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Plexiglass manufacturing

Protect the switches...

The propeller feathering switches deserve some protection. They are 50 years old and they have an important function, it is not a good idea to push them if it is not necessary.

In the simulator they have no more function but the Plexiglass covers are looking too good to leave them away. Unfortunately only two of these covers have survived the disassembly in the caribbean and the transport to Switzerland. The fragment in front of the cover is what it was left from the Nr.1 cover, this one I had to re-manufacture completely. On the Nr.2 cover the parts on both sides were missing.... a partial re-manufacturing was necessary.
Nr.3 was the only undamaged and Nr.4 has a crack, but I leave it as it is, it looks more authentic like this :-)

For those who don't know what a "propeller feathering" button does...

In case you have to shut down an engine during flight, you have to "feather" the propeller of that engine. That means the propeller bades are turned out of the wind, facing the egde forward. Otherwise it would present a large obstacle for the airflow and it could cause the engine to windmill. That means the airflow is turning the propeller and that's not good for an already damaged engine.