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UPDATE: 07/05/06 The FlightSim 737NG section of my website contains the latest information and photographs on the progress of my simulator.
FlightSim 737NG

 
Control Yoke & Column

In this section you will find options for the control yokes and columns for your flight simulator. I am including a number of options to select from based upon the research that I completed prior to reaching my decision to purchase actual 737 flight controls. Below see pictures of my actual control yokes and columns. I just finished refinishing them today, (10/16/05) and will now start to work on fabricating my rudder pedal assemblies before wiring my flight controls to make them functional.

 

My Control Yoke

I have finally began to do serious work on my control columns. I purchased a set of plans from Chad Demuth-Olsen detailing the installation of real flight controls. Although a lot of information is available in a number of different websites, Chad's plans saved me a lot of time enabling me to spend more time building and less time doing research. Below is a picture of my control columns attached with a homemade crossover bar. The columns are installed in their frame and ready for the next step in the installation. For those interested in purchasing Chad's plans click on the photo below for a link to Chad's website.

In this photo I am testing the fit of my control columns and frame in the platform.

After insuring a good fit in the  platform I removed my control columns and began the next stage of Chad's plans; the installation of a steel channel to improve stability as well as providing support for the bearings that help with connecting the control yokes to move simultaneously.

Below is a picture of the captain's control yoke installed on its control column. I have rewired the yokes and tested them for continuity and labeled them for simplicity in the future.

In planning my simulator I did some research on methods of providing simulated control forces on my flight controls. There are companies who make control loaders for flight simulators but they are very expensive and well beyond my budget. Instead I designed my own control loader. I built the model below to test my design. After being satisfied with the results I proceeded with a large full scale version and tested it on my flight controls.

Here is my actual control loader attached to my flight controls. The platform below my flight controls moves fore and aft in response to the trim controls on my control yokes. This increases the tension in one spring, while reducing the tension in the spring in opposition to the other one. This creates an increase in force required to maintain the yoke in the same position. By being able to change the force required to maintain neutral position of my control columns, I will be able to trim the aircraft to alleviate control forces in response to changes in power and pitch settings in my sim.

In the picture below note the controls columns are all the way forward against their stops. Note the position of the control loader platform in its aft position. This creates an increase in tension in the aft springs while reducing the tension in the fore springs.

While I was designing this system it occurred to me that I could use this platform to cause movement in my flight controls in response to commands while the autopilot is engaged. Using input from Microsoft's Flight Simulator (MSFS) I believe I will be able to create signals to the linear actuator that adjusts the position of the platform thereby creating movement of the columns in response to pitch. It then occurred to me that I could build another control loader to be used to respond to roll commands from MSFS.

 

Below is a picture of the loader that will be used to control the roll of my control yokes while the A/P is engaged. I still have to install the liner actuator for the roll control loader. The next step is to attach my flight controls to the necessary interface cards to finish this project. Then I will began modifying my platform to allow for installation of the control loader into my sim along with the control columns and yokes.

Below I have installed the linear actuator to initiate roll commands from the autopilot to simulate movement of the flight controls in response to these commands. Click on the photo below for a direct link to the supplier of these actuators.

Below is a picture of the forward section of my platform that has been modified to accept the control loader.

Below is a photo with the control loader installed.

Finally, after a lot of hard work, my control columns and yokes are installed and my control loader works just as I planned. Now I have to complete wiring all of my flight controls to the interface card to make them completely functional.

 

This is the captain's control yoke for my flight simulator. Click on the picture for a link to the supplier of my flight controls.

These pictures show various stages of refinishing. Note one column is ready for primer. The other has been stripped of Boeing grey but still has primer in place.

In this picture both columns are stripped and ready for their coat of primer.

In this picture one column has been primed and the other has been primed and the finish coat has been applied. I used a primer for aluminum and finished with a coat of primer with a grey blue color. This may or may not be my final color. I will wait until I order my flight panels and then work on an exact match. In the meantime this coat will protect my columns.

Here is a picture of my completed flight column with control yoke. I soon will begin the task of wiring my flight controls to make them fully functional.

 

Suppliers of Control Yokes and Columns

Below are numerous control yokes that are available for purchase. I reviewed many sites for flight controls. While there may be more options available I feel that this list covers most of the flight control options that would be suitable for use in a 737 flight simulator. I make no recommendation for any of these suppliers; rather I am showing them as a source for those who are looking to purchase replicas of flight controls of the 737 or other flight controls. I addition to these suppliers I am also showing other aircraft salvage companies that are offering actual flight controls for the 737.

The set of controls below is one of the best that I came across for a replica of the controls for a 737. It is my understanding based upon reviewing Flight Deck Solutions forum as of 10/16/05 that the supplier of these controls is not yet ready to ship their product to the United States. This is a set of controls that I would be interested in (when they become available) if I was interested in a set of replicas that are plug and play. They are available as a dual set of controls. Click on the picture below for a direct link to the supplier of these controls.

The flight controls pictured below are also ones that I would be interested in if I were looking for a set that was plug and play. These controls are also available as a dual set. Click on the picture for a link to the supplier for information and more pictures.

The flight controls below are also a replica of the flight controls of the 737. Click on the picture for a link to the supplier's website for more information and additional pictures.

The flight control pictured below is a combination of control yoke and rudder pedals. Click on the picture for a direct link to the supplier with more information and additional pictures.

The flight controls below can also be used for the flight controls of the 737. Click on the picture for a link to the supplier's website for more information and additional pictures.

 

The following flight control options, while not replicas of the 737 can also be used for your flight simulator. Click on each set of controls for a link to the supplier and additional information and more pictures.

 

In the event you want to build your own replica of flight controls the following website provides information on building a replica for the flight controls of the Boeing 777.

 

In the event that you, like myself, decide that only the actual flight controls from a 737 will do for your flight simulator, below are a few links to suppliers who supply actual aircraft parts, including flight controls from the 737.

 

 

 

 

Airline Pilot's Historical Society

www.oncealoft.com

I purchased my flight controls from Nick Louis at Airline Pilot's Historical Society and was very satisfied with my purchase. I found Nick to be very responsive and reasonable in his prices. He had the items that I requested and was very timely in returning my e-mails. I received my flight controls within 5 business days of him receiving payment from me. I would use his company again without reservation.


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