Ever since I first saw a "real" simulator in action for the first time -- a DC-10 at the Pan Am /Miami training operation in the 1980s -- I've from time to time had an idle notion of how far out it would be to have my own full-size jet transport simulator -- the dream of all dreams for an aviation nut. But that's what it was -- far out. Too far out. In fact, SO far out that I never really took the possibility seriously in any way. Totally impractical, totally impossible. BUT --
During July, 2012, I happened upon a classified ad at mycockpit.org offering a Boeing 737-300 cockpit for sale at a very attractive price. Although buying the front end of a 122-seat jetliner was the last thing on my mind at the that moment, one thing led to another, and it was in my yard within a month's time. At least that's the short version.
The cockpit belonged to B737-322, N379UA, construction number 24654. The aircraft's history is not at all noteworthy. It was delivered new by Boeing to United Airlines in February, 1990, registered to Wilmington Trust Company Trustee (basically the noteholder) in May, 1990, flown by United until it was withdrawn from use in October, 2009, and subsequently parked at Victorville, California . That's it. No "incidents", leases, subleases, damage history, resales, fires, conversions, repossesions or other entries that are typical in airliner histories.
"The Project", as I've come to call it, is huge and could go on for years. Notice that I didn't say that it will take years to complete, for it will never be complete. That would imply that everything that can be done has been done, and that no part of it could be done any better. Thing is, the $25 million-plus full-motion simulators the airlines use aren't that "complete." So, like this website, the simulator project will be a life-long work in progess. The scope of it is, quite honestly, massive, and it's plain to me that it will succeed only with God's encourgement, support, and leadership. And if success comes, the glory will be entirely His, since all knowledge and ability comes from Him and is not of myself.
Where this will end up I have no way of knowing. I do know, however, that just having the hope of ending up with a sucess story is enough. I fully intend to enjoy this amazing journey, no matter where it leads.
Coverage of the beginnings of the project by John Allard. John wrote this piece (and the next one) for The Gosport, the Ocala Flight Simulator Club monthly newsletter. The newsletter is edited and assembled by Steve Austin. Thanks to both for this article and the one that follows.