My quest for a simple home built cockpit started a few years ago after seeing some of my fellow flight simmers have their own pits. I looked at building one but I do not have the technical knowhow to even begin making plans for that. Next I looked on the net for some plans to make my own. I found a couple…then I realized I have no business trying to cut wood etc. Fix an ICBM, I can do that, work with wood? Not happening Kemosabe. So know what? How about maybe buy a real pit from an aircraft junkyard and restore it. I made some calls and here is how most conversations went.
Me: "Hello, I’m looking for a pit of an old fighter to salvage to make a home built cockpit."
Junkyard Owner: “Oh not one of you guys again.”
Me: “I take it you get a couple of calls like this a year?”
Junkyard Owner: “Yep, you guys are weird.”
Me: “Ah thanks, I think. So what do you have?”
Junkyard Owner: “I got something you can use and you have to come pick it up yourself in Arizona.”
Me: “How much?”
Junkyard Owner: “$1500 and you’ll need a tractor trailer to haul it.”
Me: “Oh, wow it’s that big? Hey Sheila can I have, oh, what, it’s this big, not in your house,ok.”
Junkyard Owner: (Laughing) I heard the conversation.
Me: “Sorry sir to have bothered you.”
Well there goes that idea. Now what? How about that Obutto thingy? It looks nice and it’s functional but not the look I’m going for. Well this blows, I’m getting nowhere fast. So I shelve the idea for the time being. Fast forward to about a month ago. I was rekindling my hope to find a pit I could use at home. So I hit Google again, this time I typed in ‘home cockpits’ and there on page 3 was a forum with the word ‘KwikPit’ in it. So I Google it and came up with http://www.kwikpit.com/. I started going through the site and what I found was what I am now calling the “Holy Grail” of quick and easy pits.
I started going through the net looking for any reviews of the pit. I couldn’t find a single one. This thing looks like it’s the answer to most simmers prayers. Yet no one from what I could tell has said a word about it. So I send an email to the customer service asking about the pit and could I get a review copy of it. I gave them my phone number and within 45 minutes I get a call from Greg at Kwikpit. We begin discussing the pit and just general BSing back and forth. Come to find out he is a retired USAF munitions troop from the B-1 world. Being recently retired from the USAF myself we had a lot to talk about. We get back to the pit and he explains to me that he sent off a pit before to get a review done and the person never did one. He tried to get money for it since a review wasn’t being done and never heard back from the person either. So needless to say he was very apprehensive to give me a pit to review.
The back-story on the Kwikpit Company was that Greg wanted something to leave his simming and racing gear in place without having to tear it all down later when he was done. Greg searched the net and found too little info on home built pits and the ones he did find could run up to $30,000 unfinished. Most simmers cannot afford that. Also he noticed that some people would start a complicated pit, taking them years to build, only to give up frustrated. So having this info Greg decided to build his own pit. He started with several plans and he gave them to people so they could build their own. Some of his customers asked why he could not do a kit. His plans for the pit were simple enough, he would need to find a way to machine the wood and yet keep it compact and light. Thus the Kwikpit is born. Greg’s goal is to fill the price gap so that the average simmer can have the experience they wanted and not have to mortgage a house to get it.
Greg also is the President, Owner, CEO, CFO, janitor and cleaning lady of Kwikpit. In other words he is a one man show. I assure him I will do a review and not leave him hanging. He agrees and on 19 Sept my pit is in. I just had surgery on the 17th so I was in no condition to put the pit together. The weekend of the 22/23 Sept gets here and my wife drags me out of the house to start working on the pit. Mind you I can’t put together a thing as my leg is still messed up. So Sheila helps me paint it and put it together. I took pictures throughout the process to show you what was done and how it assembled. I am sorry for the quality of the pictures, my good camera is broken. So I ended up using my iPhone 4.You will get the general idea though.
The box weighs in at 65 lbs. It is very well packed in styrofoam and card board for stability. The pit is made from furniture grade particle board, so it is heavy duty.
After the box was opened we separated the pieces and started to paint. I used Rustoleum Painters Touch Ultracover 2X. I covered the pit in flat grey and it only took two coats. The particle board didn’t soak the paint up as bad as I thought it was going to. The 2nd coat was light. I took flat black to paint the entire surface where the TM Warthog and monitor will sit. It took about an hour to get everything painted and an hour for it to dry.
Painting it flat gray with my little helper.
The sides are painted, now beginning the top and the armrests.
Top and armrests complete, and here is the finished painted pit.
I had my sons haul it up stairs for assembly. Meanwhile I took my computer apart. Here is what that disaster looked like.
My wife started to put it together for me while I read the instructions.
Here is KwikPit during the assembly process.
The only problem during assembly was the bottom brace. The wood is a little thin down there, so the screw started to split the wood but I fixed that with some gorilla glue. The whole assembly process took 20 mins.
Fully assembled. I didn't paint the back piece as you will not see it.
The KwikPit is very sturdy with very little play.
I'm beginning to put the computer together.
Final product. The armrest is not wide enough for the whole base of the
Thrustmaster Warthog but none the less it works just fine.
1. Easy of assembly
2. Compact size
3. The price is only $199.95. This puts it well in most simmers budget.
1. The whole thing could be about 4 inches wider.
2. The thin wood where the bracing bracket goes are subject to slight splitting.
In conclusion: This really is the holy grail of simming cockpits. Simmers who want a pit without having to go through the trial and tribulations of getting one together this is exactly what you need.