Jump to content
streakeagle

F-4 Cockpit Revisited

Recommended Posts

I have replaced my Warthog stick with a VKB MCG Pro, which has been great. But I have been getting the itch to make progress on making a more complete F-4 cockpit experience in anticipation of the future DCS World F-4E that may be only a year or two or three away. I have throttle handles, the panel with the slots and brushes where the throttle protrude, and the panels to either side on the way. I have a Warthog throttle that "bricked", so I am finally going to order a board and try to fix it, then hopefully use it as the base for making an F-4 throttle. I have two Warthog sticks as a result of buying a replacement for the broken throttle, so I am thinking about adapting it to my real F-4 stick so I don't have to clean pots like a did the last time I used the real F-4 stick. Alternatively, I may buy another VKB grip and gut it to adapt an extra B-8 grip I have to fit on the VKB stick.

I may end up with two sim pits, one dedicated F-4 pit and one designed to be reconfigured to support several DCS aircraft. The F-4 pit would be in front of my PC and the generic/adaptable pit would be in front of my son's PC. I just need to upgrade his gpu or better yet build a new PC for me and give him my current PC. Just a matter of time and money along with some creative engineering.

100_0009.JPG

Edited by streakeagle
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I need to model the flaps lever and mount it in the correct position, outboard of the throttle, behind and above.

rE4O7.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you might have a problem with that cockpit. Your comm/IFF/nav control panel on the right side has a distinct case of doggy eyes. If you are not careful it will convince you to let it eat all of your survival rations before you even reach the target area.

  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is my WSO. He isn't very good at operating the radar or navigating, but he barks at anything that moves or makes a sound and stays by my side as long as he is fed a steady diet of treats.

  • Like 4
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She is my WSO (or rather I'm her ...). She don't barks, but loves mouse pointer. Anyway she is Toncat ;-)

2Re8N.jpg

Edited by guuruu
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, streakeagle said:

That is my WSO. He isn't very good at operating the radar or navigating, but he barks at anything that moves or makes a sound and stays by my side as long as he is fed a steady diet of treats.

Back in the early Nineties there was a rumour that the fighter of the future would have two crew,  a pilot and a dog.

The pilot’s job would be to feed the dog.

The dog’s job would be to bite the pilot if he touched anything.

  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My F-4 throttle handles and associated panels arrived. They are in pretty good condition. There were some buttons on the left throttle whose function I couldn't identify. After searching the internet, I found a reference from a book I have read that revealed the functions of the unidentified buttons. From Ed Rasimus' "Palace Cobra: A Fighter Pilot in the Vietnam War", "... and simultaneously reach over the front of the inboard throttle to hit the dogfight button on the front that will switch the radar to five-mile scope and boresight. All I'll have to do is put the gun sight on the MiG and the radar will feed the AIM-7 a lock-on. If I need the gun, a flip of the tiny switch on the outboard throttle with the pinky on my left hand will give me the Vulcan."

So in the early 1970's, F-4s were already modified to have a basic HOTAS: a button to engage boresight radar mode and a switch to enable the gun. Not too much later, the famous 556 mod would give the F-4E an outboard throttle grip pinky switch to select guns / AIM-9 / AIM-7. As the DCS World F-4E will be a late ARN-101 version, it will probably reflect the 556 mod or better. I may need to modify my authentic throttle grips to account for later revisions of their switch configuration.

Edited by streakeagle
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I so badly needed a photo showing the left console/throttle quadrant with all of the panels removed so I could try to replicate its geometry now that I have real panels. I have been searching the internet for information on the F-4 throttle quadrant for many years (more than a decade?), and just when I need it, this pops up: a before and after photos set of a an F-4 left console being restored. Perfect :)

3a-Throttle-Quadrant-Before.jpg

3b-Throttle-Quadrant-After.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I need to re-engineer my wooden left console to mimic the dimensions and geometry in the photos. I currently have a 3/4 inch thick piece of very nice wood covering the top,  but I think I made it just wide enough to accommodate my paper printout from the manual and not the bordering frames. I can get cut two new pieces of wood with the right shape and dimensions, then route the edges to support angled aluminum frames, then attach imitation DZUS rail tabs made from angled aluminum to match the geometry of my panels as shown in the above "before" photo. If I can get a clear weekend, I can probably get it done in less than a day.

Then all I have to do is come up with a mechanism that replicates the throttle quadrant size/range of motion complete with the finger-lift idle detents and the movement of the throttle levers to the outboard to engage afterburners. I want to make the whole thing adjustable so that I can match the angles described in the manual and/or adjust the stops to meet the DCS World implementation of the after-burner detents. I would also like to modify Strike Fighters 2 to precisely hit 100% military power at the MIL detent, then allow afterburner staging after moving to the outboard position.

I can't wait for the DCS World Mi-24 and F-16 to be delivered so that the former Belsimtek can return to the F-4E they had started before ED absorbed them and focused their effort on the F-16.

After years of hoping for a Falcon 4.0 study sim focused on the F-4 and MiG-21, ED is going to finally deliver my dream with its highly developed version Flanker/LOMAC/Flaming Cliffs/DCS game engine. DCS World will probably never equal SF2's plane set with its huge range of flyable and AI aircraft with countless minor variants reflected in cockpit models, external models, and systems modeling. But I am already very happy with its multi-generational survey library of great air superiority matchups modeled beyond the Falcon 4.0 study sim level of realism: P-51/Spitfire vs Bf-109/Fw190, F-86 vs MiG-15, F-5/F-15/M2000/F-18 vs MiG-21/MiG-29/Su-27/Su-33. With the MiG-19 and F-14 about to be released, the F-16 within the year, and the MiG-23 and F-4 on the horizon... it is an extremely bright future for me! Not to mention the other aircraft and helicopters already available and an F-15E and an F-105G in Razbam's future plans.

Edited by streakeagle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the joystick side of this problem, I have an extra B-8 style grip that doesn't have a multi-pin mil-spec connector like the real F-4 B-8. Instead, it was designed to screw on to a stick and run the wires down the to the controls, presumably for a helo stick like the OH-58 Kiowa or the UH-1 Huey. I have ordered the VKB addon space grip for my MCG Pro stick. I didn't want or need that grip, but I bought the cheaper version with fewer analog axes for $70 so I could open it up and transfer its guts to my xtra B-8 (a $250 purchase from an aviation parts supplier). That should give me a fully functional B-8 grip that screws on to my VKB stick just like the MCG Pro grip.

At the same time, I have two Warthog sticks because when my throttle died, I couldn't get a spare board to fix it, so it was more cost effective to buy an entire HOTAS with both throttle and stick for $380 from Germany than to by the throttle by itself for over $300. The new stick is smoother than the old one, perhaps better lubrication? or a molded gimbal without the rough texture? So, I may reinstall my real F-4 stick with its awesome springs that provide not only centering but an awesome feel much closer to the artificial stick forces provided on a real F-4 but this time connect it to sensors and buttons from my old Warthog joystick providing higher resolution and maintenance free hall sensors as opposed to the BU0836X 12-bit analog usb board with industrial linear potentiometers that eventually required daily cleaning with alcohol to minimize electrical noise from dirty contacts lines.

Edited by streakeagle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..