[07/14/18] I’m finally finished! The prototype is now completed!
I made a short video on my YouTube Channel where you can see me operating the FS1000 FTD on a flight:
[Update 06/22/2018] After a long time away from this project, I’m back on it. However, my original idea of building a control panel and selling it is no longer a valid idea. I didn’t have the budget back then, and don’t have it now, to design and purchase a realistic looking G1000 bezel with realistic looking knobs, etc. Since starting this project back in 2016, some other companies have done just that: they are producing realistic looking G1000 training panels for upwards of $2,000.00 or so. I already know can’t compete with that price point.
The other major difference with those companies is that they have written the G1000 training software themselves. My project makes use of the Garmin G1000 CD Trainer software that Garmin has written. This is a big difference between my FTD and the other G1000 trainers.
So while I am back on my FS1000 FTD project, I am now completing it for my own personal use. I will still update this website for those who may be interested in following development activities, etc.
[End of Update 06/22/2018]
This site is about my FS1000 Project. My FS1000 will be a control box that sits on a desk with a Tablet (Windows 10 OS) inside running the Garmin G1000 Trainer. Physical knobs and switches will be on the face of the control panel so that the panel can operate the Garmin software on the Tablet screen.
Note: the photo above is not what my FS1000 Trainer will look like.
I have gone through about 6 design changes so far, for various reasons. Currently I am using 3mm thick plywood for the panel. I may change to another kind of material such as plastic or cherry wood, etc.
Here is my control panel (subject to change).
The large rectangle at the top of the panel is where the 10 inch Tablet screen will be located. The small rectangle in the lower center area of the panel will hold a 3.2 inch color touch LCD screen. The smaller touch screen is used to interact with the FS1000 FTD and, among other things, will allow you to call up the PFD or the MFD screens.
And here is a picture of the 3.2 inch touch screen. It is mounted in a test breadboard as I was developing the code to make it work. The touch screen is now about 90% finished.
Why am I building this Flight Training Device? I purchased Garmin’s G1000 Trainer and disliked having to use a mouse and keyboard to interact with it. As a real pilot, I knew after learning how to use the G1000 and getting into an actual aircraft, I wouldn’t have a mouse and keyboard to use, so I thought the training and the “physical hand memory” of how to operate things, would be lost.
FS1000 FTD Is Born
I decided what I needed was a physical device that had real switches and real knobs that I could push and turn to interact with the G1000 Trainer. This would correctly develop the “physical hand memory” needed that I could easily transfer into a real cockpit with a G1000 system.
Thus, my idea of the “FS1000 FTD” was born.
What is an FTD? A CPT?
FTD stands for Flight Training Device. An FTD is not a CPT. A CPT is a Cockpit Procedures Trainer. I worked for 20 years as an airline pilot instructor for a major US carrier, for McDonnell Douglas and for Boeing.
A CPT is a stationary open cockpit for a jetliner. The panels are 2D poster pictures of the cockpit instrument panels. The purpose of the CPT is to learn the procedural flow of before engine start, after start, before taxi, etc. None of the switches or knobs work because they are only pictures.
An FTD is a stationary open cockpit trainer as well but has real switches and knobs that operate when you use them. In other words, an FTD has systems logic and is just like a simulator except with no motion.
FTD’s cost more of course but provide much better training.
My FS1000 is an FTD (not a CPT) because it has functional switches and knobs that can be used to operate the Garmin G1000 Trainer software running on your windows PC. Much better training than using a mouse and keyboard.
Comments about my Prototype
I wanted to comment about the way my design turned out. It doesn’t look much like a G1000 panel. As stated elsewhere on this site, I don’t have the financial resources to have G1000 panels made or the resources to purchase switches and encoders that look like G1000 hardware, etc.
However, the most important thing about my prototype is this:
- The controls have the same general layout as a G1000.
- The fact that the G1000 Trainer software (from Garmin) can be operated by physical switches and knobs will provide the most important part of this whole project: ‘finger physical memory’. I can use the G1000 Trainer and using my fingers to turn knobs and push switches, can be directly transferred into any G1000 equipped cockpit. This cannot be easily done if you are training using a mouse and keyboard.
- The prototype will validate my firmware code. If I were to ever partner with a company to mass produce this FTD trainer, I know the software will work.
FS1000 FTD Usage with G1000 Trainer Software
I want to use this block of space on the home page to add my thoughts about finally being able to use the Garmin G1000 Trainer software with physical knobs and switches vs using a keyboard and mouse.
The FMS Knob
Today (07/14/18) was the first time I got to actually use a physical FMS knob to enter in a flight plan, edit a flight plan, add a user way point and delete a user way point from an active flight plan.
To a new pilot learning the G1000, the above procedures are somewhat complex in my opinion. Either that, or I am just very slow on learning new things. From a high level view, I found the above tasks to be complex and puzzling. For example, it took me some time to figure out how to delete a user way point. As I used the panel interface, I found my ‘muscle memory’ for my fingers getting better and better. As I continued to use the G1000, I was starting to just ‘know’ that I needed to push here and turn here, etc. The steps needed to complete a task are not intuitive in my opinion in many cases. The interaction of the G1000 is very complex to learn.
Before this mornings training session, I didn’t know how to create a flight plan, save it and then call it back into play. I didn’t know how to edit an existing flight plan or create a user way point or delete a user way point. I’m happy to report that using my FS1000 FTD for a couple of hours today has given me the confidence that I can climb into the pilot seat of any G1000 equipped aircraft and do the same tasks with complete confidence.
Of course, I have only begun to scratch the surface of learning the G1000. But I’m very happy to report that my FS1000 FTD project has met it’s goal: to give my fingers the ‘muscle memory’ needed to physically operate the knobs and switches of the G1000 interface.
Now, I start down the long road of learning how to use the Garmin G1000 glass panel!
[07/29/18] Below I am making an IFR flight from Long Beach airport to Las Vegas airport. One of my favorite routes:
KLGB, Anaheim Nine SID, Creso Three STAR, ILS 25R