1344 (Cardiff) Squadron
Air Training Corps

Teamwork Leads the Way
Cydweithredu Ddyry Cychwyn

Simrod Blog

This is the blog for the construction and development of The 1344Sqn Big Virtual Flight Simulator (affectionately a.k.a The Simrod).

Follow its progress during the build and beyond.

Click here to find out more about our BIG FLIGHT SIMS and their history

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Technical Problems

Posted on March 27, 2014 at 9:30 AM

The Blog's been quiet recently, mainly due to finding the time to update it, especially as most of it has been taken up by trying to get the computer to work.

The bad news is that we couldn't get XP to run normally once we re-installed the operating system. it turned out the old motherboard blowing had done some damage to the harddrive. In the end we had to completely re-install the OS.

The good news is that it activated, as did FSX when we re-installed that.

The bad news though is that we only had XP pro SP2 and we can't get it to update from the website.

The good news is that we may be able to do an SP3 image update.

The better news is that we'll be going to Windows 7 ASAP.

The other good news is that because we'd already taken a copy of our custom nimrod off the game and stored it elsewhere we were able to put it back on, though we're going to have to rebuild the virtual instrument panel and views.

As a result we're not opening on the 28th of March. New opening Day is the 25th April, for which we should be ready.

It's Painting Time!

Posted on March 4, 2014 at 5:50 AM

Last week was little fiddly bits not worth tweeting about - internal cladding, though we did have to work out how to safely bend the hardboard into position to get a nice curved profile.

Also Cdt Lloyd won the logo competition, his design will be converted into a sim logo - The cadets still have the opporutnity to write a motto for!

03-07 Mar 14

The BFS is being dismantled and we'll be painting it over the next few days

A Judge of Panels

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 6:15 AM

17th -21st Feb

This week we concentrated on mounting the Nimrod Engineer's Panel. At the moment it will remain as just a display until development stage 4 (Advanced Enhancements) where we hope to integrate it into the actual systems.

The position we chose for it reflects where it was mounted in the real Nimrod.

We've also been adding the hardboard wall panels, which will be the visible face of the BFS both inside and out. We should be starting to paint them before the end of the month and during the start of March.

Camera, Action, Lights!

Posted on February 1, 2014 at 6:05 PM

27th-31st Jan 2014

We're happy (and our Sim is too it seems)

Been busy cutting holes in the ceiling. Here's why.


You can also check out the latest photos of the build here


The EK-OP has Landed

Posted on January 22, 2014 at 1:40 PM

While it may appear that things haven't been moving with the BFS since before Christmas this is not the case. While we haven't been at sqn work has been going on in our workshop on designing some of the electrics responsible for running it.

However since Tuesday of this week we've been back and have spent the last couple of days sorting out the Emergency Kick-Out Panel. (Basically an escape hatch in the rear).

We also finished mounting some of the dashboard supports.

We've now moved onto looking at the sliding door mechanism.

Hopefully before the end of the month we'll also be in the process of getting the computer up and running. Once this is done we should by the end of February have the sim working at a basic level so we can start testing it and running BFSI courses.

Photos soon

Door without a letter box (Thankfully)

Posted on December 10, 2013 at 10:45 AM


For those of you wondering why this blog has been a bit quiet over the last week or so, it's because we've been mostly concentrating on Scout Post, which takes a lot of time and effort to get done so no time to give to the blog.

That's not to say there hasn't also been work on the sim taking place at the same time.

The door was the next bit to do. Building it to run on a sliding track and accomodate a window has not been easy but the problems created were solved. Designed to slide open along the side of the sim, eventually into a pocket behind an outer panel, the door is mounted on a running frame. Eventually it will be automated, including auto-release-on-power-failure options, as well as a blind for the aircraft shaped window mounted into it.

The step for this week is to take the sim apart (yep, deconstruction) so we can do all the offside mounting that couldn't be done through the 10cm gap between sim and wall.

Once this is done a quick re-construct to ensure it's all correct and then a few other minor bits before it's de-constucted again for painting over the Christmas period.

Sim the Light

Posted on November 22, 2013 at 7:00 PM

18th - 22nd November

We've spent this last week in high gear, trying to get the Simrod ready for the presentation evening on the 22nd. A few small set backs, including the discovery that our usual computer supplier, Novatech, no longer has a Cardiff Branch. Consiquently when we went to get a replacement motherboard for the computer we couldn't.

However this didn't put us off and we managed to complete the Sim to a level we could show it off. We've still got a lot of screwing and gluing to do but the clever construction we're using meant we could cheat a little for display purposes. We finished the dashboard screen holders, including the tricky diagonal sections.

For the presentation evening we temporarily put the screens in, held in with screws and set up the rest of the controls as a visual display. We also laid out the additional equipment such as the Overhead Panel and NEP outside for everyone to see. As a bonus we put some live camera feeds in, running back to the main hall.

Everyone was very impressed, even though it wasn't working. This was the first time the cadets got a look at it and they (and the parents) can't wait for it to be up and running.

We are now pretty much finished on the Stage 1 inside. Over the next week We've got to dismantle the sim in order to attach the remaining dashboard supports (can't get into the 100mm gap on the right side), cut holes in the roof for the lights and OHP and cable ways and of course glue everything but after that we can start on the cosmetics and electrics. We'll be sourcing a new place to buy a decent computer motherboard suited to our needs and hope to have the Sim working before the end of the sqn year.


Another thing we unveiled at presentation evening is the plans to have family flying nights.

Watch this website

Inner Light

Posted on November 16, 2013 at 4:25 AM

11th-15th November

We've been working as hard as we can to get as much of it finished as we can before the unvailing at Presentation Evening on the 22nd.

This week we've been working on the internal fittings. It was a good thing we cut the windows out the rear, otherwise we'd have had very little light to see by in our 'enclosed shed' (we did also install a working light as well).

We started with the centre console frame, which is the section that sits between the two pilot seats and will house the throttle controls, hardwire 'radio' and a few other useful controls.

On top of that we added the dashboard, which will hold the yokes and serve as a base for the screen housing. With eight screens in total; two at the bottom serving the instrument panel and six at the top to form the 'windows', all of which need to be set at various angles we've been having to do some of our design work as we go along, which has meant a lot of cutting and measuring and tweeking to get it right.

The lower screen housing is complete to a stage where we'll be sorting out the upper one from Monday. A real tricky section.

Whatever stage we're at by the Friday though we'll be giving our parents and cadets a first look.

The Outer Limits

Posted on November 8, 2013 at 1:25 PM

4th-8th November 13

The Final parts of the outer construction at this stage have been completed, with the holes cut in the rear wall left for the window frame and the kickout panel (escape route), and the rear wall right for the window . All of these had baton frames around them but the windows will be mounted into a slot in section at a later date, as will the panel be.

This leaves us some nice holes to let the light in while we do the interior, which we've started on the 7th with the first chair and the 8th with the hardboard for the floors. We've also cut the door, though this also will not be mounted until a much later date.

Pictured, the Rear Left Wall with Window Frame (top) and Kickout Panel Frame (bottom)

a bit roof around the top

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 6:40 PM

29th & 30th October

Spent the two days sorting out the roof of the cabin section and it is currently gluing over Thursday (while we enjoy halloween).

We also started on the rear walls, which are designed to be removable should we wish to open the back of the sim for a better view (as well as aid disasembly in flatpack mode. They will have windows cut into them but at a later date.

Friday we should have both of those walls finished and can start on the final roof plate, and hopefully then next week begin kitting out the interior


Posted on October 30, 2013 at 6:35 PM

28th October we cut the door in the side wall of the cabin. We needed to do this so we can get in and out once we start putting the back walls on

Side Project Tracked #2

Posted on October 18, 2013 at 1:30 PM

17 September 2013

We took a moment out of the busy flight sim build to mount the ejector seat onto a plinth. CI Tatnell then provided a dummy and parachute to go in it

Roof Roof Roof

Posted on October 18, 2013 at 1:05 PM

18 Oct 2013

Apologies for long gap between posts. Mixture of website issues, time and the fact that what we've been doing is small fiddly bits that aren't worth posting about as much as the bigger end result.

This week we finished the cockpit flight deck side walls to the point where we could start on the roof, which has involved lots of angle cutting as this section slopes down towards the front.

As this sim is basically a big, slot-together kit we had to add the guides which hold it in place on the sloping walls, cutting all the angles to make things parrallel to the slope.

For the roof we put in the cross braces to hold it all flat on, working out where the OverHead Panel and lights will be going in relationship to them

The Two Towers

Posted on October 1, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Apologies for not posting anything recently as we've been having a few problems with our website and as you can see we've also altered it a bit.

18-20th September 2013

Construction on the towers began

24th September

Construction on the towers almost completed

27th September 2013

Tried the walls in their positioned, though not all of them as otherwise we wouldn't have been able to get out. Looks good though.

1st October 2013

Shelves for towers cut and screwed, then OSB for chair bases and centre console cut and planed.

Floor Down

Posted on September 19, 2013 at 1:40 PM

17 Sep 2013

The floor is down and almost finished. It screws together nicely with the tensioning bolts, and more importantly it unscrews.

19 Sep 2013

We've started putting the centre console mounting beams in.

Flooring it

Posted on September 11, 2013 at 4:15 AM

5th-11th September 2013

We've spent the last few days and will be spending the remainder of the week constructing the floor, which consists of 3 sections of 18mm OSB raised on 44x69mm beams. The sections are designed to slot together and are held in place by tensioning bars running the entire length of the sim. These bars are then earthed to the rest of the simulator.

This photo shows the middle section (known as the Flight section - the bit which will hold the faux cockpit) under construction, with the shorter Avionics Section at the top end for alignment. This should be complete by the end of Wednesday and the remaining Cabin section started and finished on Thursday & Friday

Autumn Presentation Evening

Posted on September 4, 2013 at 8:15 AM

We're aiming to get a working version of the sim up and running by the Autumn presentation evening which is currently scheduled for Friday 20th August, however as the CO is keen to have a working version for the night he's decided the date is likely to be pushed back into October, just to give us a bit more time. We're still aiming for mid September though :)

Templates & Towers

Posted on September 4, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Tuesday 3rd August 2013

Today we cut the hardboard for the templates to be used for driling the screw holes in the floor joists and plates. We had to use a handsaw in the end as the knife, which should have been able to cut through the hardboard, just wouldn't.

We also cut some of the hardboard for the internal floor to go on top of the OSB.

Lastly we clamped an Avionics Tower together to see if we'd have enough room to crawl through it into the avionics bay maintainance area. Fortunately we do but we'll probably put some handles on the inside to assist with standing up as the crawlspace will be quite tight.

Photo shows tower outer frame in temporary cramps.

Walls & Roof cutting

Posted on September 3, 2013 at 6:10 AM

2nd September 2013

Work resumes after a brief break. We cut all the 9mm OSB to form the wall panels and roof.

Ventilation & Towers

Posted on August 16, 2013 at 5:55 AM

15 Aug 13

Put mesh over the ventilation holes in the base and cut the wood for the Avionics towers, which will house the computers and other electrics responsible for powering and running the sim. These are positioned behind the cockpit window monitors