Mike's Flight Deck is an introduction to home cockpit building, the hobby that takes off where flight simulation game software ends. When staring at a 17" monitor on a crowded desk, and pushing, pulling and twisting a wimpy joystick just doesn't do any more, it's time to build a simulated cockpit or flight deck. This site offers information on how to do just that.
Mike's Flight Deck is also home to Mike's Flight Deck Books, a very small company that sells the books I've written about building flight simulators. So far I've written two and a half books.
Clicking on a cover image will take you to the information/order page for the respective book.
CNC Project (29 Jan 2015)
I've been nibbling away at the remaining unfinished items of the project. Four of the limit switches are in place as is the cable support which is just barely visible behind the gantry. In the side view you can see the power supply and motor driver. There is, however, a notable lack of wiring.
I need to mount the Z axis limit switch, make mounting brackets for the motor driver, and do a bit of wiring. Rather than just connect a power cord to the power supply, I've decided to use a power entry module with a switch and fuse. I've had a couple in the junk box for some time, but using one will require cutting a slightly larger hole in the back of the box. Eventually I'll need a door for the electronics bay, and a fan, and a power supply for the fan, and I'm sure other stuff.
None of this is hard. It's just time consuming and annoying, particularly so given that the project looks to be virtually finished, but really isn't.
Oh, and then there's the spoil board and clamps...
CNC Project (22 Jan 2015)
Some small but nontrivial progress on the CNC project: it's now beginning to look like a CNC machine.
Actually, the mechanical structure is 99% complete. I need to fabricate mounting brackets for the limit switches, but it's very nearly ready for wiring the electronics. There's a cover for controlling dust and noise, but I'll get to that later.
Writing and Still Here (11 Jan 2015)
RL somehow continues to make its demands. SLOW progress writing.
Still shipping copies of Building Recreational Flight Simulators.
Writing and CNC (24 July 2014)
Still alive, still writing, albeit not very fast or about flight sim.
I'm writing science fiction.
I'm writing a story that takes place on Sakura, a colony world several dozen light years from Earth. Sakura was settled by a robotic ark carrying frozen human genetic material on a very long voyage. No FTL travel in this story; these people are on their own. But that's okay, because they're doing just fine. They've made great progress adapting earth agriculture to Sakura's biome, they're well fed, and their population has grown enough to be counted in the millions (just barely). It's true they had a slight hiccup seventy years earlier when some nasty aliens began munching people at an agricultural research station, but three very clean, moderate yield nuclear sterilization devices put a stop to that. Now the incident's just an entry in their history books. Mostly.
One of the main characters is named Toss. Toss is a graduate student, an unhappy, underfunded graduate student. In fact he's so underfunded he's been forced into taking a lonely night job at an all but abandoned military research station on the edge of a nuclear blight, which is his initial reason for being unhappy.
Another main character doesn't have a name, doesn't even have a body you'd recognize. You could look right at her and not know it. Yes, "her", because she's a bringer of life (when she feels like it). Let's call her "Mama". Long ago Mama decided to make Sakura her home, but when she finally arrived she found others living there. She reached out to these others, but she was not well received. After seventy years she's going to try again.
You may think this is an obvious setup for one of those clichéd "don't go into the dark basement" horror stories, but it's not. The basement lights work great.
This is a story about several reasonably intelligent individuals each trying to do the proper thing, so everything should turn out fine…
Progress? Well, much further than my earlier efforts at fiction. The story's mapped out and the manuscript's approaching 50,000 words. Notes add several thousands more words. Call it half way to a first pass.
The CNC project is still alive though real life has conspired to bury it under assorted unidentified stuff in my work area. A bit of excavating and I should be able to resume assembling it.
Writing Fiction (24 April 2014)
I've been writing fiction on and off for years. Haven't managed to finish anything as yet. In part that's because there are so many really neat ideas to write about. I have bits and pieces of six novels, enough words to account for a good size novel, but unfortunately spread across a half dozen separate stories.
I decided to focus my efforts on one story to bring it to a close, which is what I'm doing these days. Since the weather is warming up, I'll perhaps also spend some time in my unheated workshop area completing my CNC project, and of course, I'm still shipping copies of Building Recreational Flight Simulators.