Starting with a new cockpit, it may seem as a
very big problem to get all the measurements you need. And it is! Most
detailed information is hard to find, expensive or classified. There is
however a whole range of options that you have, to gather information on
measurements, real parts and even operational procedures.
I will use the building of a military cockpit as an example
(since I have some personal experience in this), but for any kind of cockpit
there's a similar alternative (mech-pit builders may disagree on this ;-).
This list is by no means complete, nor is it meant to
be. If you come up with another source of information, please don't
hesitate to let us know!
First of all, of course, browse the SimPits website.
If you don't find what you are looking for, by all means contact anyone
of SimPits or even better, join the SimPits mailinglist and place your
request there. The members of SimPits have quite a library of information
all together. So if you can't find it, ask for it.
is an online 'auction' site. Absolutely one of the best places to look
for flight-manuals, models, accessories and even complete cockpits on sale!
Check it regularly, because new products are added by the hour!
You can also check the internet for other auction houses.
Do you have a (military) aviation museum nearby?
Don't hesitate to contact them and see if they can help you. A lot of museums
have a big library of technical data of the aircraft they have, including
flight manuals and technical drawings. A lot of personnel working
in these museums are aircraft-enthousiasts just like us, so they might
be willing to help you out if they can. No drawings or measurements? See
if you can at least take a lot of pictures of the cockpit you plan to build.
Some military airbases are willing to help you
on your quest for information, although it must be said that most of them
are not very enthousiastic about bringing out any information. Do you have
a friend or relative working there? See if he can do something for you.
At least you'll know you'll be getting the most up to date 'de-classified'
information from there! You can also check out other military organisations
that may be able to help you out.
Maybe not so obvious, but plastic models can
also be a good reference for measurements. Of course, depending on their
scale, they're only good for rough/large measurements, and you must keep
in mind that not all models are perfectly detailed, or perfect in size.
The bigger the model is that you can lay your hands on, the better, but
that should go without saying. Which brings us to:
Local Hobby Shop
Found a shop that sells your beloved plastic
models? Some of these small 'hobby-shops' also have scaled drawings for
the 'hardcore' modellers. Ask them if they can help you, and if not maybe
they can tell you where to continue your quest! You can also check out
local RC Aircraft organisations or organistions like the IPMS (International
Plastic Modellers Society)
Some aviation hobby shops that sell (salvage-)
parts of aircraft, also have detailed documentation on these, or other
aircraft. Check them out, and if they can't help you, they might be able
to help you with a better address or let you measure and photograph the
stuff you don't want to buy.
Some, if not most airshows, have stationary aircraft
on display. Mostly you can't get too close to them, but sometimes you can.
Take your measuring ribbon and sart taking pictures and measurements untill
you're kicked of the property. You could of course also ask nicely ;-)At
some airshows there are actually separate cockpit-sections on display.
You have to be lucky though...
Your local library could be a great source of
information, althoug most libraries don't have a very large collection
of books with scaled drawings of contemporary jets. It's worth checking
out though, you never know what you may come across.
A salvage yard with the jet that you want to
model... Hmmm, isn't that a SimPitter's wet dream? ;-) If it does
have it though, it would be close to the best thing you can get for taking
measurements, or you could buy the cockpit, just like that ;-)
A bit of an obvious choice maybe. But do check
out if there is such a museum in your neighbourhood. If lived 10km near
one all my life, and only found out a year ago, so.... With a bit of help
of the people working there, you can actually find out a lot more about
Browse the internet....
I don't think this one needs any further explanation...