I have the Honeycomb Alpha and Bravo which do a fair bit towards reducing the need to use the mouse to interact with the cockpit while in VR.
I have a pretty complex setup using SPAD.Next with all sorts of conditional bindings that will alter the function of a button if some condition is met. I use this idea heavily with the AP controls on the Bravo and my most common “conditon” is if the PTT button on the Alpha is depressed (I call this my SHIFT button). So an example would be:
ALT - short press = enable ALT mode
ALT - long press = set PFD altitude to current altitude
SHIFT (PTT button) + ALT = “heading bug select”… this would be akin to selecting ALT on the selector switch on the Bravo… but its a pain to keep switching the selector back and forth (and remembering which is where) so I created little shortucts for myself.
That is just one of many examples of things I’ve done with my bindings.
Anyway, to the point of this post. The one thing that the Bravo does not (even attempt to) address is actually programming the GPS. Sure, you can set up your route in the sim or navigraph and load it in, but its more fun to program the GPS in the cockpit… but it is very cumbersome to do so with the mouse (even when not in VR). So, I decided to make myself a “Little G1000” using off the shelf components. The important bits for the G1000 are the dual axis rotary encoder and 6 buttons in the lower right corner, right?
So, “it shouldn’t be that hard”, I told myself, to build a custom controller to emulate those functions. Turns out it really wasn’t. I figured most of y’all would get a kick out of this and maybe it will spark an idea for someone else.
I was starting from zero knowledge of the “custom sim controller” market, so it took a fair amount of research to find the right parts and available USB control modules, but this is what I came up with.
I present the “Little G1000” (don’t laugh! I know what it looks like)
In addition to the dual rotary encoder and 6 buttons, I decided to add two additional single encoders to permanently control the HDG and ALT functions. Since these are single axis encoders, they are set to the “SMALL” inrements (1deg 100ft) but I am able to go in 10deg 1000ft by holding down my SHIFT (PTT) button on the Alpha yoke. I will probably end up replacing them with dual axis encoders so that you can control 1/10 and 100/1000 like the actual G1000.
And, here it is in action:
For now, I’m going to enjoy using it… maybe some day I will buy a 3d Printer and make a proper enclosure for it.