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Early history of the engineering prototype

The first F/A-18C engineering prototype started back in early 2019 as a smaller scale project to build only the main instrument panel on top of a single monitor. The initial design concept was focused on having access to the most frequently used inputs such as the UFC and MFD's.

This project was completed with promising results, which enabled further expansion into larger assemblies.

Backlight distribution is smooth and even with our optical design.

Extensive mechanical engineering has ensured correct control actuation with the various handles and levers populating both vertical panels.

The ejection seat and both side consoles were later assembled and tested, adding up to a full cockpit prototype.

The prototype features an actuated lengthwise rail system. The ejection seat is mounted on top of the rails with a set of lateral beams. The side consoles are mounted on these lateral beams, enabling lengthwise translation of the entire aft section.

This design trades outer skin integrity for easy access, therefore it has been removed from our production model. The cockpit shell and frame currently on sale features fixed side consoles and a more integral skin design.

Another major design change is a more realistic Main Instrument Panel geometry, which allows implementation of individual LCD panels for each instrument display as well as sharing a single monitor among multiple instruments. The new design geometry makes it much more intuitive to locate switch levers and buttons without peeking out of VR goggles. The new cockpit can also work with no instrument displays for VR-only applications.


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