Multiple Monitors – The DOs and DON’T when shopping for flight sim monitors

We frequently receive e-mails asking us for tips with respect to monitor selection for the Volair Sim set-up. Below, we would like to summarize a few salient points for you to consider as you embark on the monitor shopping journey:

The first question that nearly everyone asks is, “Would I be better off with one large display (maybe curved) vs. three smaller ones?” Irrespective of the economics (one can often buy three smaller displays for less than one large, especially curved, display) the item to consider is the overall field of view. Put it plainly, with triple monitors, you will have a much wider horizontal field of view than with a single display (even ultra-wide one). This is especially important for VFR flying where, for example, you would be looking through your left window to judge the proper distance from runway end so you can begin your turn to base from downwind. With a single monitor, you would not have enough field of view to be able to see through the side-windows.

What about an ultra-wide or curved monitor?” We don’t recommend it because you will lose quite a bit of the vertical display which will limit the ability to view the cockpit instrumentation below. Note that, since the wide monitors are physically wider than standard 16×9 monitors, you may have size limitations when mounting it to the chassis. Lastly, they are expensive and we think money could be better spent elsewhere.

The next question is, “What is the best size of displays should I get?” As your significant other will eagerly tell you, larger is almost always better, but within reason. Within the standard Volair Sim chassis, we would not go below 27″ and we think three 27″-29″ 16×9 monitors is a good sweet-spot. If you want to go larger and prepared to get the independent large triple display stand, we think 40″-42″ are optimal; they will cover your entire field of peripheral vision and provide a stunningly immersive experience.

What about technical parameters? Resolution, refresh rates, pixel response time, viewing angles?

First, in the flight simulation world, things happen relatively slowly. Typically, your sim will run at 30-60 frames per second (fps). Therefore, having a 144Hz (144 fps) monitor is an overkill.

The 1ms pixel response time may be important in e-sports but does not matter much in flight sim since, even at 60fps (60Hz), any pixel would switch only at about 1/60Hz = 0.0167s = 16.7ms. Thus, a standard 5ms display will suffice.

The viewing angle is a bit of consideration since the left and right monitors will be mounted on an angle so you want a display with a good viewing angle. Therefore, an IPS (in-phase switching) displays are recommended as they offer very good viewing angles. Most regular computer and TVs are IPS, so we are OK here.

The display resolution should be at least HD (1920x1080p). Keep in-mind that the resolution stays the same as the size vary; 27″ HD monitor has the same 1920×1080 resolution as the 42″ HD TV. In other words, the pixels are farther apart on the large display than on a smaller one. That is why, going to an ultra-large display may not be a great idea in the flight sim application where you sit so close to the displays.

As to the HD vs 4k displays (1920×1080 vs 4096×2160), note that at time of this writing (Sept, 2020), running three displays in 4k is still a tough proposition given the state of graphics card (GTX 3080 JUST came out). Therefore, we recommend HD (1920×1080) displays, at least for now, until the graphics card horse-power can catch-up. This is especially taxing for triple displays where the pixel count grows by an order of magnitude as one transitions from HD to 4k.

To sum up, save your money – you will be better off investing the money into things that matter – controllers especially or maybe avionics.

Now, onto the DOs and DON’Ts of display shopping.

First, get a display with a VESA mount (some monitors do not have it so always check) and ensure that:

1. The back is flat (so that it will mount to the Volair Sim bracket easily).

2. The VESA mounting space has not been somehow blocked. Below is an example of what NOT to buy:

BAD IDEA! The HDMI and power ports will be completely obscured by the mounting VESA bracket. Also note raised ring which will make mounting difficult.

Here is an example of a good choice of a monitor with a flat back and easily-accessible HDMI and power ports:

GOOD IDEA! Flat back, connection ports are easily accessible.

Next, ensure that the display bezels are as thin as possible. This will create a seamless, uniform appearance. A bezel-less displays are especially attractive as you will be able to form a nearly-uniform display surface.

If shopping for large displays, where you will be essentially buying TVs, skip on the extra features (built-in apps, etc). You won’t be using any of this so why pay extra.

IMPORTANT: ALWAYS BUY 3 MONITORS FROM SAME SOURCE/LOT. This is important as often manufacturers switch between the panel substrates inside the displays. So, for examples, if you buy one display from BestBuy one month, then you wait a few months months and buy remaining two displays from elsewhere (because they are out of stock at BB), you may notice large color variant between the displays. That is because these monitors, even though the share same P/N, have different panel substrates which vary in color palette. Since the displays are adjacent, any color mis-match will be very noticeable.

For details on connecting the displays and configuring them, please see the following series of articles:

  1. https://volairsim.blog/2017/12/05/flight-sims-and-multiple-monitors/
  2. https://volairsim.blog/2017/12/05/part-ii-configuring-multiple-monitor-set-up/

HAPPY FLIGHT SIMMING!

FS2020 and Shipping Update

Today (August 18, 2020) marks a historic moment for the flight simulation community. After 14(!) years, Microsoft finally releases a worthy successor to FSX, which originally released on October 13, 2006. Yes, dear readers, it has been that long. Since then, we have seen more and less significant updates to FSX, rather significant XPlane 11 release, and the rise of Prepar3D as the “stop-gap” measure to FSX. Nothing, however, has elevated the bar as much as FS 2020. Truly exiting times for flight simulator enthusiasts await.

We, at Volair Sim, have been fortunate to be able to use the Beta version of the sim for a while and we must say that the visuals, immersion, and overall fun factor is unparalleled. As of this writing, we are in process of downloading the nearly 100GB (yes Gigabytes) of installation files on our R&D sim and many sleepless nights are ahead.

Many of you are also eager to hear about the backorder situation for the sim chassis and arm rests. We have, finally, good news to report. After delay, caused by a tragic accident at one of our supplier’s seat production facilities, we are completed with the seat production and just awaiting of shipment of the finished seats. Barring any wether-delays which could impact shipping, we are still estimating to have the back-order caught up around the end of September or first week of October.

Until then, get your sim gear in order and get your FS2020 configured so you are ready to go when your Volair Sim arrives.

Quick update about the triple monitor stands. We have decided to make a small design improvement to the stand so that we currently do not have the ETA on when it will ship. Please watch the BUY page for updates.

Happy Simming!

New – Volair Sim Avionics Panel V2.0

Volair Sim is pleased to announce immediate availability of the Volair Sim Avionics Panel V2.0. The updated version features the following changes:

Compatible with the following yokes:

Honeycomb Alpha Yoke

Yoko Yoke

Brunner Yoke

Logitech (Saitek) Yoke.

Volair Sim Avionics Panel V2 ships with trim pieces allowing to cover up yoke gaps depending on yoke used, 6 blanking plates allowing the user to cover-up the unused openings or to mount iPads, and 2 Flight Instrument Panel adapter panels allowing user to mount up-to 12 Logitech FIPs as shown below:

Using adapter plates (sold separately), the Volair Sim Avionics Panel will allow the user to mount the following GPS systems sold by RealSimGear:

GNS-530W

GTN-750

Honeycomb Alpha Yoke can be installed using the micro-suction mount included with the yoke:

The exterior dimensions and pricing will remain identical to the original version.

Please download the Installation Instructions below:

Creative Use of Volair Sim Avionics Panel with Touch Displays

Below, is an example of creative adaptation of Volair Sim Avionics Panel by Sean, one of our customers. Sean used a 13.3″ TouchScreen monitor (right side on the panel) as an additional display while having enough room for one Logitech modules above. The center display on the panel is an iPad and to the left you see two Logitech modules.

Sean writes,

“I use that screen (connected as a fourth display) to fullscreen Pilot2ATC.  If I can figure out how to get a fifth display running on my machine, I’ll likely add another one on the left side and move the two control panels to the middle getting rid of the iPad that’s there.  The bezels holding the ipad on are ones I designed and printed on my 3D printer.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RV9FYVG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Love the sim chassis. It’s very comfortable.”

Sean

Volair Sim – Coping with the Pandemic-Induced Isolation

A heartfelt review from Adam, one of our recent customers, that made us realize that Volair Sim can help people cope with the isolation caused by the pandemic and provide an escape from the bleak world situation.

Adam writes,

“I might have a setup that is a bit different than most. I have recently migrated to VR flight for training purposes which is the reason for the one display. There are aspects I do miss about the triple monitor setup.

It’s my simulation room, the cockpit and my VR goggles. Once I load everything up I am in another world. Without the volair cockpit experience it definitely wouldn’t be as realistic as I would want it to be. The reason I say all this is because I want you and the team, even the CEO to know not only does the volairsim setup enhance my experience for training purposes but its literally been medicine for me to have this setup and configuration in my life. I am beyond thankful that I chose your company when I was on the market to make an investment into my simulation experience. The entire cockpit is modular and I have lost count on how many times I have been able to reconfigure and test new ideas out on this. We have a very short life on this planet and I’m glad there is a team of people out there producing cockpits like these. It’s changed my life and i’m almost certain that I’m not the only one.

Just wanted you and your team to know that. Thanks for all you do!”

RealSimGear GTN 750 Adapter Now Available for the Volair Sim Avionics Panel

We are pleased to announce the availability of the GTN-750 adapter for the RealSimGear GPS unit to mount to our Avionics Panel. The adapter works the same way as our GNS-530 adapter; the GPS will occupy two rectangular slots on the Avionics Panel normally reserved for the Logitech (Saitek) rectangular components. You will have to cut/remove the thin bar separating the two rectangular openings on the Avionics Panel.

You can purchase this adapter at our web-store here.

GTN750

Volair Sim Racing Set-Up

Volair Sim Rig (2)

Since many of our customer examples focus on flight sim configurations, it is nice to see that racing enthusiasts are also using the Volair Sim to increase their driving proficiency. Below is a review from David who has built a racing sim centered around the Volair Sim chassis. David’s review follows:

“This is an amazing simulator Rig and built really well that I use it for Sim Racing and some VR stuff mainly racing. After three years of using the Volair Sim I have had zero problems and am glad I chose this rig. Their may be better certainly less expensive, but it is an impressive piece of equipment. The first 2 years I owned this rig I helped me improve my driving skills 100%.

With an adjustable seat that reclines and moves forward and backward makes it real comfortable to race in. With a bad back that means I can make adjustments to my seating so I can race in longer races during a race.

Volair gives you enough accessories to do a lot with your gear. I took some of them and moved them around to hold my VR head set and gloves.

The triple screen monitor stand can wiggle a little when things get exciting but not much of a distraction and not too often. Volair fixed that after my purchase with a new stand alone monitor stand.

I have 3 27” Viewsonic high end monitors that are a little beefy. One thing to look for is the monitor you choose and where the cable hook ups are for the. The vesa mount can be in the way and a cable may not fit or plug in. I had 3 beautiful no border 28” Acer monitors I had to substitute for the Viewsonic Monitors. It may not be the case with the new stand alone stand.

I had no problem with assembly or parts missing or left over and only took one short evening to assemble.

I have read reviews that people complain about what to do with wires dangling all over. Use your imagination because there’s a lot out there to take care of that.

I could ramble all day but I get lost with reviews. You won’t be disappointed with this choice so If its in you price range the pick Volair you won’t regret it.”

 

Volair Sim with 4th Display Example

It’s cold and rainy here in Indy, but nothing perks us up like a beautiful Volair Sim setup by one of our favorite Canadian customers.

 

Jean-Oliver said, “I wanted to take the time to thank you for having invented this wonderful product which for 2 years makes me experience beautiful moments of flight. I send you photos of my installations. I add a fourth screen that serves as a dashboard.”

 

 

This fourth screen installation is really creative. We had to know more about size, installation, usage, etc. and figured everyone else would like to know too. Jean-Oliver was kind enough to send us the details:

“I only install with screw the support of my screen to your table. I can change the angle of my screen with my support. The screen does not block the field of view, but you must adjust the mount of the 3 screens to its highest.  The advantage of this fourth screen allows me to play other games that do not require 3 screens. This screen is closer to play other games. The fourth screen has 24 inch, but it is possible to install a 27 inch. The other 3 screens have 27 inches.”

 

The other interesting modification is the modification to the center mount in order to extend the reach of the Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog joystick:

 

 

Jean-Olivier writes, “You can see on another picture that I have the joystick holder flipped to install an extension for this one . Here is the link for extensions (good quality):”

https://warthog-extensions-by-sahaj.com/

 

Great job Jean-Olivier and we think your photos and instructions will help a lot of fellow flight simmers. Thank you!