Cloudy's Rational Panels for FS2004
When I started using FS2004, perhaps the most successful PC flight simulator ever, I was annoyed by the insufficiencies of the aircraft panels:
• VC panels may seem realistic at first, with their immersive 3D virtual reality, but once you start to fly the aircraft you have to continuously spend time to move around the panel searching for switch to click of for a gauge to read: in many cases you have to zoom-in just to properly read the gauge.
• 2D may be too static, but with present day large monitor resolutions, except for large jets, a single panel, both photographic and complete, can be designed including all the gauges and switches needed, with top-quality resolution.
I also noticed that most FS2004 2D panels, whether original or downloaded, have the following serious deficiencies:
• Gauges are spread over different "windows", forcing you to continuously click icons (or press Shift-2, Shift 3 and so on) just to get things you need at all times like throttles and switches.
• Those additional windows cover either parts of your main panel or else the external scenery view.
• Sometimes an "IFR panel" includes indeed all the gauges in a single view, but leaves no external view at all!
• Their design and layout is often unlike any real-life panel.
• Often many gauges are seriously unhistorical.
• Most panels miss quite a few essential gauges (which are both simulated by FS2004 and needed for the flight).
Indeed, a few years ago I scrutinised 39 Cessna panels I downloaded from the web, and found that every single one of them showed one or more of the above inconveniences. I eventually produced a full set of "Cloudy's Rational Panels for FS2004": they only have additional "windows" for the GPS and for a few non-essential accessories such as "calculators". Please find below screenshots of my panels, which I keep updated: please feel free to download the images: they show below in resolution 1280x800 but will download at their full resolution of 1920x1200 (the last panels are still in the old 1600x1200 but I am working at updating them).
Please note that many of these panels apply to payware aircraft and use some of their copyrighted gauges and therefore I cannot post here the panel.cfg for download. Some of the panels show below are minor-scale reworkings, but most of them are full redesigns of mine. Other than the already-mentioned calculator, the only unrealistic additions are the digital Mixture and Elevator-Trim gauges, which however I find a necessity in a PC simulation, as well as a gauge that simply shows which livery one is flying.
115 Curtiss JN-4D Jenny
126 Lockheed Vega 5B and 5C
133 Boeing Stearman 75 Kaydet
134 de Havilland DH-88 Comet
138 Piper J-3C-65 Cub
140 Piper J-3C Cub Clipped Wing
217 Vickers F.B.27A Vimy
226 Ford 4-AT-E Tri-Motor
231 Lockheed L10A-E Electra
233 de Havilland DH-89 Dragon Rapide
234 Douglas DC-3 Dakota
235 Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina
235 Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina
237 Beechcraft Beech D18S
318 Cessna C152 II
321 Extra 300S
322 Zenith CH801 STOL
328 Piper PA-28 201 Arrow IV
331 Cessna C182RG II Skylane
333 Mooney M-20M - TLS Bravo
336 Cessna U206G Stationair 6 II
444 de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver
445 Piper PA-44 180 Seminole
446 Piper PA-34 200T Seneca II
455 Beechcraft Baron 58
480 Cessna C208 Caravan Amphibian
490 Cessna C208B Grand Caravan
499 Pilatus PC-12
512 de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter
514 Beechcraft King Air 300
516 Beechcraft 1900C
517 Beechcraft 1900D
523 Shorts Sherpa 330
549 ATR 72-500
601 Fiat G91 R1
602 Gates Learjet 25D
603 Bombardier Learjet 45
711 Schweizer SGS 2-32
712 Schleicher ASW28
714 Robinson R22 Beta II
726 Enstrom 280 FX Shark
770 Maverick Trike Ultralight