Since so much time and effort went into making my simulator “as real as it gets”, I thought it was a good idea to use a real aviation headset instead of the usual PC-headset.
I happened to own a Soviet made headset (from a long ago stint in Central Asia). It looks really nice, but could obviously not be used without modification. Neither speakers nor microphone had the right impedance, and the connector did not conform to any standard I know. After a quick search through my Items-To-Be-Used-Some-Day box I found a headphone that – a long time ago – must have come with a walkman. The photos below show what happened next…
The big black oval is one of the earpieces from the Soviet aviation headset. The original loudspeaker is already removed. The round opening in the center was made big enough to allow for a snug fit of the new loudspeaker.
Above are the new loudspeakers, taken out of the walkman headphones. The speaker on the left still has its original shape. The one on the right has the plastic frame cut off to make it fit into the aviation headset’s earpiece.
The cables from the walkman loudspeakers were soldered to the original cabel harnes inside the aviation headset.
The finished product. The microphone is still original, and not connected. As long as there is no speech recognition in my ATC simulation program (Radar Contact V.4), there will be no need for a microphone.
The audio signal for the headset comes from a sound card in the PC running Radar Contact. This means that all I hear through the headset is ATC instructions. The engine and other flight related noise is sent to the loudspeakers. During flight, I usually turn the sound system’s volume up to recreate the high level of environmental noise common on the flight deck. The aviation headset does a nice job of muffling that noise – and ATC messages still come through nice and clear.
And yes, my neighbours love it too!