Welcome to the FSElite Developer Month. Our theme this year is about delivering for the community and part of that is delivering great content to you all. As part of our commitment to you all, we’re pleased to announced Developer Month – a month themed solely around celebrating our great development community. Over the course of March, you’ll be treated to some behind the scene looks at some of our favourite developers, stories from the FSElite team, exclusive interviews and more.
To kick off Developer Month, we have an exclusive interview from Jason from Cockpit PHD. We teamed up with them earlier this month and proud to be able to offer you an incredibly 15% off all products from the site.
As part of Developer Month, Cockpit PHD have also allow us chance to offer you a further $20 coupon if you win the raffle below. Just fill in your name and email address for your chance to win.
In the mean time, enjoy the interview!
Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started and talk me through the process you go through to create your throttle handles?
Founded in 2014, we started our first product development on Saitek templates. At that time (and nowadays too), Saitek flight simulation products are really popular in the market and their prices are very much affordable to the simmers, if not, at least as their first step in moving from keyboards and joysticks to decent yokes and throttles.
However, the design of the throttle is just too generic. The markings do not really link up with airliners – for which a lot of simmers are actually on that, the angle of the throttle is at least 30 degree off from a real throttle. Because of that, by trial and error we created our first template of Boeing 737 and 777, as well as the Quadrant Box in charging the angle of the throttle. Later on, we extended such ideas to Boeing 747 and Airbus A320, and the Single Quadrant Box for those who only own a single unit of Saitek throttle.
Other than the marking templates and the Quadrant boxes, we also experienced that the plastic lever heads on the Saitek throttle are nowhere near realistic. They are probably good for C172, but certainly not for airliner simmers. We spent almost 9 months on designing and developing the Boeing 737 Dual throttle handle set and then expanded the selections to Boeing 777, Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 Single throttle handle set.
What made you decide you wanted to develop for Flight Simulator and why?
As you may aware, flight simulator cockpit products are very (VERY) expensive. We are talking about several hundred US dollars for a decent MCP, almost a thousand for a proper throttle and over a thousand for a professional overhead – remember it does not include the shipping costs. Obviously, that is huge money. It hesitates a lot of simmers who want to “upgrade” their flight simulation experience. Our ultimate goal is to fill the gap in the spectrum by developing and offering flight sim hardware that is in good balance between price and realism.
How many of there in your team and what are your backgrounds before becoming developers?
We have team of 6 at the moment and we were coming from different industries, such as engineering, IT and even accounting, before we joined together. But there is one thing in common is that, we are all flight simulator enthusiasts. Our team is now covering all aspects like Product development, Sales and Marketing, and Customer Services. We specifically dedicated quite a lot of resources to our CS team because our customers are coming from any part of the world and with the relatively long shipping time, for sure they want to track the status of their orders in a very close manner. For the production side, we do connect with several
factories in China, Taiwan or even Italy, giving us an excellent portfolio to balance between price competitiveness, technology and quality.
Myself is mainly responsible for Sales and Marketing while our CEO, Mr. Eddie WT, who has manufacturing background, is very much focusing on R&D.
What other products do you offer to your customers?
We had the B737 MCP in the past in a very competitive price. However, we decided to switch to the Arduino which is more stable. This is in the redevelopment stage at the moment. Hopefully it will be moved to the production line very soon.
Other than that, we also offer parts for Home cockpit builders at economic prices as we also encourage our customers to “Do it yourself”.
Any hints on what’s to come after your next project?
Throttle is only part of the Cockpit and this is only our starting point too. MCP as I have mentioned. Also, more control panels will be available VERY SOON.
Where do you see Flight Simulation in 10 years time?
In 10 years’ time, or even 5, I would expect the number of simmers will be doubled as more and more people show their interests in aviation which is helped by reading FSElite and other sites every day.
What makes your hardware different from others out there?
Honestly, we are not monopoly in the market. Several manufactures are producing similar products. Some of them are even extending their product varieties that support CH throttle, a major competitor of Saitek.
But what makes us different is price. If I am not wrong, we are the only one in the market who offers FREE worldwide shipping. Yes – our price includes shipping to the customer address, no matter if it is in US, Germany or even South America or Africa. Another factor that makes us outstanding than the others is our professional Customer Services team.
We commit our customers to reply their inquiries and requests within 48 hours, even in long national holiday. Bear in mind that there is time zone different so 48 hours is not really 48 hours.
Why do we need your email for the competition?
As part of the competition, your email will be then used to add you to a mailing list for Cockpit PHD so you know about all the upcoming offers and deals. You can unsubscribe easily via their newsletter!
Thanks Jason for the interview! Check back tomorrow when we’ll be looking at a very special Orbx developer.